5 easy-to-write topics for your newsletter or blog

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If you’re struggling to find topics to write about in your newsletter or blog, or to post on social media, the place to look for ideas is right under your nose.

Start with the obvious. The things you do every day. 

These also tend to be the easiest ideas to write about–the kinds of things you could write in your sleep, or in the shower as one subscriber recently told me she does.

Here you go:

1. Check your email. What questions are your clients, prospects, and subscribers asking you? Answering their questions is about as simple as it gets. 
2. Check your files. No doubt you have or have had an interesting case or client at some time. It may be nothing special to you, but it’s the kind of thing your readers would love to hear.  
3. Put on your law professor’s hat. Explain the law or procedure or legal terms in your practice area. What does it mean, how does it work, what are the steps?
4. Check your calendar. Describe a typical day in the life of a lawyer: meetings, calls, letters, research, drafting, negotiations, settlements, discovery, arbitration, or whatever else you do. 
5. Go through your reading pile. Share your thoughts about an article, book, or blog you read, or a podcast or video you heard or saw. Summarize it, give your opinion, or use the ideas presented to write your own article or post.  

Writing is easy when you write about your world. The things you do or consume daily may be mundane to you but your readers will find them fascinating. 

How to build your practice with a simple email newsletter

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How to monetize your brain farts

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A lot of people want to know where I get ideas for my newsletter and how I’m able to write something half-way intelligent every weekday without fail.

They think its alchemy. An amalgam of pixie dust, good looks, and a lot of luck.

Not at all. I’ve simply trained my mind to produce a steady stream of ideas.

How? By a daily dose of reading and watching videos and taking notes.

A good percentage of what I write comes from reflecting on what others have written or said and putting my own take on it. Someone else thought it was an idea worth writing about and that’s often good enough for me.

But sometimes, often, actually, I start with something much simpler.

I’ll see a quote I like, hear an interesting statistic or fact, or, as I did yesterday, I’ll start by asking a question.

Yesterday, I asked myself, “Is it okay to tell a client you don’t know?”

Just a question. No article to play off of, no notes, no stories, no questions from subscribers, nada. And no idea what I would say or even what I thought about the subject.

I had the question in front of me. Other than that, I was naked.

Sometimes, I realize I have nothing to say about the subject and the idea goes back into the idea pile. And sometimes, a simple question is enough to ignite the kindling and before I can say Jumpin’ Jehosafats, I’ve written hundreds of words.

After I wrote down the question, I thought that admitting you don’t know tells a client you’re honest, not trying to fake things. It shows respect for the client. And I asked myself, “What if you should know the answer?” and “Doesn’t it make you look weak if you admit you don’t know?”

I had a place to start.

Naturally, I thought about how we tell clients not to guess, that unless they’re sure of their answer they should say they don’t know or don’t remember, and I had my lead.

The rest kind of wrote itself.

Because I basically asked and answered a few simple questions, put my fingers on the keyboard, and let my thoughts spill out of my head and onto the page.

If you’re not writing as often as you’d like to, this same “seat of the britches” method might work for you, too.

Try it. Write down a question that pops into your head, or a question a client asked you recently, or a quote or story or idea that catches your attention. Something you’re curious about and think other people might be, too.

Write it down, play with it on paper, and see where it takes you.

Imagine you’re writing to your mom, a good client, or a friend. Someone who will listen to you merely because its you. Say what you think about the subject or what you’d like to know.

You may be pleasantly surprised at how much you have to say.

If nothing happens, if your brain just won’t cooperate, let it go and try something else tomorrow.

Before you know it, you’ll be writing a post about where you get so many ideas and how you’re able to write so often.

How to get more writing ideas than you can shake a stick at here

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Give people what they want? Maybe

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A YouTuber who “reacts” to musical artists posted a survey on her channel. She asked her subscribers to vote on which artist she should (continue to) react to.

87% chose one artist over the others.

As a result, she’s going to do more reactions to the fan favorite. But she’s also going to react to other artists, “out of fairness” to people who have other preferences.

Is that a good strategy? Or should she stick with what her subscribers overwhelmingly told her they want, because the customer is always right and we are all in the business of serving our customers (or clients)?

Well, if you polled your subscribers and followers, clients and prospects, and asked them what topics they wanted you to write or talk about, or what services they wanted you to provide, would you give them what they want because they want it?

Your answer should be “maybe”. Because the customer (client) isn’t always right.

Steve Jobs put it this way:

“Some people say, “Give the customers what they want.” But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!'” People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.”

If I write about a marketing method you aren’t interested in, you might tune me out. If I write about it all the time, you might find someone else to read.

On the other hand, you might hear me talk about the benefits of that method and how you can do it effectively, and change your mind.

You might not know what you want until I show it to you.

But sometimes, our subscribers want things we can’t give them. If your readers or clients ask you to write about investing in crypto currencies or precious metals and you don’t know anything about the subject, don’t be too quick to say no and don’t try to fake your way through it.

