Blogging is a very important social media tool. It’s a great way to demonstrate thought leadership. It’s a great way for potential clients to perceive technical excellence and professionalism. But it’s a difficult task, building a blog that attracts significant traffic. And as blogging is taking off in a big way, with more lawyers and accountants entering the fray, being visible will be harder and harder.
Here are some pointers from my own experience in the bloggosphere.
Develop your own ‘blogger brand’. Who are you as a blogger? You need to develop your brand so that audiences will come to know what to expect from you. Will you be the first to have the most reliable of information? Or will you be the analytical, highly considered type? Will you kneel to the blogging gods and grandfathers in your space? Will you buckle your brand to a media partner? Will you have an open and honest approach, sharing warts and all? Will your blog thrive on an authentic opinion and personality? Will you be controversial? Or will you be the attention to detail type (in a world of typo ridden, informal blogging world!)? Will you commit to a selfless cause? Whatever you decide, make sure you’re comfortable with it and that you stick to it.
Create content that gets shared. Content is what drives any online marketing strategy. That’s why it’s so important to continuously create content that is actually searched for and consumed by your target audience. You can use keyword research tools such as Google’s Keyword Tool for content ideas and to determine what topics are sought-after in your space. Focus your content development strategy on providing answers to frequently searched information on subjects/topics that aren’t time-sensitive. This approach can help you constantly attract visitors from search engines who’re specifically seeking the information that your content provides. Important: Make sure that the content is absolutely relevant or specifically about the query you’re targeting, and offers valuable/useful information to readers.
Keep up the momentum. It’s safest to think of all social media activity as being slow burn. Which is why it’s important to stay consistently in the frame, taking part in online conversations and contributing with your own content. If you’ve been blogging regularly, don’t undo the hard work by killing the momentum – even if it’s due to client work or end of year billing mania. Avoid this by building up a stock of content that you can post to stay visible during your busy periods. We all have peaks in troughs in our work, so use the troughs to tide you over during the peaks.
Add keywords to your blog titles and posts. Keywords are fundamental to a successful legal or accountancy blog. The point of your blog is to help achieve your own personal and business goals. In order to reach those goals lawyers and accountants need to take data from search engine optimisation efforts and develop an editorial plan around those top-producing keywords. Gather your top 10 – 15 keywords or phrases and write blogs specific to each one. Keep the content compelling, but be sure to pepper the selected keywords throughout the post. Most importantly, be sure to include those all-important keywords in the blog title and in the tags that you select. Not only will a keyword-driven blogging strategy help you build and plan out your editorial calendar, it will help you reach company goals via proven search engine marketing data.
Post longer, comprehensive content. Comprehensiveness of content is a strong signal that search engines use, not just to gauge relevancy, but also to determine the value of the content. If the content is a complete resource about the subject, it basically deserves a higher ranking position. Longer posts are ‘sticky’, as they tend to get bookmarked, enjoy more return visits and are referenced to by other content publishers as a resource.
Participate in the same communities as your target audience. Obvious one but important nevertheless. Firms should spend a lot of time researching and determining where potential clients gather so they can better target their messages and activities. You probably know a few blogs, forums, websites and social media communities where discussions and content are being posted on your topic, but it’s worth the effort of researching to be sure you’re not missing out on the ‘party’.
Optimise for the dwell time. Dwell time is a user-experience metric. It’s a combination of bounce rate and time spent on-site. When people are staying longer on the blog, it becomes a strong indication that they are finding its content useful and relevant. This in turn helps improve the site’s ability to rank higher in the relevant search results. There are many ways to optimise a blog to make its visitors stay longer and to encourage them to take actions:
- Build more thematic internal links within your posts’ content. Use longer anchor texts to make the links more visible to readers and to entice more clicks.
- Use compelling images/visuals to stimulate and capture your readers’ attention.
- Link to related blog posts at the end of your post.
- Invest on a visually appealing site design and learn basic user experience. Ask people for feedback and suggestions to improve user experience.
- Optimise content above the fold. Make sure that the headline and introductory part of the content can entice readers to scroll down.
- Improve your blog’s load time or site speed. Use tools like Page Speed Insights to assess areas of the blog that could be causing it to slow down.
- Optimise for readability and design your content for skimmers. Break down your content in shorter paragraphs and highlight the important parts (by using bold texts, headings or quotations).
Create persuasive calls to action. You’re producing some good content for your blog, whether it’s legal or accountancy market commentary, or case studies, or provocative insights or case updates. But what’s your call to action? And by that I mean, what step is a visitor prompted to take after landing on your blog? What obvious call-outs do you have to attract a visitor’s eye after he or she reads your latest blog post? Think about it. Your blog reader, if a first-time visitor, has most likely typed in a keyword phrase and ended up on your blog through search results. They may not even know that it’s a blog. So what do you want them to do now that they’re on your blog? You’ve got their attention, at least for a few seconds. This is your real-time moment to prompt your visitor to take the next step. Here are a few ideas for a persuasive call to action:
- Download our white paper
- Join us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
- Ask us a question
- Download our e-book
- Sign up for our free webinar
- Request our legal or accountancy toolkit
- Sign up for our e-newsletter
- Request a chat
The Rokman opinion
Excuse the cliche, but content really is king when it comes to social media and search marketing. So as firms beef up resources to generate more and better content, it makes sense for them to turn to blogging as an unparalleled platform to self-publish and showcase expertise.
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