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Wordle’s success offers lesson for blogging lawyers

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January 21, 2022

I saw a TikTok the other day that referenced how many seasons of the pandemic we’ve had thus far. This thing has been going on a long time, with various pop culture phenomenon happening in parallel.

Because I poorly retell TikToks enough the way it is, I’m just gonna go ahead and show you.

Tiger King was during the pandemic. That’s insane.

Let’s hope when we look back on Wordle in a year-plus, we’re out the other side of this thing. But for now, at least we have our daily word puzzle. And the reason it’s taking off isn’t super obvious. Or maybe it’s obvious, but not definable? Something about it just feels right, feels enjoyable.

The game’s creator recently spoke with TechCrunch and shared a point on the game—which is incredibly simple—that’ll stick with me for a long time.

I’m just kind of suspicious of apps and games that want your endless attention — like, I worked in Silicon Valley. I know why they do that. With Wordle, actually, I kind of deliberately did what you’re not meant to do if growth is your goal. And bizarrely, I think, those things have led to growth. But obviously, a ton of it is luck, and being in the right place at the right time. I think people have an appetite for things that transparently don’t want anything from you. I think people quite like it that way, you know?

(Emphasis added.)

For those who haven’t played the game, first, give it a shot. Second, some background—it is so simple in its interface. There’s no logging in. There’s only one puzzle per day, and everyone gets the same one. When you go to share your results, it only copies a grid of emojis to your clipboard—then it’s on you.

He was not trying to create a viral hit. And that led to a viral hit.

There’s a subtle feel to things that can’t be quantified, but can have an entirely outsized impact.

How does this apply to blogging?

There are so many things in legal marketing—and blogging specifically—that are done with growth and lead generation as the top priority.

You have email subscription pop-ups, chatbots, overtly promotional (sometimes distasteful) calls to action, giant phone numbers in mastheads and, frequently, putting all blog content on firm websites so people can quickly move from one piece of marketing collateral to another.

It conveys a very clear message that, in exchange for the published writing, they’re looking for something. There’s an ask, an overt one.

And it isn’t as though the law bloggers who don’t do these things don’t want people to call them, or don’t want work—just like Wordle’s creator doesn’t actively not want more people to play.

If people want to call, they will.

It isn’t a mystery that the blogs we’ve seen succeed the most, the ones that bring in fulfilling work and help build life-changing practices, focus first on being a quality publication—one that serves as a helpful resource before doing anything else.

If you put yourself first, your readers will feel that. And it can make a difference.

That isn’t to say you can’t succeed with some of the tactics mentioned above, or that they don’t have value—but be careful to consider the costs, especially the unmeasurable ones.

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