Steve Jobs’ resignation: what it means for your law practice

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Steve Jobs’ abrupt resignation yesterday had social media buzzing about the news and what it means for Apple (which saw its stock immediately drop, and then rebound) and for the tech world. Every news channel and blog had something to say and the tweets and wall posts abounded.

But what does his resignation mean for attorneys? How will this affect your law practice?

Well, unless you work for Apple or one of their affiliates, it won’t affect your practice at all.

So. . . why the tease? Was my headline a gimmick to get more clicks?

Well, yes and no.

It’s true that I don’t have anything to say about how this news story will actually affect your practice, and while that smacks of gimmickry, there is a lesson in this.

The headline that brought you here illustrates an important marketing technique: tying your message–blog post, tweet, post, email–to something already on the minds of your readers or followers. According to a new Kindle ebook by Dan Zarrella, about the science and metrics behind social media, this is called “priming”. Zarrella says,

“If a subject is exposed to something related to your idea before he actually encounters your idea, he’ll be more sensitive to it, and this makes it easier to catch his attention. . . .

“The easiest way to make priming work for your idea is to create timely content. If there is a topic or news story currently making the rounds in your target audience, relate your idea to that topic, and the zeitgeist will do the priming for you.”

And so, primed as you were by the news of Jobs’ resignation, you were more inclined to click through to read this story. Yes, I cheated a bit with my headline and yes, it would have been better if I had something to say about how the resignation affected the legal profession, but then this would have been a very different blog post.

Zarrella’s book is brief, not at all dry, and has some great insights and data, such as the most and least re-tweetable words and the best times and days to tweet, blog, post to Facebbok, and send email. “In many cases, the most effective times to send are the less popular times. Because your messages have less clutter to compete with, they break through.”

Zarrella also says that people share on social media not for altruistic reasons but because the information they share reinforces their reputation. People prefer to share breaking news, for example, because it is scarce, rather than humor or opinion which is all too common.

Some might say that putting news in your headlines to piggyback on what’s already on the minds of your readers isn’t a new idea, and they would be right. I’m sure this post, with the headline, “Man Accidentally Impregnates Goat,” is getting lots of traffic. Like my post, the lesson is in the headline, not the story. (Be sure to download the free ebook he mentions, “How to Write Headlines That go Viral with Social Media”.)

So, not a new concept. What’s new is that now, social media metrics let us quantify what we always suspected, while leading us to discover ideas that never crossed our minds.

Zarrella’s book is also free, through August 27.

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  1. […] is one of the most insightful and motivating speeches I've ever heard. In light of his recent resignation, ostensibly for health reasons, it is also one of the most […]