No time. This is the number one reason that lawyers either don’t keep up on their blogging or are unwilling to start. I won’t call this an excuse because I also live with the pressures of law practice and know that finding extra time is tough – especially if we view the task as ‘non-essential’ to getting through our day.
Experienced attorneys are usually masters of squeezing every valuable minute out of a work day. After all, we sell our time in six-minute increments. If we want to make more money (or make more money for those we work for) we have to bill more hours.
I remember shortly after beginning my first job as a lawyer I began to realize how much time I wasted every day on things like going to the bathroom, eating lunch, and checking personal email. I mean if I could cut lunch down to a half hour and stay off the Internet – BAM! – there is an additional .8 per day! Cut out that third bathroom run in the afternoon equals another .2!
When it comes to writing for your blog – better yet, writing for the growth of your law practice – we need to harness those amazing time keeping abilities you have honed over the years and get them to work for you in marketing and growing your business.
Here are 5 ways you can find more time to dedicate to your blogging:
1. Monitor Your Progress
For most bloggers the information found in Google Analytics is like crack. Sure you only checked your stats 30 minutes ago, but the numbers may have gone up! I have found that I am more motivated to blog, and thus find more time to write, when I am seeing real results from my writing. The two best ways to do this are through monitoring the number of people who are visiting your site with Google Analytics, and asking the potential clients that come to your office how they found you.
Google Analytics if full of information on your site, but simply monitoring how many people are coming to your site can be very motivating. Further, now you can monitor how many people are on your site at that very second by clicking on Real-Time under the Standard Reports. You can see how many people are on your site and what they are reading.
I always ask clients how they found out about my practice. People will often share what they learned on my blog. These types of interactions and monitoring help me to see that my blogging is not just some additional task but is a true platform to spread my message and plays an integral part of building my law practice.
2. Get Up Early
Most lawyers have the ongoing experience of waking up in the middle of the night in a panic that some deadline may have been missed or wrestling with a client’s problem that you aren’t sure you can solve. I have a home office and sometimes when I have these night terrors I will just decide to head on downstairs and start my work day – even if it is 3:00 a.m.
While I don’t particularly enjoy starting my work day in the middle of the night I have noticed that those hours between 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. I am super productive. No phone calls, no emails, no staff, no nothing. Just me and the work. I often get more done in those three hours than I do all the rest of the day once the phones are turned on.
Try getting up an hour early to do your writing. Your mind is fresh and ideas will flow more easily. If you don’t have time, you may have to make some time earlier in the day.
3. Batch Processing
I recently dedicated an entire article this, but batch processing can save you a lot of time, and by doing so make blogging seem much less like a chore. Find a time during the week when you can dedicate enough time to hammer out two or three articles. After you have them in final form use a tool like the Editorial Calendar for WordPress and schedule out when you want the article released to your blog.
I have really tried to incorporate this, especially since I am writing on two blogs now, and have found it to take a lot of the stress out of writing. I try to write all of my articles for the week on Saturday and then schedule them to be released through the week.
4. Keep a List of Topics
Part of what stresses bloggers out is finding interesting topics to write about on a consistent basis. You can reduce the total time it takes to write on your blog if you know what you are going to write about before you open up the dashboard in WordPress and start punching on the keys.
I keep a list of topics that I think of or that come to me throughout the week and then when I sit down to write it is just a matter of choosing a couple of those ideas and writing. As you meet with clients in consultations keep a list of common questions you get asked. Writing becomes a much more efficient process if you are not having to brain-storm ideas on what to write about and can just simply write the article.
5. Cut Out TV
This one is painful for me to write. But I guess… if you are really desperate to find additional time to blog you could always turn the TV off at night. I know, I know. This is an extreme measure – and one I have a hard time doing. I have my staple of shows (The O’Reilly Factor, Modern Family, The Office, Idiot Abroad) that I just don’t miss.
They are part of my weekly routine. But if I cut out even one or two of those shows there is another .8 to 1.3 (40 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes for your lay folk) that you could use to build your law practice through blogging.
I know the last thing most lawyers want is something else to add to their already full plate. But there has been a fundamental shift in the way people find what they need – including the way they find their lawyers. Find the time to write now – or in the not so distant future you may find yourself with way too much time on your hands for such activities!