My 3 favorite sources of ideas for blog posts and articles


My goal is to write something people need to or want to read, aka “quality and value,” and do it quickly so I can get on with the day. 

If that works for you, consider using one of these 3 sources of ideas:

(1) Respond to questions (from readers, subscribers, clients, etc.) 

Don’t underestimate the value of simply answering questions about your area of expertise. You have plenty of information and relevant examples from your practice to write about, and if one person is asking about a subject, you know others want to know the same thing. 

Check your email, questions and comments posted on social, and you might have enough ideas to last for months.

(2) Write what other lawyers (bloggers, experts, etc.) are writing about. 

I get a lot of ideas this way. It’s easy to adapt a business consultant’s article about marketing or customer relations or productivity, for example, to something appropriate for my market (that means you). 

When you’re fresh out of ideas, these articles are a good place to refill your tank.

I might use some of their ideas and add my own, or none of their ideas except the basic concept that caught my attention. I’ll change the headline, add my own irreverent style, and have an article or post that is completely different from the original.  

(3) Write about something you saw, or that happened in your work or personal life. 

Yes, you should write about your latest case or one you heard about from a colleague. But don’t ignore your personal experiences, which can be a fertile source of material.

For example, you might take your kid to a doctor’s appointment and be asked to supply information you know they don’t need and shouldn’t ask. You could write about HIPAA, or use that experience as the lead to an article about how you go out of the way in your practice to protect your clients’ privacy and rights. 

Or, you might be out shopping and hear someone accuse someone of hate speech. In the US, you might use that to explain the meaning of free speech and the US Constitution.

Do you live in a city with potholes gone wild? You might write about what to do if your reader sustains property damage or bodily injury by driving over one.

Ideas are everywhere. If you pay attention, you will never run out. 

More ideas for content


What kind of work do you do? 


Lawyers typically answer that question by talking about their practice area or services. “I’m an estate planning attorney,” for example. It may be accurate, but from a marketing standpoint, it’s not the best response. 

Yes, you want to tell people what kind of work you do, but you also want them to know what that means to them (and people they know).  

So, make sure to them the benefits your clients get when they hire you. 

For example, “I help people protect their assets from the tax collector,” or, “I show high-income individuals how to use legal strategies to improve their financial future,” are ways to do that. Follow that with, “I’m an estate planning attorney.” 

Alternatively, you could state your practice area or job description first, “I’m an estate planning attorney,” and follow that with the benefits you offer. 

You can also add something about the types of clients you represent, problems or services you focus on, or other specifics, to give the listener more information and help them see that you are a good match for them. But that might be too much information at first blush and you might want to wait until they ask questions or otherwise show interest in your initial response. 

Tell them what you do; but also tell them how you can help them or the people they know. 

For more, check out my book, How to Sell Your Legal Services in 15 Seconds or Less


Niche your content


It’s tempting to write articles and create videos (et al.) that appeal to a broad swath of your market. Anyone who has or wants to prevent a given problem, for example. And that’s exactly what most content creates do. 

But not all. I just saw an attorney’s article that’s targeted to people who “getting married”.

People who are getting married is a niche market, and it’s different from “People who are already married,” “People who are thinking about getting divorced,” “People who want to protect their assets from their spouse,” and many other niches. 

It prompted me to remind you to niche your content. 

Because specifics sell more than generalities. 

If you handle plaintiff’s personal injury, for example, you might target your next article to people injured in an auto collision and focus on the first (and most important) things to do. You might target your content towards people with a child injured on school property, to people who are looking for an attorney who handles claims against governmental entities, or people who are looking for a NEW attorney. 

Targeting your content to specific niches is a smart way to bring in more business. 

A post targeted to people with a child injured on school property, for example, will appeal to a different niche than a post targeted to people who sustained soft tissue injuries in an auto collision. Each will get more relevant “hits” from searches, more prospective clients reading the article, and more inquires from prospective clients who want to talk to about their case.

Because specifics sell more than generalities. 

Okay, but if you target your article to one niche and someone who sees it is in a different niche, won’t you lose their business? If your content is too specific, might you lose as much business as you gain?

Maybe. Or maybe you’ll more than make up for what you lose by attracting clients who feel that your article is speaking to them and want you to be their attorney.

And hey, there’s nothing stopping you from writing other articles for other niches. (And you should).

Years ago, when your only option was to buy (expensive) advertising in a print publication, you had to pick your target audience more carefully. Today, in the digital age, you can create content for a wide variety of niches and prospective clients who find that content not by reading a newspaper but primarily through keyword searches or social sharing. 

Resist the temptation to write content targeting “everyone” and write for specific niches. 

Because specifics sell more than generalities.


This is not true. Especially for attorneys.


A question was asked on social about “unknown truths” everyone should know. An “expert” supplied several examples, including this one: 

“People don’t care about your hard work. They just care about the end result.” 

But that’s not always true.

