New blog, newsletter, or podcast? This will help.


When I started writing a blog, one of the first things I did was to find other blogs in my niche, to see what they were doing. I learned a lot and was convinced I could do what they did. If you’re thinking about starting a blog or newsletter, or want to re-start or re-invigorate yours, I suggest you find blogs and newsletter published by other lawyers and use them as a model for your own.

It doesn’t matter where they are located, or even their practice area. You can learn something from each blog you follow or subscribe to. 

Study them and take notes:

  • How often do they publish? 
  • How long are their posts, articles, episodes, etc?
  • What is their writing style? Formal? Informal? Somewhere in between?
  • Do they write about news or evergreen topics? 
  • Do they advocate or educate?
  • Do they write detailed posts, with citations, or something more beginner-friendly?
  • How are their posts structured? What formatting choices have they made?
  • Do they do interviews? Guest posts?
  • What do they offer as an incentive to sign up?
  • What calls-to-action do they use? 
  • Do their blog posts get comments? Shares? Or is that function turned off? 
  • Do they use images or mostly text? 
  • Do they promote their services directly or just a provide a link to their website? If they promote their services, do they “pitch” hard or less so? 

What do they do that’s working? What do you like? What would you change?

Also note ideas for topics you could write about. 

You’re not looking for the perfect newsletter or blog to emulate, you’re looking for ideas and inspiration. You might like how one blog structures its content but prefer another’s writing style. You might like how one blog is consistent or how another uses a variety of detailed and lengthy posts mixed with brief and lighter fare. 

Guess what? You get to choose.

This exercise might get you excited and ready to start or re-start your blog or newsletter. On the other hand, it might convince you that you don’t want to do this, at least not right now, and turn your attention to something else. 

Before you decide, try something. Put some content out there and see what happens. Content marketing might not be your favorite marketing method (now), but if it makes your phone ring the way I know it can, you might just change your opinion.

How to start a blog that makes your phone ring


Denny Crane


My wife and I are watching Boston Legal. Yeah, first time. I don’t have anything I want to tell you about any of the characters or storyline, or how that firm does rainmaking, but at some point, I know I will. . 

So I’ve started a page in my notes app to record ideas about that. 

Other than a title, that page is currently blank. But it serves an important purpose because every time I see that note, it will remind me (and my subconscious mind) to find something to write about. 

That note is a placeholder for a future blog post. 

Yes, I could simply put the idea in a list of blog post ideas, just as I do for future projects or someday/maybe tasks. But there’s something about opening a new folder that makes an idea a bit more likely to happen. 

It also gives you a place to collect notes and information for that project or idea, which helps you get started on it.  

Tiago Forte says, “When you have a place for something, you find more of it.”

Set up a placeholder for the book you want to write, the investment you want to research, or the project you want to start. Set up a note for the blog post you’re thinking about. 

You’ll probably feel compelled to add notes, ideas, web clippings, photos, quotes, bullet points, research, and other things related to that project or post. 

Which means you’ll be a stop closer to getting started.


I should have done this years ago


For a long time, I’ve talked about the value of choosing tomorrow’s tasks today. Instead of writing your task list each morning, write it the night before. 

And for years, that’s what I’ve done. 

Previously, I had to wake up my brain each morning and plan my day, and it was often quite a while before I started working. Now, I know what’s on tap for the day and I can get to work immediately. 

One of my daily tasks is writing a blog and newsletter. Choosing the subject the day before has made a big difference for me, especially since I often find it takes longer to choose the topic than to write the post. Choosing the topic the day before has the added benefit of allowing my subconscious mind to work on the topic overnight.

This has worked well for me. But here’s the thing. . .

Sometimes, I get towards the end of the day and see I still need to choose tomorrow’s blog topic. I do it, but if I’m tired or finishing up something else or I’m hungry and ready to call it a day, I may not have the presence of mind to do it. 

