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


It’s not just what you say, but when you say it


It’s called “staging” and it makes your written or spoken message more effective by putting your points in the most effective order. 

For example, you stage your material when you start an article or presentation with the problem, not the solution, and follow that by explaining the risks of ignoring the problem or choosing a poor solution. 

After you describe the risks, you build on that with examples of what might happen, the costs, delays, pain and suffering, and secondary problems that can occur. 

Now, you have your reader’s attention and the desire to hear the solution. When you then describe the solution, e.g., your services, they’re all ears and ready to know what to do to get this solution. 

You tell them what to do, e.g., call, fill out a form, etc., and to seal the deal, you tell them the benefits of taking that next step—clarity, relief, a proven plan of action, saving money, etc. 

That’s staging. That’s using a logical order to improve your audience’s understanding, build tension, and show them a way to release that tension precisely when your reader or listener is most likely to do it.

But staging isn’t just the order in which you present the elements of your message. It’s also about how you transition from one element to the next. 

Want an example? (There, “Want an example?” is an example of a transitional phrase that pulls the reader forward to the next element, in this case, an example).

Transitional phrases keep readers reading and listeners listening. They do that by asking questions and painting pictures in their mind with statements that get them to focus on an image or feeling, ready to hear more.

There are many ways to accomplish this. For example, you can ask, “What do you think might happen if. . ?” and letting their imagination do the rest. Or, “Imagine how you’ll feel when you no longer have. . .”. 

You can also use transitional phrases to transition to your call to action or close. 

A few examples:

“At this point, there are 3 questions you should be asking yourself. . .”

“When I show this to people, they usually tell me/ask me. . .”

“Here are your options. . . which one makes the most sense to you?” 

“If this describes your situation, here’s what I recommend. . .”

Think of this type of transitional phrase as a palate cleanser, making the reader ready for the next course. 

Anyway, this is just a brief introduction to staging and transitional phrases. You don’t need to be a marketing expert or copywriter to use them. But do pay attention to how others use them in their writing and presentations, and consider how you might use them in yours.


Leveraging other people’s content


Some lawyers buy “canned” content for their newsletter or blog. They pay a company for the rights to publish individual articles or entire newsletters and don’t have to write anything themself. 

It’s better than nothing because it gives them an excuse to stay in touch with clients and prospects but while these articles are usually well-written, they are necessarily generic—there’s nothing in them about the lawyer or his clients or cases, which is why people continue to consume that content. 

For years, I’ve said it’s okay to buy canned content but to re-write it. Put it in your own words, with your advice and comments and stories about your clients and people in your readers’ world. 

On the other hand, you don’t have to pay for content, canned or otherwise. The Internet is awash with it, and free. 

Find blogs and articles or videos about topics that will benefit or interest your readers and put that content in your own words. 

But you have another option. 

Instead of rewriting other people’s content, simply mention that content in your newsletter. Tell your readers why you recommend the article and provide a link. 

It might be an article by someone in your target market’s industry or market, or someone who sells to or advises that market. Even other attorneys.

That content could be anything. A how-to article, a product review video, a book review, a new website or product that might interest your readers—literally anything. All you need is a sentence or two about why the article caught your eye and why you recommend it. 

Is there something new (or newsworthy) in it? Something helpful or interesting or different? 

You don’t need to write more than a sentence or two and provide a link. But you can add whatever you want. 

Explain how your readers might use this information, or why they shouldn’t. Quote from the video or summarize parts of it. Share your thoughts and experiences, or those you’ve observed or heard about from clients, colleagues, or friends. 

This is a quick and easy way to create content and provide value to your subscribers, without doing a lot of writing yourself. 


Make them come to you


You’ve heard it before—don’t chase clients. Because it looks bad (and feels bad) and usually pushes cliens away because you look needy and unsuccessful. 

Clients want to hire successful lawyers, and if you’re chasing, that’s not you. 

Something else, when they chase you, they’re usually willing to pay more to work with you. 

So don’t chase, make them come to you. 

How? What marketing strategies are best for attracting clients? 

First (by a long shot) are referrals. When clients and professionals and business contacts recommend you, it is the ultimate affirmation of your success. They know you. They’ve seen your work. And their recommendations make their referrals easier to sign up. 

You also tend to get better clients and bigger cases through referrals than any other marketing method.

On the other hand, you can’t scale as quickly as you might like via referrals, which leads to my second recommendation—advertising. 

