Tell me about yourself

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Everyone’s favorite radio station, we’re told, is WIIFM—“What’s in it for me?” They tell us that prospective clients don’t care about you or what you want; it’s all about them.

So make it about them.

Make your content, offers, stories, and examples about your reader or prospect. Because that’s why they’re reading your article or copy and that’s why they will hire you (or won’t).

Just tell them about your services and benefits. Leave yourself out of the picture.

No, don’t do that. You will always be in the picture because you’re the one who will help them get what they want.

If you don’t tell them about yourself, if your articles and sales pages are only about your services and offers, that’s boring. And generic. And unlikely to persuade anyone to choose you.

(NB: don’t write articles or sales copy that any other attorney could grab and slap their name on.)

If you want clients to hire you instead of any other attorney, tell them about yourself.

Anyway, aside from that, the reality is, people do care about other people and that includes little ‘ol you.

Sure, they care about themselves a lot more, but don’t for a minute think nobody wants to know anything about you.

They do. They want to hear your story. Especially if they’re thinking about hiring you.

They want to hear about your experiences working with other clients. They want to know what you think about things. They want to know where you’ve been and where you are going.

Because they want to see what it would be like having you as their attorney. But they’re interested in you even if they’re not shopping for a lawyer.

Because people are interested in and care about people.

Something else.

If your reader finds your story interesting, if they relate to you, if they feel that in some way they know you, they will be more likely to hire you.

Knowing is the first step. Liking is second. Trusting may take more time, but the more you tell them about yourself, the more likely this is on the way.

Don’t overdo it. Don’t be one of those people who talks incessantly about themselves.

Me, me, me, doesn’t win friends or influence people.

But don’t hide yourself and talk only about your services. Make your articles and copy mostly about them but also about you.

Because if they hire you, it’s going to be about both of you.

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This post might not be right for you

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There’s a phrase you should use in your marketing that might make your services more desirable. It’s based on the concept of exclusivity, that what you offer isn’t for everyone.

And that’s the phrase.

Tell people that “it” (your services, offers, seminars, etc.) isn’t for everyone.

First, because that’s true. And your candidness is refreshing.

Second, because it makes what you’re offering more specialized, valuable, and desirable.

It’s a type of takeaway which is powerful in marketing because people want what they can’t have, especially when they had it but it was taken away. That might happen when they see your offer, think it’s for everyone, and then learn it might not be for them.

It makes people wonder if “it” is right for them and then take steps to find out. 

If it isn’t for them, they don’t need to waste their time (which is good for you as well as them). If it is right for them, they often feel the need to act immediately, to get what they need and not miss out. And if they’re not sure, they realize they need to get more information or ask questions, which is also good for both of you.

So when you say “it’s not for everyone” you might also suggest they read something or contact you to find out.

Telling folks it’s not for everyone or “it might be right for you” makes you more credible, especially compared to those who make it look like what they do is for anyone.

It can also make you more in demand because people want what others have and they might stick around long enough to find out if they can get or should get it too.

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2 questions that can get you out of a jam

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You’re blank. You don’t know what to talk about or write. Relax. I’ve got 2 handy-dandy questions you can use as your go-to idea starter.

The first question: What do I want them to know?

What do you want the reader (audience, interviewer, new contact, etc.) to know about the law, about your services, or about you?

What do you want your new client to know about his case, what you’ll do first, and what might happen?

What do you want people to know about how you can help them or why they should choose you?

What do you want your clients to know about making a referral, writing a review, or when they should update their docs?

So much you want them to know. You could write or talk for days.

Okay, second question: What do you want them to do?

What do you want your new client to send you? What do you want them to do if an investigator calls? What do you want them to tell their doctor?

What do you want the reader to do after they read your article? What do you want your website visitor to do before they leave your site?

What do you want someone to do if they have questions? Want to make an appointment? Want more information? Aren’t sure they can afford it?

Use these questions to brainstorm ideas for content, correspondence, or conversation.

If you still run dry, ask yourself, “What else do I want them to know or do?”

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Steal this blog post

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I’ve had people steal my content. One guy took one of my sales letters and published it as an ebook on Amazon.

The nerve.

But once I got over the shock of someone doing that, I realized it’s nothing to worry about, or try to stop.

You shouldn’t, either.

You shouldn’t worry about anyone stealing your content or idea. If that’s something on your mind, let it go.

You’ve got better things to do.

The time and energy you might put into stopping them could be much better used creating new content and new ideas, or building on what you’ve already done.

I know this might trigger some IP practitioners, but think about it. Even if you could stop someone from stealing and using your stuff, is it really worth the effort?

Don’t take that case.

Besides, the purloiner of your content isn’t going to do as well with it as you do because it’s your baby, not there’s.

You’re writing to and for your readers. You have a relationship with them and your content resonates with them. It has your personality and style, your stories and examples, watermarked on it, and anyone who tries to pass it off as their own is going to fall flat.

