I caught up with my 68-year old uncle at a post-holiday get-together and he asked me if my company was doing “that social media thing”. One of his new, younger attorneys convinced him to tap into his 45 years of experience, so now every morning before work, he sits down at his computer to write one page about a past case, a recent legislative change, or an exciting new court battle. Last month, he wrote 30 one-page blog posts about Wills and Trusts. Sounds boring, right?
Well, 64,000 weekly unique viewers on his website disagree! Since the birth of his blog one month ago, he’s had 10 people call in and request legal advice based on similar cases he had written about. Most of them come from people Googling information on Wills and Trusts, seeking advice on probate matters, and he easily asserts himself as an authority by displaying his vast knowledge of the area. “I used to spend thousands of dollars on radio ads,” he told me, “Now I get referrals for free!”
I know what you’re thinking: I have a website and a digital rendition of my magazine. I think I’m doing pretty well with my multi-channel publishing plan. BRAVO! But why not try something else that will engage your audience, bring new readers into your website, and give you more shareable content. It takes only a little time each day or week, and taps into the knowledge and enthusiasm you already have.
Let’s say you publish a magazine on a bicycle association. You could blog about the beautiful sunrise on your daily route. You could blog about the Lance Armstrong biography you just finished. You could blog about different leg work-outs you do over the winter to keep those calves hard. You could blog about the playlists your instructor uses in spin class. These are great, short topics that would be of interest to your members that don’t replace content that would go in the magazine. They’re also unique subjects that reflect your personality, building a connection between the author/publisher and the reader. You can even use your blog topics to foreshadow articles you plan to include in upcoming print issues.
My Top 3 Tips for starting out with social media:
- Make a schedule and commit to it. Program it in your calendar and make it part of your routine. Once a week to start is very manageable.
- Keep it short. It will be easier to keep up with, and you have so many more topics to choose from when it’s just a simple, single page.
- Be yourself! Speak in your own voice. When you’re blogging, you can use conversational writing (see?).
This approach can be applied to Facebook and Twitter, too. Find and share useful articles, live-tweet at meetings, and attend print chats. You will find a whole community of people with similar interests to your publishing genre on Twitter and Facebook. Some of them might already be your fans!
Here’s a great article to read on how publishers like the New York Times and Lucky Magazine are harnessing social media to interact with their audience and ultimately, make money, too: http://digiday.com/publishers/others-can-teach-ny-times-social-media-promotion/
I can’t wait to see how many visitors my uncle gets next month. He’s blogging about Divorce.
Reach Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter: @emilyfadden.