Psst, wanna buy a used blog post?

Share

I didn’t write it, it doesn’t say anything new, but I’ve saved a blog post for future reference and I am recommending you do the same.

13 Brilliant Ways to Repurpose Your Content & Save Time is an excellent roundup of that very subject.

It’s written for authors, but the information applies to anyone who uses content to promote their business or practice.

I’ve used only one method. I’ve turned blog posts into books and used those books to generate more traffic to my website. I get more visitors, more subscribers, and more clients, and I didn’t have to write anything new.

This post reminds me that there’s a lot more I can do.

If you don’t do any content marketing, seeing what’s possible might encourage you to start. It’s a simple way to use what you know to help people find you and find out how you can help them.

One more thing. The content you repurpose doesn’t have to be your own.

You can point at someone else’s blog post or article or video, for example, and tell people about it.

Like I’ve done with this post.

Share

Do you have a “getting to work” ritual?

Share

Before you start your work for the day, or begin another session, is there anything you routinely do just before you begin?

A routine, a habit, a ritual?

Maybe you always sit down with a fresh cup of your favorite hot beverage. Maybe you put on headphones and listen to your favorite jam. Maybe you assemble your notes or review what you wrote the day before.

You might like to check your calendar and task list, clear your email inbox, or dash off some instructions to your assistant, to clear your mind of those tasks so you can work on things that require more focus.

Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, said a “getting to work” ritual makes getting started easier and makes procrastination less likely, even if that ritual has nothing to do with the work itself.

Surfing the web, playing a video game, reading a few pages in a novel—a starting ritual could be anything that puts you in a good mood.

“When people talk about procrastination,” Duhigg said, “what they’re usually talking about is the first step. In general, if people can habitualize that first step, it makes it a lot easier.”

It seems it’s not so much what you do, it’s that you do something that signals your brain it’s time to get to work.

Researchers tell us that not only can a starting ritual help you start, it can also help you perform better. No doubt that has a lot to do with being in a good mood.

Whether you call it getting warmed up, clearing the morning cobwebs from your brain, or having a bit of fun before you dive into the challenges of the day, a getting started ritual makes a lot of sense.

Before I wrote this, I played Words With Friends for 5 minutes, scrolled through my YouTube feed and bookmarked some videos to watch later, and got some coffee.

I don’t know if it helped me get started, but it sure put me in a good mood. Yeah, it was probably the coffee.

Share

Your best source of referrals?

Share

Many people say clients are your best source of referrals. They know, like, and trust you and can share their experiences with your firm with their friends and business contacts.

True, but they might not know that their friend or contact has a problem or needs to talk to an attorney. They might not know about all the services you offer or how to recognize when someone needs your help. They might not think of you when someone they know has a problem, or know what to do to refer them.

Which is why you need to educate your clients, equip them to make referrals, and stay in touch with them.

Some say other attorneys are your best source of referrals because they know when their client or contact needs the help you provide and can influence them to talk to you.

That’s true, too, but those attorneys might have other attorneys they work with and refer to, or they might not know you well enough to trust you to properly handle their client’s matter.

Which is why you need to build relationships with other attorneys, make them aware of what you have done for your clients, and stay in touch with them, before you can expect them to send you referrals.

Some say your best source of referrals are people who have previously referred clients to you. That’s also true, but only if those previous referrals were happy with you.

Which is why you have to provide your clients with great results and great service, properly thank the referral-giver, stay in touch with them, and continue to build your relationship with them.

Your best source of referrals? I don’t know who might be yours, but I can tell you one thing. It will be people with whom you have a good relationship.

Which is why you need to stay in touch with people, instead of assuming they know who you are and will contact you if they need you.

I’ve never found an easier way to do that than an email newsletter.

Share

No shortcuts?

Share

We’re told we have to put in our dues, meaning we have to do the work and give it time. We’re told it takes hard work and we shouldn’t try to beat the system. We’re told it takes as long as it takes and there’s nothing we can do to speed things up.

But this isn’t true.

Knowing the right people is a shortcut. Knowing people who can send you business, give you good advice, and introduce and endorse you to key people in your niche or market will almost always shorten your path to success.

Timing is a shortcut. Investing in precious metals before massive inflation destroys the value of paper currency can lead to great wealth. Starting a new practice area before other lawyers realize its potential could help you get the lion’s share of the business.

The Pareto Principle is another shortcut. Figure out the 20% activities in your work that lead to 80% of your results, do more of those 20% activities, and you can multiply your results.

Personal development is perhaps the ultimate shortcut. Increasing your knowledge, improving your skills, becoming a better leader and communicator, are the very stuff of success.

So yes, there are shortcuts. But there are no guarantees.

So, while you’re looking for shortcuts, you might want to cover your bets by working hard and giving things time.

No, hard work won’t guarantee your success or speed up the process. But it might help you find some shortcuts that do.

