Today’s Two for Tuesday’s post comes to you from high above the clouds, as I’m flying home from a two and a half day trip to London. It will be a bit late because there’s no in-flight wifi this time (a pity, though it does prevent me from doing more work than I probably should anyway), but I will try to keep it short for you, since I hope that in your spare time, you’re working on your 2016 planning!
Our tips today focus again on content marketing, and may be things that you’re already doing as part of your content mix – but in case you’re not, these are two ways that you can freshen things up a bit, and add in some additional opportunities for people to engage with your content. And if one of your content marketing goals is to build relationships with your target audiences, then that’s exactly the type of thing you want to be doing!
Tip One: Change the Way You Share Your Content
For many of us (and I’m guilty of this myself), our habit is to produce a piece of content – a blog post, article, video, etc. – and then to share that content via social media using the title and the link. We’ve worked hard on the title to make it catchy and descriptive, and hopefully it grabs people in a way that makes them click on the link to read or watch further.
But what if that’s just not enough?
There’s another way you can be sharing that doesn’t actually require you to change the way that you’re producing content (so no extra effort there, excellent!). As you’re writing or speaking, or even once you’ve finished the piece, review it to pull out a question or a quote or a controversial statement that you can use in conjunction with the link to promote the content instead.
The idea is that it will be more engaging with your audience – in some cases, they may just respond to the comment or question without reading or watching your content further, but in most cases, they’ll click the link to first learn more, and then they’ll engage with you.
This has several benefits:
- You’ll likely see an uptick in engagement, as long as you’re doing this in a genuine way, and not just for the sake of engagement. You can always spot the difference between someone who pulls out an interesting quote or question from their content (or someone else’s, for that matter), and someone who is pushing too hard. Genuine engagement is the start of building relationships online that you can later take offline.
- You’ll get more fodder for future content – the more discussion you have around a piece of content, the more you’ll learn about what interests other people about it. Are there other questions they have that you didn’t answer, and could address in your next video or blog post? Is there a valid counterpoint that they argued that you could invite them to guest post on? Is there a secondary issue that you could comment on in an article? Having these conversations around content allows you to understand what your audience is really looking for, which you can then create for them and deliver – and that’s a win for everyone.
- You’ll find out what’s really interesting for your audiences. When you share something on social media, statistics show that people will often continue to share or like your content without actually reading it. That can give you an inflated sense of interest in your content (hopefully you’re also looking at the views on your actual content, so you know whether people are getting to it directly). Having conversations with people about what you’ve written or spoken about, much like when you talk to audience members after a presentation at a conference, is an opportunity for them to tell you what they found valuable, where they had questions, and what continues to be of interest to them. That will enable you to further refine your content so that you’re only producing what’s most valuable to your audience, and therefore, what’s most worth your time.
It’s a bit of a challenge to force yourself out of the habit of just sharing your content’s title and link, but it’s worth the effort. Maybe I’ll even take my own advice on that one of these days (like I finally did with the editorial calendar!).
Tip Two: Be a Managing Editor
This tip can work equally well for those at firms who are managing others who are producing content, as well as those who are producing it directly – and I’ll explain why that is.
If you’re a content manager and not producer, it’s an easy connection to make – acting as the managing editor for those producing content at your firm makes it easier for them to produce content. You’re sourcing ideas, providing guidance and deadlines, helping to edit and publish their work, and they’re just focusing on writing it – we all know that for lawyers, it means the difference between them writing something for the firm blog, and not writing something.
Here are a couple of ideas for things you can also do as managing editor (if you’re not already):
- Issue-spotting: look for the latest legislation or case decisions, hot topics, trends, etc. in the areas of law that your lawyer-writers or other content producers are writer or speaking on and pass those along for them to add their own commentary on. If you can find existing commentary on those things that they can react to (and link to), even better. Give them a place to start from.
- Curate & repurpose: Take existing firm content and wrap it together in a round-up or a newsletter. If your firm wants to be known for employment law, and there are a few in the employment group writing on the latest topics, grab all of those articles, client alerts, videos, etc. and combine them in one place. Create a newsletter that is circulated to clients (recent data from Greentarget is showing that newsletters still hold weight with in-house counsel) or have the practice head write a short paragraph that ties the weekly or monthly roundup together, and post it to the blog.Don’t hesitate to repurpose like crazy either – take blog posts and turn them into a series of short videos. Take speaking engagements and have the speakers translate their Powerpoints into articles or a blog series. Never use one piece of content in only one way.
- Act as interviewer: Ask the heads of your top practice areas to comment on what future trends they see in their area of law for the next 6 months or a year, or to share their thoughts on the biggest challenge that companies face and how to overcome it. You can frame the question to them, capture their answer, and then create the blog post, article, or video yourself.
It may seem like a stretch to do these things if you’re the content producer, but it IS possible. There are two ways to do it – become your own managing editor (or deputize someone) or put together a team of content producers and work with them as managing editor.
For example, if you produce your own blog, and want to either freshen up the content, or go through periods of extreme busy-ness that prevent you from producing as much content as you’d like, that’s a great opportunity to involve others from inside and outside your firm. Invite guest bloggers, and become their managing editor.
- Talk to your colleagues about the latest issues and put together a virtual roundtable discussion that you capture in a blog post, podcast or video.
- Ask your team to each produce a post or video over the next three months that will be used on the blog, and then do a roundup at the end of them with your own thoughts and comments.
- Be an interviewer: Ask yourself the same questions we looked at above, or get your colleagues to answer them. Perhaps the trends or challenges they identify won’t agree with yours, and you can have a virtual debate to discuss it.
Whether you’re producing content yourself, or managing those who are, there’s ways to engage with the content differently to freshen it up, both for you and for your audiences.
As we get ready to head into 2016, what new content marketing ideas are you planning to implement? What’s worked well for you in 2015? How will you better engage with your audiences?