My firm sweeps every category by a big margin. I’m very proud of this recognition.
Digital Communications | Content Strategy | Social Media
Thank you so much to the LMA Social Media Interest Group for choosing me as one of 11 social media rock stars! Read about it here: http://www.legalmarketing.org/p/bl/et/blogaid=1513#!
Feeling a little chagrined because I’ve let my blog go stale due to the demands of my current project at work – the relaunch of dlapiper.com – but I have found a little time for a new social media interest: Instagram! Come check me out there:
Ed. Note: I’m bumping this from the archive because, well, it’s evergreen. 🙂
Because of an upcoming data migration, I’ve been cleaning up old and irrelevant content from our database. After reviewing traffic logs, I soon noticed something that piqued my interest – many of our older alerts were drawing search traffic in large numbers.
Coincidentally, a case study on “evergreen” content was making the rounds on my social media channels, demonstrating the consistent search referral patterns of evergreen content. Could it be that our high search performers were evergreen too?
First, let’s define evergreen content. It’s not a brochure. It’s not a bio or service description. Evergreen content is informational or reference material that never goes out of date. Popular evergreen content types are “how tos” and definitions of key concepts related to a topic.
Because our firm – like many others – uses reverse chronological order for displaying publications on our site, much of our great evergreen stuff gets buried. As it turns out, we are sitting on a goldmine!
For example, I found one alert over 5 years old that was still generating 4000 visits per year purely from search engine traffic. See it here:
Because it was getting so much traffic, I asked the author to review and update it and – perhaps not surprisingly – the subject matter had changed very little. Evergreen!
Let’s put those 4000 visits per year in context:
And the traffic is all coming from search. In order to navigate to it, one would need to know where to look since it’s so buried (before the update, it was on page two of the author’s publication list).
That’s one page, 5 years old bringing 4000 visitors per year to our site – visitors who were looking for something specific and found our firm. That is fantastic for the alert’s author and for our brand.
I also found a more recent alert that has all the signs of becoming evergreen:
How do I know?
I have encouraged the authors to revisit this alert soon to make sure the regulatory landscape has not changed – and to give it a more “evergreen” spin, since it’s so tied to a specific event. But so far, so good! Nearly 2000 visits from search alone this year.
Our biggest challenge – beyond identifying our evergreen content – is to create new ways of marketing and displaying it on our site, so the casual visitor can see it. In the meanwhile, my team and I are going back through all our old content to identify the evergreen superstars – and get them updated if necessary.
To find evergreen content in your own site database, follow these steps:
So what do you think? Is evergreen content something you will try? What kinds of evergreen content have you identified on your own site? Tell me about it in the comments!
written by Molly Porter
I work for a global firm on a geographically distributed team. With core team members in Europe and the US, we work with an 8 hour total time difference in our schedules. And the vast majority of our work happens over web and teleconference. In fact, I worked on a daily basis with one team member for over three years before I met her face to face.
There’s definitely an art to working this way. Working virtually, with no face-to-face interaction requires a tremendous amount of focus and attention – and patience. Simple things take longer because approval rounds are extended by a working day – at least. “Why is this taking so long” becomes a common refrain, so management of stakeholder expectations is important.
This is how people work now. Whether you telecommute or work for a virtual team, people have less face-time with their colleagues, even when in the same country or even city.
I’ve learned a lot about working this way. f I had to write a primer for anyone joining a virtual team – which would be everyone pretty much, right? – I would include the following few essentials. It’s a long list, but I’ve kept it mercifully scannable. They don’t train you on this stuff.
And finally – the most important tip that transcends all else: PAUSE and wait and listen. All communication technology is not created equal. And in spite of your best efforts to keep everyone on handsets and high quality connections, there will be quality gaps. So when you’re presenting, leave plenty of room for people to talk. You can either say “I’m going to present a bunch of stuff and save your questions for the end,” or if the conversation is more informal, state your content in chunks so that people can contribute. Pause between major thoughts and LISTEN for the small sounds that indicate someone wants to talk. Make it an uncomfortable pause. Push past the point where you would have ordinarily filled space. You’ll be surprised at what you draw out and the trust you’ll gain from your team members.
Checklists are a way of life for project managers and grownups everywhere, including me. In addition to the checklists I keep at work to manage tasks, track projects and evaluate processes, I have a daily personal checklist I use to check in on how I’m doing at life.
