Keeping up with the content train can be a challenge, even when you think you’ve optimized production. Serving as a newspaper editor taught me that there are days when whatever can do wrong will do so. Someone named Murphy tried to claim credit, but I’m pretty sure she just had a piece due.
Stories fall through, and unless you want to print your Instacart list or turn it over to the dogs of Instagram, you’ve got to come up with some kind of copy to fill the hole.
Linus makes sure his beach photos are Instagram-worthy. #DoItForTheGram
If you’ve been blogging regularly or have a monthly newsletter, becoming subsumed with a case or going on vacation is one of those “wrong” things from a content production standpoint. But it’s going to happen. Balancing your life means finding a way to balance your content production to carry you through those times. Here’s the trick.
Smart legal publishers will have a body of evergreen pieces, or the makings of them, at the ready. This is content that is not contingent upon a specific time hook but is nonetheless current, valuable, and highly readable. The most efficient way to produce evergreen content in a pinch is to repurpose your existing content or upcycle the content of others. Here are a few ideas.
The Takeaway Post This is such a great post, it shouldn’t be used solely for emergencies. I love takeaways. Paralyzed by choice, sometimes I just want to be told what to focus on or what to do. Are you writing about cryptocurrencies? Give your readers your subjective take on the three best information sources, providing links (perhaps include the 2016 documentary “Banking on Bitcoin”), a brief description, and quick analysis of each.
Top 3 Action Items Again, most of us are overwhelmed by information and how to act and react. Make it easy for readers by using your authority to break it down into what’s manageable. “Top 3 Action Items For (fill in the blank: new hires, DOJ subpoenas, responding for comment on the White House Correspondents Dinner)” is the most meta evergreen post ever.
“While You Were Away” I’m almost embarrassed to share this tip. This post harvests what your clients or readers should have been aware of while they were focusing on mission-critical cases and information—like you are trying to do right now. The time element here is almost limitless; you could point readers to a New Yorker article of 10 months ago, if it’s relevant and of high quality. Market and mindset-moving pieces don’t always initially rise to the top of the 24/7 news cycle. Curate this for your readers and you have evergreen gold (which admittedly sounds like a garish modern art installation).
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to evergreen content. There are so many others: listicles, Top 5 Lists, Q&As, explainers, etc. The key to banging these out is to take information already in your purview or control and reuse it. Know which posts have done well with readers, and repurpose those for additional wealth.
Here’s the bottom line. I want you to go on vacation this summer AND keep to your publishing schedule. You can hire a ghostwriter in a pinch but with careful planning you can fill the content budget yourself. Go off the grid and focus on what matters by planning your content in advance.
Susan Kostal is a legal marketing consultant and content strategist located in San Francisco Bay Area. Find her monthly column on Attorney at Work & check out more great content here.