Getting traffic old school style

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You want more prospective clients to visit your website, to see what you do and how you can help them. The more who visit, the more clients you get.

You can improve your SEO. You can advertise. Or you can get more traffic with some old school tactics.

Here’s the plan:

Step One: Create Content.

Create 10 or 20 articles that talk about the things prospective clients want to know—their problems, their risks, the law, the procedure, timing, options, and what you can do to help them.

The kinds of things they search for when they are online, or ask you about when they talk to you.

Each article should mention one or more of your services and link to a page that provides more information. That page should tell them how to get their questions answered or get started.

Create an “index” or directory page that links to these articles and post that page throughout your site. You want to help visitors find your content and, once they’ve consumed one article, to see what else you have available.

Step Two: Promote Your Content

Copy your index page, add your website address and contact information, and distribute this in print and digitally:

  • Email it to your clients, ask them to forward it to anyone who might like to see this information
  • Mail it or hand a print copy to clients and former clients (for them and/or to hand out)
  • Send it to referral sources, to give to their friends and clients
  • Put copies in your waiting room; if you have business clients, ask them to put copies in their waiting room
  • Pass them out at your speaking engagements
  • Put it in your new client kit
  • Offer it on your social channels
  • Offer it at the bottom of articles you publish elsewhere
  • Offer it to listeners/viewers when you are interviewed

And so on.

You can also gather up your articles, or the ‘best of’, into a booklet or report, and distribute that. You might offer it as a lead magnet to anyone who opts in to your newsletter, for example.

Old school. Easy to do, zero cost, and highly effective for driving traffic to your site and prospective clients into your loving arms.

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Milk it

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You like the idea of writing shorter emails and articles and using them to stay in touch with your subscribers and followers. You like being able to get your blog post or newsletter done in less than an hour.

You have time to do that. But what if you need to or want to write longer pieces?

Some content can take hours to write. Or days. You can’t do that every day or every week.

You don’t have to.

You can use all the research and writing you do to create a 5000 word article, report, podcast, or presentation to create additional content, the kind of content you can create in minutes because you’ve already done the heavy lifting.

The research is done. The writing is done. Go back to your original material and create new content:

  • A summary of the key issues or arguments
  • Profiles of the parties or stakeholders
  • Additional issues or cases related to your subject
  • A list of resources
  • Answers to FAQs
  • Additional comments by you or others
  • Additional cases or examples you didn’t use
  • Recommendations for readers in different niches
  • A PDF collection of your slides, notes, or case summaries
  • Transcripts of interviews from your research
  • And on and on

Each of these ancillary bits of content shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to put together.

You might get a month or two of additional posts out your original post or presentation.

Each post gives you another opportunity to stay in touch with and provide value to your readers and followers. Each post gives you another opportunity to be found through search and social.

And, when you think you’ve milked your original content dry and there’s nothing left to write, write one more post summarizing and linking to all of your posts, for the people who came late to your party, and for those who will come next month and next year.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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Plagiarizing for fun and profit

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Yesterday, I talked about finding blog posts and articles written by other lawyers and rewriting them, as an easy and effective way to create your content.

Today, I have an even easier method.

No, I’m not going to tell you to plagiarize their content—copy it and call it your own.

You can’t do that. But you can plagiarize your own content.

You can re-post or re-send something you’ve shared in the past.

Take one of your old posts and post it again. Without changing a word.

Can you really do that?

It’s your content. You can do whatever you want with it.

But should you?

Yes. Here’s why.

You’ve got new subscribers who didn’t see your article before. You’ve got readers who saw it months or years ago and won’t remember. You’ve got readers who read it before weren’t ready to do anything with the information. And readers who did something but need to be reminded to do it again.

Do you do everything I tell you to do? No, you don’t. Which is why you’ll hear me say it again.

Sometimes I re-write, update, shorten or lengthen my old posts. Sometimes, I write a new post on the same idea. But you don’t have to do any of that and if you don’t want to or you don’t have time, don’t bother.

