If a guy named Howie wrote your newsletter

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Most lawyers who write a newsletter or blog or post articles on social media do something you would expect a sober professional would do. They write about serious topics and use a serious tone throughout.

While that’s generally the right call, they risk being uninteresting, predictable, and just plain boring.

All work and no play made Jack a dull boy.

Eventually, readers and followers stop reading and following.

Which kind of defeats the purpose of publishing content and staying in touch with people who can hire you and send you referrals.

If this sounds a bit like your story, take heart. The solution is simple.

Put some fun in your writing.

A dash, a dollop, a sprinkle can go a long way.

You don’t have to do a stand-up routine, just make make the occasional wry comment or play on words.

You don’t have to be silly, just report something amusing you saw or heard.

You don’t have to go completely off topic, just include a side note here and there.

You want your readers to look forward to hearing from you because they know you’re going to say something interesting or something that puts a smile on their face.

And they’ll love you for doing that because most lawyers don’t.

One place to start is in your titles and email subjects. Take what you’ve written and see if you can juice it up. Make people curious about what’s inside.

That’s what I did with the title of this post.

Start collecting interesting headlines and titles you see in the articles and emails you read, the ones that make you curious and want to continue reading. You may be able to use them by changing a word here and there to come up with something suitable for your readers.

You’ll also get better at writing your own.

You can make your articles and emails more interesting and fun to read by including things like a surprising statistic, a bold prediction, a pithy quote or a relevant story.

Give readers a taste of color or contrast, something to think about and remember. They’ll have fun reading your article and eagerly await your next.

Email marketing for attorneys

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Why you need original content and how to create it

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Many lawyers use canned content on their website and blog, articles provided by the company hired to create the site or from third parties. The problem with canned content is:

  1. It is generic, written to appeal to “everyone” instead of the specific clients you want to attract. When you appeal to everyone, you usually appeal to no one.
  2. The information might be accurate and helpful, but it is relatively bland, uninteresting and unlikely to hold readers’ attention.
  3. There is no “you” in the content, nothing to show readers what you do or how you can help them. Readers want to know what it would be like to work with you.
  4. It’s just information; there’s nothing there to engage readers and inspire them to take the next step.
  5. It doesn’t help your SEO since the same content appears on other websites.

The solution is to create original content. Fortunately, that’s a lot easier than you might think.

Original content doesn’t mean writing something that’s never been written before, as if that were even possible. You can write about the same topics and present the same information that other attorneys write about, you just do it in your own way.

In fact, you could literally take someone else’s article, canned or otherwise, and use it as a template for you own. Change the title, the words, the order, and the length, and you should have an article that qualifies as original for SEO purposes.

Of course that doesn’t mean your article will be interesting, engaging, or make readers want to learn more about you and your services.

To do that, you need to personalize the article. Here are a few simple ways to do that:

  • Use examples from your own practice—cases, clients, situations—especially those that show you “in action,” doing your job. Quote your client, the judge, or opposing counsel. Nothing canned about that.
  • Give your opinion. Tell readers what you think, what you like, what you recommend, and why.
  • Disagree with conventional wisdom. “Other lawyers tell you X; here’s why I tell you Y.”
  • Give both sides of the argument. Explain that each case is different. Use “if/then” language to protect yourself, and invite readers to contact you to ask about their situation.
  • Add details from your personal life. Even something as simple as, “The freeways were jammed this morning and I was almost late to court.”
  • Reference your other content about the subject.
  • Invite readers to comment, share their own stories, or ask questions.

Personalized content gives readers something interesting to read, shows them who you are and how you can help them, and stimulates them to take the next step. Which is kinda the point.

How to use the content on your website to get more clients

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Why you should email often

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The other day, an entrepreneur I follow wrote and said he’s emailing daily again. He says it’s easier to email daily than to remind himself to do it occasionally.

Some readers might be turned off by a daily email, he acknowledges, but he feels it is the best way to connect and stay top-of-mind.

“I like to think of my emails like a little television show, where readers want to tune-in to see what happens next,” he says.

He also pointed out that writing daily provides him with a lot of content he can use elsewhere–on social media, in reports and handouts, blog posts and books.

Needless to say, I agree with all of the above. These are some of the reasons why I now write every week day, and why I recommend emailing at least once a week.

Not everyone will open all of your emails, and that’s fine. They regularly see your name and remember who you are and what you do. When they need a lawyer, they can quickly find your contact information or the link to your site in their inbox.

Contrast that with lawyers who only write once in awhile.

People don’t remember their name or that they signed up for their newsletter and typically let everything go to spam.

These lawyers are the ones who say, “I tried email but it didn’t work.”

Take it from me and my entrepreneur friend, email works. And emailing frequently works even better.

