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:
- Green Target “2012 In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey” DOWNLOAD SURVEY
- Burson Marstellers “Global Social Media Checkup” VIEW SLIDESHARE
- Pew Internet “65% of online adults use social networking sites” (old but good) DOWNLOAD SLIDES
- ComScore “Top Ten Need to Knows about Social Media” (little old, still good) DOWNLOAD SLIDES
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:
- What do you mean when you say “social media?”
- How much traffic do you get?
- Where do you enter your blog posts?
- How much time does it take?
- How often do you post?
- Do you get negative comments?
- What is Twitter for and will it send me emails?
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:
- Reference materials with long shelf life (“evergreen” content)
- Timely, news-based posts such as commentary on recent events
- Edgy posts meant to draw eyeballs
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!