“What should I write about?”


You want ideas for subjects to write about in your blog or newsletter. You want to show readers what you do, how you can help them, and why they should choose you as their lawyer. 

And you want it to be interesting.

Okay, here you go: 

  • FAQ’s: About the law, procedure, how long it takes to X, what should I expect when Y happens, what are my risks, what are my options, how much is my case worth?
  • News: Cases, legislation, trends, changes at your firm, news about your business clients’ industry
  • DIY: How to research, prepare (simple) documents, file, negotiate, go to small claims court, check my credit, refinance my loan, find a good deal on insurance 
  • Announcements: Seminars, upcoming events, new hires, new office, special offers from your business clients or professionals you work with
  • Interviews You, your clients, other professionals or centers of influence in your market 
  • Profiles and bios: Your employees, partners, vendors, business clients, and families
  • Client success stories
  • Downloadable content: Reports, forms, checklists, sample letters, glossaries, lists of recommended resources
  • Recommended: Books, videos, channels, podcasts, websites, blogs or individual posts
  • Why you? What do you (your firm) do differently or better than others? Features, benefits, notable testimonials, reviews, endorsements, awards.

Use this list to brainstorm ideas and keep them for a rainy day. Or, you can ask your favorite ai to come up with ideas for you.


Networking Up


You want to meet and network with the owner, the senior partner, the manager, or the top executive. You know, the decision maker. The one who can hire you or send you referrals. 

But that’s not always easy to do.  

One solution is to start at the “bottom” of the totem pole—junior staff or a lower-level employee—and work your way up. 

Ask them to introduce you to their boss or someone higher up the food chain and continue this process until you reach the head honcho. 

At least that’s what one networker says he does. He says it’s easier to learn about the company and the people who work there or own it, and easier to build trust with them.

Sounds like a plan. 

But there are other plans, like the one where you start with the person at the top. 

It will probably be more difficult to meet them, but if you do and you hit it off with them, welcome to shortcut city. 

On the other hand, the top people are constantly approached, assume you are a Klingon and have their shields up. Especially when they meet an attorney. 

If (when) that happens, don’t push it. Ask them who you should with at the company or in the group. If that person is at the same meeting, ask them to point them out to you. They will be probably introduce you.

If not, you’ve got the name of the person you should speak to and when you approach them and tell them, “Mr. Big suggested I speak with you” they’re going to pay attention because they don’t want to step on Mr. Big’s toes. 

Instead of “networking up,” you’re “networking down,” and they both work.

If you can meet the top dog at the company or group, go for it. If not, meet anyone and work your way up. Or sideways.

There’s more than one way to win friends and influence (the right) people. 


Better than other lawyers? Could you be more specific?


You want prospective clients and the people who can refer them to see you as the better choice. But saying you’re better, or your services are better, or your “service” is better, isn’t convincing. You need to tell them why. 

How are you better? What do you do other lawyers don’t do and why is that a benefit to your clients? 

You need some “better” adjectives. 

Here are a few to consider and the meaning behind them:

  • Faster (You get the work done more quickly; your clients can enjoy the benefits and peace of mind sooner)
  • Efficient (Modern methods, tech, allow you to deliver high-quality work product at lower expense)
  • Reliable (You don’t cut corners and put your clients at risk; highest standards, ethics, proven methods) 
  • Transparent (You explain everything and show your clients everything you’re doing, when and why, and invite them to ask you anything) 
  • Reasonable (Fairness: fees, costs, procedures)
  • Comprehensive (Your documents and processes are thorough and cover everything your clients need and want)
  • Simpler (Your documents, processes, fees, billing, are easier for your clients to understand; fewer questions, confusion)
  • Newer (New services, methods, content, partners, employees, offices, computers, and how your clients benefit. Careful, though; “new” implies risk, so make sure you address this.)
  • Guaranteed (No fee unless recovery, no fee unless satisfied; yep, money-back guarantee. If that makes you nervous, put a limit on it, e.g., first 30 days or “up to X dollars”) 

They all mean “better” but tell clients why you are better. Make sure you prove everything, however, by providing examples, specific numbers, and by answering FAQs and objections in advance. 

Stress-free legal billing and collection policies


Hope and opportunity


That’s really what you sell. Your legal services are merely a means to an end. 

Clients want their problems to be fixed. They want to recover their losses and be protected against future harm. They want their pain to stop and the pleasure they seek to start. 

And they want to know they have you by their side, fighting for them, defending them, advising them, and helping them achieve their goals.

Hope and opportunity. That’s why they hire you. And your presentations, articles, and conversations should feature these. 