How to use email to get more clients and build your practice

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Would you write more often if you could do this?

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A blog post or newsletter can be brief. A few paragraphs, even a few sentences.

As long as you say something valuable or interesting.

Seth Godin and others do it. I just did it. You can, too.

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I’d like to interview you for my newsletter

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That’s you speaking to a fellow lawyer, a business contact, a client or friend. Someone you know who might have something to say your readers might like to know.

Another lawyer sharing a few tips about their practice area. An accountant or financial planner speaking about taxes, investing, debt or credit. A real estate broker speaking about your local market. Or one of your business clients talking about how they got started and sharing some advice for someone who wants to start their own business.

You tell them you’d like to interview them for about 20 minutes, over the phone, or you can email them some questions. They get exposure for their business or practice, your readers get to learn something new, and you get the day off.

Well, almost. You still need to edit the interview and post it but the hard work is done by the interviewee.

You supply the questions, they supply the answers.

If you say “pretty please,” they’ll also supply you with some of the questions. Questions they’ve been asked in other interviews or things they think your readers would find interesting.

They’ll also tell you what they’d like you to say about them. If not, grab their bio from their website.

Interviews are incredibly easy to do. They’re also a great marketing tool for you.

How so?

For one thing, some of your interviewees will ask to interview you for their newsletter or podcast. Or invite you to speak at their event or write a guest post for their blog.

You get more traffic, more subscribers, and more clients. One interview per month can bring you a lot of business.

In addition, doing interviews gives you the perfect excuse to reach out to influential people you don’t know but would like to. You’ll make some new contacts, some of whom might provide referrals and introductions to other influential people.

Are your wheels spinning? Good. Go tell someone you’d like to interview them.

Get my ebook on how to interview experts and professionals here

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Want more free traffic? Do this

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You write a blog or post articles or other content on your website and you want more traffic.

More people reading what you write, more people inspired to contact you and hire you. The type of content people want to read and will gladly share share with friends and business contacts.

Your wish is my command.

One of the easiest and best sources of content comes from your readers themselves. Ask them what they want to know.

What questions do they want you to answer? What do they want you to write about? What feedback do they have on something you’ve already written?

Ask them what they want and then give it to them.

When you do that, your subscribers will read your articles to see how you answered their questions. Your other subscribers will also read them because they likely have similar questions. Visitors to your site will read your posts for the same reason.

You’ll get search traffic from people who type the very questions you answer into a search engine, and traffic from readers who share your content with their friends.

Plus, when you answer readers’ questions, you don’t have to scramble to come up with ideas to write about.

In addition, as you answer questions, your other readers see that they can submit questions and ideas and do just that.

Hold on, a lawyer in the back of the room has his hand up. He says he likes this idea and wants to know where to start.

Start with your email inbox. No doubt your clients and prospects have asked you many questions over the years. Now you can answer them.

Ask your blog and newsletter readers and social media connections to submit questions or ideas.

And keep your ears open.

People ask you questions all the time. You may see them as an annoyance, people looking for free advice. Instead, see them as fodder for your next post.

What’s that? You don’t have a big list of followers or subscribers? Your subscribers are bashful and don’t typically ask questions or submit ideas?

No problemo.

Visit other attorneys’ blogs in your practice area and see what their subscribers are asking them.

Well, there you have it. And easy way to create more content and get more traffic. What else would you want to know?

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A simple idea for your next newsletter or blog post

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Your clients and prospects see lawyers at work on TV and in the movies and think this is a realistic depiction of what lawyers do. They might be a bit disappointed to learn that our work isn’t glamorous and problems don’t get solved in 42 minutes, but they are curious about what lawyers do.

If you’re looking for ideas to write about in your newsletter or blog, educate your readers about the “legal industry” and what you do in your practice.

Here are a few idea to stimulate that big brain of yours:

  • What a typical day looks like for me
  • How I get new clients
  • Why I advertise/don’t advertise
  • How Zoom meetings have changed my practice
  • The software tools I use every day
  • Top ten questions I get from prospective clients
  • How I decide to take a case (and what I do if I don’t)
  • Legal fees, costs, and retainers, oh my
  • Why some lawyers earn more than others
  • Malpractice: what is it and what lawyers do to avoid it
  • Questions I ask prospective clients before I take their case
  • What I tell new clients before I start working on their case
  • What I’ll tell you if you ask me, “How much is my case worth?”
  • How often do I need to update my [business/estate documents?]
  • Phone, mail, email, or text: how I communicate with my clients
  • Why I (usually) love what I do (and when I don’t)

Articles like these are quick to write, give people interesting and helpful information about a subject that interests them, and helps them appreciate what you do. When someone is looking for a lawyer, this is precisely the kind of information that can help them decide to choose you.

