Education-based marketing 


One of the best ways to market your legal services is to teach clients and prospects about the law. That’s what they want to know when they go to a search engine or click a link. They want to know how bad their problem or situation is, available solutions, the risks, and their options. 

And if they are searching for a lawyer, they want to know why they should choose you.

Educate them and they will be much more likely to choose you, because the information you share not only helps them decide to do something about their situation, it shows them you have the knowledge and experience they need and want. 

Which is why you do seminars and presentations, write articles and books and newsletters, and create other types of what we now call “content”.

One of the simplest ways to do this is through a blog. You can add a blog to your website, or set up a separate blog, easily and inexpensively (WordPress is free), and use it to write anywhere, even on your phone. 

A major benefit of a blog is that you own all the content. You don’t have to send people to other platforms that might bury your content, censor it, or distract visitors with content from other lawyers. 

A blog also supports any other marketing you do—networking, social media, advertising, and referrals. People hear about you and visit your blog to learn more. As they consume your content, they sell themselves on taking the next step. 

That next step might be to contact you and ultimately hire you, or sign up for your newsletter, which allows you to stay in touch with them until they hire you.  

Okay, before you ask, the answer is no, you don’t have to be ‘blogger’ to benefit from a blog. You don’t have to do all the things bloggers do: SEO, engaging with visitors, curating comments, or creating a never-ending series of fresh posts to please the hungry search engines. You don’t have to post continually on social media, appear on other people’s podcasts or channels, or advertise.

You can do any of that if you want to, or use your blog as a sort of online brochure, a place YOU send people to learn more about you and what you do. 

To do that, set up a simple blog (it takes ten minutes) and write 5 or 10 posts about your area of expertise. Link to your blog from your website, put the url on your business card and in the “signature” of your emails, and when you talk to someone and they want to know more about what you do, send them to your (website and) blog. 

This is an easy and extremely effective way to educate prospects, clients, and referral sources about what you do and why someone should hire you. 

How to set up a blog for your law practice


No, it’s not cheating


Yesterday, I was busy with (something) and didn’t have time to write a new blog post/newsletter article. So, I re-posted an article I originally wrote ten years ago. I changed the headline, did some minor editing, done. 

Did you notice?

No, you didn’t. Because you weren’t a subscriber ten years ago. Or didn’t see it. Or can’t remember. 

That’s good news for content creators like you and me. Re-posting gives us another way to create content, especially when we’re busy with other things.

Yes, you can re-publish old posts. No, they don’t have to be ten years old. And no, you don’t have to change the headline. It’s your blog, your newsletter, your content, and you can do what you want. 

I hope this encourages you to do that.

I wouldn’t do it too often. Uncle G might object. But it’s better to be spanked occasionally by The Masters of the Universe than to deny your new subscribers the opportunity to learn something valuable or interesting because they weren’t around a few months (or years) ago and never had the opportunity to see it.

Besides reposting, you can also update old posts with new information, statistics, cases, or trends. You can re-post and offer a different opinion, because your thinking has changed. You can add new resources, ideas, or quotes from other experts, or stories about cases you’ve had since you first wrote about the subject.

And thus, turn an old post into a new one, without spending a lot of time.  

Another way to save time is to do no writing. Invite another lawyer or professional to write a guest post for you. Or, interview them, which can be as simple as sending some questions via email and posting their answers. 

A “listicle” is another way to create a blog post or article without doing a lot of research or writing. A listicle is a list of resources, tips, ideas, or quotes,often just a few sentences on related topics. For example, you could write a listicle about important new laws in your field, or changes to old ones.

So, there you go. Alternate ways to get new content, without slaving away at the keyboard. 

For more ways to get more content, see my course, Email Marketing for Attorneys


Writing without a net 


There are good reasons to create an outline before you write and with longer pieces, I usually do. I choose an idea, a working title, a list of points I want to cover, and some examples or stories to include. I often change these, but it gives me a place to start. 

Which is usually the most difficult part of the writing process. 

With shorter pieces, I rarely outline because I have only a fragment of an idea floating around in my head. 

Someone asked me a (marketing or productivity) question; I saw an article about a subject that interested me; I learned something from a video I wanted to share. That’s usually enough to prime my writing pump and I start writing, often with little or no idea of what I’m going to say. 

Which is what I’m doing right now. 

The genesis of what you’re reading is an article I read about writing blog posts. I zeroed in on the subject of outlining and realized I had something to say about that—that despite the value of outlining, it’s not always necessary, and sometimes, makes the writing more difficult. 

You can just start writing and see where it goes.   

Yes, it’s usually messy. Without an outline, sometimes you waste a lot of time trying to find your message and the best way to present it. But the other way, outlining first, can be equally messy and time consuming, especially when you think you know what you want to say (but don’t) or, as I often do, you change your message (often several times) before you finish. 

I also find that writing without an outline often leads to “fresher” writing. Instead of pure logic, you’re guided by what feels right, just as extemporaneous speaking often does.

It sounds like I’m saying, “Don’t force it, do what works for you” and I am. As a busy professional who has other things to do, strictly adhering to what your English teacher (or law professor) said to do isn’t the aim. It is to get something on paper and out the door.

IRAC be damned.


Create content about what you do


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


Running out of ideas?


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


Be brief


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


Does your newsletter have to contain news? 


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. 


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


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. 



The best way to improve your content


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


“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.