Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Exhaustion is Overrated - Outsource Time-Consuming Legal Writing Tasks

Do you try to do it all yourself? Do you assume that feeling constantly rushed is simply part of being a professional in the modern world? Do you live as is life is an emergency?

If you are a lawyer (or a marketing professional working with lawyers), then chances are that all of the above apply.

But it doesn't have to.

In the legal profession, status symbols matter. A 10.0 Avvo rating. A member of Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Published cases. News media interviews. On and on and on. It is easy to assume that being "successful" in the law requires 24 hours a day of commitment. Work your life away out of law school, become partner, make money, get on the news...succeed.

But here's the reality: Exhaustion is not a status symbol.

A fascinating new book, Ted talk, and interview on this subject is particularly apt for lawyers (and the professionals who work with them). Professor Brene Brown discusses how the modern world's assumption of "doing more with less" is simply not on a human scale. Cramming more tasks into each day does not actually yield better results than doing reasonable work in that same time frame. We cannot "work" our way past every problem. Feeling constantly exhausted because of 15 hours straight on a To Do List does not automatically correlate to "success." Instead it often correlates to stress, unhappiness, broken marriages, addictions, heart attacks, and ignoring non-work passions.

Contrary to assumptions, this around-the-clock work is usually not based on fear or demands from superiors. It is habit. As Professor Brown explains
Less than half the people I’ve interviewed would say they work around the clock out of fear, and more than half would say they do it out of habit. We use work to numb out. We can’t turn off our machines because we’re afraid we’re going to miss something.

As legal content writers, we are proud to partner with law firms and marketing agencies seeking a better balance in their work. Doing everything yourself is rarely the best option for business success or personal sanity. If you are unable to actual enjoy your work because of constant time pressure, then Stop..and do something about it. Make a change. See how you can hand off tasks or cut back on commitments. Your To Do List is not a measure of your value or success.

Photo Credit: knezovjb via Compfight cc

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"Mobilegeddon" - What Is It? And Will It Affect Your Law Firm Blog Content?

If you are a practicing attorney or law firm marketing director you may not have heard the term "Mobilegeddon." If you are an SEO professional, then you definitely have.

What Is Mobilegeddon?

The moniker refers to an algorithm change from Google that is intended to skew certain search results toward web pages that are "mobile-friendly." This change took place yesterday, April 21st.  A few important caveats:

*This only applies to searches on mobile devices (phones). This means that anyone who searches on a computer will see zero change.

*The change applies to web pages--not entire sites.

The Cliff Notes idea is that individual pages that read well on a smaller screen are likely to rank better in searches that are conducted on those small screens. Interestingly, according to Google, a page is either mobile-friendly or NOT mobile-friendly. There is no gray area.  You can test whether your pages meet the standard or not by putting in the URL at Googles's handy testing site: HERE

Will Mobilegeddon Affect Law Firm Blogging or Content Writing?

The most common legal answer applies here: "It Depends." On one hand, law firm webpages and stand-alone blogs will be included in the changes. So some attention must be paid to the details. However, this is not a content-specific change. The information provided by Google does not suggest adaptations that should be made to the text on your pages.

Whether on a phone or a computer, content itself remains the heart of a page--and the critical component to your Google ranking. Before and after Mobilegeddon, it is essential to have useful, interesting, readable, original words on your website and blog. That will improve your search ranking, draw in readers, and increase the chance that those readers are converted into clients.

However, this algo-change should be used as a critical reminder that online writing is a unique beast. Reading content online is not identical to reading a book...or a brochure...or a newspaper article. Those differences must be considered when managing a blog, adding new pages to your site, updating pages, or creating a new website altogether. The increased focus on mobile readers only amplifies that need. What are some of those mobile-friendly writing styles:

* Slightly shorter posts - after all, it is difficult to read a blog post that is 2000 words when scrolling on a 3 inch screen. However, do not confuse this with assuming that longer pieces are never appropriate. They still have their place, but peppering material with shorter options may be worth evaluating.

*Clear, bold headlines - mobile-users skim headlines. Even desktop users do (which is why headers have always been important). But for the mobile-reader, the headline is even more critical because it very well may be the only thing read on the page.

*More bullets, paragraph breaks and word emphasis - Think of the skimming mobile-user. If they get past the headline/header, they are still unlikely to dive quickly into a dense paragraph. They will likely look for the easiest read--bullet or emphasized text.

The bottom line: Mobilegeddon does not require major or automatic changes to your legal content strategy. However, if you are a lawyer or firm marketing director, be sure to have a discussion with the team that handles your website/SEO to ensure they are doing what they can to make your pages mobile-friendly.

Photo Credit: midwestnerd via Compfight cc