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


Content marketing for lawyers who target consumers


If you handle criminal defense, immigration, personal injury, estate planning, family law, or other practice areas in the consumer realm, you may have found (or believe) that prospective clients aren’t interested in your blog or newsletter or other content until they realize they need your services.  

So why bother with a newsletter or blog or other content? 

Because when they do need your services, they’ll read everything on your blog and consume all of your content, and you want to have content for them that isn’t just bullet points about your services but content that lets you connect with them that nothing short of actually speaking with you and getting to know you can do.

You want them to hear your stories and get a sense of what it would be like to know you and work with you, so they can get to know, like, and trust you.

Which they can do through your content. 

“Okay, got it. But how do I get them to visit my website or blog, watch my videos, read my articles and sign up for my newsletter so I can build a relationship with them before they need my legal services?”

Good question, Grasshopper.  

Since most people aren’t interested in your “legal” content until they need your services, and only then look for it and consume it, you need to give them something else they are interested in. Another subject you can write about or talk about. 

Like the kinds of subjects consumers are interested in—taxes, insurance, credit, consumer protection, social security, and so on.

When your would-be clients find and read your articles about retirement planning, for example, they learn what you do in your day job, sign up for your newsletter, and you stay in touch with them. When they need legal services, they contact you (instead of looking for someone from scratch) because they already know you. 

And guess what? You can accomplish the same thing without writing about insurance and credit if that’s not your thing. You can write about other subjects that interest you and are likely to interest a segment of the consumer population. 

Some lawyers write about technology. Some write about productivity. Some write about writing and other creative pursuits. They talk about apps or books or websites they recommend, and build up a following that way.  

They might do that on a separate blog or channel rather than the blog for their law practice, but they link to it and mention it. 

You know what that means, don’t you? It means you can write about a lot of things that interest you, your hobbies and outside interests, and have fun creating content about those subjects. 

You know what else that means? It means you can do the same thing if you handle business law instead of or in addition to consumer law, because your clients are consumers, too.

Write what you want to write to write about. People who share your interest will find you, follow you and eventually hire you. Or. . . tell someone they know about you.

How to build an effective newsletter for your practice


“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.


Better than other lawyers? Could you be more specific?


You want prospective clients and the people who can refer them to see you as the better choice. But saying you’re better, or your services are better, or your “service” is better, isn’t convincing. You need to tell them why. 

How are you better? What do you do other lawyers don’t do and why is that a benefit to your clients? 

You need some “better” adjectives. 

Here are a few to consider and the meaning behind them:

  • Faster (You get the work done more quickly; your clients can enjoy the benefits and peace of mind sooner)
  • Efficient (Modern methods, tech, allow you to deliver high-quality work product at lower expense)
  • Reliable (You don’t cut corners and put your clients at risk; highest standards, ethics, proven methods) 
  • Transparent (You explain everything and show your clients everything you’re doing, when and why, and invite them to ask you anything) 
  • Reasonable (Fairness: fees, costs, procedures)
  • Comprehensive (Your documents and processes are thorough and cover everything your clients need and want)
  • Simpler (Your documents, processes, fees, billing, are easier for your clients to understand; fewer questions, confusion)
  • Newer (New services, methods, content, partners, employees, offices, computers, and how your clients benefit. Careful, though; “new” implies risk, so make sure you address this.)
  • Guaranteed (No fee unless recovery, no fee unless satisfied; yep, money-back guarantee. If that makes you nervous, put a limit on it, e.g., first 30 days or “up to X dollars”) 

They all mean “better” but tell clients why you are better. Make sure you prove everything, however, by providing examples, specific numbers, and by answering FAQs and objections in advance. 

Stress-free legal billing and collection policies


Hope and opportunity


That’s really what you sell. Your legal services are merely a means to an end. 

Clients want their problems to be fixed. They want to recover their losses and be protected against future harm. They want their pain to stop and the pleasure they seek to start. 

And they want to know they have you by their side, fighting for them, defending them, advising them, and helping them achieve their goals.

