3 questions readers want to know about your article


Everyone who sees your article, video, podcast, report, or other piece of content asks themselves 3 questions to determine if that content is worth their time consuming:

  1. What is the subject?
  2. What will I get out of reading it?
  3. How long will it take me to read this?

First, they read your headline or title, to learn the subject of your article. They can’t read everything and will choose subjects that are relevant, important or interesting.

Second, they ask what they (might) get out of reading the article. They consider the subject and what they know about you. Have they gotten value out of your previous content? Do they see you as an authority on the subject? Do they like reading what you write?  

Third, they decide how long it will take for them to read your article, based on the length and complexity of the information. This helps them decide to read it immediately or save it for later when they have more time. 

And they make those decisions quickly. 

Therefore, do your best to 

  • Know your audience. What do they need and want to know? What problems do they want to solve? What information do they want you to provide?
  • Focus on crafting a title or headline that conveys the benefits of reading the article  
  • Make your content easy to read (short sentences and paragraphs, simple language (mostly)
  • Consider where your readers see your content, i.e., on your blog, social media, Medium, or in their email
  • Consider a mix of brief articles that can be skimmed, and longer, comprehensive articles

Finally, writing often is more important than writing brilliantly. Your job is to keep your name in front of your audience and remind them what you do and how you can help them. Do that regularly and when they need your help, or know someone who does, they’ll see you as the best choice. 


Use more legalese, not less


Many experts tell you to “speak like your prospective clients speak,” mirroring and matching their language, word choices, and style, so they will more easily understand and relate to you. 

They say that most people don’t have a legal background and might be confused and/or intimated by your use of legal terminology and references. 

Basically, they’re saying “don’t talk like a lawyer”. 

I disagree. 

Prospects are looking for a lawyer or looking to learn something that might lead to hiring a lawyer. They expect you to act and speak like a lawyer, and if you don’t, they may think you don’t have the requisite experience and gravitas they’re seeking.

In addition, using appropriate legal terms will help people searching for those terms to find you.  

So don’t eschew Latin and legal terms-of-art. But make sure to explain what those terms mean and use examples and stories to give them context that might be important to your reader. 

You want your reader to understand you but you also want them to know you understand them. So, also make sure you speak like them.

Localize your message by using your target market’s terminology and references. Mention the names of well-known people in their industry or market, for example, as well as problems and solutions that are familiar to them.

Do both and not only will your readers and listeners better understand your message and how it applies to them, they will be more likely to see you as a better choice for them than other lawyers who don’t speak their language.  


My 3 favorite sources of ideas for blog posts and articles


My goal is to write something people need to or want to read, aka “quality and value,” and do it quickly so I can get on with the day. 

If that works for you, consider using one of these 3 sources of ideas:

(1) Respond to questions (from readers, subscribers, clients, etc.) 

Don’t underestimate the value of simply answering questions about your area of expertise. You have plenty of information and relevant examples from your practice to write about, and if one person is asking about a subject, you know others want to know the same thing. 

Check your email, questions and comments posted on social, and you might have enough ideas to last for months.

(2) Write what other lawyers (bloggers, experts, etc.) are writing about. 

I get a lot of ideas this way. It’s easy to adapt a business consultant’s article about marketing or customer relations or productivity, for example, to something appropriate for my market (that means you). 

When you’re fresh out of ideas, these articles are a good place to refill your tank.

I might use some of their ideas and add my own, or none of their ideas except the basic concept that caught my attention. I’ll change the headline, add my own irreverent style, and have an article or post that is completely different from the original.  

(3) Write about something you saw, or that happened in your work or personal life. 

Yes, you should write about your latest case or one you heard about from a colleague. But don’t ignore your personal experiences, which can be a fertile source of material.

For example, you might take your kid to a doctor’s appointment and be asked to supply information you know they don’t need and shouldn’t ask. You could write about HIPAA, or use that experience as the lead to an article about how you go out of the way in your practice to protect your clients’ privacy and rights. 

Or, you might be out shopping and hear someone accuse someone of hate speech. In the US, you might use that to explain the meaning of free speech and the US Constitution.

Do you live in a city with potholes gone wild? You might write about what to do if your reader sustains property damage or bodily injury by driving over one.

Ideas are everywhere. If you pay attention, you will never run out. 

More ideas for content


Niche your content


It’s tempting to write articles and create videos (et al.) that appeal to a broad swath of your market. Anyone who has or wants to prevent a given problem, for example. And that’s exactly what most content creates do. 

