When lawyers think about content marketing the default ideal is a blog. And when most lawyers think about blogging, they begin to get heart palpitations and sweat profusely. Blogging, after all, conjures up that overwhelming fear of technology we just talked about. But if you’re not interested in blogging that doesn’t mean you’re shut out of the content marketing game.
Web hosts, domain names, WordPress installations and graphic designers cause confusion and difficulty for lots of lawyers. But when it comes to content marketing options, the blog is a good but not necessarily critical piece of the puzzle.
Content Marketing Takes Many Forms
Your online legal marketing must involve the creation and promotion of content. It’s what leads people to your doorstep, enables you to expand your influence, and showcases your expertise. But it need not occur on your own domain.
Sure, having your own domain and blog is preferred. You own your content, control the way it’s handled, and can maintain the visitor experience to accomplish all of your law firm marketing goals. If you can do it, you should. But if the technology is getting in your way, you should know there are other options.
I’m a huge fan of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as a way of connecting with others, promoting my content and getting the conversation going. That’s a part of content marketing, but not all of it. You’ve still got to create content as part of your online legal marketing efforts.
The good news is that you’ve got options. Plenty of them. Here are some of my favorites.
Article Directories. A blog is nothing more than an article posted to a website. Having a blog gives you a platform to publish your own content; from there, you’re going to promote it using whatever techniques suit you best. But if you don’t have your own blog or domain you may want to look at sites such as Ezinearticles.com. It’s one of the top 100 websites in the United States in terms of traffic, which means there are a lot of people going there for information.
Open up a free account, post your article, and remember to use the tools provided to link back to your own site (if you’ve got one) so people can learn more. Newbies can see their content live within a few days, and established writers get their stuff cleared for publication in about 48 hours.
As of right now I’ve got 88 articles up there and they’ve been read over 12,000 times. Not too shabby considering I’ve never done much promotion of that content.
Other places you can publish articles are out there – I’ve used HubPages, Squidoo, Google Knol, Gather, GoArticles and a few others. Some give you the ability to make money off the ads shown on your article pages, others don’t. You’ll pick the one that suits you best, but suffice to say there are lots of options.
There is some indication that Google doesn’t consider links from article directories to your site quite as highly as was previously the case, but there’s no proof that there has been any reduction in pure traffic to these sites. So for the lawyer looking for traffic, these are still extremely solid choices.
Hit The Forum Sites. Forum sites are old school, but are hugely popular. Find a topic with a question and answer it intelligently. That’s a piece of content that’s helpful to the forum community, and you’ll be pleased to see the results of your efforts.
Avvo. Much-maligned (by some) Avvo is rapidly becoming a powerhouse in the field of online legal marketing. Say what you will, Avvo gives you a really good opportunity to buttress your online legal marketing efforts. You can answer user questions, create a guide (which is really just a 4-5 part “how to” piece of content) and build up your profile.
JDSupra. I love JDSupra, and I think the team is top-notch. In case you don’t know what it is, JDSupra is a document sharing site that allows you to post articles, legal pleadings, and the like for distribution to various social networks. If you post an article to JDSupra it’s going to be placed all over the web.
Free Blogging Platforms. If you’re into the blogging game but don’t want to tinker with the whole “get a domain and keep it going” thing, there’s always WordPress.com, TypePad and Blogger. I’ve used all of these platforms as trial runs for my blogs and, though I don’t recommend them long-term they are solid ways to start out.
Quick Blogging. You want to create content, you don’t want any hassles, and you want it quickly. Head on over to Tumblr or Posterous, two services that have sprung up to fill the void between a full-fledged blog and the micro-blogs such as Twitter. Either of these services allow you to create a place for your content and post by email. You can supplement the content creation by adding photos and links using a variety of browser plugins and apps for your iPhone and Android devices.
So there you have it – proof that your online legal marketing efforts can begin without anything more than a free account on a system and the contents of your mind.