Blog Post Promotion: the Complete Guide for Law and Lawyers
This is not the Ultimate Guide
This is not the ultimate guide, since is focused basically in content strategy. A good comprehensive guide is available at http://www.quicksprout.com/the-complete-guide-to-building-your-blog-audience/.
To start, if you have content, but no readers: http://www.groovehq.com/blog/1000-subscribers.
No Social Media Tactics
Other blogs and social media “experts” will tell you that if you just learn how to use Twitter better or create a great Facebook fan page, you’ll become rich and famous or whatever. Sorry, but that’s simply wrong, and not what this site is all about. Learning promotional tactics is not the key to building a bigger audience. Becoming a better Twitter user won’t magically make your business successful.
Readability and Typography Research
We thnk the lawyer should be focused on readability.
A practical approach would be the following:
- Font size 16px, since that is what our browsers were made for. That size font on a webpage is equivalent to the way text appears in an average paper book.
- Line height 24px to ensure enough white space.
- Georgia font because its beautiful and especially designed for computer screens. However, some studies held that serif fonts are harder to read. (1)
- New paragraph every 4-5 lines. Empty line between paragraphs.
- Lots of sub-headlines.
Long, Thorough Posts
Research from Moz in 2009 (http://moz.com/blog/what-makes-a-link-worthy-post-part-1) into which blog posts are most linked, shows:
They’re long: between 2700 – 3000 words
Extra visual content attracts extra links: posts with videos, images, and lists will attract almost 6 times more links than a plain text post.
The research indicates that posts with between 305 and 607 words attract 4 ILDs. Posts with 1822 to 2125 attract 19 ILDs. That’s 5 times more links. From an SEO perspective, is it better to get 6 ILDs for 600 words (to 3 different posts on the law site) or 18 ILDs to 1,800 words. Maybe is better to have 6 links to each of 3 different posts.
And Neil Patel noticed that 1,500-word posts generated 68 percent more Facebook likes than shorter posts:
But Good content doesn’t mean (necessarily) long. The length of content or time you put into it not always mean good content. There are too-long-and-completely-boring posts out there.
Often it takes more words or time to create something great content, but not always.
A first strategic decision was to only write long, well-researched posts with lots of links to sources and great visuals.
Your content must be truly exceptional
write detailed how-to posts with proof and convey authority to ensure blog post popularity.
Write things that make people think. Inspire people. Change lives. Create value. Blow people away with your usefulness. For example, use an strategy based around “pillar” or evergreen content (content that people bookmark and constantly come back to).
Mediocre content is all over the web. Don’t waste your time or other people’s time by writing the same.
Examples of good content include:
Great Content in some niches may not be enough
In many niches, “great content” it’s not enough anymore.
Even very good, great content needs a push to rise above the noise in 2014. A push like paid content amplification.
Here are a few channels, for example:
Twitter Ads: Twitter is finally getting serious about advertising. And just like in Facebook’s early years, early adopters will reap massive rewards. Kristi Hines has put together an awesome primer to show you the ropes.
Zemanta: Zemanta recommends content to bloggers that have installed their WordPress plugin. This means you can actually get backlinks from your efforts. Although very promising, I’ve recently read mixed reviews.
StumbleUpon Paid Discovery: For cheap targeted traffic, you’d have a hard time beating StumbleUpon. The added benefit of this network is that, if your content is good, the traction you get from paid clicks results in a boatload of free traffic.
Reddit Ads: Reddit isn’t for every industry out there (due to it’s young, male demographic). But it’s top 50 Alexa rank is hard to ignore.
Design, branding, promotion and similar issues absolutely matter, but only when you make the content of your site as good as it can possibly be. If you really write outstanding content, it won’t take much effort on your part to get the word out. Often, your new fans will do most of the work. But over-saturating content in the internet, building great content is just one piece of the puzzle. People don’t link very much nowaways. Most webmaster uses the nofollow tag to retain PR juice.