More shortcuts for building bigger, faster

Share

What can you do to differentiate yourself?

Share

In the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, southern California auto dealer Cal Worthington featured an assortment of chimpanzees, elephants and other circus animals in his TV commercials. Worthington rode a bull and a pig (and referred to them as “my dog spot”), offered free ice cream and train rides for the kids, and promised to “eat a bug” if you could find a better deal on one of his cars.

Other dealers competed on price or service or selection. Worthington offered this, too. But it was his over-the-top commercials, which ran night and day, that helped him become one of the biggest dealers in the country.

Surely I’m not suggesting you do something like this to promote your law firm. Of course not (and don’t call me Shirley). I’m suggesting that if you want to differentiate yourself from the legions of other lawyers who do what you do, you need to do something to stand out.

It doesn’t have to be outrageous. Just different from what most lawyers in your niche or market say or do.

Fortunately, since most lawyers do and say the same things, are rarely do anything that might raise an eyebrow, this shouldn’t be terribly difficult.

In days past, where lawyers advertised solely in the yellow pages, some lawyers stood out by running ads in newspapers. When everyone ran one-shot ads, e.g., “Here we are, call us,” some lawyers stood out by running lead-generation ads and direct mail campaigns to build a list.

What does everyone in your field do today that you could do differently?

Commercials that are in black and white? Or commercials where someone interviews you. Maybe “editorial style” print ads that look like news stories, like I used to run.

Think. Or hire a creative team. It could be well worth it.

Note that while advertising is likely to bring you the biggest and quickest results, you don’t have to advertise to stand out.

Post something on your website, offer something in your articles or blog, do something in your presentations, and word of mouth will do the rest.

Not-so-crazy example: where other lawyers invite prospective clients to call to make an appointment or ask questions, you might say you are currently accepting new clients “by referral only.”

Different. And suggests that you are in high-demand and don’t accept everyone.

Most lawyers sing from the same hymn book and it’s hard to tell one from the other. Give some thought to what you could do to get noticed.

Marketing ideas to get you started

Share

Minimalist marketing

Share

What did you do yesterday that’s could be considered marketing?

I’ll give you a minute.

Some lawyers might say they posted a new article or sent out their newsletter. Some might say they let their ads continue to run. Some might say they worked on a new presentation, updated their LinkedIn profile or About page or shared something on social media.

Most lawyers, I’m afraid, would have to admit they did nothing.

Just a fact, Jack.

If you find yourself in that category, I understand. You were busy doing some actual work. But if you want the actual work to continue to come in, you might want to make a point of doing something marketing-related on a regular basis.

Here’s what I suggest might be your baseline:

Every day, you either call someone or email someone (your choice). It could be a former client, a prospective client, a lawyer friend, a professional you’d like to know, a blogger or podcaster who is influential in your target market, anyone—again, you’re choice.

You make one call or send one email and your marketing is done for the day.

It can’t be that simple, but it is.

Do that every workday and you’ll see things happen.

Someone will want to hire you, refer to you, or ask you if you can help them. Someone will tell someone about you, share your page or presentation, or ask to interview you. Someone will visit your website to see if you have some information about their situation or to find out more about what you do.

You’ll see more traffic and more leads, build your email list, get more people hearing about what you do and how you can help them or their clients, and yes, get more new clients and repeat business.

I promise.

Sure, you can continue to do whatever else you do that’s marketing-related. But if you embrace the idea of sending one email or making one call a day, and you do it consistently, you may find yourself not needing to do much else.

What do you say when you email or call? Ah, that’s a subject for another day. But I’m glad you asked. It means you’re thinking about doing this and that’s a good sign.

For now, you might start making a list of people to call or people to email. Or, you might just pick up the phone and call someone, or open your email and write to someone, just to say hello. Because that counts.

One more thing. Open your calendar or task app and add a new recurring task. Because if you’re going to do this, you might want to be reminded to do it, at least until it is a habit.

More ideas in The Attorney Marketing Formula

Share

Who are you?

Share

When a prospective client visits your website, the most important item on their mental checklist of things to look at, and often the first page they go to, is your “About” page.

They want to know what makes you tick.

What’s your background and how does it help you help me? What makes you different from other attorneys who do what you do? What would it be like to have you as my attorney?

It is the most important page on your site, and you need to get it right.

I’ve talked about what to include in your About page in Make the Phone Ring, and today, I have some additional resources for you.

First are two articles by the same writer at JD Supra. “How to Write an Engaging, Client-Focused Professional Bio” and “Show vs. Tell – How to Create A Strong Lawyer Bio” offer excellent recommendations about content and style and you would do well to consider the author’s suggestions.

Another good resource is this post about using your About page to help differentiate and brand your firm.

One thing these articles don’t mention is whether to write them in the first person or third. Should your About page be written “by” you or “about” you.

