A question was recently posted on one of the legal marketing forums I belong to, asking how attorneys can shorten the time-frame between deciding they want to post timely content in response to something going on in the world or in their practice area, and the seemingly endless need for wordsmithing and committee approval of every word that goes out the door. Does this sound familiar?
A SOLUTION I CALL RDTC
Before lawyers or their firms go down the path of deciding they are going to be purveyors of Content, or today if you’re already dipping your toes into these waters, whichever is sooner, you need to step back and commit to what I call RDTC, or Rapid Deployment of Timely Content.
Don’t laugh. This is serious. Okay, you can laugh, but this is still serious. If your firms can’t commit to shortening the approval process, then you need to hand off the content baton to your competitors because untimely or stale content makes you look untimely and stale when you”re late to the news game. It creates negative feelings on the part of the reader…not neutral feelings of who cares…but negative ones that actually impact your brand or reputation. This is a step backward in the branding and business development processes.
TEST THE WATERS
Okay, now that you have committed to shortening the process, or at least open to a test, here’s what I want you to do:
Start by committing to one month of testing the RDTC waters. If you are lucky enough to have a Marketing Department, assign one person on one team to be the Marketing Department’s liaison for this test. Each day by 10 AM, that person commits to checking in with Marketing to report what is HOT in their practice area that day, then they jointly decide how to “rapidly deploy” content to communicate that hot topic. If the liaison doesn’t report by 10:15 AM, then someone from Marketing contacts that person to simply ask what’s hot that day.
If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a Marketing Department or even one marketer, then it should be outsourced to a trusted advisor. It’s that important. If the team liaison stops answering the phone or emails, which I’m sure would never happen, and if it is possible geographically, show up in his/her doorway. Remember, today we have Skype, Facetime and many other tools to get face-to-face. Not in the office? You can Skype and Facetime on mobile and iPad, too.
Marketers or outsourced advisors can write suggested Tweets and/or 2-4 sentences of content that can be shared across all agreed-upon Social Media. They can show you how to do it the 1st week, watch you do it the 2nd week, then you will be able to do it by yourself the 3rd and 4th week, and so on.
- No excuses
- Schedule times to get in touch, and stick to them.
- If the team liaison goes AWOL, pick another one fast.
- Do this every day of the week.
A FEW TOOLS TO HELP YOU
To help you stay on top of developing news:
- Set up Google Alerts in every keyword important to your practice area.
- Subscribe to competitors’ enewsletters (yes, under a quiet, non-firm email address if you’d like).
- Find 2 groups on LinkedIn that deal with the topics that are important to your clients.
- Find 2 Communities on Google+ that deal with the topics that are important to your clients.
- Use Flipboard and/or Zite, finding the magazines that deal with the keywords and topics important to your clients.
- Subscribe to others’ blogs that deal with the topics that are important to your clients.
- Find and follow all competitors that are on Twitter, or have Facebook Pages, and watch their updates. Put them in their own column on Twitter, or their own Circles on Google+, so they are easy to find.
- Set up searches on Twitter for all of the topics and keywords that are important to your clients. Again, put them in their own columns on Twitter so they are easy to find every time you log in.
- Keep all trade media in their own list and column on Twitter so you can find and read the latest fast.
These are just a few ideas, but you can see where I’m going. Armed with more breaking news and developments than you know what to do with, you will have ample opportunities to improve RDTC, and to also show clients, prospects, media and referral sources you are on top of your practice area. Over time, this kind of behavior can translate into being known and trusted by your target audiences.
After the trial month, marketers, advisors and the practice team or attorney should step back and discuss how the test went.
- Were you really committed to it?
- How do you think it went?
- Look at analytics to see what happened to engagement.
- Did anyone follow attorneys back to their blog or website?
- How did it feel to be the 1st to market with news, or at least 1st among others to help report the news?
- Did your clients give you any feedback?
- What can you do to improve the process starting tomorrow?
- Decide which practice area is going to join the RDTC Movement in Month #2.
Now, go on!
Go forth and commit to breaking down the silos and barriers that only serve to keep committees, wordsmiths and approval processes alive, and commit to Rapid Deployment of Timely Content!
You can do this. I know you can. Competition is tough out there today. You have to do things that will help you stand out. This is one of them.
Let me know how it goes, okay?
You might also find my last post, Lawyers: Content Marketing Is Your Digital Handshake, helpful.