2 questions that can get you out of a jam

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You’re blank. You don’t know what to talk about or write. Relax. I’ve got 2 handy-dandy questions you can use as your go-to idea starter.

The first question: What do I want them to know?

What do you want the reader (audience, interviewer, new contact, etc.) to know about the law, about your services, or about you?

What do you want your new client to know about his case, what you’ll do first, and what might happen?

What do you want people to know about how you can help them or why they should choose you?

What do you want your clients to know about making a referral, writing a review, or when they should update their docs?

So much you want them to know. You could write or talk for days.

Okay, second question: What do you want them to do?

What do you want your new client to send you? What do you want them to do if an investigator calls? What do you want them to tell their doctor?

What do you want the reader to do after they read your article? What do you want your website visitor to do before they leave your site?

What do you want someone to do if they have questions? Want to make an appointment? Want more information? Aren’t sure they can afford it?

Use these questions to brainstorm ideas for content, correspondence, or conversation.

If you still run dry, ask yourself, “What else do I want them to know or do?”

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Paying clients for positive reviews

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How much is a good review worth to you? A client who says you helped them, made them feel safe, gave them tremendous value and solved their problems, someone who ssays they recommend you to everyone who needs help?

You’ve gotten great reviews before, so you know how good it feels when they show up. You also know they are worth a small fortune.

They bring you more cases from people searching for a lawyer online. More referrals from professionals who check you out before they refer their clients to you. And they make your other clients feel good about their decision to hire you because they can see that others say you’re the best.

Who wouldn’t love to get more positive reviews? You can’t buy that kind of marketing.

Ah, but you can. You already do.

No, not with cash. Don’t be silly. You pay for positive reviews by giving your clients an incredibly positive experience with you.

You don’t just do the work and deliver the results. You do more. You invest your precious time to serve them, go out of your way to take care of them, surprise and delight them, and build a relationship with them.

When they notice and thank you and say they appreciate what you do for them, there’s only one thing left to do.

Give them the link to the review site you favor and thank them, in advance, for sharing their experience and recommendation.

Okay, one more thing. After they post a review, thank them again.

In writing.

Send them a handwritten note and tell them how much it means to you that they took the time to write that review and say those nice things about you.

You’re not done paying until you do.

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Steal this blog post

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I’ve had people steal my content. One guy took one of my sales letters and published it as an ebook on Amazon.

The nerve.

But once I got over the shock of someone doing that, I realized it’s nothing to worry about, or try to stop.

You shouldn’t, either.

You shouldn’t worry about anyone stealing your content or idea. If that’s something on your mind, let it go.

You’ve got better things to do.

The time and energy you might put into stopping them could be much better used creating new content and new ideas, or building on what you’ve already done.

I know this might trigger some IP practitioners, but think about it. Even if you could stop someone from stealing and using your stuff, is it really worth the effort?

Don’t take that case.

Besides, the purloiner of your content isn’t going to do as well with it as you do because it’s your baby, not there’s.

You’re writing to and for your readers. You have a relationship with them and your content resonates with them. It has your personality and style, your stories and examples, watermarked on it, and anyone who tries to pass it off as their own is going to fall flat.

Even if someone successfully passes off your stuff as their own, even if they make a fortune with your idea, so what? If you have an abundant mindset, you know there’s plenty for everyone.

If you are worried about someone stealing your content, the best thing you can do is avoid writing generic articles and posts. Write something that carries your brand.

Spend your time creating good content, not looking over your shoulder.

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Monomaniac on a mission

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I have a friend, a successful businessperson, who describes himself as a ‘monomaniac on a mission’. He’s focused and passionate and lets nothing distract him from his goals.

Many people say something similar, but he actually does it.

He does it by eliminating most things that aren’t ‘it’.

Other businesses, people who drain his energy or distract him, things that require too much time.

As I say, he’s focused.

But he isn’t a workaholic.

He doesn’t get up early, put in impossibly long hours, and have no free time. He does his work, makes lots of time for his family, takes vacations, watches sports, exercises, and reads.

If you didn’t know better, you’d think he was well-rounded. But he’s not. He’s a monomaniac on a mission.

He’s focused on growing his business.

And yet he works fewer hours than most people. He’s more successful than most people because he gets more out of the hours he works.

How? He knows what he wants and how to get it and he just does the work.

Over and over.

He doesn’t get creative. He keeps turning the wheel. Many people would find what he does boring, but he’s long past that. He knows what works and he keeps his eye on the prize.

He doesn’t get bogged down with decisions or trying out new ideas. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and have to spend time fixing them.

He has a huge sense of urgency and doesn’t let anything (or anyone) get in his way.

Which means he works faster than others, and make more progress in an hour than some people make in a week.