Click and send that puppy and get on with your day.

Now for the best part.

You can take some of your better articles or posts, load them into your autoresponder, and schedule them to go out over the course of the next few weeks or months. When the cycle ends, you can reset it and let your best stuff get sent all over again.

Automate your self-plagiarism. For the win.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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You don’t get extra credit for originality

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Nobody reads your blog, your newsletter, or your other content, and compares what you wrote to your competitor’s content.

Nobody.

But even if they did, they wouldn’t favor you because you wrote something or offered something unique, or disfavor you because you wrote about the same topic other lawyers wrote about.

So don’t worry about coming up with original ideas. You don’t have to do anything original to pass this class.

Which means your content creation problems are solved. You’ll never stare at a blank page again.

All you have to do is find out what others are doing that’s working and do the same thing (but better).

If 27 other lawyers write about a case in the news today, you can too.

Put it in your own words, use your own examples and stories, and you’re good to go.

In fact, not only is this “okay,” it is a smart approach because all those other lawyers writing about that case is “proof of concept”. They’re writing about it because they know their readers want to know about it, which means your readers do too.

Want to test this?

Do a search on your top keywords or your practice area and find another lawyer’s blog or article. They don’t have to be local to you, anywhere will do.

Go to the first article or post that catches your eye. Copy it and re-write it. Change the title or headline, give your opinion, talk about a case or client of yours to illustrate, and you will have something ready to publish.

The good news is that even though you wrote about the same subject, your article will be original.

The bad news? No extra credit.

More: Email Marketing for Attorneys

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Don’t want to blog? Do this.

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If you don’t want to set up a blog but you’d like to use your knowledge to bring traffic to your website, guest blogging is a viable alternative.

Basically, that means offering your content to blogs that target your niche or market in return for a link to your website.

This allows you to write content when and if you feel like it, instead of sticking to a schedule.

But the biggest benefit is that this gives you the ability to leverage the traffic that visits those blogs.

And, by appearing on authority blogs, you also gain their implied endorsement; sometimes, their actual endorsement if they add some kind words about you.

You get traffic, build your authority, and get a lot of eyeballs looking at what you do when they arrive at your website.

If your website includes an opt-in feature, you can also build your email list this way.

You can even this with just a one-page website.

Start by searching for blogs in your niche that accept guest posts. Review their guidelines. Read several posts to get a sense of what they publish (subjects, length, slant). If some posts have a lot of comments or shares, see if you can figure out why.

And then, contact the publisher to offer your first post.

Blogs like to publish content written by authorities, and as an attorney, you certainly tick that box. You need to show the publisher or editor a subject they think is appropriate for and of interest to their readers, and you need to show them you can write.

As for your writing chops, link to articles you’ve published online, or send a sample or two.

Note, most blogs that publish guest posts will link to your website (or social media), but some may not be willing to do that. I once wrote a post for the ABA and they wouldn’t provide a link to my site. I wrote it anyway because it’s a nice credit, but I probably wouldn’t do that for other publications.

If you know anyone in your niche that runs a blog or other publication, start by querying them. If your practice area isn’t right for their audience, they can point you to other blogs that may be better suited, and possibly recommend you to them. They might also offer general advice about how to approach publishers.

Finally, if you know a blog that would be a good match for you but they don’t publish guest posts, contact them anyway. Yours may be their first.

How to use a blog to build your law practice

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How to make it easier for readers to grok your content

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Yesterday, I talked about the importance of making it easier for folks to access your content. Today, I want to elaborate on this subject, and share a few ways to make the content they read more readable.

But not just readable, effective. Meaning readers (and listeners) not only understand your message, they relate to it, and to you.

This isn’t difficult. Just different from what most people do. And that’s what makes it effective.