Surprised? Don’t be. Advertising allows you to maintain posture.

You’re not chasing anyone because you’re not talking to anyone—until they decide they like what they see and want to talk to you. 

Yep, they come to you. 

And advertising scales. And can pay for itself. When you have an ad (or campaign) that works, you can run more ads in more places. You can run bigger ads and run them more often. And bid on more competitive keywords. 

You don’t have to advertise your services directly if that’s not something you want to (or are allowed to) do. You can advertise your book or report, your channel or blog, your seminar, or anything else that gets your name and offer in front of prospective clients and the people who can refer them.

They see, they like, they come to you.

The third way to get clients to come to you is through content marketing. 

You share information about the law, explain problems and solutions, and show people what’s possible, and in doing that, those people see that you know what you’re doing and become interested in learning more about how you can help them.

They come to you. 

You can do content marketing via a blog, newsletter, podcast, video channel, or by being interviewed on someone else’s channel or for their newsletter. You can speak at industry events, conduct seminars, network with people in your target market, or offer your content via social media. 

Or through advertising. 

Referrals, advertising, and content marketing. Three proven strategies for making clients come to you. 


Are you giving clients too many options?


Have you ever heard the expression, “A confused mind says ‘no’?” Research confirms it—when we have too many choices, we often choose nothing. 

A confused mind says ‘no’ because it is confused. 

When you give people too many options, you make their decision more difficult. In your marketing, therefore, rule number one should be to make things simple for clients and prospects, and that usually means giving them fewer options. 

Do you have an ad that describes all of your services? Do you feature all of your practice areas in your content? Clients might be impressed by your capabilities, but they’re usually looking for the solution to one problem. Too many options or offers, especially when most of them are not currently relevant, make decisions more challenging, which is why people tend to say no. 

This is also true with content creation. If you give people too many articles or blog posts to read, videos to watch, or events to attend, it is more likely they will choose “none”.

This doesn’t mean you should eliminate other options. It means featuring or leading with the best, the most relevant, the most likely to become a gateway to your other content or services. 

Post everything on your website, but make the visitor dig for it if they want it. Or send it to them later in your email sequence.

But just as offering too many options can lead to confusion and fewer “sales,” offering only one option can do the same. If the prospective client sees they can hire you for service X and service X doesn’t tick all the boxes for them, they have no other choice but to say “no”. 

Which is why it might be better to give them two options instead of “hire me or don’t”. 

When I created my first marketing course, I thought about offering several packages but eventually settled for just two: Basic and Deluxe. Instead of “yes” or “no,” the choice became this package or that one and it resulted in more sales. 

If you want more people to read your content, sign up for your list, or choose you as their lawyer, don’t give them too many options, or too few.


Need a topic for your blog, stat?


It’s happens to everyone. They need to post an article on their blog or in their newsletter, but don’t know what to write. And the clock is ticking. 

No problem. 

It’s okay to write about subjects you’ve written about before. Your “go to” topics. Things you know well and can talk about with ease. 

It’s also okay to grab something you’ve written before and use it again. 


An article, part of a presentation or report, any content in your archive. 

Re-post or re-publish it, as is. With no changes or additions. 

I do it. Everyone does it. And guess what? Your readers either won’t notice or won’t care.

You have new subscribers or visitors who never saw it. You have old subscribers who saw it but didn’t care about it because they didn’t have that problem (but now they do). Your article might be precisely the thing they need to see today and they will marvel at how you must be reading their mind, and be grateful that you are.

Or forward it to a friend who just told them they have that problem. 

And guess what? Even if your readers have seen it before, that doesn’t mean they paid attention. (How many times have you reminded your clients not to do something or say something? Or to come in to talk to you about something?)

Remind them again in your newsletter. 

Of course, if you have a little time, go ahead and update your old post. Re-write or re-edit it, change the headline or title (or keywords), emphasize different points, add new examples, add a different graphic if you want to, or shorten or lengthen the post. 

Your newsletter, your rules. 

Okay, maybe don’t re-use posts you published last month; give it some time. 

And relax. Be easy about this. You won’t get a knock on the door from the blog police hastling you for reposting something. 

After publishing thousands of articles and blog posts, and endlessly repeating topics, I’ve never once had anyone say, “Again? Don’t you have anything else to write about?”

Of course, there’s always a first time

More easy ways to create content for a newsletter or blog