So recently, I changed my workflow. A small change, but it has made a big difference. 

Now, as soon as I finish and publish “today’s” post, I choose the following day’s topic. I don’t do this in the afternoon or evening, as before, I do it immediately. 

It’s not a separate task, it’s part of the “write blog post” task. So effectively, I have one less task to do that day. One less thing to think about, or do, especially when I’d rather do something else.

If you write a blog or newsletter or post content on social, try it. Choose your next subject as part of finishing the one you work on today. . 

Actually, you can do this with any type of task, not just writing. 

Before you finish working on a case or project, choose the next one to work on. Make it part of your process, so you can roll from one into the next one. You may find, as I have, that it makes for a more productive day.


How-to articles for lawyers are good. This is better.  


Lawyers write a lot of blog posts and other content that explains how to do things. That’s good because “how to” is a very popular search term for people with legal issues. 

But prospective clients also want to know “why”.

You tell them to do something, or avoid doing something, but your advice is much more persuasive and valuable to them if you tell them why. 

If you handle personal injury cases, don’t just tell people what to say to the other driver, and what to avoid saying. Tell them why. 

In fact, it’s a good idea to write blog posts and articles with a headline or title that features the word “why”. When someone sees that word, they become curious. “Why should I do that?” “Why is that a mistake?” and they read the article to find out. 

You should also use the word “why” in your calls-to-action. 

You want them to call and make an appointment? Tell them why. What do they get if they do? What are the benefits? What will that appointment help them do or avoid?

You want them to download your report? Fill out a form? Sign up for your webinar? Hire you (instead of any other lawyer)?

Tell them why. 

Don’t stop writing how-to articles. They always have and always will be effective. But they are more effective when you also tell people why. 


If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium


If you write a blog or a newsletter, have a podcast or channel, write articles or post content on social media, I bet there are times when you don’t know what to write. So you skip this week or this month but, unfortunately, before you know it, you’re not producing anything. 

You know you should, and you want to, but life (and work) get in the way. 

You’ve tried setting up a schedule. You want to write a weekly blog post or newsletter, for example, and have calendared Thursdays for doing that. But Thursday rolls around and you still don’t do it.

Sure, collect ideas throughout the week, so you have more than enough for next Thursday. But there’s something else you can do. 

What’s that? 

First, choose 4 or 5 areas in your niche your subscribers and followers are interested in. One of those areas would obviously be your core practice area. 

If you handle personal injury, this would include writing about the law, procedure, insurance, negotiation, settlement, litigation, trial, appeals, and so on. If you have other practice areas, they would be one of your other subjects. You could also create content about debt, investing, credit, and other consumer-oriented matters. 

Once you have chosen your broad content areas, make a list of subjects related to each. Then, calendar one of those areas or subjects per week (for a weekly newsletter, etc.). Dedicate that week to that subject and rotate through these areas on a recurring basis. 

The first week of the month, you might write about the law in your field. The second week, you might provide consumer (or business) tips. The third week, you might share stories about interesting cases or clients you’ve had or heard about, or something law-related in the news. The fourth week, you might write about how you do what you do (interviewing clients, opening and closing files, research, investigation, etc.)

Next month, you do it again. 

This way, you keep things fresh and interesting for your readers and never run out of things to talk about. 

Newsletter marketing for attorneys


When you have nothing new to say


Do you ever feel like you’re repeating yourself? Saying the same things again and again in your newsletter, blog, or on social media? Talking about the same services, the same problems and solutions? Making the same offer? Promoting the same event? 

You want to stay in touch with your list (and you should), but if you keep saying the same things, they’re going to tune out. 

Or will they? 

They tuned in because they’re interested in the things you know and share. So don’t change your message. Change the way you present your message. 

As a friend of mine puts it, “Change the wrapping paper around your core idea and you can repeat the same message every time you connect. . . but it will feel new and different”. 

The simplest and often the most potent way to do that is to tell a different story. 