Tell people about your work. Even if it’s not glamorous.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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When you don’t know what to write, write one of these

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It’s called a listicle and it’s exactly what it sounds like–an article that is basically a list. They’re easy to write because you don’t need to provide a lot of detail or analysis, and the title or headline usually writes itself:

  • 3 things you MUST do before you file for divorce
  • 5 reasons bankruptcy might not be right for you
  • 10 ways to help your personal injury lawyer get a bigger settlement for you
  • 11 websites I recommend to all my estate planning clients
  • Want to re-negotiate your lease? Here are 15 ideas that might save you a fortune
  • 22 tips for small business owners who want to get paid
  • 127 reasons why you should hire me instead of any other lawyer

Kidding about the last one. Or am I?

Readers like listicles because they know they can scan the article and find a few useful ideas.

To write your first (or next) listicle, start by brainstorming topics, things prospective clients usually ask you, for example. Also brainstorm ideas or tips for the body of your article.

If you don’t have enough content, visit your favorite search engine and scoop up more tips, answers, or ideas. Don’t forget to visit other lawyers’ blogs.

For future listicles, start collecting tips or ideas and saving them to a file. Also collect listicle-type headlines you can use as templates.

You can use a listicle headline from any field. For example, the headline, “5 Steps to Improving Your Garden” can become “5 Steps to Updating Your Estate Plan”.

More ideas for blog posts and articles can be found here

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Looking for ideas for your newsletter or blog? Here are 3 places to find them

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Where do you find ideas for writing interesting and relevant posts your clients and prospects look forward to reading?

Here are 3 “can’t fail” places:

1) Books

I know, you already read plenty. But if you only read about the law, or you only read short articles you find online, you’re missing out on an opportunity to create superlative content.

Read more books and talk about the ideas you learn.

Read history, philosophy, and books about business (even if you target consumers). Read books about important subjects, written by smart and accomplished people with interesting information and stories.

If it interests you, it will interest many of your readers.

Entrepreneur Patrick Collison said, “You could try to pound your head against the wall and think of original ideas or you can cheat by reading them in books.”

2) Posts written by your colleagues

Other lawyers are writing about subjects that interest their clients and prospects. There’s a good chance those same subjects will interest yours.

Read the blogs and newsletters written by professionals in your niche. Read what lawyers, accountants, consultants, and other experts are writing about and use their ideas to create your own content.

If you handle estate planning, read blogs written by other estate planners, even in other jurisdictions. Read tax experts, divorce lawyers, financial planners and others who sell to or advise the people you target.

Agree or disagree with them, amplify their article with examples from your own experience, quote them and link to them if you want, or simply use their idea as a starting point to share your own thoughts on the subject.

3) News about your target market

What’s going on in your target market and with the people in it? What are people talking about, complaining about or celebrating?

Report on trends in the market, predictions, and news. Which company or industry is in an upswing, which one is having trouble? What’s expected to happen next month or next year?

Share information and ideas on consumer issues, e.g., taxes, insurance, credit, debt, etc. If you target business clients, talk about avoiding lawsuits, protecting assets, increasing productivity and profits, and bringing in more business.

Identify prominent people in the market and write about them, interview them, review their books and profile their companies, products and services.

Share news and helpful and interesting information people want to know.

3 simple ways to get ideas for content your readers want to read.

Want more ideas? Get my email marketing course

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My desk was clean and now it’s cleaner

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I like a clean desk (and computer desktop). I find it easier to focus when the only thing in front of me is whatever I’m working on. I also like the aesthetic of a clean workspace. The lack of clutter has a calming affect on me and I work better that way.

Up until recently, the only things on my desk were the monitor (attached to an arm so it can be moved out of the way), 2 small speakers, a microphone (attached to an arm clamped to the side of the desk), my keyboard and mouse, and a large pad under the keyboard and mouse. I have a pair of headphones hanging from from the side of the desk.

A few days ago, I was looking at the green power light on one of the speakers when I realized that I rarely use those puppies. I almost always use headphones, for a more immerse experience. Well, as quickly as you can say, “Objection, your honor,” I unplugged the speakers and removed them.

Better.

Everyone has their own thang. That’s (one of) mine.

What’s my point? I have two, actually.

The first point is to suggest you unclutter your desktop if it isn’t already. Try going Spartan for a week or so and see how it feels.

You may prefer a modicum of clutter (or a mountain, thereof) and that’s okay, too. But at least give “lean and clean” a try.

But that’s not my main point.

My main point is to prove to you that when it’s time to write your newsletter or blog and you don’t know what to write about, don’t worry–you can write about anything.

Like I just did.

What to write about in your newsletter or blog

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