Some of us bloggers will develop more new business throughout 2008 than we ever dreamed possible - directly and indirectly through our blogs. But the lion's share will produce brilliantly crafted blog posts, which colleagues and former law school chums praise, that don't bring in any new business.
The difference is: The rainmakers are leveraging their blog posts. The others are just, well, sitting there.
For the latter, here are necessary resolutions for 2008:
- Not every post has equal potential to attract the right kinds of people. Choose the ones which are getting attention for whatever reason - great timing, controversy, juicy content. And copy, paste and email, with a catchy headline and custom-made transmittal note, to those who can help you reel in business. In addition, have in a database a list of media you should be hitting now and then with material they want. You might want to send that particular post to a particular editor. The third way to extend the reach of that initial post is to post again. This time tell the story of how that post triggered such and such a conversation or controversy. It was by telling such a story that a colleague got invited to those primetime talk shows.
- Blogging is nothing but a platform on which we begin to build links to what we need. So, content isn't sacred. And content isn't the end of what we're doing. It's just a means, a tool. If the content is electric, approach the appropriate editor and ask if they would be interested in seeing an opinion-editorial developed from this wildly popular post. Or, you can just write the post and shop it around. Paste in the post with a brief description of all the activity it's setting in motion.
- Stop acting like a newbie. Form opinions about blogging, post them on your blog and then let them see the light of day in mainstream media, a very popular blog and/or a pitch letter to the head of X Legal Association recommending yourself as a keynote speaker.
- From all that thinking and writing, you should have enough provocative content for a self-published 35-page e-book. Just do a bit more research to create more added value. Focus on legal implications your colleagues might not be considering. Get the book written, copyrighted, put into a PDF file and distributed free. Amazon.com might be interested in helping with the distribution for a handling fee to the buyer. Law schools might want to stock it in the bookstore. Soon enough, a traditional publisher approaches you with a contract to write a full-length book on that subject. Meanwhile, on your resume you can put: Book author.
- Be a guest or a longer-term guest blogger on someone else's blog. For example, Walter Olson of Overlawyered.com and Pointoflaw.com frequently announces available spots. This experience allows you to experiment with a different voice. Also you will receive terrific exposure.
- Ask to interview for your blog those whose business or whose friends' business you would welcome. Few can resist the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd. The bulletproof way to get that interview and play the game safely is to allow those interviewed to review the content and revise before you post. After it is posted, copy, paste and email, extending its reach. Keep those interviewed informed about what search engines, websites, media are picking up the interview. The more excitement you can create over the interview, the closer you will migrate to close a sale.
- Never ever let an outsider into your blog. Those numbers or metrics are your business. The only folks with the right to view that material are advertisers and that's why I don't have any.
- Post only when your mind is fresh. To keep it fresh, read material outside your area of expertise. You will spot dots to be connected.
Eventually, you might have to give up the practice of law to simply pull in new business. And down the road you might leave law completely to hit the speaker circuit for $100,000 a pop on the subject of: How I Learned to be Very Hungry - and How You Can Learn too.