Attorneys Need to Know eDiscovery. Seriously.

Surprised nerd businessman in glasses over grey

I’ve been thinking and writing on cross-border investigations. Here’s my comment to LinkedIn contact Rob Robinson, who shared an article on law firm partners who after all these years STILL refuse to learn about eDiscovery and its huge implications to corporations and the practice of law — and the growing field of cross-border minefields investigations.

[I wrote] Thanks for sharing the article, Rob. It’s absolutely true. The gap is widening between the “I don’t have to know this stuff” and “this stuff is changing the legal industry, I’d better learn it.”

Thus far the partners have been insulated from eDiscovery fall-out because their corporate clients are also doing it the way they’ve always done. But thanks to the GC’s responsibility to control risk, GCs are growing more and more interested in eDiscovery and investigation technologies, some of them pretty sophisticated. Cross-border internal investigations are growing fast, and it behooves attorneys to keep up on the technologies that are making them cost-effective. And keeping the company from getting sued thanks to privacy laws. And protecting the teams from getting arrested. (It could happen.)

Content Strategy Before the Ed Cal

Christine Taylor

Meghan Casey made some good points about content strategy in “Why You Need Content Strategy Before Editorial Planning”. Content creators need to effectively strategize their content marketing plan before touching that editorial calendar.

“I got this content strategy thing,” you may think. You know your voice and tone, you know what formats and channels you’re going to create content for, and you know how often you’re going to publish or share content.

Great! Except that’s not a content strategy. It’s an editorial plan.

Here are the four big elements that you need to consider from the get-go:

  • Mismatched content. Different content appeals to different people. If you haven’t written something that your client(s) want, they won’t buy it.
  • The wrong people. If you don’t know who your target audience is, or even who might be interested in your content at all, you’ll get nothing out of it. Finding the right people is a large part of content marketing.
  • Bad timing. There’s a time and a place for everything. People who might have needed your content yesterday may not need it today. You have to understand your client’s goals and when they want to achieve them.
  • Why do I want this? If you can’t give at least one clearly defined reason why your client wants your content, you’re not going to have much luck. Being able to tell people how they will benefit from your work is essential to any business transaction.

Why Shouldn’t B2B Content be Interesting?

Lois Lowry’s The Giver turns the idea of a Utopian society on its head. Built on the ashes of an apocalypse, this Community eliminates suffering and strife by converting to “Sameness.” Unfortunately for them, Sameness bleeds out every shred of memory, creativity, and emotion.

Something like a lot of B2B content marketing.

When did we decide that rote sameness is the mark of a professional piece of content?

the-giver

It shouldn’t be that way and doesn’t have to be that way, not when your content writers know the difference. Here is what your writers should know:

  • Understand your difficult role as a B2B marketer. You strive to help your clients hit their marketing objectives and sales goals. You position and focus and create the content that reels in the leads. You don’t stop until you fill that sales funnel — in fact, you don’t stop at all.
  • Understand the value they offer. Content writers who know what they’re doing lighten your load by taking on your strategies, messaging, facts, logic, and stories. They build them into persuasive content, and analyze the analysis so they can adjust and improve your content. Then they do it all over again, as long as you need them.

For details on how your content writer can improve your business, check out “How B2B Content Writers Help Their Marketing Clients Succeed. (You’re Welcome.)”

White Papers and Benefits: from Bullets to Stories

White papers and benefits“Benefits, benefits, benefits,” or as I prefer to call it, “Benefits, shemefits.” How often do you see — or probably write — a grocery list of benefits in your white paper? I’ve done it myself, but now I see the light.

Of course people need to know what your offering is going to do for them, but a dry list of bulleted phrases doesn’t cut it.

Let’s look at the difference in an IBM white paper and web page about SmartCloud. If you break down the listed benefits you get something like this:

  • Schedule and hold online meetings.
  • Safely share files.
  • Chat with other approved users.
  • Manage your projects.
  • Network with prospects.

Granted that in a real piece of content there would be some explanation after each bullet point. But you would still have a dry bulleted list of unrelated information that doesn’t paint any pictures. So instead of a benefits grocery list, IBM wrote this:

The SmartCloud Notes solution was designed to let you work seamlessly with people inside and outside of your organization. You can meet online, share files, chat, manage projects, network with potential clients, schedule meetings and send and receive mail anywhere, anytime. Whether you work remotely, manage remote teams or need one place to bring colleagues, partners and vendors together, our offerings help you transform your business into a social business.”

Is it great literature? Hardly. Is it kind of vague? Kind of. But does it illustrate a complex offering’s benefits in the context of the prospects’ environment? Yes. And that’s the point.

There’s an adage in fiction writing that works very well: “Don’t tell. Show.” In your white papers — heck, in most of your content — illustrate the benefits. Tell the stories. Present the facts and persuade; argue rationally, sum up neatly. And punch it up with stories, visuals, and a human approach.

B2B and B2C Marketing Converge… NOT

Great comment from Anthony Lombardo on the mythical convergence of  B2B and B2C marketing approaches. I could not agree more.

… B2B trends follow B2C with a good 12-24 month lag, sometimes even more. That gap is shortening though, and the two seem to be on converging paths. So right now you can innovate on B2C, then double your ROI by repackaging for B2B – or at least that’s the thought. But that doesn’t work. B2C focuses around a single user and impulse buying. B2B is slower, requires support of the entire buying team, and is much less likely to succeed with impulse tactics. While some of the technology will be shared between B2B and B2C, the application of that technology is a lot more complicated and specific to the market.