My personal checklist has six items, each in the form of a question. These are the things I reflect on each evening – on the commute home from work and as I’m falling asleep. As I’m running down the list, I don’t dwell for too long on any one question. Just long enough to let my gut tell me “yes” or “no.” It’s rare that any one day will have six “yeses” but it’s something I’m working toward.
My daily checklist:
1) Was I productive? As a knowledge worker, my output isn’t always quantifiable in terms of deliverables. Sometimes it’s just inching the program forward, even if a lot of progress isn’t made – and staying positive about it.
2) Was I content? This item is all about attitude. Was I kind? Pleasant? Grateful? Did I moderate my emotions and focus on love? Did I see the best in others and practice grace and forgiveness? Did I abstain from anger?
3) Was I a good steward of my family’s money? As family of four in a high COL city like Chicago, we definitely have days when we’re “hemorrhaging money.” As long as I spent wisely, moderately and intentionally, I give myself a “yes” for this one. And a big all caps YES if I managed to spend zero.
4) Did I eat moderately? Now that I’m done with babies, I can finally focus on what I need to do to manage my weight – set a goal for what I consume each day and track it carefully. Three of my favorite online tools are: BodyMedia Fit armband, Weight Watchers, and FitBit. I’ve used all three and love them – although BodyMedia Fit gets my vote for easiest to use.
5) Was I active? Did I get 10K steps or do something fun like dance, climb stairs? I use a FitBit to track activity, but have used a BodyMedia Fit armband in the past. Gamification of activity is a great way to keep it fun and get results.
6) Did I brush my teeth? This is the gimme on the list. If all else falls apart and I’m unproductive, angry, spendy, piggy and slothful (sounds like a typical weekend), I can brush my teeth at the end of the day and feel like I did something right.
It’s interesting to note that my list goes from least- to most-quantifiable. Also interesting to note the tools that I use to stay on track. Productivity and attitude are the hardest to measure and gamify – wouldn’t that be great though?
So, that’s my checklist – do you have one? What’s on it? Tell me about it in the comments.
A note about my posting schedule: clearly, I have been remiss in posting. My big work project for 2013 is consuming a lot of my time and brain space outside of work hours. If you want to know what I’m reading and thinking about, join me in Content Strategy for Law Firms, my LinkedIn group. Learn more about the group here.
written by Molly Porter
Be the best of the best!
Since my son started taking martial arts classes, he has repeated these words hundreds of times as a part of his dojang’s 13 point creed.
Thankfully, the message is finally starting to sink in.
Workplace leadership involves being ambitious and being the best of the best. But sometimes this can be daunting.
Like boiling the ocean.
Or getting all the balls in the air and keeping them there.
How can I possibly accomplish everything I want to accomplish – and do it well?
But, when you break it down, being the best of the best involves doing many small things well. Take my son’s martial arts classes – he learns a handful of basic moves that are then combined into forms of ever increasing complexity. Only a little at a time. With intention.
For knowledge workers, our basic moves are – leading a conference call. Or writing an email. Or writing a decent project brief. Or collaborating globally.
Do I get these things right? Not always. But I am ambitious and I want to be the best of the best! When the grand plan is just too daunting, I can focus on the thing right in front of me. That email I have to write. The meeting I have to plan. And continue to focus on the habits, activities and characteristics that lead to excellence.
For my next series of posts, look for some pointers on being the best of the best when it comes to small things. Those simple moves that add up to more complex strategies, initiatives, projects. Want to start a web redesign project or enterprise wide content strategy? It all starts with a conference call.
I’m always learning, so hopefully you, my readers, will have something to add.
written by Molly Porter
I won a prize for tweeting at an event! See for yourself:
— Candace Graham (@candygram16) November 8, 2012
The event was One North Interactive’s Experience Lab – a thought-provoking day of conversation about the future of digital marketing in law firms – sure to inform many of my future posts. The challenge was to use the event hashtag #1NLab12 to achieve the highest outreach and/or influence.
The One North team used a Kred Leaderboard to track the hashtag and tweeples throughout the day. Here is a grab of the leaderboard from the end of the day, showing me as the winner in “outreach.” That means I tweeted and retweeted the most 🙂
As the day progressed, Candace Graham @candygram16 posted updates on who was winning – here’s an example.
— Candace Graham (@candygram16) November 8, 2012
It dovetailed very nicely with Candace’s talk entitled “Marketing Under the Influence” which dealt with the future of “influence” in legal marketing.