  • Come to them, don’t make them come to you. Unless you have a good reason to do otherwise, send your email or article to them, so they can read it immediately, instead of asking them to click and come to your website to do that.
  • Don’t send “a newsletter,” send an email. It’s more personal and conversational, and more inviting to read.
  • Keep it simple: one subject, one “lesson,” one offer, one call to action.
  • Keep it short. They’ll give you a minute or two. If you have more to say, save it for next time (as I’m doing here).
  • Make it LOOK easy to read. Short paragraphs and sentences, bullet points, CAPS and bold and other visual elements.
  • Help them or entertain them. Tell them something they can use, and/or tell them something interesting.
  • Facts tell, stories sell. More stories make your content more readable, relatable, and persuasive.
  • Lighten up. Use warnings and cautionary tales sparingly. You want to inspire readers and give them hope for a better future, not crush them with despair.
  • Don’t tell them everything. Tell them enough to frame the problem and possible solutions. Make them come to you to find out more.
  • Talk to your readers, not at them. Ask them questions to get them thinking or to make your point, and ask them to reply and/or ask you questions.

I see a lot of lawyers’ content that does a great job of “posturing,” that is, showing readers they know what they’re doing and they are very busy doing it. We all need to do that to some extent.

But there’s something to be said for showing readers that besides being “hard to get,” we are also “good to know”.

How to use email to build your law practice

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Why your readers aren’t reading

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You work hard to produce good content. Intelligent, thoughtful, interesting articles and posts. You share valuable ideas in your newsletter or your website or content management system.

Maybe you do videos, podcasts, or webinars. Maybe you regularly interview experts and authors and other smart people with something valuable to offer.

Unfortunately, your numbers tell you the folks aren’t reading or watching. Let alone contacting you to find out more about how you can help them.

Is content marketing a failed idea?

No.

Do you need to upgrade your research, writing, and content production skills? Get a better camera, microphone, or lighting set-up?

No.

Your subscribers and followers may not be reading or watching your content simply because you make it difficult for them to do that.

I get a lot of newsletters I’d like to read but don’t because I’d have to follow a link to a website, maybe log-in, maybe download something.

Sorry, I don’t want to bother.

Almost daily, I get emails that don’t share any ideas or information, but invite me to register for yet another webinar or “summit”.

Looks like it might be great, but I don’t have time for that.

I get sent links to a lot of videos. Five minutes, I might be your boy. 20 minutes, sorry, maybe another time.

I might like to read your pdf or ebook, but I’m in the middle of something else right now. Okay, I’ll download it and read it later, but let’s face it, later usually never happens.

And hey, I don’t want to give you my email address again. I’ve been your subscriber for years. And now I’m going to get two of everything from you? Thanks, but no thanks.

Like most folks, I decide to read or watch something in a second or two. If the next step is to start reading or watching, I might do it. If the next step requires me to register for something, put something on my calendar, invest an hour or two of my time, the odds are I won’t.

Sometimes I will. But not every time.

Bottom line: if I have to spend a lot of time to get to your content before I can consume it, on most days, the answer will be a hard no.

Love ya, but I’m busy and have to move on. You set up too many hoops for me to jump through, and I’m not in the mood.

So I never see much of your best content.

My advice to anyone who wants to build their business or practice with content of any kind: make it easy for people to access that content.

More readers, more leads. More leads, more clients.

How to use a simple email newsletter to build a law practice

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Tell ’em what you did, not what you’re going to do

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If you want an easier way to create content, a good rule of thumb is to share stories about what you’ve done rather than what you plan to do.

Two reasons.

The first reason is pragmatic. When you predict something or share your plans for the future, there’s too much pressure on you to perform.

You might describe a case you’re working on, for example, and talk about the possible outcome. A lot of things can go wrong, however, and if they do, you’ll be left having to explain.

Which might make you look less formidable.

Why not make it easy on yourself? Wait until the case is done, share the results, and then talk about why things turned out the way they did.

And, if you didn’t get the results you wanted or predicted, or did something that hurt the case, you don’t have to write about the case at all.

CYA, my friend.

The second reason to talk about what you did instead of what you’re going to do is that it makes for a better story.

Telling your readers you’re going to deliver a presentation next week is okay. It’s also a good idea if you’re trying to fill seats. But it’s an announcement, and not terribly exciting.

