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recycle content

How to Recycle Your Best Content to Market Your Law Practice

Many lawyers spend countless hours preparing CLE presentations, writing  informative blog posts, giving media interviews, and generally creating informative content of interest to their clients, prospective clients and referral sources.

The smartest lawyers find ways to get multiple uses out of those efforts by recycling their content in a variety of other formats.

Recycling your best content – particularly “evergreen” content that’s not tied to a breaking news story, such as a court ruling or current event – can save you time and effort and give you valuable material that you can use for months or even years.
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TWO WAYS TO RECYCLE CONTENT

The two main ways to recycle your content are:

  1. Take a single piece of content and carve it up into multiple formats.
  2. Create evergreen content that can be periodically updated and re-used for as long as you want.

These two approaches can overlap as well, where you create an evergreen piece of content and use it in multiple formats. But, for the purposes of this blog post, we’ll treat them as separate animals.

The First Way: TURKEY TIME

For the first method – carving up your content into multiple formats – my favorite analogy is turkey: On Thanksgiving Day, you eat it straight up. But for the next week, you’re feasting on soup, enchiladas, sandwiches, burritos, etc.

Admittedly, this example might just resonate with me because I have a thing for turkey, but it seems like an appropriate analogy.

Some examples:

Cornerstone content: a 1-hour CLE presentation

  • Turn the PowerPoint into a LinkedIn SlideShare
  • Condense the presentation into a downloadable PDF white paper
  • Break the white paper up into 2-3 blog posts
  • Re-publish the blog posts as a LinkedIn article
  • Break up the main points into multiple posts on Twitter and/or LinkedIn (linking back to your blog)
  • Include in your law firm’s monthly/quarterly e-newsletter

Cornerstone content: a “3 questions with” video, in which you answer client FAQs or otherwise address client/prospective client concerns

  • Post the video to your YouTube channel
  • Break it up into 30-second snippets and post to Twitter and LinkedIn (don’t forget captions)
  • Turn it into a podcast
  • Transcribe and edit it into a Q&A blog post
  • Break up the main points into multiple social media posts linking back to the blog
  • Include in your law firm’s monthly/quarterly e-newsletter

Cornerstone content: a meaty blog post laying out, for example, “5 Important Things Executives Need to Know about Non-competes.”

  • Republish the blog post as a LinkedIn article
  • Turn it into a LinkedIn SlideShare
  • Break it up into five different social media posts, each linking back to the blog
  • Include in your law firm’s monthly/quarterly e-newsletter

Cornerstone content: A blog post about a breaking news story

  • Assuming your “hot take” is hot enough, pitch it to an industry publication, either for reprint (or, if your blog post hasn’t run yet, for publication before you publish it) or for a news story
  • Re-publish the post as an article on LinkedIn
  • Break it up into multiple social media posts
  • Include in your law firm’s monthly/quarterly e-newsletter

The Second Way: EVERLASTING GOBSTOPPER CONTENT

Willy Wonka may not have been a content marketer, but when he invented the Everlasting Gobstopper – candy that lasts forever – he was definitely speaking our language. (And presumably keeping up boat payments for lots of fictional dentists as well.)

The best time to think about how you’ll recycle your content is when you’re writing it. Ask yourself “What can I tell my target audience that’s as true today as it will be six months or a year from now?” Of course, you’ll need to review it to make sure there have been no new rulings, laws, or regulations, that have changed the legal landscape from when you first wrote it.

If you have a piece of content that answers evergreen client questions, make a reminder to revisit that content in six months to a year, see if it needs any updates, and re-publish it. A few important notes:

  • Maintain the same URL (the web address) so that any previous links to that content will still work;
  • Freshen up your lead and examples, particularly if you cite any current events in your original content;
  • Find fresh art to go with it;
  • Draft new social media posts incorporating the fresh art; and
  • Keep using it on social media. You can reasonably use the same content every 30 days on Twitter and every 60-90 days on Facebook and LinkedIn.

One question I get about recycling previously published content is “Won’t people say ‘Hey, didn’t you already publish this?’” To which I reply, “No. It’s 2018.”

If this were the 1970s and your media options were the three broadcast networks, PBS, and whatever local station that showed Gilligan’s Island and I Love Lucy, I’d say, “Yes, this is a concern.”

But 2018 is a different media environment entirely. Great content is created and consumed at a pace never seen before. Tweets are seen for seconds, most Facebook posts cycle out of relevance within a few hours, and excellent shows like The Americans can barely find an audience.

We are truly living in a time of Peak Content. So, trust me, nobody will notice if you update an article you published a year ago and re-promote it on your social media.

Plus, if you’re marketing yourself, you are probably gaining new followers on social media, new subscribers to your firm’s newsletter, and generally being found by people who hadn’t heard of you a year ago. So, if nothing else, you’re bringing those people up to speed on the great information you’ve already shared.

SOME REAL-WORLD EXAMPLES OF GREAT RECYCLING

Why, yes, I do have some excellent examples of clients who have recycled their content:

Amy Elizabeth Stewart, Amy Stewart Law: Amy, an insurance coverage lawyer, presented a CLE program on major insurance changes in 2017 that will affect corporate insurance policyholders. The CLE presentation was re-published as a white paper and a blog post, included in the firm’s e-newsletter, and promoted on social media.

Alyson Brown, Clouse Brown: Alyson, a labor and employment lawyer, wrote an excellent blog post about the practical considerations of “Take Your Dog to Work Day.” Texas Lawyer magazine picked it up as a news story, which the firm promoted on its blog. The original blog post was also included in the firm’s quarterly e-newsletter.

Chrysta Castañeda, The Castañeda Firm: Chrysta, an energy litigator, gives regular CLE presentations on litigation issues in Area of Mutual Interest agreements. She turned the CLE presentation into a white paper and a blog post. All were promoted on the firm’s social media channels and in the firm’s e-newsletter.

Chrysta also recently wrote an article for The Texas Lawbook, opining on the news that a female partner would be pulling down an eye-popping $11 million a year at Kirkland & Ellis. After the Lawbook article ran, she ran the article on her blog, promoted it on social media and in her firm’s e-newsletter.

Kacy Miller, CourtroomLogic Consulting: Kacy, a jury consultant, co-wrote an article for Texas Lawyer on how general counsel can spend wisely in major litigation. She posted a PDF reprint of the article to her site, excerpted the article on her blog, promoted it on social, and included it in her firm’s e-newsletter.

Liz Wiley, Grable Martin Fulton: Liz, a business and transactional lawyer, is also a founding director of the French American Business Council of Austin. Her three-part series, A French Startup’s Guide to Setting Up in Austin, Texas, was originally published on Medium and is being re-published on her firm’s blog (plus social and newsletter, of course).

Christie Newkirk, Diamond McCarthy: Christie, a labor and employment lawyer, contributes articles to an employer’s website. With the company’s permission, she re-publishes them as LinkedIn articles.

And, here at Muse Communications, we’re always diving back into our Greatest Hits album and finding ways to refresh evergreen pieces of content with new statistics, studies, and timely examples.

There are opportunities to recycle all around you. So, the next time you pour yourself into a CLE presentation or a blog post, give some thought to how you can get more than one use out of all that work.

Amy Boardman Hunt Muse CommunicationsAmy Boardman Hunt is all about helping lawyers find their voice and showcase their expertise. When she’s not doing that, she’s trying to find great hiking spots in Dallas. If you know of any – or you need a legal marketing muse – drop her a line at amy.hunt@muselegalpr.com.

 

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