But if you have time, Distribute Your Content. No good content will help you as much if you don’t help the distribution along. It is difficult that people will not find your content by accident or via search if the site is new.
You may follow this strategies to help the promotion:
1. Social sharing
In addition to sharing the posts on my Twitter and FB account, I submitted every post of mine to Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Hacker News. You can only do so much to spread the word yourself, the content has to be able to carry its own weight. A ton of influencers picked up my blog posts either from these channels directly or via someone else spreading the word, bringing in even more traffic.
Some people saw my posts, read them and because they were really good, they voted for my stories. That made even more people aware of the content and the content kept spreading.
Because I worked my butt off to write really useful posts (6 to 8 hours per post), they offered a lot of value and therefore people were motivated to share them.
At the same time I made sure I was actively turning the visitors into subscribers – I added social sharing buttons to all the blog posts, invited the readers to follow me on Twitter, join my email list or subscribe to the rss feed. Oh yeah – 85% of the email subscribers joined via popup. People might hate them, but they sure are effective.
Content is definitely the key to getting spread in social media. Yes, writing these thorough posts is hard work and finding 8 hrs to write a blog post can be tough. But I think John Jantsch said it best:
The secret to success is to be willing to do the things that others aren’t and be prepared to do them for a really long time.
Dale Carnegie, in “How to Win Friends and Influence People”: “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
Entrepreneurs, bloggers and tweeters have (really) big egos.
Some local newspapers that want to grow usually try to make sure they can add as many names (mentioned in articles, social events commentary, etc) to every newspaper as possible – people want to find their name (or that of their close friend / family member) in the paper and hence they keep buying it.
You can reference and link to many people and companies in your posts, and then you will let them know about it either over email or Twitter. Perhaps half the time they mention you blog post on their Twitter account, on their blog or they’ll just find out about you and start following your blog or Twitter.
If you post every single article to reddit, stumbleupon, pinterest, a couple of discussion forums, etc it’s not difficult at all to get many “visitors” in a month, specially with a catchy and compelling title. The problem is that the bounce rate tends to be very high. Especially on Reddit.
Image and Videos
According to Moz, by adding simple visual content, like lists and images, can increase the number of ILDs by good percent. Posts with videos included will attract almost 3 times more ILDs than a plain text post. Posts with all three media types (videos, images, and lists) will attract almost 6 times more ILDs than a plain text post.
Google doesn’t want to make websites popular, they want to rank popular websites.Almost everything Google does is to favor big brands. In the future, maybe major search engines will only show big brands in the results. The days of the playing field being even in search are over.
Aaron Wall quoted Google’s CEO years ago in that infamous “cesspool” comment that their intention is to favor big brands. Everything they’ve done since then does exactly that. Our time on major search engines is running out.
After that, we will lose traffic from major social networks. Anyone with the wisdom to see where all this is going needs to be working on alternatives both online and offline.
Building an email list, working actively on obtaining alternative traffic – those are what law firms need to focus on. If a law firm business website survives with 90% Google traffic, they need to focus on getting it to 80%. Then they need to focus on 70%. The key is to build the alternative avenues before you actually need them.
At the end of the day your focus should not be on Google but on your visitors/customers, their needs and wants and what your competitors are doing better than you and vice versa so that you can improve on your product and/or services. Knowing that if Google penalizes your website you still have a loyal customer base that will follow you will still ensure that you receive business, even if your domain changes. It’s all about strategic planning both online and in most cases offline as well.
From now, law firms should work on their websites on obtaining visitors and customers. Get your basic SEO right on the page and then focus on getting your offer in front of customers. If that means Facebook ads, do it. If it means being active on Pinterest, do it. If it means guest blogging on sites where people who are likely to benefit from your product hang out, do it. If Google sends you traffic, great! But don’t count on it. Go out and find customers however and wherever you can. And do whatever it takes to get them to give your their e-mail addresses so you can keep in touch, regardless of what Google does.
