Reply to All - Email Considerations

This site links to a PDF article on some considerations before hitting the "Reply All" button on your email. Thanks to @glambert on Twitter for the link!


Twitter Resources

Thought I'd put a Twitter Resource page up and update periodically:

Twummize http://www.twummize.com/ - Twitter's search tool
Tweet Deck http://www.tweetdeck.com/ - organizational tool that helps you to group posts
Twitter Grader http://www.twittergrader.com/ - grades your Twitter profile versus other users
Twit Stat http://twitstat.com/ - real-time Twitter analytics
Mr. Tweet http://mrtweet.net/ - tool to help logically expand your network
Tweet Grid http://www.tweetgrid.com/ - organizational tool whereby you can follow search terms
Twit Pic http://www.twitpic.com/ - allows you to easily upload pictures
Tiny URL - http://www.tinyurl.com/ - shortens larger URLs to make them fit on your Twitter posts
Twitt Groups http://twittgroups.com/group/ - create or join groups on Twitter
Twhirl http://www.twhirl.com/ - customizable desktop client that, among other things, can connect feeds across different micro-blogging platforms
Qwitter www.useqwitter.com/ - helps you track the people that stop following your posts
Loud Twitter www.loudtwitter.com/ - one of a few services that delivers tweets to your blog
Twit Backs http://www.twitbacks.com/ - Twitter backgrounds, meant for branding


PR - An Addendum

There's been some counterpoints to the "new PR model" published a few weeks ago, which I feel obligated to mention.

The basic point is that it's better to keep your press release on your site rather than send it through an aggregator to be published everywhere.

Why? Because SEO and SM-utilization dictate that it's better to have many people viewing one post and commenting on it than it is to have many posts each with one comment.

Read Hubspot's Mike Volpe's entire article here.


PR - Faster. Better. Yours.

I want to dedicate this post to briefly touching on the "new" model of public relations. Much has been said about the topic already, but check out the links below and incorporate these lessons into your Rainmaking 2.0 arsenal:

PR: Faster

RSS and newsfeeds are nothing new, but are new to a lot of people. This article by Steve Rubel addresses the new model of the press release, and how social network newsfeeds will become the primary way we get news out to the public at large in the very near future.

Similarly, Hubspot has posted a video by David Meerman Scott that dives deep into the topic. This is a must-watch for those trying to understand the immediate relevance of rainmaking via 2.0 channels.

PR: Better

Rubel's comment in the aforementioned article that "what's interesting...is that the freshest story isn't always at the top...it's often the one that generated the most recent activity from the community" really sums up the point. This is "better" PR in the sense that RSS feeds push hot and relevant topics - the topics that people want to talk about - to the top of the pile. It sort of screens out releases that are new but not necessarily newsworthy.

Granted, this automatic filter can also push some really interesting stuff away from us. But it's the fact that PR has become interactive that is most interesting with regards to the PR discipline in general. And if you have something to say about current events (and you should, particularly as it relates to your area of expertise), then you benefit from this model as well.

PR: Yours

So you want to Make Rain? Then read and write.

  1. READ other's blogs, releases, feeds, Tweets, and similar posts

  2. WRITE back and tell the world what you think

If your insights are thoughtful, fresh, relevant, and non-predatory (read as: DO NOT SOLICIT), then you'll quickly become to be seen as an expert in the topic and drive traffic to your site(s). Coupled with your own "other" blogs, sites, posts, or feeds, you will soon be seeing more rain than the Gulf shores.



Recently, the trend of creating UGC platforms - http://www.ning.com/ and http://www.drupal.org/ for example - are becoming more and more popular. This is taking social media and networking to another level.

It's not just one-upping blogging , but even group moderating, as social media geeks are now directing instead of just acting. Meaning, if you were so inclined to create, moderate, and manage a LinkedIn group, you can now take it up a notch and manage an entire social network.

I feel this brings up the evolving question of quality content, as noted here: http://is.gd/4rYL. With this deluge of information, even in the nichiest of niche areas, is there such a thing as too much? I myself have subscribed to a number of networking sites, a combination of social and professional, and while there are maybe a dozen or so, I can only actively maintain a few. I - like you should be doing as you market yourself in this frontier - offer my opinions and share links, resources, thoughts, and the like - as much as I can. When I'm unable to be active in these communities, I worry that I'm spreading myself too thin.

I also worry that with so many sites the overall quality of information will suffer. The aforementioned UGC sites will undoubtedly multiply the number of web sites exponentially. I hope content doesn't suffer exponentially as well.

Please bear this in mind as you post, tweet, and register out there in 2.0Land.


Who Owns Your Network

The Quick History
I read a post from an employee of a mid-size company claiming that she was asked to join an online network, make connections via the discussion groups, and then hand the contacts she had made over to the company's sales staff. She was outraged, and refused to do so.

I then raised the topic of "who owns a network" in a public forum. The bulk of the responses suggested that its a moot point, that a laundry list of contacts is public knowledge, and that no one can actually "own" a network because there is nothing to actually own.

It's Who You Know
Oddly enough, a few days later I found out that a friend of mine was being sued for allegedly violating a non-compete: he had contacted someone he had met via an online network after he had left his former employer. The "relationship" was made while he was working for his former employer.

Prior to this contact, he had only added this person to an online address book (with hundreds of others). The former employer apparently feels that the contact list is theirs. My friend, obviously, feels differently.

Note to Self
While there may or may not be any validity to the ownership claim, it's something to keep in mind as you - and I - delve into the world of social media. Make sure your clients' CNC's don't have any EGA's: Electronic Gray Areas.