Hope and opportunity. That’s why they hire you. And your presentations, articles, and conversations should feature these. 

Clients aren’t especially interested in how you do what you do. They want to know that you can and will help them feel better and sleep better and be more prosperous. Clients choose you because of how you make them feel. They stay with you and tell others about you because of how you continue to make them feel.

In your marketing, talk mostly about the big picture, the benefits, and not so much about how you do what you do. 

Other lawyers may point to their impressive track record, but clients will choose you because you did something those other lawyers didn’t do. 

You made them feel good about themselves and their future.


If they snooze, you lose


For writing “content” (blog posts, articles, presentations, etc.) many lawyers struggle to get results for one simple reason–they write like lawyers, meaning they write like they were taught in law school. 

The inverted pyramid, IRAC, et al., are fine when you’re writing something “for people who are paid to read it,” as the author of an article I read recently put it.  

Your clients and prospects certainly aren’t. 

Your content needs to have helpful information, the kinds of things prospective clients look for when they’re searching online, but if it has to be interesting. If you write it the way they taught you in law school, you risk boring people into clicking away. 

Structurally, capture their attention with a good headline or opening and keep their attention by continuing to write about things that interest them. 

Here’s how to get better at doing that:

  1. Read a lot. Read the kinds of things your audience reads. Look at the subjects, the structure, and the pacing of the information. See how they capture attention with a good headline or opening and use sub-heads and/or bullet points to draw the reader into the article and through it. 
  2. Write a lot. Practice and you will improve.
  3. Edit a lot. Your first draft is usually not your best draft. Shorten sentences and paragraphs, use active verbs (and active voice) and make sure everything is clear. If you write about anything “legal,” explain the terms and provide context.
  4. Put people in your articles. Talk about their desires, their problems, their pain, and the solutions they seek, and how things turned out (with your help). 
  5. Have fun (if appropriate). Give readers something to smile about, nod their head about, think about, and remember. 
  6. Tell them what to do next. Don’t leave them guessing, tell them to call (and why), tell them to join your list (and why), or tell them what to read or watch next. 

Give them a good experience and they will come back to read more and contact you when they’re ready to talk to you about their situation. 

Finally, if you are writing for other lawyers, or others who are paid to read your writing, it’s okay to write like a lawyer. But you don’t have to. And if you don’t have to, don’t. 

How to write an email newsletter clients want to read


No, you don’t need to find time for marketing


You don’t need to find time for marketing your practice. You already have all the time you need. 

I’ll prove it. 

To make this simple, let’s assume the marketing activity you think you don’t have time to do is creating content. Things like writing a blog or newsletter, creating videos, doing seminars—that kind of thing. You’d like to do it, but you’re busy. So you don’t. Or you don’t do it as much as you’d like. 

Answer me this: if you were paid your usual hourly rate or fee to create said content, would you “find” the time to do it?

Me thinks you would. Time is time, money is money. If you could earn $500 per hour (let’s say) creating content, why wouldn’t you? 

The good news is that if you create that content (and do a decent job of it—not great, decent), you can be paid as much for your time as you would doing your other work.

Because your content will bring in new clients who pay you as much. That’s why you do any type of marketing, after all. 

Marketing isn’t (shouldn’t be) a cost; it’s an investment. 

At a minimum, you should break even. Your profit will come from repeat business and referrals on the back end. 

But you could do more. A lot more.

Even if your content is “only” decent, it will live forever on the Internet and continue to bring in more business while you’re doing other things. 

I know, it sounds good but you don’t believe that writing some blog posts or article can bring in enough new business to cover the costs of your time creating it. 

Or, you don’t believe that writing “decent” content is enough.

Talk to some other lawyers who use content marketing in their practice (and have done it for a while) and see what they tell you.

Or try it for yourself. You might be pleasantly surprised. Or very pleasantly surprised, as I was when I started doing it.

This shows you everything you need to know


Content marketing. Are you doing it wrong? 


