If they don’t understand, they won’t click

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William Howard Taft said, “Don’t write so that you can be understood, write so that you can’t be misunderstood.”

Clarity is key to effective writing. That’s true for legal documents, demand letters, presentations, articles, and just about everything else we write.

When you write a blog post, email, or ad, the headline or subject line must instantly communicate what your article or ad is all about. If you want them to open your email or read your blog post, you have to give them a reason why.

How do you know you’ve done it right?

One idea is to use “The Blank Sheet of Paper Test”. Ask yourself, “If you wrote this text on a piece of paper and showed it to a stranger, would they understand the meaning?”

You need a bit of room for creative license, however, or you might turn out clear and accurate but utterly boring prose. So use this idea as a place to start, not the be-all-and-end-all.

Note that the rule applies to strangers–visitors to your blog, readers of your articles, networking emails–where people don’t know you from Adam (or Eve). You don’t need to use it when writing to clients or subscribers to your newsletter. They’ll open and read your message because they recognize your name.

So, have I made myself clear? If not, that’s okay. No doubt you’ll open my next email or read my next post anyway, to see what stuff and nonsense I have for you.

How to write email subject lines that get clicks

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Maybe you should teach a class

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CLE presenters don’t teach classes for the money. Why do they do it? Why should you?

Here are 6 reasons you should consider teaching a continuing education course:

  1. It will make you a better lawyer. You’ll necessarily stay current with the cutting edge aspects of your subject.
  2. It will make you a better presenter. You’ll learn how to craft an interesting and persuasive presentation.
  3. It will expose you to other lawyers who take your class. This can lead to referrals, associating on cases, and other networking opportunities.
  4. It looks great on your bio. Just being able to say you teach other lawyers in your field gives you an edge over other lawyers who don’t.
  5. You’ll have more content for your blog, newsletter, guest posts, videos, podcasts, and seminars.
  6. It can lead to book deals, invitations to speak on panels or sit on committees, and other opportunities to get more exposure and elevate your reputation.

So, what are you waiting for? Sharpen your pencil, and your tongue, and outline your first CLE class.

Marketing is easier when you know The Formula

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Stop marketing

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You’ve created content that isn’t bringing in much business. People aren’t following your links or answering your call to action.

What are you doing wrong?

It could be a lot of things, but I’m going to go with one I see a lot of lawyers (and others) do.

You’re “marketing” instead of communicating.

Your content is too promotional. All about you. Trying too hard to get the reader to act.

And they can see you coming.

Yes, you want them to act. But there’s a better way to do that than pushing out promotional content. Let go of the self-promotion and create content that connects with people on an emotional level.

Offer helpful information or advice or share an emotional client story.

Talk to people about what they’re already thinking. Engage them. Show them you understand them. Build a relationship with them.

You want them to like and trust you. And not lump you together with all the other lawyers who are flogging their services and talking all about themselves.

Yes, they want to know about you, but before they’ll listen, they want to know you’re worth listening to.

So, talk about your reader. His life, his problems, his pain.

Then you can let him know you have solutions and invite him to read more or contact you about his situation.

If you do it right, your reader will listen to you and take the next step.

My email marketing course shows you how to do it right

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