LexBlog: Makin' It Easy

Attorney and Social Media connoisseur Kevin O'Keefe has created a simple and extraordinarily practical solution for setting up your legal blog.

His site LexBlog.com offers turnkey solutions for legal professionals. If "time" was your excuse for not marketing yourself, LexBlog just eliminated it.

The site is chockful of resources, as are Kevin's own blog and Twitter updates. He also runs the LinkedIn group Legal Blogging with 1,236 members and counting. He's an Internet force to be reckoned with...watch him and learn!


Pulling a Radiohead

October 10th is the one-year anniversary of the release of Radiohead's In Rainbows. Why should we care?

This landmark release prompted marketing-types to begin using the band in conjunction with the description of an interesting revenue model: "Pay what you want."

In Rainbows was first released as a free digital download. The band asked fans to pay what they thought the record was worth. The model was followed by others, such as magazines Paste and Good, and more recently by textbook author Noel Capon, who is letting students pay for a textbook after they take the class, and then only paying what they feel it was worth.

A gimmick, maybe, but gutsy.

Let's take a look at what we can take from this and implement in the way we market professional services:

1. Consider what your client would do if you asked them to pay an hourly rate after you provided your services.

You should be so sure of the service that you provide that you'd be willing to forgo payment upfront. Plan a results-oriented strategy that can set you apart from your peers. That means not only 'showing' your clients your value, your expertise, and your successes in your online marketing; it means accountability and the possibility of having them pay based on results.

2. Remember the adage "Sell the blades, give the razors away for free."

There are things that you can provide at no cost that can help your online presence. You could fill your site with useful links. You could give away a downloadable copy of an estate planning guide. You can email a list of Top Ten things to think about when choosing a divorce lawyer. If you're in insurance or taxes, perhaps a list of compliance points. You get the idea. The point is not to bait a trap - the point is to attract interest and earn trust before you try to close the deal.

3. PR is invaluable.

The buzz generated from these marketing efforts, be they gimmicks or sincere attempts to connect with a target audience, is real. In Rainbows sold well, topping the Billboard 200 upon its retail release. Good had a subscription spike in addition to being featured in The New York Times , and Capon's book - while the term isn't over and so the jury is still out - at least made it into a Wired featured story, which was then blurbed on Fark. And of course, they all landed here. ;)


Believe the Hype

Hype is hype, but...
After reading several posts this morning on whether or not Social Media (SM) is all hype, I decided to weigh in on the topic and speak to the 'self-branding' piece of this complex puzzle.
To say that SM is pure hype is like saying the Internet is just a fad. It's here to stay, and its injecting itself into mainstream media more and more each day. LinkedIn's new strategic move with CNBC in regards to content distribution is but one example. Whether companies can use this new medium to generate real dollars is something that remains to be seen. But you can bet that it will get them exposure (check out FedEx's move on Facebook: http://blog.buddymedia.com/blog/?p=58)

Playing to Win

While the mergers of big media companies and social sites may be consequential (if short lasting), the question for the service professional is how to harness this media to find clients. With that in mind, let's take a quick look at what we can learn from the major players.

1. You have to play to win.

Much like Powerball, if you don't enter you can't win. Large companies worldwide are entering the world of SM with all kinds of initiatives - some great, others not-so-great. This does not mean that you enter the world of SM for the sake of doing something. You shouldn't blog or place Twitter posts because you feel you have to...you need a plan first. And above all, you need relevant content.

2. You have to work at it.
You're putting enough hours in at your firm, I know. So realize before entering: even the big players haven't figured SM out yet. Creating useful content takes time... a lot of time. Realize that before going in. It's much easier to add contributions to discussion groups than it is to create a blog.

And take the time to build your network. Do this by letting others in the community know that you're the expert they need (do that by making meaningful contributions). It's what Hubspot calls "inbound marketing," which is letting people come to you, instead of you to them.

3. There's not (necessarily) instant gratification.

While SM can indeed boost your ego (Look Mom! I have 500+ connections), it probably won't win you clients, at first. Think of SM as a networking event, where you get to talk to a few people, build rapport, exchange business cards, make some follow-up calls, etc. Then realize that time constraints are gone --- meaning, people can respond to posts much, much later than they would to a phone call or meeting.

These are three simple things you ought to think about prior to beginning an SM campaign for your services: get out there, add meaningful content, and remember that you'll have to be patient.

(Image of touch interface by Microsoft)


Take the Inbound

Using SEO to drive traffic to a web site has become commonplace, but what about driving traffic to you, the attorney, specifically? Instead of trying to find clients...

Hubspot is helping to pioneer inbound marketing, which is a form of permission based marketing that utilizes social media in an effort to market non-intrusively.

The idea is to market yourself , your knowledge, and your company to a general population (think Facebook or Twitter) and let others find you, learn about you, and potentially contact you. This is done through a variety of channels and can be part of your firm's marketing mix.

That way, prospective clients can seek out what, when, where, and how they want to buy from you or work with you. I'll be exploring this in much more detail, using specific industry examples and providing resources and links, on subsequent posts.


CLE Credits - Trial Technologies

Precise, Inc will be hosting a 2-credit, two-part CLE seminar on Friday, September 26th, from 3pm to 5pm with cocktails available immediately afterwards at Storms restaurant.

The back-to-back seminars, entitled "Technology in the Courtroom" and "Taking the Myth out of E-Discovery" will be held at Precise's main conference room on the third floor of the Law & Finance building - 429 Fourth Avenue, Pgh PA 15219. The seminars are open to the public, but seating is limited. Please call Carly to register at 412-281-8699 x100.

Further information regarding future CLEs will be forthcoming.