Even if someone successfully passes off your stuff as their own, even if they make a fortune with your idea, so what? If you have an abundant mindset, you know there’s plenty for everyone.

If you are worried about someone stealing your content, the best thing you can do is avoid writing generic articles and posts. Write something that carries your brand.

Spend your time creating good content, not looking over your shoulder.

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Batch and grow rich

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Just about every productivity book or article today talks about the value of batching or bunching tasks. Don’t respond to one email, they say, answer most or all of them in one sitting. Or designate “theme days”—one day a week to work on one of your projects or areas of focus.

Tuesday might be marketing day. Thursday afternoon might be time to catch up on your reading or research.

It’s more efficient this way because instead of starting from scratch each time, we can leverage the different states of mind and pacing of different activities . Sometimes, you also benefit from the economy of scale, meaning you get more out of each task because you’re doing them in batches, alongside other, similar tasks.

One area this is true is in content creation.

If you write a weekly blog or newsletter, each time you sit down to come up with a topic, you’re starting from scratch. You have other things on your mind, and switching contexts to do something different can be difficult, especially if you’re behind.

It’s much easier to write when you don’t have to find a topic, you already have one lined up.

That’s where batching comes in.

The next time you brainstorm a topic, brainstorm several. Don’t limit yourself to just today’s topic, find topics for the next week or month or longer.

Not only will this save time and allow to write without pressure, it also allows you to develop themes for your blog or newsletter, making your content creation even easier, and arguably easier.

For example, this month you might write a series of posts about trending issues in your field. Each post could talk about a different case or argument or one of the stakeholders. One post might talk about the history, another post about the future.

One idea, several topics.

Another example would be a series of posts about the stages of handling a case:

  • Intake
  • Investigation
  • Liability
  • Damages
  • Demand
  • Negotiation
  • Settlement
  • Litigation, discovery, trial, post-trial. . .

You could get one or several posts about each of these stages. If you do a weekly blog or article, you could get three months’ worth of topics around that one theme.

Note, you don’t have to publish those posts sequentially. You could instead spread them out over six months and fill in the other weeks with content around a different theme.

Another way to create topics in batches might be to make a list of resources you recommend to your readers or clients—consumer tips or agencies or business organizations, for example.

Dedicate each post to sharing one or more of those resources, along with your experiences, observations, or explanations.

Another idea might be a series featuring some of your business clients’ businesses or products. Or a series based on war stories from several notable cases you’ve had.

Once you have a list of topics, put them on a content calendar or in your reminders app, and the next time you have a post due, you won’t have to scramble to find a topic.

You might also want to schedule your next brainstorming session, to come up with your next theme or bunch of topics.

Where to get more ideas and how to use them

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Should lawyers outsource content creation?

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You can hire people to write blog posts and newsletters and other content. Should you?

It depends on what you intend to do with it.

If you intend to use your content to connect with people who can hire you or refer you, the answer is no.

Write your own content. You can’t outsource you.

People connect with you and hire you because they relate to you. They hire you not just because of what you know, but because of who you are.

Let them hear your voice, not a generic voice speaking about generic legal issues. Let them hear about the cases and clients you’ve helped and what you did to help them.

Let them get a taste of your personality and a sense of what it is like to have you as their attorney.

You can have people help you with research and editing your content, but that content should come from you.

On the other hand, if you intend to use content to generate traffic and leads, for advertising and direct mail and other purposes where a “generic” you might be sufficient, it’s okay to hire people to create that content for you.

Some attorneys buy “canned” newsletters from companies that provide the same newsletters to many attorneys. The attorneys don’t pretend this content is coming from them, however. It is (or should be) positioned as “from the firm”.

Attorneys who buy canned content know (or should know) this content won’t do much more for them than allow them to put something in their subscribers’ mailboxes and remind them they are still around.

There’s nothing wrong with this.

It’s better than sending no content to clients and prospects. Much better.

Some attorneys send out a canned newsletter and also write their own content, which they publish in a separate newsletter.

Their content is by them and from them and uses stories and examples from their practice. It is this content that builds trust and relationships with readers.

Similarly, some attorneys outsource content for a blog, and use that blog to attract search traffic. They might have several such blogs, each focused on different practice areas and keywords and markets, all of which send traffic to their regular website or into their lead capture funnels.

But again, they don’t (or shouldn’t) position that blog or those blogs as having been written by them.

They might also write their own content, but, as with a newsletter, it should be separate from the outsourced lead generation blog.

Outsourcing some of your content creation might be right for your practice. But it will never do what your own content can do.

How to write an email newsletter that brings in more business

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What is quality content?

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If you can write and publish more content than your competition, you should. But while quantity might bring more traffic to your digital door, it is the quality of your content that will convert that traffic into leads and new clients.

What is quality content? It’s content that is more likely to get someone to read it and take the next step.

