Create content about what you do

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Your clients, prospective clients, subscribers, friends and followers, and even your business and professional contacts, want to know about you and your work. 

Even more than they want to know about the law. 

In fact, unless someone currently has a specific legal issue or question, or has a client or friend who does, they probably don’t want to hear you talking about the law.  

It’s boring. 

It’s people who are interesting. And you are one of those people. 

Tell them about your typical day, the kinds of clients and cases you handle, your staff, how you stay productive, and even the software you use. 

Tell them how you do research, the forms and docs you depend on, and how you get new business. (Perfect opportunity to talk about all the referrals you get—and plant a few seeds for your readers). 

They want to hear what you like about your work, and what you don’t. They want to know about your favorite case, and about your “client from hell”.  

You may think what you do is dry and uninteresting, but you’re too close to it. What you find humdrum is fascinating to others. 

However… don’t make your content all about you.

You also need to talk about the law. Because some people find you by searching for a legal topic, and when they do, they want to know everything you can tell them. 

But more than you or the law, your content should be about your reader. 

Their issues, their industry, their market, and the people in their industry or market.  

Yep, talk about clients and prospects and the people in their world. Because there is nothing more interesting to your readers than reading about themselves. 

Email marketing for attorneys

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Running out of ideas?

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If you ever have a difficult time coming up with ideas for your newsletter or blog or social media posts, I have a very simple solution for you. Not the only solution, of course. There are many sources of ideas. But when it’s crunch time and you’re looking at a blank page and a deadline, this should be your “go to”:

Find something you wrote (or said) before and write it (or say it) again. 

You may notice that I do this all the time. In fact, the subject of this post is something I’ve written about more than a few times. I don’t feel guilty about that and (if you do it) neither should you. Because not only is it good for us to be able to repeat ourselves, it’s also good for our readers. 

Here are 4 reasons:

  1. Repetition is the mother of learning. Hearing an idea more than once helps the reader or listener understand and remember that idea.  
  2. Hearing that idea again may prompt the reader to actually do what they have learned but aren’t doing, or stopped doing.
  3. Many subscribers or followers may not read what we have written. They were busy, didn’t think they needed the information, or didn’t open the email or visit your blog.
  4. Many subscribers are new and never saw your article or post. 

One more reason: the preeminence of fundamentals. 

In my case, it’s much more important to remind you why you should prioritize referrals in your marketing, and tell you (again) how to get them, for example, than to tell you my latest strategy for keeping notes.

Okay, repetition for the win. But… a few guidelines:

  1. Spread it out. Don’t write about the same idea 3 times this month, write about it 3 times this year. 
  2. Use (different) stories and examples to make your points, to keep it interesting and give your readers something different they might relate to and remember. 
  3. Vary the style and length of your articles and posts. One time, you might have a lengthy and comprehensive article, the next time you might rhapsodize about a portion of the same, or simply refer to the idea parenthetically as part of another article or post. 

Finally, if you’re really in a pinch, it’s perfectly fine to write nothing new but simply copy and paste your old article as though it is new. (You may find this especially handy when you’re going on vacation).

Most readers won’t notice and those who do won’t care.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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Be brief

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At a time of diminished attention spans and lists of things to do as long as their arm, most people don’t have time to watch your lengthy presentation or read your lengthy article, blog post, or email. If you want more people reading more of your content (and you do), keep it brief. 

As short as necessary and no longer. 

In your core work as advocate, advisor, or draftsman, say as much as you need to say to do your job. For marketing and client relations, say less. 

This doesn’t mean writing less often. Actually, if you’re trying to build and strengthen relationships with clients and prospects and professional contacts, you should write more often. 

Once or twice a year or “once in a while” isn’t enough to keep your name in front of people. 

Good news. Shorter content is quicker to write so you can write more often. 

Yes, SEO favors longer articles and posts, and longer sales letters and pages tend to pull higher response, but for a busy lawyer, your top priority should be to get something out the door and into the hands of readers and followers. 

As often as possible. 

You can also write longer articles and reports, do longer videos and presentation, but make those extra. 

Shorter content, published more often, should be your thing.

If you’re using email (and you should), here’s everything you need to know

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Does your newsletter have to contain news? 

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Mine doesn’t. Because there isn’t a lot of news related to marketing legal services, at least anything I want to talk about, and when there is, readers can find it from a lot of sources. 

You don’t have to write about the news, either. But as a practicing lawyer, it’s probably a good idea. 

Whether it’s a major court decision, new legislation, or new rules that affect your practice area and the markets you serve, write about it. It’s a great way to keep your market informed and buttress your position as an authority. 

Mention the news, explain what it means, offer your opinion, offer related ideas, and tell your readers what they need to know and do. 

