So let's say you've got a great strategic plan in place: you know basically what you want your law firm to do in terms of its digital marketing strategy.
Now it's time to make it happen.
This, let's be honest, is usually where the wheels fall off the wagon.
In our heads when writing the marketing plan, we had energy, time and available mental bandwidth to execute it. Things looked clear, everything made sense, and that's why it ended up in the plan.
Alas the real world starts to encroach. Calls come in, emails arrive, Court dates get set – and everything just gets that little bit harder.
One way we can try to at least cling to pieces of our marketing plans is to ensure that the things we're doing are getting done faster.
Because often we're our own worst enemies.
Failure to Front-Load the Work
Topic selection and headlining is a creative process.
As a result, trying to sit down to a blank screen and write something, for most people at least, is going to involve a lot of dithering around while you try and think of something to write about.
So what if you went through a process to develop your content ideas first? That way you're blank screen is gone and you just have to sit down and write.
That would be better, right?
Plagued with Doubt
The first thing lawyers are renouned for is a lot of self-censoring. Because we hold ourselves to a high standard, if things don't appear to be immediately fantastic we tend to second guess ourselves over and over.
Which causes delay.
The topic we thought was good turns into the topic we're not so convinced about which turns into the half-written blog post sitting in a draft somewhere – in all, a waste of time.
To win this particular mental block we need to embrace a few things:
- our view is not necessarily the decisive one about which content is best – absent specific feedback from our readers, why second guess the content?
- not everything we write needs to be a fully researched academic paper (in truth, precious little of what we write needs to be that);
- while it's ideal to avoid obvious mistakes, spending 4 hours doing final proof reads and making minor inconsequential changes to an article is usually not worth it if you're doing all that yourself.
In short: finish the article and hit publish. You might be surprised.
Topic Selection Woes
During the process of generating your content ideas, did you think about just how hard something might be to write?
If not, now is a good time to do it.
If you've allocated X time to your week to do marketing, then having a single piece of content take 10x to write isn't a great plan – that means one piece of content every 10 weeks which, let's be honest, you're not going to end up doing.
Pick topics that:
- are narrow so you're not writing a book (this has added benefits beyond just your time management of course); and
- you know very well and can write about with limited research time.
OK so to be fair, you might be the bottleneck.
But let's say there's a marketing committee (a common thing to exist in medium size firms and above) or an individual who needs to review everything before it goes out.
If that committee or person is consistently:
- taking unbelievable amounts of time; or
- suggesting unnecessary petty changes to articles,
then you need to consider whether they are helping more than hindering your article efforts.
I totally get why these kinds of checks and balances exist – they serve an important purpose in ensuring that a quality product goes out the door.
But the emphasis on this article is the “goes out the door” part. If a review identifies 2 sentence structures that weren't correct, and that can then be changed in 5 seconds but requires another 2 weeks before the next opportunity for approval – then that's a problem.
If this is a regular issue then something needs to change – perhaps the process, perhaps the scope of review, and perhaps the individuals conducting it.
Stop Putting Marketing Last
Do it first.
Eat the frog.
Write, review, publish – first up before the phones start. This comes back to the points we made in our recent article, so I'll just steer you there rather than repeating myself.
Go forth – hit publish!
You'll be fine – you've just got to do it.