With so much social media hype these past couple of years, sometimes I think the reasons for taking the time to blog have been lost. We are inundated by Twitter feeds, Facebook streams, Pinterest Boards and we forget that all this great content we are consuming was created by someone else, someone else who continues to position themselves as the ‘go to source’ for information and ultimately the expert in their field. This someone took the time to share their thoughts and ideas, usually through a blog post. Think about all the people you ‘follow’ on Twitter. They took the time to share their opinions, ideas, observations. Are you doing the same…and in more than 140 characters?
You’ve probably thought to yourself, ‘what do I have to say that would be so different?’ ‘Hasn’t it all been said before?’ ‘I’m just too busy to do it first.’ ‘I’ll just retweet and share the great stuff out there.’
Let’s clear up a few misconceptions. There are very few “fresh ideas or observations” out there. Think about this: When you have an idea or observation in your small circle of friends or acquaintances or work place, chances are no one has voiced this “new” idea or made this observation before. When you enter the blogosphere and there are mulltiple millions of voices talking about multiple millions of topics on any given day, chances are your idea or observation isn’t so “new.”
When you are blogging, the goal isn’t to necessarily to come up with the freshest idea. Nor is it necessarily to scour the web and comment on the latest news first (unless you are a reporter.) If that is your goal you will most likely fail as others make a living being the ‘first’. Your job is to practice law.
What you need to do on your blog is explore ideas, new or old, and then offer your perspective. This is what will distinguish your blog from others. If readers or potential clients can identify with your perspective, are intrigued by your voice on a given subject, they will prefer you as a resource over the next “voice” out there. Your tone, credibility, consistency and ultimately your reliability post after post, will bring you your clients, your referral network, and professional relationships and opportunities of all kinds.
And if you are on the various platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, when people want to check out who you are they can be linked to a web presence that reflects you and your voice as you build up a body of work expressing your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and authority in your area of law.
Don’t just strive then for the original idea. Strive for the original presentation.
Find your unique voice on the subject that resonates with your potential client base. You can be the first to speak or even the validating second opinion….but have an opinion on the current topics in your field. Stimulate or respond to the discussion, but let your potential clients decide that, as far as they are concerned, your opinion will be the last word on the subject because they trust what you have to say.
And if you like what another blogger whom you respect has to say on a topic in their blog, comment on it, link to it. However, be careful not to associate or comment on those blogs you don’t respect or show you disrespect or blogs that could ultimately bring your credibility into question. It’s one thing to get excited to see 146,000 hits on your name with a Google search. But you don’t want negative associations undermining all your hard work.
Be generous. Don’t become a blogger who is afraid of associations. Isolationism is not conducive to growing a network of connections in cyberspace. You must connect with other bloggers. You need them. Do not be egomaniacal. Do not dominate the conversation; participate in the conversation. Be generous with your ideas, thoughts, comments and relationships. Watch other bloggers you like and see how they handle the good, the bad, and the ugly of blogging.
Surprisingly, fellow bloggers even in the same field of expertise are not necessarily your competition; but they are possible referral sources and you should link to those bloggers.
Blogging is not something to be glossed over today simply because you have a LinkedIn profile. Blogging gives you a unique opportunity to extend your branding, have a web home of your own, an internet destination you control. It also gives you endless opportunities to burn yourself. Tread lightly but keep moving forward, even if it’s in baby steps, as you explore the blogosphere. It’s an exciting journey of discovery that should not be forgotten simply because it’s easier to create a profile on someone else’s platform.