After sharing all of their valuable content with us, Kevin and Lee were happy to answer some questions from the audience.
What's the correlation of a strong brand with online lead generation?
Lee clarified the essence of the question as being "how is your brand going to impact your lead generation and online presence?" Kevin said that he wanted to say that larger brands would have more impact, but he wasn't sure that this was true. He used Coca Cola as an example, saying that if they didn't form the right strategy online with the people who want to drink Coca Cola, they're not going to go anywhere.
In a lot of ways, the internet is the great equalizer (I say this to my attorneys all the time). If you take the time to craft a good strategy, understand what makes you unique, and demonstrate what your value is, you're going to be effective and your brand will become stronger. You may even develop a stronger brand as an upstart than an old traditional company.
Lee agreed and said that while they don't have any research that specifically addresses this, you can say that one of the advantages of the stronger brands is that they have more of a baseline of web traffic. So they have more of a starting place and more visibility to start with. However, as Kevin said, if the strategy is good, this can act as an amplifier, but if you have the wrong strategy, it can make matters worse more quickly.
How do smaller, or not as well-known firms, build credibility in the marketplace?
Lee said that he sees this as a great question, which is central to what they were talking about. He'd say that authenticity is part of it, and the other is sharing your expertise. There are some very small firms that have a much larger online footprint or brand than you'd imagine - the size of your online presence doesn't necessarily have to be related to the size of the firm.
Kevin said that if the audience was to look at their LexBlog clientele, they'd see that about a third of them are the largest firms in the world, another third are mid-sized firms, and the final third are very small firms. He said again that the internet is the great equalizer for a great law firm or professional services firm. Firms should make sure they have a niche, understand how they can demonstrate their value, and make sure that they know the other person's business.
What is the best way to place your blog to get to your target audience?
Kevin mentioned that it might seem strange, but he doesn't look at how many visitors he gets to his blog, and knows many other people who feel the same way. Instead, he uses his blog offensively - he tries to adhere to the concept of sharing information and passing along knowledge. Then, he positions his blog in the places that he wants to be seen - he identifies ahead of time who the amplifiers, influencers and thought leaders are that he wants to reach. He may tweet about it, or post on LinkedIn. But he's always finding ways to seed and distribute his content across his network of choice.
How do you suggest promoting a blog to gain leadership?
The answer to this is writing good, authentic, quality content. Kevin advised against announcing the blog at a major tradeshow or handing out business cards with the blog address on it - speed isn't important, but being methodical, developing your authentic voice, and developing the author you want to be is. Kevin suggested going slow and building momentum - once you have a good blog post, make sure that you're making it easily shareable. Share it on other platforms, like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and make sure that other people can easily share it across their networks. However, he cautioned to avoid pushing it on people - instead, ignite their curiosity.
What is the optimum length of a post?
Kevin knows someone who writes 8,000 word posts (could that be me?) and someone else who never writes more than 300. His own posts range from 200-1,000 words, and he thinks the optimum is 300-500. However, he recommended developing your own style, saying that if you write longer posts, you can break them up to make a series instead of keeping them as a single post.
Lee agreed with him, and he said that as important as length is, there are also other important considerations, like the readability of a post. If a post includes bullet points, short paragraphs, numbered lists, etc, those make it easier for people to skim and look for the information they want to digest - the post then feels shorter.
Lee added that there's also a search engine consideration too - the post needs to be long enough to talk about the topic in enough depth for the search engine to find it, if this is part of your strategy.
Kevin advised us to "trust yourself." Think about which blog posts capture your attention and motivate you to action?
If I'm starting with a new blog, how do I get to my target audience (without being pushy)?
Kevin said that again, all of these questions are interrelated - it's about understanding this communication ecosystem by setting up some tools to listen. If you think about your audience in a limited fashion (only clients/potential clients), you're going to create only one form of engagement that may or may not be successful. Instead, think of them more broadly - not only is your audience made up of clients and potential clients, but there are also thought leaders, amplifiers and influencers.
When you write a post, if you write good content and it's germane to someone's are of expertise, they're going to be interested in seeing your perspective. Don't try to artificially drive traffic to your blog - instead take the time to understand what your strategy is and create situational awareness - who does this post matter to?
You can tweet about it, post it to your LinkedIn profile, or put it on Facebook or Google+. Use these other platforms in an integrated way to spread your message. For example, if Kevin wanted to communicate about this webinar by writing a blog post, he'd follow that up with a call to Lee, asking him to share it across their network as well.
What is the best way for getting interaction on your blog, to get comments? How do you ask for it, and what do you recommend?
The best way to think about comments is that even the most successful blogs are lucky if they average 2-3 comments per month. Success isn't measured by the number of comments you get - when you get them, be thankful because at the end of the day, a blog is a two-way conversation and is about engagement.
Thanks to Kevin and Lee for a fabulous, meaty webinar!