It can be something simple—something your client or another party said or did, a question they asked, how you met them, or something you thought about the facts or the law. 

You can write about almost anything and make your blog post or article interesting. . . and different. 

You can even write about your pets.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you may recall that I used to have cats and wrote about them from time to time. I’d talk about things they did or about a recent trip to the vet and how long they kept us waiting before they saw us, and use this as an example of how not to treat your clients in your waiting room. 

You can use things that happen to you personally or in your practice to add color and interest to your message, without changing your message.  

Change the wrapping paper and you can keep readers interested and engaged no matter how often you deliver your message. 

How to use an email newsletter to build your practice


Just google it?


When you’re fresh out of ideas for blog posts, newsletter articles, or other content, you can always head over to your favorite search engine, put in some keywords related to your field, and see what people, a.k.a. prospective clients, are searching for. 

Not only will you get ideas for your next blog post or article, you can use the same search terms they use, or a variation thereof, in your title or subject.

The subjects they search for, the questions they ask, can not only provide you with subjects to write about, but search traffic to your blog or article.

You can wing it and see what comes up, or use a more methodical method:  

Type a keyword in the search field, press the spacebar, type the letter “a”, and you’ll get 10 search results (on Google) in the drop-down menu. Copy these and search again using the same keyword and the letter “b”. 

You can go through the entire alphabet and get more results. You can then type in keyword phrases instead of single words and go through the process again. 

And then, if you want even more results, choose a different keyword (or phrase) and search again. 

30 minutes of searching and you’ll have more topics than you can shake a stick at. 

But there’s more. . . 

On the Google search results page, look for the “People Also Ask” section. You’ll see questions related to your search term. Grab some of those questions and answer them in your next post. 

Then, scroll down to the bottom of the search results page and look for the “Related Searches” section. Yep, even more ideas.  

You can also use the “Google Trends” tool to find more current or newsworthy (trending) ideas.

But you’re not limited to using dusty old search engines to find ideas. Now you can use one of the many AI tools that are popping up everywhere.  

This morning, I asked one of those AI Chabots, “What are some ways to get ideas for blog posts other than using google?” It gave me several suggestions: 

  • Look at your competitor’s blogs, “to see what topics they are covering. this can give you ideas for new topics, or inspire you to approach a topic from a different angle.”
  • Ask your readers what they would like to see or see more of. Use a poll, email, social media, “or by simply asking for feedback in a blog post”. 
  • Peruse social media popular posts or hashtags to see what people are asking or talking about.
  • Attend industry events (to learn the latest trends and news in your niche and write about those subjects).
  • Use tools like BuzzSumo, Feedly, or Pocket to see what’s being covered. 

And that was just a few results from asking a very general question. 

You can ask these bots much more specific questions that elicit more detailed responses related to your field and your target market.

Ask it what estate planning subjects are popular with people in your area who now work from home. Ask it to tell you the questions burn victims typically ask when they’re looking for an attorney who specializes in this field. Ask it to tell you which market sectors are more likely to buy or sell commercial real estate in the next few years.

And if it doesn’t give you enough information, or specific enough information, ask follow-up questions until it does.

My favorite part: unlike simple search engines, these bots remember what you previously asked, and the answers it provided, which means you can carry on a conversation with it and get better results.

Don’t rely completely on anything it tells you, of course. Use the results you get as a starting point—ideas to research and write about.

More ideas than you could ever use.


It just takes one


Public speaking at industry events and conferences has long been an effective way for lawyers to build their authority and reputation.

But there are some challenges.

  1. You can’t just waltz in and expect to be selected to speak. You have to build your authority and reputation outside of those events before you are recognized and invited (or accepted) to speak.
  2. Being a good lawyer doesn’t mean you’re a good speaker.
  3. You can build your reputation and authority, and an email list, through less demanding forms of content creation. Articles, a blog, a newsletter, interviews, podcasts, and the like, provide much greater exposure and many more leads. And your content will live online forever, continuing to do so.