Think like a marketer, not a lawyer and invite an expert to write a guest post on the subject. Or interview them. Because we really are in the business of serving our customers.

Give people what they want. If you can’t or don’t want to, find someone who can.

How to get more referrals from other lawyers

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Captain obvious

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When I was fresh out of law school, I volunteered time at a legal clinic, speaking to indigent people, mostly about family law matters. At the time, I didn’t know squat from shinola about restraining orders.

Fortunately, the clients did.

They’d talked to friends and other people who were similarly situated. They knew what forms to file and what they would need to prove. Usually, they just needed help cleaning up their declaration.

From that day forward, I always assumed my clients and prospective clients knew more than I might think.

You should, too.

Listen to what they tell you or ask you. You’ll be able to do a better job for them when you know what they know.

On the other hand, when you write a newsletter or article or blog post, when you post something on social media, you don’t know how much your readers know.

You have to assume they know nothing, and cover the basics, even if you’ve covered them before.

You probably know much of what I share with you, because you’ve heard it before or you have personal experience with the subject.

Or because it’s just common sense.

And that’s okay. What I share with you, what you share with your readers, doesn’t have to be “news”.

Often, we write to remind our readers to do what they already know, because knowing isn’t the same as doing. Or we show them other ways or better ways to do it.

You surely know the value of staying in touch with your clients and contacts, for example, but do you do it as often as you should? Hearing me talk about it (again) might catch you at just the right time when you needed to hear it and prompt you to get back on track.

You certainly know the value of referrals, and I know you want more of them, but you might not be comfortable asking clients for referrals, until you read about a way to “ask” without speaking to them.

We remind our readers about what they already know, show them different ways to do what they know they should do, and inspire them to do it with our examples and stories.

Share new ideas when you get them. But never hesitate to share old ideas, or assume your readers already know them.

How to get referrals from your clients without asking

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The easiest (and quickest) type of article or post you can write

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When you’re in a hurry and you need to crank out a blog post, a newsletter article, a social media post, or any other type of content to be consumed by others, one of the easiest (and quickest) types of post to write is a “list” post.

  • !0 Ways to (do something)
  • 3 Reasons (something doesn’t work),
  • 7 Steps to (getting a specific result)
  • 5 Things I tell all my clients about (something)
  • 4 Places to Find (information, people, forms)

Yeah, a list.

Write the list, add an intro and a closing comment or call to action, and you’re done.

Readers enjoy these types of articles because they can read them quickly, they’re easy to understand, and if some of the items on your list don’t apply to them or resonate with them, something else might.

These are easy to write because it’s just a list. Each item is a sentence or two. Or, go crazy and write 3.

Where do you get items to include in the list?

You can start with this short “article” I just wrote to answer your question:

5 Places to Find Ideas For Your Blog Post or Newsletter Article

  • From articles you’ve saved in an “ideas” folder
  • From your old articles and posts. Find something you wrote two years ago and reuse part of it
  • From presentations, videos, or podcasts, you’ve consumed (including CLE)
  • From websites or newsletters dedicated to clients and advisors in your niche market
  • From memory. Interesting clients, strange cases, funny answers in depos, things you tell clients to do or avoid

Just about anywhere.

So, here’s my challenge to you. Take ten minutes right now and outline a list article, AKA a “Listicle”.

You’ll thank me later.

For more article ideas, see my Email Marketing for Attorneys course

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Do you make this mistake in writing your newsletter?

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You may have thousands of subscribers to your newsletter but when you send your list an email, remember to write to one person at a time.

Don’t write as if you’re speaking to a group. Unlike social media, email is an intimate medium, sent from one human to another, who reads your message as if you sent it to them and them alone.

Don’t address your readers in the collective. Don’t say things like, “Some of you. . .”. Don’t even hint that there is anyone else reading your message.

A writer I follow put it this way:

“I just got an email today with the line, “I can’t wait to see you guys in the webinar!”

The comment was innocent enough, but it was enough to snap me out of the one-to-one conversation this person’s email had with me.”

Your readers no doubt get other newsletters. They read yours, or read yours first as many of my subscribers tell me, because you don’t just deliver useful information, you speak to them as a friend or colleague.

And people crave personal relationships.

Your readers know there are other people getting the same message. They also know they can reply and ask a question or continue the conversation, and they like knowing that a real person will read what they write.

Take advantage of email’s greatest strength and use it to build a relationship with your readers. At first, it may be a simulated relationship. Eventually, it can turn into a real attorney-client relationship.

How to write an email newsletter that brings in clients

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4 ways to produce more content in less time

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Content marketing is a simple concept. You write or record something that educates your target market about legal problems and solutions and thus show them what you do and how you can help them. This brings you more traffic, more subscribers, more followers, more new clients, repeat clients, and referrals.

You can use articles, blog posts, newsletters, podcasts, video channels, social media, and other means to disseminate your content. 

Sounds good, right, but producing a steady stream of content for a blog or newsletter or podcast, takes time, and you don’t have that time.  

Never fear, here are 4 ways to get the job done more quickly.

