Tim Baran, Community Manager of Rocket Matter, shared yesterday, ‘3 Ways to Promote Your Law Blog.’ Though I’m not sure ‘promoting’ your law blog is what you want to do when you’re looking to network to build relationships and enhance your reputation, Baran raises some good points.
- Use social media. Baran sees Twitter and Facebook among the top 5 generators for blog traffic. I see Twitter as the top traffic generator for my blog. LinkedIn and Facebook are not far behind. Google generates random traffic from random searches, but it is not the leading way I generate exposure to the things I blog about nor the discussion that ensues from my blogging in the comments on my blog, and more importantly across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and, now, Google+. Don’t view social media as a place for pumping your content into, look at social media as place where you share news, information, and commentary that you are reading. Sharing other’s content builds social media equity and means others on social media will share your blogged content.
- Blog networks and directories. Baran mentions this one. I’d put this one at the bottom of the list unless it’s a network that leads to engagement. The goal is not to have your blog listed in a ‘blog network.’ I have never looked in a blog network to find blogs. The goal is be in a network where others discover whose blog to follow and who to engage, via networking activity among the network. That leads to relationships with amplifiers, referral sources and the like. That’s what we’re after (though not there yet) with LXBN, LexBlog’s Blog Network.
- Commenting on other blogs. I read a ways back that bloggers ought to spend twice as much time commenting on others’ blogs if they want to network through the net. It’s probably true, but how many lawyers, with the egos we have, are going to do it. Two thoughts here. One, as you start out no one can hear you as you blog unless you join their discussions – no matter how good your insight is. Commenting on law blogs, business blogs, and community blogs is a way to get seen. When I comment on blogs published by business leaders, I am amazed by how many people follow the link from my name on the comment to my blog.
Baran is missing what I believe is the number one way to make people aware of you and your blog. That’s talking about others and linking to them, their stories/blog posts, and their Twitter handles. No one can hear you unless you talk about them. Imagine a table of thought leaders in your niche or locale, reporters, association leaders, and leading bloggers. The people at the table are talking about the things you are blogging about. They are referencing each other by name and by what others are saying. They are being closely listened to by people who want to learn about the subject and perhaps hire one of them. People are doing Google searches into what they are talking about. People have RSS feeds streaming into their readers referencing the people and the subjects they are talking about. You start a blog 1oo yards away from that table, send out a press release, get listed in a directory, and use social media to promote your blog. No one at this table of A-list influencers and amplifiers know you or your blog exist.
- They certainly don’t look up blogs in directories. I never have in going on 9 years of blogging.
- They don’t read press releases or email blasts.
- They don’t follow you on social media.
How do you get their attention so they reference your name, what you’re saying, and link to you and your blog posts so that the people you most want to know about you and your blog know you exist? You pull up a chair to the table, listen to what is being said (RSS reader), and join the conversation (blog about what is being said). You’ll naturally link to who is saying what and where they are saying it (blogs, news reports etc). You’ll follow it up sharing your post in Twitter and give them a hat tip for what they said in your tweet by referencing their Twitter handle. Each of the people at the table follow, via RSS, the url address of their blog and their news stories, the title of their blog and news stories, and their name. They’ll look you up. If you’re sharing worthwhile insight on something they are interested in, they’ll start to listen to you via their RSS reader (their ears). Play your cards right by networking like this and you and your blog are going to get referenced by some heavy hitters and seen by a lot of folks – the folks you are looking to reach. This practice is not a game. It’s called networking, just as you network offline. You need to go where people congregate to get known, build relationships, and enhance your reputation. Blogging is not marketing. Blogging is networking. It takes personal involvement and engaging others. So rather than ‘promote your blog,’ use your blog as a tool for networking.