If an attorney settles a case for a client for $300,000 and bills the client $10,000, the client may be thrilled if they were expecting to pay a lot more. But what if the attorney tells the client it only took him ten minutes to get that settlement? (Because he’s smart, experienced, had inside information, plays golf with opposing counsel…) 

Is the client just as happy? 

Maybe. Maybe not. 

The client got a great outcome but might have a problem being charged the equivalent of $60,000 an hour. 

Because most clients equate value with effort.

They might care mostly about the end result but they want to see that you worked hard for them, argued for them, put in a lot of time, prepared a lot of documents, nearly got eaten before you slayed the dragon, and otherwise “earned” your fee. 

They don’t want to hear that you made one phone call. 

It’s like going to a movie. You may like the happy ending but you like it more because there was a lot of conflict leading up to it.  

Am I saying that practicing law is like making movies? 

Yes, actually, I am. Both have a beginning, a middle, and an end. And both involve an emotional journey. 

You want your clients to enjoy the movie. So, figure out a way to take them on an emotional journey. 

You might explain everything that could have gone wrong, even though it didn’t. You might talk to them about the many things you’ve done in the past that contributed to your ability to settle their case so quickly. 

My vote? Don’t tell them you settled so quickly.

You’re the hero of the movie. Don’t spoil it for them.


You don’t have to


When a client won’t commit to hiring you or doing something you recommend, when they can’t decide, stall, or tell you they “have to think about it,” one of the simplest and most effective strategies you can use to get them to change their mind (and say yes) is to agree with them. 

If you’ve given them the whys and wherefores, made it plain that they need what you offer, instead of pushing them or warning them, let it go. Tell them they don’t have to. 

Because they don’t. Or at least they believe they don’t have to, which is why they have resisted.

When you say “you don’t have to,” however, or something akin to that, e.g., “You can wait” or “It’s up to you,” you’re giving back to them control of their fate.

When you do that, the decision, and the consequences thereof, is back in their hands. Sure, it always was in their hands, but seeing you “give up” and give them “permission” to do what they (they) think they want to do, often leads them to reject that option and decide to do what you previously urged them to do. 

Because it’s their idea now, not yours.

It’s called a “take away” and it’s an effective way to get people to see what they’re saying and change their mind. 

When you take away the idea of signing up with you, they want to. Because people want what they can’t have. 

They had something (the benefits of what you told them you would do for them), you took it away by agreeing that they don’t have to do it, and now, when it’s their choice, their “fear of loss” kicks in and they want it. 

There’s a similar effect when clients see a lot of other clients in your waiting room, attesting that you have something valuable to offer and if they don’t sign up, they may not get it.

This works especially well with a client who is resisting in part because they don’t like being sold. They resist because they think you just want to “get the sale”. When you don’t push,, their resistance lessons, they see that you really want to help them and they wake up. 


How do I know I can trust you? 


Your clients trust you. That’s why they continue to hire you and refer others to you. You’ve shown them they can rely on you to do what you said you would do, and do it well.  

Now, what if you could earn the same kind of trust with prospective clients (and others)? What if people trusted you before they ever meet you?

You can. And should. 

Getting good reviews is a great place to start. So is focusing on referrals. But there’s something else you can do to build trust. You can use your “content” (newsletter, blog, seminars, articles, videos, podcasts, books and reports, etc.) to show people you are someone they can trust. You do that when:

  • You publish your content on a regular schedule, and on time
  • You provide great information and ideas; no fluff or filler, no click-bait
  • You explain things thoroughly, don’t talk down to anyone, don’t assume your readers know (anything) but also don’t assume they know nothing
  • You’re friendly but professional; you share personal stories but don’t over-share; you edify your staff and colleagues and other members of the Bar and community
  • You tell them what you do and how you can help them, and why they need it, and encourage them to act, but you aren’t pushy

In other words, you treat them the way clients wanted to be treated.  

Your readers and followers, prospective clients and professional contacts, are watching and judging you. They want to know what it would be like to be your client, or refer their client or friend to you. They want to see they can trust you, and this is a good way to show them. 

You don’t have to provide extraordinary quality or be prolific. You just have to show them you do what you say you will do and do it well.

When they see they can trust you, even before they meet you, they are much more likely to hire you and tell others about you.

Email Marketing for Attorneys


A culture of referrals


Getting more referrals from clients and prospects can be as simple as educating them about the benefits of referrals—for everyone. 

The referred client gets the help they need from an attorney recommended to them by someone they know and trust. And they don’t have to spend time and effort finding them and risking a mistake. 

The client who refers them gets the appreciation of their friend. And you get more clients and, arguably, better clients because they are friends or business contacts of your existing clients.

A referral practice is less expensive to build than, say, an ad-based practice, which means you can afford to offer competitive fees without sacrificing your high level of service. You get more clients, at no cost, and your clients get more value from you. 

To get more referrals, you should also educate your clients and prospects about the best and easiest ways to make referrals (best and easiest for all 3 of you), and tell your clients and prospects that you like and appreciate referrals, because they don’t always know that.

