How many of you are producing content? Raise your hands.
(Extra points if you actually raised your hand while reading this).
That’s great – these days, I’m seeing so much valuable content out there, so many smart and talented people sharing what they know. But as the saying goes, if a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?
Similarly, if you write an article or blog post, but you forget to share it through your social networks, is anyone reading it?
I got thinking about this idea because I use bit.ly to track all of the links I share socially – both my own blog posts, and all substantive content that comes in through our member firms. In part, I like to see what the most popular articles are, but it’s also useful to me to see which social networks get the most traffic for various pieces, and therefore, where I should be exerting my efforts.
Whenever I put a link into bit.ly, it tells me whether it’s the first time anyone has shared it (meaning it’s the first time that someone – me or someone else – has put that unique URL into their link shortener) or whether it’s been shared before. More often than not, I’m the first one putting the link in there.
Why is that problematic?
You may remember back in August, I posted about a webinar I’d attended with LexBlog’s Kevin McKeown and Hinge Marketing’s Lee Frederiksen. They shared some really incredible statistics about the consumption of online content by general counsel:
- "78% of Executive-level buyers go online to search for outside legal accounting & consulting professionals" — Greenfield Belser
- "40% of legal professionals surveyed said that blogging and social networking initiatives have already helped their firms bring in new work." — ALM Legal Intelligence
- "55% of in-house counsel say a law firm’s blog influences hiring decisions." — Inside Counsel, Zeughauser, Greentarget
- "84% of in-house counsel perceive law blogs as credible." — Inside Counsel, Zeughauser, Greentarget
These relate to blogs, but these days, whether you’re posting alerts to your firms website, articles of substance, or blog posts of substance, information is being consumed online. But not everyone is going to be motivated to head to your firm’s website on the off-chance that maybe you wrote something that might be relevant to them.
I don’t say that to be provocative or unkind – the truth is that we’re all busy people, so if something doesn’t float across our desk (or computer screen) at just the right moment, we simply don’t have the time to go searching for it. More importantly, if other firms are already sharing this information proactively, there’s even less motivation for someone to search it out.
So what’s a writer to do, with a substantive, important piece they’ve written? Share the heck out of it.
You don’t have to bombard people – identify where your audience is, and get your firm’s marketing people or even your assistant to give you a hand with getting it out there. When I have a piece of content come through our website that I think would be of interest to our audiences, I take the title and the shortened link and share it on:
- Facebook: On our public page, and in our private, members’ only group.
- LinkedIn: In our private group, open to members and general counsel.
- Twitter: On my personal and professional accounts.
- Google+: To my legal audiences.
- Pinterest: If there’s an image with the post/article: I pin it to one of the ILN’s boards.
All of that is free to do, minus the time investment. And I don’t think it’s too bold to say that you’re missing out on connecting with the right people if you’re not sharing your content effectively. By sharing links through your own social networks, you’re also giving people the chance to engage with you about your content, which is a wonderful way to start a relationship with someone that might lead to business down the line. Your firms should be sharing the content you produce through the branded social networks as well, but sharing them directly with your own networks is invaluable.
Only have a few minutes? Post the link on LinkedIn, with a short teaser that tells people why they should read it and what it’s about. Make it part of your routine and it will become second nature.