On the other hand, speaking at a convention or industry event offers a big benefit. It allows you to put on your bio that you spoke at said event.

They invited you to speak, so you must be good at your job.

So, do it once or twice. Get yourself invited to a panel discussion or to the center stage. You’ll forever be able to say that you did this, as I shamelessly do when I mention speaking at an ABA convention.

But there is one additional benefit for speaking at these events. You get to meet influential people, which can lead to referrals, introductions, and other marketing and business opportunities.

And this should be your primary goal when you attend any event, even if you’re not one of the speakers.

It just takes one. Because if they are the right one, it can lead to massive growth in your practice and career.

How to take a quantum leap in your practice


Write for yourself first


We write for our subscribers and followers, to show them we understand them and can help them. So, besides talking about their problems and our solutions, we talk about their world—their industry or market and subjects that interest them. 

Because if we don’t, if all we talk about is the law and “how-to’s”, prospective clients might read us today (when they need us) but might not read us tomorrow. 

And tomorrow might be the day they do need us, or talk to someone they can refer. 

Writing a blog or newsletter or other content isn’t just about “getting the sale”. It is also about building relationships. 

And that’s why marketing folks (myself included) tell you not to make your content all about you. 

But this doesn’t mean you should never make it about you.

You are important in this equation. People want to know not just about your work, or even exclusively about their world, they also want to know about you. 

A relationship is about two people and you’re one of them. So, in addition to writing for your readers, it’s important that you also write for yourself. 

That means sometimes you write at length about your life and weave in lessons or stories that apply to your readers. You might talk about your trip to the bookstore, something interesting you saw in the courthouse, about your kids, or something about your hobby, and share a lesson told by the experience.

Other times, you simply mention these things in passing. “I was running errands on Saturday, looking for a parking space, and thought of something I want you to know”. 

If you don’t write for yourself, writing a blog or newsletter can eventually feel like drudgery. You’ll run out of ideas and energy and your writing will become boring and ineffectual. If you write for yourself, however, you’ll enjoy it and continue doing it because talking about yourself is enjoyable. 

A good rule of thumb is to write your first draft for yourself. Write what you want to write about, not just what the market wants or needs. Say what you want to say, what you find interesting, inspiring, or that made you laugh. Forget about your reader on this first pass and tell your story the way you want to tell it.

Then, on a second pass, bring them into the picture. 

This will help you write more effective content


Before I tell you that, I want to tell you this


No. Don’t do that.

You’ll get more readers reading and listeners listening—to your articles, presentations, newsletters, email, or posts on social—if you do one simple thing.

Get to the point.

I see so many writers and speakers who don’t.

First, they want to tell you about their day or about their kid or about something they’re working on, thinking you’ll care about this or get all warm and fuzzy about them because you can see they’re just like you.

But that’s not why folks are reading the article or watching the presentation.

They want to learn something valuable or interesting (to them). Or be entertained.

So, in those first few seconds, yes seconds, you need to show them you’ve got this for them.

If you start out clearing your throat and warming up your tonsils before you get to the point of your message, many folks will think you don’t have a point and won’t stick around to find out.

Because people are busy and have the attention span of a gnat.

If you don’t get their attention immediately, they’re going to buzz away (do gnats buzz?)

Just the way it is.

This doesn’t mean you should never tell them about your day or your kid or something you’re working on. Just don’t lead with it.

Get their attention first. Tell them about other things later. Or weave those other things into your narrative to illustrate your points.

You listen to a baseball game on the radio to hear the play-by-play. The “color” commentary adds to that but can’t replace it.

There are exceptions. If you are an incredibly talented writer, or you’re writing to a captive audience, e.g., your clients who are inclined to read or listen to everything you say because they’re afraid of missing something important (to them), you can get away with some throat clearing before you begin your speech.

For everyone else, get to the point.