Content marketing is perfect for attorneys because it allows them to showcase their knowledge and experience and give prospective clients (and the people who refer them) a taste of what it would be like to work with them. 

It’s an extremely effective, low-cost way to attract a steady stream of leads, prospects, subscribers, fans and followers, and new clients. 

No advertising or promotion required. 

There are two steps:

  1. Create content (or hire people to create it for you), and
  2. Post it on a website, blog, newsletter, podcast, or on social. You can also share it with other professionals and content creators who can share it with their clients and prospects. 

It doesn’t have to be brilliant. Or comprehensive. But it does have to provide helpful information.

Something attorneys can deliver in spades.

You educate prospective clients about the law and procedure, their risks, responsibilities, and options, and thus show them what you do and how you can help them (and their clients and prospects). 

Some attorneys tell me they don’t want to do this because it means giving away their knowledge and advice, the very things they charge for. “If I show people what to do, they won’t need to hire me,” they say, “they’ll just do it themself”. 

Au contraire. 

You don’t have to tell them everything. Just enough to get them to realize they need to talk to you about the specifics of their case. When they do, you get more clients, not fewer.

Or, go ahead and tell them everything. Tell them how to prepare and file the document or solve the problem. Some will. But these “freebie seekers” were never really prospective clients, so you lose nothing. 

A small percentage will do it themself and won’t need you. A much bigger percentage will try, mess up, and need you even more. 

Yes, some people will consume your content and successfully do everything themself. That’s okay. Because they will then hire you for something they can’t do themself. Or refer you to others who can’t or don’t want to do it themself. 

Bottom line, the more content you produce, the more you prosper. 

So, what do I mean by doing content marketing wrong? I mean not doing it all. 

There are a lot of things you can do to bring in more clients and increase your income but nothing is as simple and cost-effective as telling people what they need and want to know (and search for) and letting it do most of your marketing for you. 

How to create better content (and more of it)


When price is the problem


Yesterday, we talked about what you can do to “close” more prospective clients. What to say to get them to see the need and make the commitment. But what can you do when they can’t afford your fees, or don’t want to spend the money, despite the fact that they know they need to? 

The obvious answer is to offer a lower-cost service, which may not take care of everything they need but is better than doing nothing. They can get the rest of what they need later.

Attorney Gordon Firemark told me about another option he uses in his practice. When a client can’t afford his “done for you” fee, he offers them his (paid) “do-it-yourself” course that shows them, in this case, how to file a trademark application. 

Do-it-yourself options like this are clearly good for the client, and when they are ready to take the next step, or have another legal matter, they don’t have to start from scratch to find an attorney. 

Which means this is also good for the attorney. 

It’s also a way for the attorney to differentiate themself from the “all-or-nothing” approach followed by most attorneys. And, depending on the service and the market, paid courses can provide an attorney with significant additional revenue. 

But you don’t have to offer a paid course if that doesn’t work for you. You can create a free course, or a course with a very nominal price tag, and use that to help prospective clients instead of turning them away when they can’t afford you. 

You can also use it as a marketing tool. 

Having a course gives you the opportunity to show prospective clients how you can help them, and what it is might be like to work with you. They get to hear your “voice” and the quality and depth of your knowledge and experience.

As a result, many clients who avail themselves of your course will convince themselves that they need to sign up as a client and let you take care of everything for them. 

But it doesn’t have to be a course at all. You can accomplish the same effect with a variety of different content, free or paid:

  • A video (or series)
  • Book or report
  • Checklist
  • Form with instructions
  • Seminar or webinar
  • Newsletter
  • Blog
  • Articles
  • Speaking events
  • “Ask me anything” events
  • Consultations 

Free content almost always gets more people accessing it, but paid content might lead to more clients overall because prospects are more likely to read or watch the content they pay for, and more likely to value it (and you). 

Free or paid, content can be an effective marketing tool, helping you build your list, generate leads, and get more prospective clients to see why they should choose you as their attorney. 

Which is why I’m a big proponent of content marketing. 

How to use free content to get more clients