A Chat with Chris Brogan: Blogging and Content Creation
I recently had the privilege to chat with Chris Brogan (www.chrisbrogan.com) about my new blog Enchanting Lawyer. His humble input and forward-thinking guidance were so practical and genuine. Anyone who is trying to market themselves online is encouraged to read our interview. You can all learn from my imperfections. One precious point he brings up is that people should be more generous, not secretive, about their successful strategies – that is how you create original content that will keep readers interested.
For those who are not familiar with Chris, here is a bio excerpt from his website. Not only does this opening paragraph manifest his likable personality, he also seizes the opportunity to hyperlink his headshot to a separate page where you can schedule a call with him.
Jacob: Enchanting Lawyer’s main focus is to build a solid foundation for subscribers and my space in the market. With so many tools and options available, what’s the first thing you should be doing?
Chris: A lot of times people have a reason why you enter the platform. Why this one is good or that one is bad. To me the only technology I would use to put my blog on is Word Press. Right now 18% of the entire internet is running on that one platform. One in five websites on the planet use Word Press as their system. That’s the reason why I recommend it. That’s how you get the help you need. I would not use anything but Word Press. There are many companies who make really premium themes for Word Press.
I found that my blog and my twitter account are all useful but the most action I get when I am trying to make business happen is emails. The biggest regret I have in my profession is I did not start collecting emails into newsletters a lot sooner.
Jacob: I did put the blog on Word Press so I was doing something right. I set up a sign-up box on the side. Our system sends an email to subscribers every Monday on updates. What you are saying is that you have a different sign-up system for your newsletters?
Chris: Yes. There is a reason for that. You want to have a personal life conversation. Try to make people think this is the premium thing that you are ever going to tell anybody about how you win, and it only happens inside the newsletter versus any blog or any other form. Because that way really encourages people to sign up and it also speaks to them that you really value that intimacy. That has been usually successful for me.
Jacob: One of the things I am trying to do right now is to collect good people to sign up, create engagement. That’s the early stage. Some people are talking about giving visitors an E-report or something to download. Do you think that’s something of value?
Chris: I do. I think people seem to believe that it can get a lot of added value, like a free offering. What I am saying is people should really have a chance to get to know you. To some people, it seems a little gimmicky, so whoever signs up might just dump your email later. Always offer your highest value and you know that’s something you will get in return from subscribers.
Jacob: If you wanted to increase your subscriber base, what would be the most basic thing you should be doing to create a consistent flow of people?
Chris: I know you have done some webinars and video projects in the past. That’s one thing. Offer a webinar, schedule an appointment kind of viewing to people.
Jacob: Trying to achieve the life and work balance is an issue for a lot of attorneys. I think posting about those open issues can generate some interest from people because we are not just talking about marketing – I am also talking about working, how to deal with your family. But that’s another story. You think podcast is a good thing to do, right?
Chris: Yes, I do. You know I like that idea you just said. When I look at your blog, the articles are the articles I would recommend anybody write. But they are also contents I can read about in a lot of other places. I hate to say that but I could also read it elsewhere. What is good about this is this is what people search for – it’s great content to write for that reason; but then, that life and balance thing you just said in a newsletter would really really add to the package you just created. Now Enchanting Lawyer has not only the marketing stuff but also life enhancement. You say what matters to you.
Jacob: I am starting to have some ideas, such as the psychology of talking to a client, what happens when you deal with people online, or the idea of creating a proprietary audience, things that are not common.
Chris: I have one small recommendation on your site: When I go to your About page, this would be a good place to add a “contact me” page. It’s good when you tell people this is what I do and people wonder, “What do I do next?” One of the choices you could give them to do next is make another contact box indicating if you need to talk to me right away, here is the way to reach me. Right above your name and right at the end. Because I got a lot more emails than back when I just had a separate Contact page.
(Like Chris Brogan mentioned above, on his About page, there is a “contact” button right after his bio.)
Jacob: Everybody is talking about content right now. For my legal practice’s blog, we are always obsessed with what we are going to put on our blog. Somebody like you, an evangelist of content, what do you think is going to be in the future? For somebody who is starting out, what do you suggest they do to generate content?
Chris: I use my camera phone a lot. Walking along and I see something that draws my attention, I will take a photo and later on I will decide what to do with it. That gives me my content. This book by Jay Baer, Youtility, if you haven’t read..
Jacob: Chris, I read it four times.
Chris: Yes, it’s unbelievable. People need two things that we are not giving them in the world that is bite-sized content.
Jacob: There was an article I just read that says people who write content are going to get paid more in the next few years because there is just such a lack of good quality content. Everything is the same.
Chris: You are right about that. When you talk about the lack of quality, I think one of the reasons is serving suggestions like food on a menu, how you can cook the liver, what are the tools I use for my business, or how I go into LinkedIn everyday. Those are the articles that aren’t being written and I don’t know why, maybe people are worried about trading off secrets? People are not thinking other people need that.
Jacob: The reason why I started this blog is because social media has changed the legal field. But the fundamentals as to how we communicate to people have not changed. What do you think is going to happen to social media in the next few years?
Chris: One thing NOT to do is to go after all the platforms, just to see which one works. I say focus on two or three, and if any of it does not work, swap it out only the two or three. The other thing you should do, you mentioned starting a podcast, is make the podcast very short or make a very long video. Either or. What I also suspect is you have to keep going even if there are other competing shows. I can tell you from my experience, if I am subscribing to a podcast, I am subscribing to 20 podcasts and giving them all a chance, and I will narrow it down to two to four. Never just one. I never worry about a competitor. In your future, it’s either that or a video product. It doesn’t have to be both – probably shouldn’t be both. I think podcasts are easier to make.
Jacob: Yes, you are right. You cannot do all of it or you lose track of it. There is always some thing new coming up, if you try to jump from one to another one, that’s why they are getting discouraged. I felt that with my law firm’s Facebook, years of effort finally paying off. We have 95,000 fans on our page and I do see the value now. That’s why I started the blog to share my experience and connect with people.
Chris was on EnchantingLawyer.com during the course of our interview. He affirms our uses of infographics, podcasts, and the blog theme while he suggests we should contribute more to the originality of content creation.