(for Collaborative Divorce Texas, and for your own practice)
By Phil West
This blogging overview covers the nuts and bolts of blogging, shows how we can help you contribute to the Collaborative Divorce Texas blog (a service included as part of your annual membership to the organization), and how to get started with us.
First, what blogging does for you, in four bullet points
- It gets your ideas out to a vast audience (as well as a specific audience searching for the things you’re writing about)
- It gives you a publication you can quickly, efficiently get to people – be it on your Facebook page, your LinkedIn page, or your office’s newsletter
- It puts your name and your office’s name into search engines, and helps prospective clients find you
- It makes our organization stronger – the more quality blog articles we can consistently publish, the better it is for our blog and our website, and the more likely it is we can grow our audience
The nuts and bolts of blogging
Where should it live?
A blog is best when it’s part of your website. Any incoming traffic resulting from a search will get visitors to your entire site, if they choose. (For the Collaborative Divorce Texas blog, which is part of our site, we make sure that each contributor has a link to her or her site as part of the article.)
How long should a blog article be?
I recommend doing a blog article in the 400-600 word range. Google won’t track anything that’s shorter than 150 words, but you want to keep your reader with you for the entire length of your article, and it’s harder to do that once you get much farther north of 600 words. If you have an issue that requires a longer blog article, you can break it up into two or three sections and get more mileage out of a single idea.
How often should I post?
I recommend posting at least once a week – that’s regular enough for search engines to recognize and register that new content’s going up, and that’s also regular enough for the audience you build to see it as consistent. Remember that as long as you hit the 150-word mark, you can alternate shorter posts (reacting to news or to online blog articles that interest you) with more substantive blog articles you write.
How should I host my blog?
I recommend Wordpress. You can quickly, easily start and maintain a blog with Wordpress, and a growing number of websites (including the new Collaborative Divorce Texas website) are built entirely on the Wordpress platform.
Writing for the Collaborative Divorce Texas Blog
If you don’t feel you’re quite ready to start and maintain your own blog, you can – as a member of Collaborative Divorce Texas – contribute to our blog. That way, you can enjoy some of the immediate benefits of blogging, including the link to your website from ours and a link to your article to share across the Internet.
“But I don’t have time to write a blog article!”
You don’t have to sit down and dedicate hours upon hours to writing an article. As part of my role in maintaining the blog, I can help you wherever you’re at in the process, whether you need editing, organization, or full-on ghostwriting.
I can take a 15-minute conversation talking through a topic with you, and create an article for you to review within hours of our conversation. I can read through a paper you’ve written for a conference and find a blog article within that. If you have several bullet points written down but are struggling to develop a full article from those, I can step in and provide the necessary support.
One blog article format I’m incorporating this year is a simple three-question Q&A format: I ask you three questions on a topic by phone, you provide answers, I transcribe those, and you and I review the answers and make edits before we publish.
“But I don’t know what I want to write about.”
I can help there too! Generating an idea for something to write about can be as simple as thinking about what you’ve been seeing lately in practice, what you think about a divorce case or a divorce-related story in the news, or what you’ve recently been talking about with colleagues. When I work regularly with a writer, an hour-long conversation three to four times a year can result in notes for multiple new articles. I take the notes for you; you can even do a call from your car. (Provided, of course, you’re using a hands-free device.)
“I can’t commit to doing it regularly.”
We’re not asking for that. If every member of Collaborative Divorce Texas contributed just one article a year (or worked with me on creating an article), we’d be able to publish a new article once or twice every day.
Your involvement in creating a blog article can be as simple as fifteen minutes of time on the phone, followed by reading a draft of the article, emailing or talking through edits, and then reading a final version and approving it. Think about how many times a year you’d be able to make time to do that – it’s simply a matter of letting me know you’re interested.
Take the pledge: Write at least one article this year
At this year’s Collaborative Law Course, Tim Crouch will be inviting you to commit to contributing at least one blog article this year. By now, you know that contributing can be accomplished via a phone call and a few emails to me, if you want to keep it simple and if your time is at a premium. But it can also be the inspiration you might need to sit down and write down your thoughts on an issue important to you. It can even be the spark you need to create and maintain your own blog.
What to do once you’ve decided to come on board
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 512.769.3838, and let me know you’re interested in contributing to the blog. From there, we can determine which route you’d like to go, make the necessary plans, and then make it happen. I’m also happy to answer any questions you might have about launching or maintaining your own blog.
(And if it’s something tied to summer or the holiday season or some other specific time in the future, and you think you only have time now, we can work on it now and hold off on publishing it until a specific future date.)