Many clients are willing and able to refer clients to you, but think you don’t want or need them because you’re busy and successful. Others don’t refer simply because they never thought about the subject.  

Help them think about it by bringing up the subject. 

Attorney Jack Early tells his clients: “Just so you know, we are built on referrals and we would love and appreciate your referral. That would mean a lot to us”. 

He says the more he says that, the more referrals he gets. “We call it a culture of referrals,” he said in a recent interview. 

Simple. Straight forward. Successful.

How to get more referrals from your clients


Size doesn’t matter


I’m talking about your list of professional contacts. It’s the quality of your contacts that count, not the quantity. A list of 10,000 people who might recognize your name (or might not) isn’t nearly as valuable as a list of 100 who will take your phone call, reply to your email, or smile when they see you. 

You know, people who know you.

Because if they know people who need your services, or know people who know people who do, you’ve got it made. Even if it’s not a big list.

 Because it’s not who you know. . . it’s who THEY know. (And will introduce you to).

Do you know a professional or business executive who is influential in your target market? Do you know them well enough to ask for a favor? 

Great! Ask them to introduce you. 

If you know the name of someone they know you’d like to meet, ask them by name. “You mentioned you know Jack Bigtime. I’ve heard good things about him and would love to meet him. Would you be silling to introduce us?”

If you don’t know anyone they know by name, ask by category: “Do you know anyone who (describe the kind of contact you’d like to meet).” If they say they do, ask for a detail or two to get them thinking about them, maybe ask how they know them, and then ask if they would introduce you.

If they ask why, tell them the truth—you want to expand your network. Just an introduction. Not marriage. One professional meeting another, the way it’s done every day. 

You may have to talk to a few people to find someone who knows someone who would be a good fit for you and will introduce you (or let you mention their name), but all you need is one. 

Because one will lead to two. And that can lead to dozens. 

Yes, you could play the “quantity-leads-to-quality” game most professionals play, work like crazy and eventually meet someone who’s a good contact for you. But the “quality-leads-to-quality” game is much more fun, and productive. 

Here’s how to do it


Marketing fundamentals for attorneys


There are lots of ways to market legal services but (news flash) you don’t have to do all of them. A few basics are all you need to build a successful practice and if I were you, that’s what I would focus on.

You can do more, but wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to? 

Okay, what are the fundamentals I’m talking about? 

  1. Repeat business. Serve your clients well, make sure they know about all the services and benefits you offer, and stay in touch with them before, during, and after their current case or matter. 
  2. Referrals. Teach your clients and professional contacts how they benefit when they refer others to you and the easiest and best way(s) to do that. You can ask for referrals, but it’s usually easier (for you) to mention that a case or client you’re talking about (in your newsletter, for example) was referred to you and how much you appreciate your client or colleague for doing that. 
  3. Third party validation. Make sure your clients, prospects, and professional contacts see the benefits other clients got by hiring you. Gather reviews, testimonials, endorsements, and success stories, and feature them in all of your marketing content.  
  4. Build relationships. All of your clients and professional contacts should hear from you regularly, via your newsletter, holiday message, or personal email. Spend personal time (in person or on the phone) with your best clients, referral sources, and closest professional contacts. 
  5. Lead generation, not branding. If you do any advertising, direct mail, networking, writing, speaking, blogging, or any other marketing to the “cold market,” i.e., people you don’t know), don’t make it “one shot”—capture their email, stay in touch with them, tell them more about what you do and how you can help them (and people they know), and never stop doing that. 

The key to building a successful practice is maximizing the lifetime value of your clients, and these fundamentals are how you do that. 

The Attorney Marketing Formula


Beyond FAQs


The FAQs page on your website gets a lot of views because prospective clients want information about the law and about your services. They use your answers to those questions, and how you answer them, to decide to continue reading and take the next step towards hiring you. 

Bottom line, FAQs (and your well-thought out answers) are good for business. 

Some say you shouldn’t tell them too much because the more you tell them, the more questions you answer, the less likely they are to contact you (or hire you) because you’ve already given them the answers they seek.

And the more likely it is they’ll find something they don’t like and cross you off their list. 

And never tell them how to “do it themself”. Answer some things they say, not everything, or they won’t need you.

I say it’s just the opposite. The more you tell them, the more you sell them.

The more value you give them, the more likely they are to see the value of working with you. “If she gives away this much free information, she must have much more information (and help) available for paying clients.”

You sell legal services; you’re not in the information selling business. So give them lots of information. As you educate them, you show them the scope and depth of your knowledge and experience, and upir generosity in giving away all that information. They’ll still need to (and want to) talk to you (and hire you) for advice and help with their specific situation. 

One way to do this is to add “SAQs” to your FAQs. Questions they should ask but usually don’t.

Not only will they get more information they need to know, you’ll prompt them to identify other issues and questions they didn’t know they need to ask. And thus, identify more reasons they need to hire you.

As Steve Jobs said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Clients don’t know what to ask until you until you tell them. So tell them. 

Do that and you won’t need to tell them why you’re better. They’ll know.