It’s all good. 

Depending on your readers and market, however, you might not want to do a deep dive on the subject. That might be too much. (The technical term is “Boring A. F.”)

Provide appropriate news in appropriate quantities and make it interesting. Because if it isn’t interesting, they won’t stick around to read it. 

Spend most of your words writing “around” the news. Write about the people and situations it affects, not (just) the facts. 

Most of all, tell them what to do about the news.

You know, your opinion and advice. 

Your readers can get the news from a lot of sources. But they can only get your opinion and advice from you. 

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Ideas? Where we’re going, we don’t need ideas

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Many attorneys do no content marketing. No blog, no newsletter, no articles or videos or podcasts. The two primary reasons they give are (1) They don’t have enough time, and (2) They don’t have enough to write about.

As someone who initially resisted creating content for those same reasons, I do have something to say about this subject.

“No time” does not compute. If writing a blog or newsletter brought you twice as much new business as you get now, and it could, or brought you bigger cases or better clients, and it could, you’d find the time. Or hire someone. Or both.

Content marketing works—if you work at it.

Besides, if you follow my “system,” you can write something people want to read in under an hour. 

One hour a week to double your client intake? Even if it “only” brought you one additional client or case a month, would that be worth it? 

Now if you don’t want to do it, fine. But if you do want to, you do have enough time.  

What about not having enough to write about? 

That’s also a non-starter. As long as you’re practicing, you’ll never run out of things to write about. 

Write about your practice. Your cases, your clients, the laws you work with every day, problems, solutions, questions and answers. Write about what you say when you give a presentation, what you tell people who ask about what you do and how you can help them.  

You want ideas? Go through your email. Think about the last case you settled, the last brief you wrote, or something opposing counsel said or did that made you roll your eyes. It’s all fair game. It’s all something your clients and prospects, readers and followers, want to know.

Besides, there is a never-ending parade of new people finding and following you who haven’t seen anything you wrote before. That means you can write about something you wrote before.

You might have noticed that I do that, in spades. 

I use different words and different examples, at least I think I do—I can’t remember what I wrote months or years ago, can you? New subscribers don’t know, old subscribers don’t remember (because if I can’t, they can’t), but even if they can, good ideas are worth repeating. 

Good ideas are worth repeating. (See?)

So, re-read your old blog posts or articles and update them, re-write them, or say something different about the same subject. 

Now, if by some miracle you really are fresh out of ideas, the Internet is your friend. Go see what other attorneys have written about in their blog or newsletter and steal their idea. (The idea, not the words).

Yes, but what I run out of attorneys? Are you serious? Okay, you can do the same thing with business blogs or consumer blogs and anyone else who said something that might interest your readers. 

The world is awash with ideas you can write about. Too bad you don’t have enough time. 

Ideas

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The best way to improve your content

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Content means information, right? About the law, how to recognize a problem, what to do and not do, what an attorney can do to help them (and why it should be you).

All good, but not necessarily compelling. 

You want readers to take action: click and visit your pages, read your articles, download your reports, view your presentation, and especially to contact you and hire you (or refer you). 

There are several ways to use your content to accomplish that. 

You can overtly disagree with what other lawyers say, to show the reader you’re different, i.e., better. Don’t just tell them what’s available, give them the pros and cons of various solutions, provide more nuanced comments about the risks, and follow with a well-reasoned recommendation. 

Tell them what and why. 

If you’re hesitant to do that without first speaking to the reader about their specific situation, use “if/then” writing to cover yourself and provide additional context. 

Another way to stand out and get readers to see you as the better lawyer is to explain how things work in the “real world”. Take them “behind the curtain” and show them why things are done one way and not another.

Or, when other lawyers provide “just the facts” and are serious and boring, you might take a lighter approach (if appropriate) and make your content more interesting and maybe even fun. 

The best thing you can do? Provide client success stories, to illustrate your points and show readers there are solutions to their problems—here’s proof. 

Give them hope while you educate them. 

But many attorneys tell client success stories. If you want to be more effective, don’t just tell the stories, make them personal. Tell the reader what the client told you, what you thought, how you felt, and what you did (and why).

Personal stories, for the win. 

You want readers to see you in their mind’s eye, asking questions, feeling what the client felt, considering the facts, weighing the options, and then being an advocate for or advisor to your clients. 

Why get personal? Because prospective clients not only want to know about their risks and options, they want to know what it would be like having you as their attorney. 

If you want to demonstrate your knowledge and experience, write about the law. If you want to build a following and get people to choose you as their attorney, write about your personal experiences.

How to write a newsletter that brings in more clients

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“What should I write about?”

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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.

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It’s not just the information

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To be effective, your blog or newsletter, podcast or channel, needs more than good information. It also needs a healthy dose of your personality. 