Third person is more formal and might be appropriate for your image and style. First person is more personal and relatable and allows you to talk to the reader and may help them see what it would be like to work with you.

Each style has a place and you might even consider using both—a formal bio in third person, followed by a “personal word” from you.

More about what to include on your website

Share

If you’re not growing quickly enough, this may be why

Share

If your practice isn’t growing as quickly as you want it to, or you seem to be going in the wrong direction, it might be because of what you’re not doing.

For example:

You’re not keeping things simple

The simpler your system and process, the faster you can grow. There are fewer moving parts, fewer decisions to make, fewer parties to involve, and fewer things to do to go from point A to point B.

If your system is complex, everything is more difficult and takes longer, and there are too many things that can go wrong

You’re not spending your time on the things that matter most

To get you where you want to go, you have options. Different projects to start, different goals to focus on, different methods to implement, but not all options are created equal.

Some things are more important than others. 20% activities that deliver 80% of your results.

Figure out what they are and focus on them.

You’re not tolerating enough risk

To grow, you have to try new ideas, work with new people, and otherwise put yourself at risk.

If you’re not doing that enough, you may put limits on how far you can go or how fast.

In any business or professional practice, we are called upon to intelligently manage risk, not eliminate it.

To do that, you may need to loosen up.

So, there are three reasons you might be limiting your growth, and what to do about them. .

One more thing you might not be doing: giving things enough time.

You need enough time to fail so you know for certain what doesn’t work and you can correct course, and enough time for the things that do work to compound.

We all overestimate how much we can accomplish in a few months, and underestimate how much we can accomplish in a few years.

A bit of a dichotomy, yes? You want to grow faster, but to do that, you probably need to give things more time.

This marketing system can help you get bigger, faster

Share

How much money are you leaving money on the table?

Share

Every attorney has a list of prospective clients they’ve communicated with at some point but who haven’t (yet) hired them.

People who visited their website and filled out a form. People who called and asked questions. People they consulted with about their case or situation.

There are many reasons why someone who needs legal help contacts an attorney and doesn’t hire them. Some of those reasons are insurmountable. Some are an issue of timing.

They want to hire an attorney but. . .

  • They need time to get the money
  • They need to get buy-in from someone
  • They need time for their problem to worsen before they’re willing to spend the money
  • They’re still trying to fix the problem themselves
  • They’re hoping the problem will go away on its own
  • The problem did go away, but they’ve got another one they haven’t mentioned
  • They want to explore other options
  • They may have lost the attorney’s name and number

Just to name a few.

You have lists, don’t you? Lists of prospective clients who need your help but haven’t taken the next step?

Some of them will eventually contact you again and hire you.

But most won’t.

They need more information about their problem, about their options, or about your services. They want to talk to you again. They want you to convince them to take the next step, to assure them you really can help them, to tell them everything will be okay.

Unfortunately, by the time they realize this, they will have signed up with another attorney.

Which is why the expression, “The fortune is in the follow-up” is true.

If you follow up with the people on your lists, stay in touch with them, remind them you can help them (and that they still need help), and invite them to contact you again, more people will hire you.

If you don’t, they won’t.

Most people don’t buy a car the first time they visit the showroom, most people don’t get married after the first date, and most people don’t hire an attorney after one conversation.

Which is why you need to follow-up.

Write or call or use email to automate the process, but don’t leave the follow-up to them.

That’s not their job, it’s yours. And you are well-paid for it.

How to use an email newsletter to follow-up

Share

The simplest way to be more productive

Share

If you’re not getting the results you want in your work, you may be trying to do too much.

Which means you might get more done by doing less.

Take a few minutes to examine your schedule and see where you might need to cut down.

Too many commitments

When you take on too many cases or clients at one time and you can’t keep up with the work, the work suffers. To do your best work, you may need to hire more help or be more selective about the cases or clients you accept.

Too many projects or goals

Not everything on your list is equally important. You must ruthlessly prioritize your lists so you can focus on your most important tasks and goals.

It’s better to schedule 3 or 4 important tasks for the day, and get them done, than to complete (or attempt) 10 or 15 less important tasks. It’s better to set one or two achievable goals, and achieve them, than to reach for the stars and fail to get off the ground.

Too many hours

Humans are good for about 3 hours of peak mental performance per day. After that, we start to lose focus and the quality of our work suffers. Schedule two to three hours for “deep work” each day, early in the day if possible, and use the rest of the day for less-demanding tasks.

Working until exhaustion, or “eight to faint” as a friend of mine describes it, is never a good idea. Neither is working without taking breaks.

Many attorneys work too much. They see doing more as the best way to achieve more. Too often, it does the opposite.

If you’re not getting the results you want, you may be trying to do too much. Try doing less and you might find yourself accomplishing more.

Share