Content Marketing Information & Insight
- 21 Tried & True Methods for Increasing Blog Traffic
- Content Strategy 101 (The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide)
- 5 Content Marketing Mistakes that Even the Pros Make
- Why Startups Need to Rise Above the Deluge of Crappy Content
- How to Create Viral Content (12 Proven Ways to Get People Talking)
- The 10-Step Content Marketing Checklist
- How 4 Top Startups Do Content Marketing
- 17 Blog Post Templates You Can Steal
Content Marketing Blogs
Content Marketing Tools
SEO Information & Insight
- Google’s SEO Start Guide
- Beginner’s Guide to SEO
- The Advanced Guide to SEO
- The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors
- SEO Copywriting Guide
- Perfecting On-Page Optimization
- Search Engine Ranking Factors Guide
- Simplifying SEO Guide
- Google Keyword Tool
- SEOmoz’s Tools
- SEOBook’s Tools
- Google Webmaster Tools
- Open Site Explorer
- Serp IQ
- Wordtracker Keyword Tool
Email Marketing Information & Insight
- The Email Marketing Essentials
- List Building for Blogs: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need
- 50 Awesome Posts on Email Marketing
- The Ultimate List of Email Marketing Statistics
- Using Your Email List to Figure Out What People Want to Buy
Email Marketing Blogs
Email Marketing Tools
Copywriting Information & Insight
- How to Write Magnetic Headlines
- 85+ Copywriting Resources
- Headline Hacks
- How Content Length Affects Conversions & Ranking
- 7 Scientifically-Backed Copywriting Tips
- 10 Super Smart People Talk Copywriting for Conversions
- 10 Ways to Write DAMN Good Copy
Conversion Rate Optimization Information & Insight
- The Conversion Rate Optimization Rulebook
- 50+ Awesome Posts on Conversion Rate Optimization
- 29 Case Studies on CRO
- 7 Usability Mistakes that Will Kill Your Sales
- Which Color is Best for Conversions?
- 7 Pricing Mistakes that Can Seriously Stifle Sales
- 16 Fresh Pieces of Conversion Advice
Conversion Rate Optimization Blogs
- Unbounce blog
- Conversion Rate Experts
- Which Test Won?
- Visual Website Optimizer blog
- KISSmetrics Blog
Conversion Rate Optimization Tools
Social Media Marketing Information & Insight
- A Comprehensive List of Social Media Demographics
- Don’t Be a Social Media Cheater
- 40 Tips on Being a Genuine Social Media Rockstar
- The Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn
- The Marketer’s Guide to Facebook
- The Marketer’s Guide to Twitter
Social Media Marketing Blogs
Social Media Tools
Analytics Information & Insight
- 50 Resources for Making the Most of Google Analytics
- Why You Should Throw Away These Vanity Metrics
- The Ultimate Guide to Google Webmaster Tools
- Advanced Google Analytics Tips & Tricks
- How to Find Your Most Valuable Pages (and What to Do With Them)
- 9 Metrics & Analytics Info Your Startup Should Be Tracking
Guide to Blogging
Use simple words. Do not use fancy vocabulary as it makes blog posts harder to read and understand (plain english)
Use the word “you” –
Write how-to posts – people like posts that can teach them something. How-to posts are the perfect way of doing this. My first blog was a top 100 blog on the Internet according to Technorati; I was able to do this because I wrote a lot of how-to posts.
Write detailed posts – when I first started Quick Sprout my blog posts weren’t too detailed and the blog wasn’t growing in traffic. Once I started to write more detailed blog posts my traffic started to go through the roof.
Hook your readers – from using creative headlines to creating a sense of urgency you need to hook your readers if you want them to read your blog posts. One thing I learned from Copyblogger and Problogger is that using stats in your headlines is a great way to hook readers.