Clients aren’t especially interested in how you do what you do. They want to know that you can and will help them feel better and sleep better and be more prosperous. Clients choose you because of how you make them feel. They stay with you and tell others about you because of how you continue to make them feel.

In your marketing, talk mostly about the big picture, the benefits, and not so much about how you do what you do. 

Other lawyers may point to their impressive track record, but clients will choose you because you did something those other lawyers didn’t do. 

You made them feel good about themselves and their future.


Adapt or die 


In marketing, nothing works forever. At least you shouldn’t count on it. 

Laws change, rules change, trends and interests change, and you need to be prepared to respond when they do. 

If your advertising used to work like gangbusters but it’s a different story today, your ad copy, keywords, or offers might be the culprit and need an update. If you do seminars and response is down (attendees, percentage of client conversions), it might be because of an increase in competition, or the economy has thrown a monkey wrench into your marketing machine. 

Or it might be something else

No matter what the reason, you need to adapt. That might mean:

  • Reducing your overall ad budget or eliminating marginal campaigns
  • Increasing your ad budget but changing your copy or offers
  • Starting a new practice area or eliminating one that’s draining your resources
  • Changing the markets and clients you target
  • Reducing overhead and riding out the storm
  • Spending more time on X and less time on Y
  • Hiring different staff or advisors
  • Changing your fee structure and billing practices
  • Adopting marketing strategies you’ve never used before or resurrecting strategies you no longer use
  • Focusing more on evergreen strategies, e.g., referrals, and less on the flavor of the day
  • Improving marketing and sales training for you and your staff

But you need to do something. 

But don’t wait for response to drop or your profits to languish. Be nimble and get ahead of things at the first sign of things going in the wrong direction.

Because you’re in a business and what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow.


Why you shouldn’t focus on getting new clients


You want more clients, of course, but the best way to get them isn’t to focus on new clients but to focus on your existing clients, professional contacts, friends and subscribers. 

Sure, you can get new clients through advertising and speaking and networking and writing, and I’m not saying you should give that up if it’s working for you. Or you’re new and don’t yet have a lot of clients or contacts or much of a list. 

I’m saying it’s easier to get more of what you already have, your existing or “warm” market, than to do everything from scratch, which is what you do when you focus on strangers in the cold market. 

In your warm market, you have leverage. In the cold market, you don’t. 

It’s easier to get an existing or former client to “buy” more of your services. It’s easier to get referrals from clients and business contacts who already know, like, and trust you. It’s easier to get better clients and bigger cases when you have a good reputation in your existing niche.  

Focus on your warm market. 

Learn all you can about their businesses, their industries, and their local market. Strengthen your relationships with the people in those niches and their advisors. Stay in touch with them and help them in ways that go beyond your core services. 

When you do, not only will you get more clients from your warm market, you’ll also get them from the cold market. 

How? Your reputation. Word of mouth (as opposed to actual referrals, but you’ll get these, too). 

People will hear about you and ask you to speak at their event or ask to interview you for their podcast or blog. People will hear your name a second or third time and decide to talk to you about their legal issue. 

You want more clients and you’ll get them by focusing on people who know your name and what you do. 

Just the way it works. 


If your clients wrote your marketing plan


Your clients know what they want (and don’t want) from you and can give you insights into what you can do to attract more clients like them.

Which is why you should survey your clients and find out what they want, what they like, and what you can do to get more clients and increase your income. 

You can use surveys to learn about

  • Your image in the marketplace
  • Your services, fees, offers, and benefits
  • Your “client relations”
  • Your content—what they like, what they want more of, what they want you to do differently
  • Your marketing, advertising and social media—did they notice your ad? What did they like about what you said? Why did they choose you instead of other attorneys?

You can learn a lot by asking questions. 

But surveys aren’t the only want to find out what your clients (and prospects) think about what you’re doing. You can also do interviews, going more in depth and asking follow-up questions, and find out what they “really” think. 

Another way to do “market intelligence” is by tracking metrics—opens, clicks, downloads, sign-ups, how long a visitor stays on a page, etc. 

Finally, you can find out what clients think by listening. Nothing formal, just listen to what they talk about, what they ask you, how they feel about their situation, and what they complain about regarding your competition (and about you). 

It can be a lot of work, but if you have the numbers, it could be worth the effort. If you don’t have the numbers, or don’t want to invest the time or money, stick with surveys. 

At the least, survey every new client, to find out what they want and why they chose you, and survey every exiting client (at the end of their case or engagement), to find out if they got what they wanted. 