The Kred leaderboard is an example of gamification – “the use of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-
Gamification is pervasive in social media, from Foursquare’s check in badges to LinkedIn’s profile completion meter. In fact, Google+ just added a profile completion meter to inspire users to add more personal information. Gamification is going mainstream too. Gartner predicts that more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application by 2014. To learn about the four principle means of driving engagement via gamification, read the recent Gartner study.
Dutch law firm Houthoff Buruma has used gamification in an app targeted toward students and recruits that simulates what it’s like to work as a lawyer in their firm. It caused quite a sensation in legal marketing circles on its release in 2011 – and the firm continues to update it by adding new challenges. From their app store page:
The game in HB The App is mission-based and for each completed mission you can compare your scores with other students around the world…You will enter a 360 degree world in which you can navigate around and encounter real people. At the onset, you will be presented with a task which needs to be solved within a certain time frame. There are several business dilemmas attached to this task and the client is waiting in the boardroom for your solutions. Along the way you will have to solve problems and talk to people in order to unlock what you need to complete your mission. Only the quickest thinkers, keenest eyes and management savviest players will succeed and end up on the high score list!
For law firms, gamification holds the most promise for internal communications and team building.
For example, PeopleLinx – a social business integration product and consulting service – uses many gamification techniques to engage internal teams in the use of Linkedin. Built in leaderboards are a great way to leverage lawyers’ inherent competitiveness for the use of LinkedIn – for individual and firm marketing benefits.
And Ben Wightwick of HighQ (enterprise collaboration and publishing software) published a fantastic post on the promise of gamification with the legal industry earlier this year, focused primarily on the use of gamification for internal teams:
[Gamification] can provide shared vision and objectives for leaderless groups or groups spread across the globe. It will influence Legal IT vendors to design their software more intuitively and emphasise collaboration and ultimately humanise and empower staff. Generally when people think of gamification they think of achieving inconsequential ‘badges’ when tasks are complete, but it doesn’t have to be like that at all. Why not build out the concept of a virtual currency, which can be earned against a pre-defined set of tasks collected by a team or department, which in turn could be used against a corporate shopping list, whether that is a team lunch or a drinks trolley on a Friday evening?
Doesn’t that sound like fun? Wightwick cautions that gamification is not a silver bullet – to that I say gamification FTW! (That’s “For The Win.”)
So, if 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application by 2014 – will your firm have one? At the very least, you should consider using Kred at your next live event.
Update: I found this blog post on the Economist via Ben Wightwick’s Twitter. Takes a dim view of gamification, but I agree with Ben’s assessment that “
#gamification ‘lite’ can improve usability, encourage sharing & productivity.” It encouraged sharing at the One North event, that’s for sure.
written by Molly Porter
Today, I moderated a social media panel at my firm’s Corporate Practice group retreat at the Renaissance Convention Center in Schaumburg, IL.
I used the following materials to underpin my opening talk:
Not knowing what to expect, I spent a long time gathering data about about social media so that I could counter any preconceived notions the attendees might bring with them. The slides I prepared were for a skeptical and uninformed audience – but with a low turnout (due to competing breakout sessions), I quickly abandoned them in favor of a direct Q and A with the panelists, since attendees were itching to ask questions. File under: good problem to have ! Areas of inquiry included:
I was deeply impressed by how seriously Trent, Asher, David and Dennis take their blogs, and how strategically they approach developing content. They spoke with authority on using social media to develop an audience, generating content, monitoring blog growth and reach, and the role of the blog in developing a reputation as thought leaders. As much as I try to support them, this is knowledge they developed on their own – from experience. It’s the only way to learn.
My favorite parts of the discussion dealt with:
The investment of time – Being billable, attendees were concerned about the time commitment involved in blogging. Trent and Asher spoke about the short term commitment in developing content of a few hours a week, and the long term commitment in developing a content backlog that draws traffic – in their case, two years. Trent also talked about the value of writing and posting a blog post as compared to attending real life networking events – and how much more effective blogging is. This has been my experience as well, and it was thrilling to see a lawyer embrace content marketing over hit or miss networking events. Perhaps a fellow introvert?