1) Don’t write, re-write

Re-write your old posts and articles with fresh examples and stories, updates to the law, or different ways of saying what you said before. 

You can also “slice and dice”. Cut up old posts and combine them into new ones. 

No doubt have lots of material on your hard drive that can be re-written, updated, or re-purposed. Or, if it’s been awhile since you published something, publish it again. 

You can also re-write someone else’s content. Use their idea and basic structure but your words, examples and stories. 

2) Don’t write one article, write ten

Instead of writing one blog post on a topic, write 3. Or ten.

Take a subject you know well, or research for an hour or two, and write a month’s worth of articles on different aspects of that subject. 

It’s called “bundling” or “batching” and it’s a great way to produce a lot of content. 

If you handle personal injury, for example, you could write about tort law, the claims process, how cases are evaluated, medical treatment, liens, first party insurance, negotiation, and a lot more. And that doesn’t include litigation. 

3) Write less

Instead of writing lengthy newsletters, like I see many attorneys do, cut them up into shorter articles, one subject per post. People don’t have time to read 3000 words. Help them (and yourself) by delivering 300. 

4) Write faster

You can write content more quickly by outlining it first and then dictating it. Pretend you’re teaching a class or doing a presentation on the subject–talk, record, transcribe, edit, done.

Something else:

The more you write, the quicker you get at writing. Write often and you’ll soon crank out a lot more content in a lot less time. 

I’ve used all of these tactics and they work. They’ve helped me produce millions of words, which have brought me millions of dollars.

Now it’s your turn.

How to write more content for your blog

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What secret word unlocks email marketing success (But isn’t a secret)?

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One word. A word that can turn a boring newsletter, blog post, or article into something your subscribers look forward to reading. A word that helps you forge relationships with your readers and bring them closer to hiring you and referring you.

The word is hardly a secret. You use it every day in conversation, but perhaps not so much in your newsletter, articles, and blog posts, because “experts” tell you to avoid it.

The word? “I”.

Yes, talk about yourself.

Of course you will mostly talk about your reader–their problems, their wants and needs, their niche market or community.

Talk about subjects that interest your reader, but don’t leave yourself out of the picture.

Tell your story. Let people get to know you and what it’s like to work with you.

Because you are the solution to their problems.

When you talk about the law, use examples and stories from your practice. Talk about how you’ve dealt with these issues before, on behalf of other clients.

Describe yourself in action, talking to people, creating documents, writing letters, arguing or negotiating on behalf of your clients.

Your readers what to know what you’ve done for other clients, because it shows them what you can do for them.

Don’t make your newsletter all about you. But don’t forget to talk about yourself, because that’s how your readers get to know, like and trust you.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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Your idea stinks. Congratulations.

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Your lists are overflowing with ideas. Ideas for growing your practice, managing your investments, raising your kids, places to see and things to do and thousands of other things you saw or heard or thought.

You have pages of notes and “someday/maybe” tasks, deferred projects, techniques for getting more organized, strategies for increasing your productivity, and ways to find inner peace.

You have lists of books to read and videos to watch, ideas for blog posts and articles to write, courses to take, and websites to explore.

Am I right or am I right?

I know I’m right because I have these, too.

Let’s be honest. Let’s admit that most of these ideas aren’t very good and (thankfully) we’ll never do most of them.

But that doesn’t mean we should stop collecting bad ideas because out of that massive list of bad ideas come a few good ones.

And a few good ideas is all we need.

The thing is, if we only pay attention to good ideas, we stifle our ability to find the good ones.

Seth Godin said:

“People who have trouble coming up with good ideas, if they’re telling you the truth, will tell you they don’t have very many bad ideas. But people who have plenty of good ideas, if they’re telling the truth, will say they have even more bad ideas. So the goal isn’t to get good ideas; the goal is to get bad ideas. Because once you get enough bad ideas, then some good ones have to show up.”

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

The lesson is simple: if you want more good ideas, write down more bad ones.

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What topic could you be interviewed about for 30 minutes with zero preparation?

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This was a headline for an ad I saw on social media. It’s a good headline and a good question for those who want to create more content to use in their marketing.

Which is something every lawyer should do.

My challenge to you is to answer that question and then turn your knowledge into a short presentation, a long article or blog post, or a series of emails for your newsletter.

Because people want to know what you know.

When you share your knowledge this way, they’ll want to ask you about their specific situation and hire you to help them.

Put your content online and it will live there forever, bringing you clients for years to come.

An easy way to do this is to have a friend interview you about your subject. Give them some starter questions to ask you and have at it.

Or, interview yourself.

Record yourself speaking about the subject for 30 minutes, transcribe the recording, and you’ll have a valuable piece of content. Or at least the first draft.

Or, keep talking for another 30 minutes and you’ll have enough for a short book.

One thing I can tell you, if you know your subject, the time will go quickly. 30 minutes will feel like 5. Which means you’ll have the rest of the day to talk on another topic people want to know.

My ebook, The Easy Way to Write a Book, shows you everything you need to know

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