Surveys are easy to do and can tell you what you’re doing right and what you need to improve. 


One (for now) 


“Do one thing at a time,” we’re told, and for good reason. When we focus all of our available time and resources on a single task, project, or goal, we’re more likely to start and complete it, and do a better job of it. 

But it’s not always necessary or practical to do that. 

You might have several projects on your “current” list—moving your office, hiring new staff, starting a new marketing campaign, preparing for trial—the list does go on, doesn’t it?—and you can’t do everything “today”.

You need time to find candidates or ideas, make a list or outline, talk to different people, draft documents, or time to finish up other projects before you can start working on the next one.

Which is why you work on a project and switch to another before the first project is done. 

You know what that’s called? Normal. Another day at the office.  

Hold on. You’ve probably heard the expression “task switching,” which is what we do when we multitask, meaning going back and forth from one task to another, and why this isn’t recommended. 

Starting a task and then switching to another task before you finish the first one isn’t optimal because when you stop working on a task before it is complete, your brain tends to keep it in “RAM” and your mental resources are still being used for that task and you can’t use those resources to work on other tasks. 

Better to finish one task before moving on to another. 

But task switching isn’t the same thing as simultaneously working on multiple projects, and you often don’t have a choice.

If you’re planning to move your office, hire and train a new assistant, prepare a case for trial, and start a new marketing initiative, you might not be able to finish one project before you start another. 

Do it if you can. You’ll be glad you did. But if you can’t, if you need to work on multiple projects in parallel, do what you have to do.

Start working on one, take it as far as you can for now, start another project, and keep going back and forth until you finish everything. 

Messy, but often necessary. 

For tasks and for projects, one thing at a time is the default, and when possible, finish one thing before you start another. 

But you know this, right? So why am I mentioning it? Because if you’re like me (and we both know you are), you’re reading this because you took a break from doing something else you need to do, and I’m just reminding you to get back to it. 

You’re welcome.


How much research is enough?


I have a problem. Unless I have a fixed deadline, I often find myself endlessly researching a subject because, you know, there might be other citations, articles, examples, or ideas. Something I need or might be able to use. 

And I don’t want to miss it. 

Do you ever feel that way? 

Why are we like this? Perfectionism? Self doubt? Fear of making a mistake or leaving out something important? 

Anyway, does it really matter why we do it? We do it and we want to know how to stop. Maybe we innately know that the more time we spend on research, the greater the risk we’ll lose interest in the project or get another idea and start working on that instead. 

Rabbit holes. 

We can do the grownup thing and ask ourselves if we’re seen this idea (or something very similar) before. Is it cumulative? Does it give us the essentials—the 20% that deliver 80% of the results? 

Sometimes this works. And sometimes, it makes it worse because we feel compelled to “re-search” to confirm or deny what we see or what we think it means.  

It’s a curse.

Okay, advice. If you don’t have a fixed deadline, pretend you do. 

Promise the client you’ll get the work done by a certain date. If there is no client, promise your secretary, your wife, your coach, or your partner. Maybe put some teeth in it by also promising a penalty if you don’t deliver. 

When we are accountable to someone else, we usually do it. 

What if that’s not in the cards? It’s just you and your unfinished project or unrealized goal? 

What then, you ask? 

I don’t know. I need to do more research. 


Be normal


I don’t know what “weird” means, but I know it when I see it. (Why does that sentence sound oddly familiar?) Anyway, lawyers come in all shapes and sizes, colors and accents, and the world is better because of it. 

But let’s face it, clients judge lawyers by a lot of things beside their legal acumen, including their appearance—clothing, hair, manner of speech, sense of humor, and more—and if a lawyer is too different from what those clients are used to and expect, some clients might be uncomfortable and stay away. 

On the other hand, it depends. 

In the not-so-distant past, long hair for men was odd, and no doubt scared off many a client. Smoking was common. Tattoos weren’t. Casual clothing was considered unprofessional. And the list goes on. 

Anyway, my point is that while we don’t necessarily have to conform to current styles, we shouldn’t ignore them. That means we should probably “look like a lawyer” and act the way our clients expect a lawyer to act, and be willing to accept the consequences if we don’t. 

If you handle estate planning and work with a lot of boomers, for example, you might want to cover your tats, wear a suit when you meet with them, and talk about the new Beetles song (and video) instead of that Swift person. If you handle entertainment law, you might make different decisions. 

Clients want their lawyer to be normal, and they get to decide what that means for them. Unless you have a good reason to do otherwise, consider giving them what they want. 

Hmm, maybe I should dust off my old Nehru Jacket. . .