But not all. I just saw an attorney’s article that’s targeted to people who “getting married”.

People who are getting married is a niche market, and it’s different from “People who are already married,” “People who are thinking about getting divorced,” “People who want to protect their assets from their spouse,” and many other niches. 

It prompted me to remind you to niche your content. 

Because specifics sell more than generalities. 

If you handle plaintiff’s personal injury, for example, you might target your next article to people injured in an auto collision and focus on the first (and most important) things to do. You might target your content towards people with a child injured on school property, to people who are looking for an attorney who handles claims against governmental entities, or people who are looking for a NEW attorney. 

Targeting your content to specific niches is a smart way to bring in more business. 

A post targeted to people with a child injured on school property, for example, will appeal to a different niche than a post targeted to people who sustained soft tissue injuries in an auto collision. Each will get more relevant “hits” from searches, more prospective clients reading the article, and more inquires from prospective clients who want to talk to about their case.

Because specifics sell more than generalities. 

Okay, but if you target your article to one niche and someone who sees it is in a different niche, won’t you lose their business? If your content is too specific, might you lose as much business as you gain?

Maybe. Or maybe you’ll more than make up for what you lose by attracting clients who feel that your article is speaking to them and want you to be their attorney.

And hey, there’s nothing stopping you from writing other articles for other niches. (And you should).

Years ago, when your only option was to buy (expensive) advertising in a print publication, you had to pick your target audience more carefully. Today, in the digital age, you can create content for a wide variety of niches and prospective clients who find that content not by reading a newspaper but primarily through keyword searches or social sharing. 

Resist the temptation to write content targeting “everyone” and write for specific niches. 

Because specifics sell more than generalities.


How do I know I can trust you? 


Your clients trust you. That’s why they continue to hire you and refer others to you. You’ve shown them they can rely on you to do what you said you would do, and do it well.  

Now, what if you could earn the same kind of trust with prospective clients (and others)? What if people trusted you before they ever meet you?

You can. And should. 

Getting good reviews is a great place to start. So is focusing on referrals. But there’s something else you can do to build trust. You can use your “content” (newsletter, blog, seminars, articles, videos, podcasts, books and reports, etc.) to show people you are someone they can trust. You do that when:

  • You publish your content on a regular schedule, and on time
  • You provide great information and ideas; no fluff or filler, no click-bait
  • You explain things thoroughly, don’t talk down to anyone, don’t assume your readers know (anything) but also don’t assume they know nothing
  • You’re friendly but professional; you share personal stories but don’t over-share; you edify your staff and colleagues and other members of the Bar and community
  • You tell them what you do and how you can help them, and why they need it, and encourage them to act, but you aren’t pushy

In other words, you treat them the way clients wanted to be treated.  

Your readers and followers, prospective clients and professional contacts, are watching and judging you. They want to know what it would be like to be your client, or refer their client or friend to you. They want to see they can trust you, and this is a good way to show them. 

You don’t have to provide extraordinary quality or be prolific. You just have to show them you do what you say you will do and do it well.

When they see they can trust you, even before they meet you, they are much more likely to hire you and tell others about you.

Email Marketing for Attorneys


Beyond FAQs


The FAQs page on your website gets a lot of views because prospective clients want information about the law and about your services. They use your answers to those questions, and how you answer them, to decide to continue reading and take the next step towards hiring you. 

Bottom line, FAQs (and your well-thought out answers) are good for business. 

Some say you shouldn’t tell them too much because the more you tell them, the more questions you answer, the less likely they are to contact you (or hire you) because you’ve already given them the answers they seek.

And the more likely it is they’ll find something they don’t like and cross you off their list. 

And never tell them how to “do it themself”. Answer some things they say, not everything, or they won’t need you.

I say it’s just the opposite. The more you tell them, the more you sell them.

The more value you give them, the more likely they are to see the value of working with you. “If she gives away this much free information, she must have much more information (and help) available for paying clients.”

You sell legal services; you’re not in the information selling business. So give them lots of information. As you educate them, you show them the scope and depth of your knowledge and experience, and upir generosity in giving away all that information. They’ll still need to (and want to) talk to you (and hire you) for advice and help with their specific situation. 

One way to do this is to add “SAQs” to your FAQs. Questions they should ask but usually don’t.

Not only will they get more information they need to know, you’ll prompt them to identify other issues and questions they didn’t know they need to ask. And thus, identify more reasons they need to hire you.