Developing a content strategy – Trent spoke about three kinds of blog posts:
The editors of The Venture Alley made a calculated decision to focus on the “dry” stuff from the first category. Why? Because it establishes them as subject matter experts and brings in great SEO traffic – a strategy born out by the long term success of similar content on my firm’s website. They recommended repurposing materials prepared for clients such as memos, briefs or emails – the stuff that clients ask about over and over and over again. The content may be generic, but it draws eyeballs and has led to new business for The Venture Alley.
By the end of the session I felt pretty lucky to have been in attendance – it was a blogging master class, and I learned as much as anyone. Incidentally, this was the first time I’d ever met any of the panelists in person – after working with them virtually for several years – and what fun that was!
This is an exciting time to be in legal industry digital communications. From Foley and Lardner’s embrace of forward-thinking UX on their website, to the explosive growth of content delivery platforms like JD Supra, it feels like we’re on the cusp of big things. Combined with advances in digital tools available to lawyers and marketers – such as blogs and social media – and the ever increasing reliance of our clients on the web for research and credential checking, digital communications is finally taking its rightful place at the center of the biglaw firm strategic marketing mix.
In light of the potential and with the 2013 planning season upon us, I put together this list of the top-of-mind strategies that legal industry digi-comms types should be thinking about. Many of these strategies represent multi-year commitments of time and resources, but are must-haves for law firms as our clients become more digitally savvy themselves.
If you’re not sure where to start, look at your firm’s Content Management System – a state of the art upgrade will provide many of the features and capabilities listed below.
Top 6 big digi-comms strategies for 2013 and beyond
Personalization – Implicit and explicit personalization allow your site to surface relevant content for your visitors, based on their browsing history or expressed preferences. This is a must-have for large sites and firms with multiple locations and service offerings. Personalization requires a best-of-breed CMS and, for explicit personalization, some means of logging in to the site. (I know that you know this requires cookies and as such will require a disclaimer on your site if you do business in the EU, so I won’t go into that here.)
To develop a personalization strategy, you should start by developing a set of personas. What are your site visitors looking for and what do they hope to accomplish during their visit? Next, ask yourself – What else do I want them to see while they’re here? Personalization allows you do do more targeted cross-selling.
COPE – Create Once, Publish Everywhere – More and more, we are asked to deliver our content into external environments and websites – everything from firm-branded microsites to internal applications, client extranets and client-hosted intranets. Key to COPE is the deployment of a state-of-the-art CMS that can support content governance, workflow, production and promotion – and easily integrate with other properties via web service or API.
Mobile – Does your firm need a mobile site or a mobile app? Do you know the difference? I gotta confess – I’m still trying to master the distinction. One way to cover yourself – at least when it comes to people browsing via mobile devices – is to use responsive design on your main site. This will allow your site to look great across a variety of devices by dynamically reconfiguring the site layout based on the site visitor’s screen resolution. The downside is extensive up front design exploration and development of at least three versions of each major template on the site. The decision to build an application requires answering some questions: is internet required? What about device features such as camera and location? Got a lot of money? Willing to deal with having your app approved by the App Store?
Lead Generation – The number one question I get is whether or not the website and social channels have led to new business. Other than anecdotal evidence, I don’t have much to offer. One easy way to get more concrete data would be to map site visitors against the new business development funnel by asking for email addresses at various points in the browsing and content consumption process. Easy peasy, right? Examples: request proposal button, click to chat, simple registration forms. For some reason, not many law firms are doing this, perhaps because of the investment that processing and acting on this information requires. To get consensus, mine your traffic reports and social sharing stats for insights into how they affect new business development.
Social media integration and management – I going to assume that you have share buttons on your content and that you’ve got your social media accounts prominently linked. I’m also going to assume you’ve got a social media calendar and you know how to run campaigns across your channels. What’s next? Enterprise wide social media management that will allow your lawyers and staff to tap into a library of content for their own accounts – which can even be firm branded and centrally managed. For examples enterprise social media management, look at Socialware, Hearsay Social, Hootesuite Enterprise, Buddy Media (now part of SalesForce) and PeopleLinx.
Big beautiful brand – Dear law firms – it’s time to be more visually engaging! Again, look at what Foley and Larnder is doing with their site – unique long scrolling homepage with CSS3 features, responsive filtering in interior pages, big beautiful fonts for easy reading. For out of industry examples, I love GE.com, GoldmanSachs.com, Bain.com, and GM.com (although I loathe auto-play videos).
So there are the 6 strategies to have on your radar. Some of you may have already implemented some or all of these. Let me hear about it in the comments!
written by Molly Porter