Here are the key elements:

  • Benefits. Especially in the headline and lead. Show the reader you have something they want; make them curious to read your post to learn more about it.
  • Specific. Specialized content from a specialist. Talk about a specific issue or problem, and the solution, and address it to a specific reader who has that problem.
  • Interesting. Don’t bore people with boring information or overwhelm them with too much of it.
  • Stories. Tell readers about people like them with problems like theirs who came to you for help and got it.
  • Conversational. Write to them, not at them. Don’t make it all about you. Ask questions to draw them into the content.
  • Easy to read. Plain language, scannable (short sentences and paragraphs, lots of white space, sub-heads, bullet points).
  • Call(s) to action. Tell them what to do next and why. Make it easy to do that by highlighting your phone number, form, or link.
  • Email opt-in form. So you can stay in touch with them and continue to market to them, because most people don’t hire a lawyer the first time they visit their site.

Those are the basics. Get these right and you get an A.

For extra credit, consider:

  • Variety. Short and long articles for those who want them.
  • Involvement devices: quizzes, questionnaires, checklists, forms.
  • Visuals: graphics, charts, videos.
  • Service-related offers. You may not have one in every post, but when you do, promote it and limit it (time, quantity) to make it more valuable and create a fear of loss.
  • Why you: They can find this in your About page, testimonials, and other pages on your site, but if you see a place to mention something compelling about you or your practice, do it.
  • Links to related content, so they can drill down and learn more.

Ultimately, you want quality and quantity. But since most of your visitors will be first-time visitors and, statistically speaking, are unlikely to return to your site, better to have 10 great posts than 100 that don’t provide a great first impression.

This will help

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Could this be true?

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I was on social media the other day. Yes, I do that occasionally. A company had surveyed a group of lawyers, asking them what they wanted out of their practice, and posted the results.

Nearly everyone said they wanted better systems and automation, to make their practice run more smoothly. They also wanted more affordable help.

Makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is that only 14% said they wanted help with marketing—“getting more good clients, more reliably.”

Why so low? Who doesn’t want more good clients? What’s going on here?

Ah, what’s going on is that the firm that conducted the survey helps lawyers automate their practice. So their clients’ and followers’ primary interest is in becoming more organized and efficient.

That’s their bias.

Go ahead and survey a cross-section of attorneys and I think your results might be a little different.

Of course my list is also biased. If I did a survey, I’m sure I’d find that most want more good clients and cases.

Because who doesn’t want more good clients?

Okay, some lessons.

  1. Before you draw any conclusions about the results of a survey, make sure you know who’s conducting it and of whom.
  2. Surveys are a great way to engage your list. People like to share their opinion and are curious to see what other people say about the subject.
  3. Surveys are an easy way to generate content for a blog or newsletter and social media. I just did that and it wasn’t even my survey.

Go forth and survey some folks. Or find someone else’s survey and talk about it.

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The best place to find ideas for your blog or newsletter

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Ideas for blog posts and articles and other content are literally everywhere.

Find a post written by an attorney or other expert in your field, for example, and write a post about the same subject.

You can even use their article as a template. Rewrite the headline and bullet points, add your own comments, recommendations, and examples, and be done in minutes.

Make sure you follow the blogs and subscribe to the newsletters published by attorneys in your field.

Yes?

It is a quick and easy source of ideas. But there’s something even better.

I’m talking about the blogs and publications written for and read by the people in your target market.

If you want to represent people in the health care industry, read what they read, and write about the things they’re doing, talking about, worried about, hoping for, or working towards.

Write about the issues, the people, and the tends, in their niche. Write about the things they care about.

Other lawyers may write about generic legal topics. When you write about topics that are specific to an industry, occupation, or niche, your content will resonate with readers in that niche.

Your content will also be completely original. And valuable to the people in your target market, which means they are more likely to see you as the go-to expert in their market, and share your content with their colleagues and contacts in that market.

Write niche-specific content and you can own your niche.

How to write content your readers what to read

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10 questions for you

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In this post are 10 questions you might be asked in an interview. Review them and note how you might respond.

The questions can also prompt you to write things people want to know about you for your website’s “About” page, in your bio, or your introduction.

You can also use these questions to write 10 blog posts, telling readers about yourself and what you do.

The questions:

  1. What does a (type) lawyer do?
  2. What types of clients do you represent?
  3. What’s your favorite part of your job?
  4. Why should a client hire you instead of any other lawyer?
  5. What’s your favorite marketing strategy?
  6. What’s the hardest part of your job?
  7. Have you had any unusual cases or clients?
  8. What’s the most important thing you want new clients to know or do?
  9. How is your work/the law different today than when you started practicing?
  10. What book(s) are you reading right now?

These questions are necessarily generic. Edit, re-write, and add additional questions to your list to suit your practice and personality.

What do you want people to know about you and what you do? What would they find interesting? What do people ask you at parties?

Finally, you can use these questions when you interview another lawyer for your blog or newsletter. And you should do that because you’ll get some easy content and the lawyer you interview might reciprocate and interview you for their blog or newsletter.

I wrote a book based entirely on an interview I did with a very successful appellate attorney friend who does a great job marketing his services. Here’s the book; here’s what I did to write it.

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