Create a conversation – if you’ve noticed, I have a tendency to italicize words within my blog posts and I tend to ask questions at the end. This helps create a conversation with your readers, which will help you get more comments per blog post.
Prove your points – if you don’t use stats to back up your points you’ll start to lose credibility with your readers. So start using stats.
Show your authority – people have tons of options when it comes to reading blogs, so why should they read yours? If you can show that you are an authority without bragging it can help you win over readers. Just like how I mentioned I was a Technorati 100 blogger above.
Care about your readers – the most important aspect of blogging is to care about your readers. Don’t just blog for the sake of it, do it because you want to help people out. From responding to people’s comments to responding to your readers emails, care about them.
Now that you are up to speed on how I write blog posts, here is my guide to blogging:
Topics are everything
A good blog starts with great content. If you aren’t writing great content, no one will want to read it.
If you are creative, that’s great, because you won’t have any issues coming up with good topics to write on. If you aren’t creative like me, you can use this process to come up with topic ideas:
Step 1: Go to all of your competitors blogs and look to see which of their blog posts did well on Twitter and Facebook and which ones did not. I typically list out all of the headlines in an Excel spreadsheet and list out how many retweets and Facebook shares each post got.
Step 2: Go to Tweetmeme, browse the topics in your industry and see what is trending well for the last 24 hours as well as the last 7 days.
Step 3: Head to Google Trends and Google News to see what’s also trending. You can perform a few searches to see what’s hot in your industry.
Now that you have a good understanding of what’s hot and what’s not, you want to come up with similar topic ideas to the hot ones. As these are the topics that people will most likely want to read and share on the web.
Now before you start blogging you need to know one really important fact.
When I first started Quick Sprout I blogged every week. I was very consistent and my traffic was slowly growing over time. But then I got busy and I stopped blogging on a consistent basis, which caused my traffic to stop growing and sometimes even decrease.
If you want to continually grow your blog, you need to learn to blog on a consistent basis. As John Chow states, a blogger who makes $40,000 a month from his blog, the most important aspect of blogging is to stay consistent.
Timing is everything
Once you start getting in the swing of writing on a regular basis, you have to start timing your blog posts.
Dan Zarella surveyed 1400 bloggers to find out when you are most likely to read blog posts. Do you know what the answer is? It’s during the morning.
So if you are going to publish a blog post do so during the morning as that’s when people tend to read them.
And if you are going to pick a day to publish a blog post, Monday and Thursday are the best days according to Hubspot, who analyzed 170,000 blogs.
If you want to publish blog posts during other days or times, that’s fine, but you won’t get as much traction compared to if you posted it during optimum days/times. One way to solve this is to start scheduling your blog posts like I do.
Time your social promotions
Based on an infographics by KISSmetrics, more than 50% of people who use the social web are based in Eastern Standard Time. So when you are timing your social promotions make sure you use Eastern Standard Time as your default time zone.
If you are trying to get the most retweets, 5pm EST is when you should tweet out your blog posts. Because 6% of all of the retweets on Twitter happen during 5pm EST.
On the other hand if you want to get the most traffic from Facebook, promote your blog posts at noon during Saturdays. This is when they get the most Facebook shares.
To get the most traffic from the social web you shouldn’t just promote your blog posts on all social sites at the same time. Make sure you use different promotion times for each social site.
Time your emails
If you have a blog you should be collecting emails. Whether it’s through Feedburner or AWeber, you want to collect email addresses so you can notify your readers when you have a new blog post.
Just because you are publishing your blog posts during the mornings on Monday and Thursday it doesn’t mean you should be sending out emails during those times.
Funny enough, emails have the highest open rates during the weekends. And they have the highest click-through rates at 6am EST. Who would have thought that people prefer to read emails at 6am on the weekend?
On the same token you have to control how many emails you are sending out because if you send too many you’ll notice that you’ll get a lot more complaints compared to if you only sent out a few.
