Don’t build on rented land

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As a legal professional you have multiple places to publish today — Medium, LinkedIn, Forbes, Bloomberg, Above the Law, and many others. But the best place to publish, bar none, is on your own site on your own domain.

Sonia Simone, co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Rainmaker Digital, a widely respected digital marketing provider shared a ten step content marketing checklist this morning.

Number one on her list, “Don’t build on rented land.”

Before you create a single piece of content, Simones advises that you think about where that content will live and how audiences will get to it. Effective online publishing takes too much time and effort to do otherwise.

Nearly all of the content you create needs to live on a domain you control, using a platform you can do as you please with.

That means you’re not publishing the bulk of your original creative content on LinkedIn or Medium. (You can still get the excellent benefits of those platforms by syndicating your content there after you’ve published on your own site.)

And you’re not publishing on a “website in 20 minutes” solution that forces you to use someone else’s domain.

If your domain isn’t www.YourWebsiteName.com, you don’t own your platform.

If you can’t publish what you please, with the wording, sales messages, and images you please, you don’t own your platform.

99 times out of 100 the right solution is a self-hosted WordPress site, per Simone.

Self-hosted meaning your site being hosted by a managed WordPress platform. She’s biased toward StudioPress and me, LexBlog – both of us using WP Engine as our core managed host.

Of course you can use social media to deliver your content to where people congregate and for purposes off engagiung them.

From Simone.

You can absolutely use social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to nurture customer relationships and get the word out about the content you create. They can work beautifully for both purposes. But don’t build your entire business there — it’s a dangerous mistake that can end up costing you hours (or years) of lost work.

Content syndication is only to increase in the years to come. Five years ago everyone held on like grim death to the notion that everything they wrote had to be read only on their site. No more, people are reading content all over – and lawyers are publishing to grow a reputaton and nurture relationships, not to grow web traffic.

Building on rented land raises any number of problems, not the least of which is that the land owner has a different business model than you. They can change the way they do business and change what content gets emphasized in a New York minute. In a worst case, you cant’t easily get your content off their land when you have to.

Don’t fall prey to I’ll get a lot of traffic and lots of people will see me if I publish on rented land.

Blogging is all about reaching the right audience and engaging them, not traffic for the sake of traffic. Strategic and effective blogging on your own site will get you the audience you are looking for.

Good blogging/content marketing is, per Simone, about developing an audience that actually enjoys paying attention to you and demonstrates to that audience that you would be a good person to do business with.

Too important to do other than on your land.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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