Because no matter good the information in your articles and posts might be, people read and recommend content that gives them a sense of who you are—a real person with a business and personal life and a specific style. 

So, put yourself in your content.

Your content also needs to be easy to read. No matter how sophisticated your audience might be, they don’t want to slog through academic or boring prose. Give them something they can skim when they’re short of time (and they’re always short of time), or they can chew on and digest if they need more. . 

Your readers and listeners also want you to engage them by asking (rhetorical) questions, providing if/then statements, and illustrating your points with relevant and relatable examples and stories about people like them.

Want to know what else they want? A bit of fun. Something light or amusing, and certainly interesting, and sometimes surprising. Things they don’t expect. And things they usually don’t get from your competition. 

Variety is also welcome. Mix up your topics and how you present them. Today, tell them what you think. Tomorrow, interview an expert. Next week, recommend a book or blog you think they will enjoy. Mix up the length of your posts, too—long this week and a few paragraphs the next.

This is what makes your content valuable and keeps people reading and sharing it. This is what builds a relationship with your readers and subscribers and gets them to take the next step when they’re ready to talk to you about their situation.

It’s not the depth of your knowledge or the quality of your prose. It’s you, talking to them as you would a client or friend, not trying to impress anyone but simply sharing some ideas they can use or will enjoy hearing.

You know the blogs and newsletters you enjoy reading? Yeah, like those. 

How to build your practice with a newsletter

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Need a topic for your blog, stat?

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It’s happens to everyone. They need to post an article on their blog or in their newsletter, but don’t know what to write. And the clock is ticking. 

No problem. 

It’s okay to write about subjects you’ve written about before. Your “go to” topics. Things you know well and can talk about with ease. 

It’s also okay to grab something you’ve written before and use it again. 

Yep.

An article, part of a presentation or report, any content in your archive. 

Re-post or re-publish it, as is. With no changes or additions. 

I do it. Everyone does it. And guess what? Your readers either won’t notice or won’t care.

You have new subscribers or visitors who never saw it. You have old subscribers who saw it but didn’t care about it because they didn’t have that problem (but now they do). Your article might be precisely the thing they need to see today and they will marvel at how you must be reading their mind, and be grateful that you are.

Or forward it to a friend who just told them they have that problem. 

And guess what? Even if your readers have seen it before, that doesn’t mean they paid attention. (How many times have you reminded your clients not to do something or say something? Or to come in to talk to you about something?)

Remind them again in your newsletter. 

Of course, if you have a little time, go ahead and update your old post. Re-write or re-edit it, change the headline or title (or keywords), emphasize different points, add new examples, add a different graphic if you want to, or shorten or lengthen the post. 

Your newsletter, your rules. 

Okay, maybe don’t re-use posts you published last month; give it some time. 

And relax. Be easy about this. You won’t get a knock on the door from the blog police hastling you for reposting something. 

After publishing thousands of articles and blog posts, and endlessly repeating topics, I’ve never once had anyone say, “Again? Don’t you have anything else to write about?”

Of course, there’s always a first time

More easy ways to create content for a newsletter or blog

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TLDR? 

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I usually write short blog posts because long posts often get skipped (because readers are busy) or postponed (and then skipped). 

I’d rather show up in your inbox frequently and give you something you can read in a couple of minutes. 

But there are advantages to longer posts: 

  • Longer, more detailed posts tend to get more traffic than shorter posts because they often rank higher in search engines.
  • Longer posts give you room to provide more tips and more thorough explanations of complex or abstract concepts, providing more value to visitors looking for help, and to find an attorney.  
  • Longer posts are generally more authoritative than shorter posts because there is room to provide more examples, citations, graphics, and links to other posts (yours and other authorities). 
  • Longer posts keep visitors on your blog longer, making it more likely they will read your other posts, as well as pages about your services, your upcoming events, and other content, and more willing to sign up for your newsletter.
  • Longer posts tend to get more Likes from readers and links from other blogs. 

In short, longer, more detailed posts provide opportunities to get more readers, subscribers, and clients.

But none of that happens if people aren’t reading your posts because they look too long to read. In addition, longer posts take more time to research, write, optimize, and format, which means you can’t publish as often. 

What’s the solution? A combination of long and short posts can give you the best of both worlds. Long posts for traffic, authority and engagement, short posts to get more people to read what you write, creating a gateway to your longer content.

 If you’re new to blogging, you might write 1000- to 1200-word posts once or twice a month, and 300- to 500-word posts, once or twice per week. On the other hand, if you’re new, it’s better to write anything, because building the habit of regularly creating content is more important than how long it is or often you publish it.

How to write a blog people like to read

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