Why Content Sharing on the Web Works

So, you are a firm that wants to grow. One of your strategies is to get your message (content, blogs, etc) in front of as many relevant people as possible.

There are a lot of ways you can do that. Most of these involve spending a lot of time (market analysis, segmentation etc) or a lot of money (paying Google, Facebook, Twitter et al).

Let’s think about this problem a bit more…the audience you are seeking to influence is connected, but not yet with you. How do you achieve that? Here are some figures. The average number of Facebook ‘friends’ per person exceeds 500, for Twitter is it over 700 and for LinkedIn (surely your core constituency) it is more than 900. I am pretty dubious about the value of a lot of these connections, but they have interest…

There’s a well-known social psychology construct (and unusually for social psychology constructs, it actually has some proper evidence behind it) called ‘Dunbar’s Number’…it is the number of people that actually influence a person. Estimates for this vary between 150 and 200. These people will probably be in the numbers above (if they use the social medium concerned). The rest are of much weaker value….but they are there and they have a value. I actually believe there’s a continuum of influence from those we include in Dunbar Number and those we are connected to but flip by because it is easier than unconnecting.

So your task is to move along the continuum towards more influence.


Content Sharing

The first thing is to make sure your message/brand has REACH, and is repeated frequently (that’s why you see the same ads over and over and over again on TV). Familiarity breeds acceptance, not contempt. So, gain reach and be prevalent and enquiries will flow. Volume is normally as important as quality. REACH is normally MORE important than either.

Do some segmentation research and the maths gets interesting. Here’s an example. Suppose you want to gain more instructions for IHT mitigation planning. There’s your existing client bank, and their friends to leverage first (I should plug www.crosselerator.com here as it automates the process!). But where do you find them?

As well as getting your people to join bowls and bridge clubs, there are a number of organisations (Age Concern, almost any charity, Probus and similar clubs, IFAs, the CAB, cleaning firms, the vendors of orthopaedic beds, golf courses, mobility aid suppliers etc. – use your imagination) that are heavily influential in the elderly market…and here’s the kicker –they have a large reach you don’t.

And that is where content sharing comes in – you knew I’d get there eventually didn’t you? Check out the diagram below. It starts with the assumption that firm A has 20% market share in the target market of 10,000 people. Firm B also has 20% and firm C 30%. At the moment they are all doing their own thing, spending time and effort approaching the target market on their own behalf only.

But what happens if they SHARE their content (and web content is ideal stuff to share – this can be done directly or by way of setting up a ‘community’ website with attached social and e-newsletters). The WORST gain in reach is 50%.

We did some market analysis recently on a small city and worked out that 90% of a key high-value market could be accessed by a co-op of as few as 7 firms at a cost per firm of £40 per month.

And the WHOLE PROCESS CAN BE AUTOMATED, so it involves NO additional time. It also costs pennies. It is like trebling the effectiveness of a key area of marketing activity for less than the cost of a coffee a day. By the way, you do this now. You call it ‘sponsorship’. It is badly targeted and costs a fortune, but…

Brand Sharing

If you got the concept of content sharing, then brand sharing is the same idea, but in this case you share your branding (in a content item, as a banner, via a link…). It is weaker than content sharing, but not only enhances your reach but also allows the ‘brand value’ of those you share with to rub off a bit on your brand.

One interesting variant on this has been suggested to us by a Crosselerator.com client, who intends to (effectively) sell space on the bottom of their email correspondence with others on a pay-per-click basis. Don’t ask me about the GDPR – they say they are clear. So, for example, they can add to their emails that go to clients aged over 60 a banner for a local charity that is seeking bequests. 

Brand sharing statistics on the web by Joe Reevy of LegalRSS

Sharing generally

The more reach you have for anything you do, the better the likelihood that it will hit a ‘hot button’ for someone, be forwarded or retweeted…that, in a nutshell is why sharing works.

One of the very easiest ways to build reach is to ask your OWN people to hit the social sharing buttons you have on every content item you produce (You don’t? You should!). It is commonplace in law firms for some individuals in the firm to have larger social networks than the firm itself.

There’s a thought here about the wisdom of letting staff build their own social presences in the firm’s time, but that’s another issue. Imagine the quality reach you may be missing.


This sort of thinking is based on doing some simple maths and applying a bit of logic. We know it works, because it is exactly what we do, and have built software to do. There will be a lot of kickback from conventionally trained marketers and digital marketers (gosh, we do now have conventionally trained digital marketers!), so assuming you think this passes the ‘does this make sense’ test – which rules out 60% of the BD proposals you see – ask them this.

If you don’t do this, what exactly makes your proposed BD strategy DIFFERENT from those of your competitors. Your job as managers isn’t to glue your BD people into their comfort zones, it is to make them effective.

If there is one thing that’s difficult to make sense of, it’s a belief that you can achieve superior results with the same strategy everyone else is using…

Joe Reevy, LegalRSS and Crosselerator

LegalRSS – The most powerful marketing platform for law firms. Content is King in today’s relationship marketing.

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