Is this what it takes to make it big in business? In the beginning, when you’re trying to learn your business, meet people, and generate momentum, I’d say it is for many people. That’s what I did when I started practicing.

But when I got to a certain level of success, I took my foot off the accelerator a bit and did some other things.

Because I was not a monomaniac on a mission.

My friend has made many millions of dollars and reached the pinnacle of success in his industry. And while he’s branched out, too, he’s still very much focused on growing his business.

Just something to think about as you plan your week. And career.

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Tricking your brain for fun and profit

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We’re all heard the expression, ‘Act as if’. Act as though you have what you want and you’ll be more likely to get it. It’s the same concept behind ‘Fake it ‘til you make it’.

Pretend you can and soon you will be able to. Or something like that.

It works because when your brain believes you have something it finds ways to help you get it.

No, it’s usually not that simple. But I’ll tell you something that is.

Not only is it simple, it works instantly.

Yes, instantly.

What is this magic elixir?

It’s a simple way to feel better. Happier. More confident.

Who doesn’t want that?

As a bonus, it makes the people around you feel better, too.

And there’s science to back it up.

According to a recent study, researchers confirmed that smiling positively affects mood.

Even a fake smile.

Smiling ‘tricks’ your brain into thinking you’re happy. And thus increase levels of hormones like dopamine and serotonin, which make you even happier.

What’s that? You know all this? You’ve heard it many times before?

Me too. But are we doing it? I mean right now, are we smiling?

A few minutes ago I wasn’t. But I am now. And you know what? It works.

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Batch and grow rich

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Just about every productivity book or article today talks about the value of batching or bunching tasks. Don’t respond to one email, they say, answer most or all of them in one sitting. Or designate “theme days”—one day a week to work on one of your projects or areas of focus.

Tuesday might be marketing day. Thursday afternoon might be time to catch up on your reading or research.

It’s more efficient this way because instead of starting from scratch each time, we can leverage the different states of mind and pacing of different activities . Sometimes, you also benefit from the economy of scale, meaning you get more out of each task because you’re doing them in batches, alongside other, similar tasks.

One area this is true is in content creation.

If you write a weekly blog or newsletter, each time you sit down to come up with a topic, you’re starting from scratch. You have other things on your mind, and switching contexts to do something different can be difficult, especially if you’re behind.

It’s much easier to write when you don’t have to find a topic, you already have one lined up.

That’s where batching comes in.

The next time you brainstorm a topic, brainstorm several. Don’t limit yourself to just today’s topic, find topics for the next week or month or longer.

Not only will this save time and allow to write without pressure, it also allows you to develop themes for your blog or newsletter, making your content creation even easier, and arguably easier.

For example, this month you might write a series of posts about trending issues in your field. Each post could talk about a different case or argument or one of the stakeholders. One post might talk about the history, another post about the future.

One idea, several topics.

Another example would be a series of posts about the stages of handling a case:

  • Intake
  • Investigation
  • Liability
  • Damages
  • Demand
  • Negotiation
  • Settlement
  • Litigation, discovery, trial, post-trial. . .

You could get one or several posts about each of these stages. If you do a weekly blog or article, you could get three months’ worth of topics around that one theme.

Note, you don’t have to publish those posts sequentially. You could instead spread them out over six months and fill in the other weeks with content around a different theme.

Another way to create topics in batches might be to make a list of resources you recommend to your readers or clients—consumer tips or agencies or business organizations, for example.

Dedicate each post to sharing one or more of those resources, along with your experiences, observations, or explanations.

Another idea might be a series featuring some of your business clients’ businesses or products. Or a series based on war stories from several notable cases you’ve had.

Once you have a list of topics, put them on a content calendar or in your reminders app, and the next time you have a post due, you won’t have to scramble to find a topic.

You might also want to schedule your next brainstorming session, to come up with your next theme or bunch of topics.

Where to get more ideas and how to use them

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What would have to be true for that to happen?

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I’ve heard versions of this question from different sources. I like it because it makes you think, not just about what you want but the prerequisites for making it so.

“What would have to be true for me to double my referrals this year,“ for example.

What conditions would have to be in place? What additional skills, knowledge, or contacts would you have to acquire? What would you have to do?

A question like this can lead you to new insights, ideas to research, and projects to get to work on.

It will also make you think about things you know but haven’t thought about or done.

You can take it deeper. If you said you would need to have more referral sources to double your referrals, you might then ask, “What would have to be true in order to get more clients and professional contacts to send me more business?“

You might get even better answers by making the question more specific: “What would have to be true in order to get 50% of my clients to send me 1 additional referral this year?”

You can use this approach for any goal. “If I wanted to work a 4-day week and continue to earn what I now earn, what would have to be true?“ for example.