As Steve Jobs said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Clients don’t know what to ask until you until you tell them. So tell them. 

Do that and you won’t need to tell them why you’re better. They’ll know.


The problem with lists


Everyone uses lists to record information and convey that information to others in a way that’s easy to follow. We use lists in our work, for research, opening and closing files, and every step in between. 

We give our clients lists of things to do, and things to avoid, and lists of the steps we will take with their case, and they like knowing what to expect. 

We also use lists in our marketing, so we can do things quickly and efficiently, in the right order, without having to think about what to do each time. And because our readers like posts that contain lists, we use lists in our content marketing.

When a business lawyer publishes a post that promises, “21 ways to use the law to increase your bottom line,” for example, this usually attracts prospective clients in their market. “There’s got to be at least one or two of those ways I can use,” they think, and they read (scan) the post to find out.

List posts work, and you should use them liberally in your content marketing. 

Okay, so what’s the problem? 

The problem is that because list-posts work and are easy to write, everyone writes them. Lawyers, consumer and business writers, bloggers, consultants, et al., know that list posts are popular (by looking at their statistics), and so they write lots of them. 

Therefore, while you should use lists in your content, you shouldn’t rely on them exclusively. 

Use your knowledge and experience and credibility as a lawyer to write more thoughtful, in-depth content, the kind only a lawyer of your experience and standing can provide. 

Clients prefer to read and hire experts. A thoughtful piece by an attorney who practices in the area they need help with is more valuable to them than a simple list by a blogger. 

So, you need both. 

Write simple list-posts to get traffic and opens, and authoritative posts to “sell” readers on following and hiring you.




You post content on your blog or newsletter or on social. But you don’t have enough of it. 

I’ve previously talked about re-writing your old content—updating the law, explaining what’s happened since you last wrote about the subject, adding a new example, “changing your mind” about the subject, and otherwise updating or refreshing what you wrote before. 

It’s an easy way to get new content to write about.

But there are times when the well is dry and you need new material. New information, examples, or stories.

No problem. Someone else has what you need.

I’m not suggesting you reach out and find some guest posts, although that is an excellent way to get some fresh material (and some traffic from the guest-poster’s followers when he or she mentions it). 

I’m suggesting something simpler. Find something someone else wrote and re-write or re-tell it.

If you read a story about a lawyer who won an important case, for example, you can write about that. It’s their case, their story, but even if you weren’t involved, you can write about it.

You can tell the same story in your own words. Describe what they did and what you think about it. Do you agree with their strategy? Think they could have done better? Have a thought about what that case means for your practice or your clients’ industry?

Agree, disagree, offer another example—anything will do. Because you’re merely using their story to tell your own. 

You don’t have to spend extra time searching for stories or posts to re-tell. Keep reading what you usually read (or listen to) and use that.

Try that now. Open a bar journal and read something that interests you. Write a few bullet points about the article and use this to tell your readers what happened and what you think about it.  

The odds are your story will take very little time to write.

And, as long as other lawyers (professionals, business owners, consultants, etc.) continue writing articles and blog posts about things that are valuable for or interesting to the people in your target market, you’ll never run out of things to write about. 

Your readers will be impressed by your ability to continually share interesting new content. They’ll wonder how you do it.

Your secret is safe with me.


Shrek would have made a good lawyer


On the outside, Shrek was tough and scary. A monster who could slay dragons and vanquish villains. On the inside, he was gentle and kind. 

Your clients want you to be Shrek on the outside, fighting their enemies, protecting them, and being tough. On the inside, where they deal with you, they want you to be warm and caring and easy to talk to. 

How do you attract clients by showing them your strength without scaring them off with bluster?

By being open and friendly and warm in your writing and speaking, in your blog and newsletter, on social media, in the “About” page on your website, and in all of your marketing. 

That means not writing like a lawyer. It means being informal and open, speaking directly to your readers and listeners, and not putting distance between you by writing the 3rd person. 

It means being “normal” and friendly on social media. Some lawyers sound anything but. They come off as “too cool” to talk to people, sounding distant, or worse, sarcastic or confrontational. 

 It’s not complicated. If you want people to approach you, you need to appear approachable. 

That means making people feel comfortable about talking with you and working with you. 

You can do that. You can be warm and friendly and still be professional. 

You can show people you’re tough and also easy to talk to. 

Shrek did it and so can you. 


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