Telling them about the presentation you delivered last week, on the other hand, is a story and it might be a good one. You can describe what happened—the size of the crowd, anecdotes about how you were introduced, some people you met, questions you were asked, and so on.

Much more interesting.

(Yes, do both. Promote the presentation and do a recap.)

That’s all I have for you today. What will I talk about tomorrow? C’mon, if you’ve read this far, you know I don’t want to tell you what I’m going to do. . . okay, okay, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I guess we’ll both find out tomorrow.

Build your practice with an email newsletter

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Hmm, what shall I write about today?

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Continuing my quest to equip you with a never-ending supply of ideas for your blog or newsletter or other content, or rather strategies for finding ideas, comes something so simple, you might kick yourself for not thinking of it.

To wit: Amazon’s best sellers lists.

The non-fiction best sellers lists are updated daily or hourly and are an accurate indication of what people are buying and reading.

Which means, if you write about those subjects, they’ll want to read that, too. Not only that, if you post your article online, you will help readers to find your article (and you) via search engines.

Instead of trying to guess what people want to read, let Amazon (and other bookstores) tell you exactly what they want to read.

Start by looking at books about legal subjects, of course. But also look at books on subjects that might interest your target market.

For business clients, that would include topics specific to their industry or niche and the people in them. But also general business books, because every business wants to know about marketing, productivity, leadership, sales, and a ‘ho bunch more.

Consumers are interested in a long list of subjects: insurance, debt, credit, investing, and the list goes on.

You’re in business, and you are a consumer. Find something that interests you and you’ll probably have something that will interest your readers.

You can browse by category or use the search box to search by keyword. You can stick with best sellers or drill down into niche topics, but either way, look for books that are selling well.

What then?

No, you don’t have to buy the books. Or download them via Kindle Unlimited. You don’t have to read any of the books, unless you want to. You can get plenty of ideas to write about by looking at:

  • The title. What solutions does the book promise? What will the reader learn or be better able to do as a result of reading the book? You might even use a variation of the book’s title as the title of your post or article.
  • The sales page. In particular, look at the headline and the bullet points. They should supply you with a plethora of ideas and might also be suitable for the title of your post.
  • The table of contents. Use the “look inside” feature to read the chapter titles and sub-titles.
  • The introduction. You can also “look inside” and read the first few pages of the book, to see how the author approaches the topic.
  • Reviews and comments. See what readers and reviewers liked about the contents of the book, what they didn’t like, and what they wanted to know that might not have been addressed.

In a few minutes, you should have enough content ideas to keep you busy for a long time. Hell, you might even have enough ideas to write your own book.

How to write an email newsletter that brings in new business

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Another simple content idea

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I bought an iPad. Yes, my first. You know how it is, you don’t know you need something until you get it (or someone lets you try it) and you realize what you’ve been missing.

Anyway, as part of my research into “if” and “which one” and “ways to use it,” I saw some videos made by law students who are using iPads for note taking and studying. They explain the apps and accessories they use, why they chose them, and how they use them.

Basically, they’re doing product review videos for a niche market.

Which prompted me to tell you that if you use and recommend any tech tools or apps, and workflows and best practices for using them, you could record product reviews, and post them on your blog or channel.

Most product review videos follow a pattern:

  1. Describe the product/model/version and features
  2. Explain what they like
  3. Explain what could be improved
  4. Compare the product to other options
  5. Explain if they recommend it, for whom, and why
  6. Tell where to get it

Product reviews lend themselves well to video, as you can demonstrate the product and give it a face (yours). You can instead do “faceless” screen capture videos.

If you’re not up for doing videos, you could write a blog post or newsletter article, with or without images, or simply mention the product and your recommendation on social. (Be sure to tag the relevant company when you do.)

And if you don’t want to do product reviews, or share your workflows, you could do something similar by writing book reviews.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you have fun doing it. Because if it’s not fun, it’s work, and you have enough of that already.

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