Clients and prospective clients are not the most important audience you’re looking to reach with your law blog. The influencers are.
Who’s an influencer? Reporters, publishers, industry leaders, advisers, leading bloggers, consultants, association leaders, conference coordinators, and others who are highly respected and followed in your area of the law and locale. These are the folks who influence what people think of you.
Influencer marketing is a long used form of marketing in which the focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individuals) rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.
Historically, such marketing may have targeted getting a testimonial from an influencer or mainstream media coverage resulting from the work of public relations professionals.
Today, influencer marketing is arguably best done via blogging and other social media.
But how the heck do you get the influencers to notice you, cite your blog, talk about you and develop a favorable opinion of you and your expertise? There’s a ton of noise out their in the legal blogosphere and the social media world.
It’s not that hard. Just talk about them and what they are saying/writing. They’ll hear you, take a peak at what you’re saying and doing and perhaps subscribe to your blog and follow you on social media. You’ll be provided every opportunity to engage them via social media.
- Make a list of the influencers by name, twenty or thirty is enough.
- Create a Twitter list of the influencers.
- Set up feeds for the influencers on Feedly by searching for their names and/or company names. This way you’ll see them mentioned in anyone’s news stories, blogs, and press releases.
- Subscribe to their blogs or columns in Feedly.
- Retweet items from the Twitter list that you believe would be of interest to your Twitter followers.
- Begin to share on Twitter items from the Feedly feeds that you believe relevant to your followers. Make sure to weave in the influencers Twitter handle, perhaps just with an attribution of what you’re sharing. This way the influencers will see your tweets.
- Blogging is best looked as a way to share what you are reading and offering your take. Do it by blogging about items the influencers are blogging, reporting or saying to others. Share your post on Twitter giving the influencer a hat tip by placing a h/t @influencertwitterhandle at the end of the tweet and url. Again they’ll see your Tweet and then look at your post.
- After you’ve done some of this in a professional and a polite fashion, see if the influencer uses Facebook. Most do. Assuming you do so for a combination of personal and professional items, ask to be their friend. Begin to join the discussion by liking and commenting on some of their posts.
- At this point, you’ll likely have exchanged social media pleasantries, so make sure you connect on LinkedIn where, if they use LinkedIn to share content, you can comment there as well.
I am sure I am missing a number of other ways to get noticed and build trust with influencers. But you get the idea.
A few caveats before starting down this road.
- Don’t pound on the influencers. It’s a total turnoff. I/we get a ton of requests to look at people, their blogs, their companies and their products and services. I look up many of the obnoxious ones, primarily on to remember just how lame they are.
- It takes time. Mentioning someone a time or two with a polite follow up, may or may not be enough. You may need to engage the influencer over time.
- Be relevant. Blogging or tweeting about Bob Ambrogi, the leading tegal tech reporter in the country, hoping that he may reference what your blogging on estate planning blogging is dumb and will establish you as a “marketer without a cause,” as opposed to someone who has a sincere interesting in engaging in the Internet discussion among through leaders.
- Always be giving more value in the form of information and shining a light on others than you’d ever expect to receive in return. It’s how the Internet works.
- Be polite and curteous, you’ll shine, as compared to those who look at blogging and social media as solely a form of marketing. as opposed to a form of building trust and a strong word of mouth reputaton.
What can you expect?
- Over time, you and the things you write and say will be blogged about and shared on soicial media. Not only by the influencers, but by the people who follow them.
- You’ll be invited to speak at conferences.
- You’ll be called by reporters and editors.
- Your name will dropped on and offline by people that others trust.
This stuff works. A couple years ago, a number of Michigan State University law students whom I had never met or heard of started to blog about things I was blogging. They engaged me on Twitter.
Within weeks, the students, not the administration, invited me back to East Lansing to speak to the students, alumni and administration. I’ve been back a couple times since and routinely highlight online and offline the work of the law school, students, grads and administration. They’ve done a lot for me and LexBlog — including two of their law professors being members of LexBlog’s Law School Blog Network.
Way too many lawyers blog without a strategy as to how they are going to get noticed and talked about by leaders in their field. Be one of the few who chooses to engage the influencers, it’s fun — and rewarding.