You can also ask follow-up questions: “If [that] was true, what else would need to be true?“

The key to these types of questions is that they are assumptive. When you ask this way, you direct your subconscious mind to look for the answer you’ve told it is there. It will keep looking until it finds it.

Choose a subject. Phrase the question any way you like, as long as it assumes a favorable response. Write down the ideas that come to mind.

Any of these ideas might be the precise idea you need to make your goal come true.

How to get your clients to send you more referrals

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4 categories of newsletter content

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What kinds of content can you post in your newsletter or on your blog? Actually, there are only four types and each has a different purpose:

  1. Pure content. Providing information to your readers about legal matters or anything else they might find important, interesting, or even fun. This includes teaching them what you do and how you do it, and what they can do themselves.
  2. Stories. You might write about clients you’ve helped, prospects you’ve spoken to, cases you’ve handled, speakers you’ve heard, books you’ve read, other lawyers (and their cases or clients), and a lot more. Stories illustrate your points and provide context and relatability.
  3. Promotion. Selling your services (or products), or persuading readers to do something — sign up for an event, download a report, share a link, provide feedback, watch your video, and anything else you’d like them to do.
  4. Hybrid content combines some or all of the above. You might write about a legal situation you handled recently and use one or more stories to illustrate what happened, followed by promoting a free consultation or upcoming webinar so the reader can learn more.

You can find an example of these categories here, in this post.

What you’re reading is content, of course. Yes, content can be very basic and brief, and it doesn’t have to be unique, just informative.

I found this list when I was reading a longer post about general email marketing and adapted it for the legal market. Yes, this is a story, and stories can be about you and nothing more than a mere mention of where you heard or read something.

Finally, I will promote my newsletter course for attorneys which shows how to start a newsletter, build a list, create content that does most of your marketing (like mine does for my business), and do everything you need to do in less than an hour per week.

And that’s an example of how you can promote a product, service, or event in a single sentence and without hyperbole. Mention what it is and some benefits, and provide a link where readers can learn more.

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When blawgs ruled the earth

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Ten million years BC, before blogs ruled the earth, a few early adopters with law degrees ventured forward into the world of weblogs and brought forth something they called blawgs.

That was then and now is now and the question is, are blogs (or blawgs) still relevant for lawyers?

I’d have to say a big no to blawgs, and a really big yes to blogs.

Blogs are relevant and valuable for lawyers today more than ever. Because when someone wants to find a lawyer, or check out a lawyer they’ve found, a lawyer’s content is one of the best ways to do that.

And a blog is one of the best ways to deliver it.

When a lawyer wants to give the world a glimpse of what they know and do, posting articles is much better than merely posting a list of practice areas and bullet points.

Also known as most lawyers’ websites.

A blog can also post podcasts (and transcripts), videos (and transcripts), forms and checklists and reports visitors can download, photos depicting the lawyer’s glorious battles (and friendly staff), and a a contact form and email signup form on every page.

Lawyers with a blog get free traffic (and leads therefrom), because content (done right) is usually seen as more authoritative and valuable (and thus worthy of a search engine’s blessing) than a simple directory listing.

Clients and other professionals are also more likely to send people to a blog for the same reason.

So yeah, content is (still) king.

Competition? Too many lawyers have blogs, you say?

Really? So I suppose you don’t think too many lawyers have websites?

Do people still read, you ask?

Only those who are looking for an attorney and want to know something about what said attorney thinks and knows and can do for them (or someone they might refer).

Okay, okay, but writing a blog takes a lot of time.

Write faster. Or less often. Or get help.

Or don’t do any of that, just put up a webpage with a list of your practice areas, your bio and some fancy graphics. That’s enough, isn’t it?

If you were looking for an attorney, would that be enough for you?

How to write a blog that makes your phone ring

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Put this in your phone

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A Connecticut attorney and long time subscriber recently wrote a newsletter article with some common sense advice for her readers about what to do if they get served.

Essentially, “It’s scary. Don’t panic. Call or text me (and her phone number).“

Good advice for any lawyer to offer his or her clients, because anyone can be sued or subpoenaed, most don’t know what to do and may indeed panic, and we want them to know they can and should turn to us for help.

Which is why this attorney also recommended her readers program her phone number into their phone, “because you never know when you might need it”.

This is also smart because while most clients won’t get served, they might think of other legal issues they need to ask about and having the phone number programmed in their phone makes it more likely they will call.

It might also prompt them to think of their attorney when someone they talk to has a legal matter. “Let me give you my lawyer’s phone number. . .” means more calls for the lawyer.

I really like her final suggestion, that readers program her phone number not under her name but under the word “Lawyer,“ because, ‘“when you need a lawyer, you might not remember my name but you will certainly know you need a lawyer.“

Small thing, but a big thing. Maybe a very big thing. Which is why I’m stealing this idea and passing it along to you to use in your newsletter.

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