Now that we’ve created the simplest sticky-note websites, let’s get some practice using services designed to help you display content from a variety of sources. Then you will be prepared to fill your future websites with online material that will keep your visitors coming back. Now certainly you can use established social media tools like Facebook and Twitter to share links, but the tools we’re going to talk about offer layouts that most attractively showcase whatever you want to share from around the Internet.
These tools stem from the tremendous popularity of Pinterest, a site rapidly adopted mostly by women that wanted to share pictures of products linked to the purchase pages for those products. The basic layout of the site, in which pictures are tightly arranged in a grid that can scroll endlessly, is addictively conducive to continuous browsing without leaving the page. Web developers naturally began making their own services which utilized this popular layout style to encourage users to post different kinds of content.
Take a look at http://www.scoop.it/u/stephan-futeral and see how an attorney is using the http://www.scoop.it service. You can see the familiar Pinterest-type picture boxes linking to stories related to the type of law this attorney practices. But in addition to sending you off to see all these cool stories, notice that the top of the lawyer’s page features the lawyer’s name, practice description, picture, facebook/twitter profile links, and his website addresses. It also shows his “community” of people that he is following on the scoop.it site. So, if one likes the stories he found, one might check out the links to his law firm and follow him, and remember him or refer others to him if one needed a lawyer in his field.
These flashy eye-candy story albums will hopefully have a place in your web marketing arsenal. Although they’re easy to set up, you may be wondering how you’re going to find the cool stories to link to. A site like http://paper.li will offer sources of content to automatically populate your virtual newspaper with. A example of an attorney using this service at http://paper.li/SpatzLawFirm/1343241829 shows hows one of these efforts can be easily populated with a wealth of legal stories. See, you’ve already gone from making web sticky notes in the first lesson to running your own newsroom!
If the layouts of these sites seem too scattered and overwhelming, you can also find curation sites that try to tame the Pinterest-like format. One is http://storify.com, which allows you to collect several social media elements related to a specific topic and weave them into a cohesive story of your own. It’s like you’re making a research paper and pasting the source material right there in your paper. A fine example is this piece on a Supreme Court case – https://storify.com/saacks/supreme-court-hears-affirmative-action. If you’re an attorney that wants to piece together many online viewpoints on a particular law or issue, this is a great way to do that.
Another interesting take on content curation is https://www.thedash.com. The nice aspect of this service is that the content feeds you choose are housed in a clean minimalistic dashboard design, to contrast with the endless scrolling of other Pinterest-like sites. This allows you to elegantly limit your content to a few important sources, whether that be the local weather or economic statistics (https://www.thedash.com/dashboard/PeKW9UVP9E).
Hopefully in making a few of these content curation pages, you’ve found some neat sources of content related to your practice. Even if you don’t actually want to build a page with one of these services, you can use the content sources to find articles that you can link to in your own main web site when you build it. And in the next few lessons of this tour, we’re going to explore the options you have for making your core web presence.