How to Use Reader Data? Successful Thought Leaders Explain How They Leverage Analytics...

The JD Supra editorial team recently connected with recipients of our 2021 Readers' Choice Awards, asking some of our top authors to share insights about their successful approach to thought leadership. (You can read the complete Write Stuff series here.)

Among other questions, we asked these well-read authors to shed light on how they leveraged their analytics and JD Supra reader data. What we heard back serves well as a series of analytics tips for any thought leader today. Use your metrics to:

1. Track Issues In Specific Sectors and Companies

From Michael Wong, a management-side labor and employment law partner at SmithAmundsen: "In addition to the reader numbers, it’s been really useful for me to have a breakdown of sectors, of companies, and of specific readers. It’s helpful when I’m thinking of what’s important to my clients and what I should write about.

To learn, for example, that a certain industry is looking at an article. That tells me that the problem is or will become a big issue for that sector, so I should consider working on something that targets the industry specifically." [Read Michael's complete Q&A here.]

2. Focus On the Language Readers Use to Frame Their Issues

From Brenda Fulmer, a medical device personal injury partner at Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A.: "I find the analytics reports helpful when I’m looking at ways to phrase something or how I might write about something. It’s useful to get new ideas – sometimes we’re so used to using certain technical, legal, and medical terms that we forget that everyone doesn’t know what they mean. For instance, my practice area is referred to as 'mass torts,' but the reality is unless you do that kind of work, that term doesn’t mean anything (sometimes not even to other lawyers).

Often when I'm writing something that could fall into that category, I’ll take a step back and break down exactly I'm talking about and try to use completely different phrasing because if I write an article about 'mass torts,' I'll probably miss 99% of the people that should read it because they don’t look for that information using that search term." [Read Brenda's complete Q&A here.]

3. Understand Your Audience and Discover New Writing Topics

From Claire Razzolini, a business immigration partner at Gibney Anthony & Flaherty: "[Analytics] help me understand my audience. I like the automatic alerts that tell me who and what industries are reading my work, particularly because they tell me what other content those people are reading – sometimes I get a little blindsided by what I think is newsworthy or interesting – because it helps me understand the full scope of issues that concern my readers.

Often I’ll discover new topics this way, things that are quite compelling to me that I want to write about. It can spark my imagination and make me think outside my comfort zone. I never want to get too comfortable or make assumptions about my readers. The analytics help me keep an eye on this, and subsequently really expand the room in terms of the audience that I’m reaching." [Read Claire's complete Q&A profile here.]

4. Provide Focus to Additional Marketing & Communications Activities

From John Ingrassia, a senior counsel at Proskauer: "[Analytics] influence what we do. When we see that certain subjects are getting more attention, we know they are interesting to our audience so we’ll focus more on those kinds of issues.

In addition, our communications team spends time looking at the subjects gaining traction. That information also influences our processes as we go along. Analytics and data are an important part of the equation for us." [Read John's complete Q&A profile here.]

5. Track the Competition

Brenda Fulmer again: "One very useful thing we learn from the reports is when parties involved in cases I’m handling are reading my work. This can be very helpful in settlement discussions where defendants are trying to figure out who they need to be concerned about. If you're seen as a leader in a particular litigation project, your clients are going to benefit because you're getting yourself noticed, which puts you at the top of the list of people the defendants need to talk to when it is time for settlement negotiations."