Ask your readers
With all of the traffic you have coming from the social web, you should have enough readers where you can do creative things, like survey them. For example, I’ve surveyed you on numerous occasions on how I can improve Quick Sprout and what topics you want me to blog about.
Here are some of the responses you gave me.
By surveying your readers on a consistent basis you can continually improve your blog. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you want, it only matters what your readers want. So start giving them what they want instead of focusing on what makes you happy.
If you follow everything I mentioned in this blog post you’ll have a popular blog that thousands of people will read on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter if you are starting from scratch or already have a blog… follow the rules above and you’ll get thousands of visitors to your blog.
How Social Examiner did
The founder of this online magazine claims, according to Huffington Post, that “the key to building a community of this size in 9 months is capturing email addresses. Social Media Examiner has many components in place that encourage people to sign up for their newsletter. The subscription form offers a free Twitter tutorial video. They have been able to grow an email list of over 30,000 subscribers.
“We deliver an email into the inbox of our subscribers every single day with the first paragraph of our articles,” Michael revealed. “We get between 30 to 40% open rates every single day to 30,000 people.”
Their main source of capturing email address is a pop over form that hovers over the screen for first-time visitors. There is also a subscription form on the right sidebar. In all emails there is a suggestion to refer a friend to join the email list. The email suggesting a subscription to a friend reads, “Someone referred this to you. Click here to subscribe.” Their Facebook fan page also has a video inviting visitors to subscribe.
Michael also attributes much of the site’s success to its Facebook fan page. Mari Smith, author of Facebook Marketing:. An Hour a Day, has been instrumental in helping Social Media Examiner grow its fan base. Invitations to join the Facebook fan page were broadcasted to the email list. Social Media Examiner attained 1,000 fans almost overnight. There are also many components that allow people to join their Facebook fan page, such as a social plugin that shows all of a visitor’s Facebook friends that like Social Media Examiner.
“And the keyword was, ‘Join,’” Michael said. “We didn’t say, ‘Follow us;’ we said, ‘Join.’”
Social Media Examiner’s Facebook editorial guide involves breaking news as opposed to writing features on the flagship website. Amy Porterfield, Cindy King, and Michael Stelzner manage the Facebook page. They make it a rule to reply to every comment. On Friday they invite experts to spend an hour with them on Facebook. Fans are invited to post questions on Facebook.
“Every single article that comes to Social Media Examiner goes through four editors before it goes live,” Michael said. “Step one, it goes to our associate editor; then it comes to me, I’m the executive editor, then it goes to a copy editor who is a professional copy editor that ensures that the language is perfect; and then it goes to our managing editor, and then it goes live; so it goes through four different quality assurance processes before it goes live; and a lot of articles get rejected because they just don’t meet the standard.””
1. Colin Wheildon’s 1984 report – “Communicating or just making pretty shapes” (reprinted in 1990), which formed part of his 1995 book “Type and layout: How typography and design can get your message across–or get in your way“, shows evidence of a massive difference in legibility between serif and sans-serif fonts. Times New Roman was designed to be legible from 4 points to 196 points; it is the quintessential ‘legible’ font.
“It is of course possible that serifs or the lack of them have an effect on legibility, but it is very likely that they are so peripheral to the reading process that this effect is not even worth measuring ( Lund, 1999 ).
Indeed, a greater difference in legibility can easily be found within members of the same type family than between a serif and a sans serif typeface. ( Tinker, 1963 , Zachrisson, 1965 ). There are also other factors such as x-height, counter size, letter spacing and stroke width which are more significant for legibility than the presence or absence of serifs. Poulton, 1972 ; Reynolds, 1979 )
Finally, we should accept that most reasonably designed typefaces in mainstream use will be equally legible, and that it makes much more sense to argue in favour of serif or sans serif typefaces on aesthetic grounds than on the question of legibility. ( Bernard, 2001 ; Tinker, 1963)”