twofortueYou may remember that a couple of weeks ago, we looked at a couple of tools to use when you’re facing down the dreaded writer’s block. The post I referenced listed 10 tools, and while I’m not planning to examine all of them, there are two more ideas that I want to offer you in today’s Two for Tuesday’s post.

Tool One: Quora

This may be one that you’re familiar with, and it’s one that’s been batted around the legal industry a little in recent months. Content Marketing Institute tells us:

Reportedly, Quora has the best answers to any question that you could ever ask. This popular Q&A website is built around questions introduced, answered, organized, and edited by the members of its community. This interactive platform enables users to edit questions and suggest edits to answers published by other users.”

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. If you were a fan of LinkedIn questions, this may be just the place for you. I’m not necessarily suggesting that you need to sign up and start answering questions over there, but it *can* be a place where you can find inspiration for blog posts.

Obviously, the usual rules apply when it comes to legal questions on the internet – while you can and should speak in broad terms as you would in any online setting (such as you would at a cocktail party if someone asked you a question), if the question is specific, or leads to follow up, your best course of action is to suggest an offline, professional conversation. But since you’re all intelligent people, you know where the  line is between offering legal advice and opining on legal matters in general, so you’ll be able to identify these situations and act accordingly.

As the Content Marketing Institute suggests:

Using Quora, you can select the subjects in which you are interested (business, movies, design, sports – the list of options is incredibly diverse and even fast food is seen as a topic of interest in its own right) and follow them to discover the most interesting answers to questions related to those fields.”

Sometimes, a clever question or a smart answer can make you see things from a different perspective, allowing you to present your facts from a new angle.”

So when you’re struggling for a topic to write about, dive on into Quora and see what you may find. It’s a good idea to have your profile set up already, so that you’ve got your list of subjects pre-populated and don’t have to invest much time in the moment. And make sure to expand outside of the legal industry – look to what your clients and potential clients care about for subjects and keywords, and you may find some questions that you’re happy to answer right within Quora, and others that you may want to expand upon in a blog post. (You can also do both by the way).

Also:

Toward the end of the year [2013], the company introduced the Stats feature designed to give writers the opportunity to check statistics and find out how many people have shared, viewed, and followed their answers and questions.

So if you’re using Quora regularly, it will also give you an idea of what topics people are most engaged with, and therefore, what you may want to be focusing your own writing on. That actually leads to our next tool…

Tool Two: Your Own Analytics

It’s likely that you’ve never seen me talk about analytics here, and that’s because they’re not something I focus a great deal on. In general, it doesn’t matter how many followers or visitors or likes you have – it’s the quality of those individuals and the time that they spend engaging with you that matters.

But one time when analytics can be extremely useful is when it comes to looking at which of your content has been most popular. Content Marketing Institute says it succinctly:

We can all learn from our mistakes and draw our inspiration from our past successes. Return to your most successful pieces and embrace a similar writing style or topic.

Take a closer look at blog posts that you published one year ago. Do they still get a lot of traffic? Did they create quite a stir on social media platforms? Did you get feedback from your readers after publishing them? Some of these posts could inspire your future content pieces, and some of them could also be rewritten.”

Perhaps you did a top ten list of things employers should know before hiring someone, and that was extremely popular – have there been any changes to the laws in your jurisdiction that would warrant an update to that? Are there other warnings you’d like to offer that would merit a part two for that piece? Identify what have been the most successful pieces of content, and why, and then try to capitalize on that.

Importantly though:

According to State of Digital, the words that you put on paper not too long ago can serve as your most prominent fountainhead of wisdom. This doesn’t mean that you should live in the past and stuff your audience with topics that have been done to death. However, it may be a good idea to revisit a few of your most popular posts and find the best way to give them another spin, as long as they are based on facts that could still be considered relevant and interesting.”

And that’s the key. Don’t try to pass off old posts as new ones – people will see through that, and it will weaken their trust in you. Instead, use those posts to develop new or updated content, and be transparent that you’re doing so. Those other posts were successful for a reason, and the new posts will likely resonate with the same audience as before, as well as reach new people.

What other tips and tricks do you have for combating writer’s block?

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Photo of Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles…

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles recruitment, member retention, and a high level of service to members. She is engaged in the legal industry to stay on top of trends, both in law firms and law firm networks.

In her role as Executive Director, she develops and facilitates relationships among ILN member firm lawyers at 90+ law firms in 67 countries, and seeks opportunities for member firms to build business and relationships, while ensuring member participation in Network events and initiatives. These initiatives include facilitating referrals, the management and execution of the marketing and business development strategy for the Network, which encompasses all communications, push-down efforts, and marketing partnerships, providing support and guidance to the chairs and group leaders for the ILN’s thirteen practice and industry specialty groups, the ILN’s women’s initiative, the ILN’s mentorship program, the management and execution of all ILN conferences, and more.

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2019

During her previous tenure as Director of Global Relationship Management, the ILN has been shortlisted as a Global Law Firm Network of the Year by The Lawyer for 2016 and 2017, and included as a Chambers & Partners Leading Law Firm Network since 2011. She was awarded “Thought Leader of the Year” by the Legal Marketing Association’s New York chapter in 2014 for her substantive contributions to the industry, and was recently included in Clio’s list for “34 People in Legal You Should Follow on Twitter.” She was also chosen for the American Bar Association Journal’s inaugural Web 100‘s Best Law Blogs, where judge Ivy Grey said “This blog is outstanding, thoughtful and useful.” Ms. Griffiths was recently chosen for as a Top Author by JD Supra in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards, for the level of engagement and visibility she attained with readers on the topic of marketing & business development. She has been the author of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking since February of 2009.