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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How to blog without a blog

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If you want the benefits of a blog but don’t want to (or aren’t allowed to) set one up, guest blogging is a great option. Basically, that means posting content on other people’s blogs and other digital platforms.

You get exposure to their subscribers and visitors who hear some of your wisdom, read your brief bio, and follow a link back to your website, where they learn more about what you do and how you can help them.

Are you seeing the possibilities?

You also get the implied endorsement of the publisher who posts your article; sometimes, you get their actual endorsement. Sometimes, you build a relationship with them, which leads to more marketing opportunities.

And you’re not committed to a publishing schedule. You write if and when you choose to do that.

Why would a blog owner publish your article? Because they get some great content for their readers that they don’t have to write themselves, from a top authority (that’s you) to boot. And they know that said authority is likely to promote said content, sending traffic to said blog.

And all they have to do is say yes.

How do you start? By making a list of influential bloggers in your niche that accept guest posts. Review their content and think about how you could contribute.

If their posts allow it, you could start by commenting on their existing posts. Make sure you mention you are an attorney. Check back later to see if the blog owner responds to your comment.

So step one is to get noticed. But you can skip this step and go straight to step two.

Step two is to approach the blog publisher and offer to write a guest post. Tell them a bit about your legal background and writing experience. If you’ve published elsewhere, give them a few links.

Your goal is to get published on the top blogs in your niche. Those with lots of authority and traffic. But if you’re starting out, start anywhere.

Especially with anyone you personally know who might say yes because they know you.

Get your foot in a couple of doors and before you know it, your articles might get in front of a lot of people who need your services but didn’t know who you were.

If you’re ready to start your own blog, this will help

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Read this first

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You have a lot of good content on your website and your visitors want to read it.

They want to know what you can tell them about their problems and your solutions. They want to know what you have done for other clients and what you can do for them. They want to know what you’re like as a person and why they should trust you as their attorney.

You have this information on your site, but your visitors don’t know where to find it. Or where to start.

Help them. Take them by the hand and show them where to go to get the information they want and the information you want them to know.

Provide a site map and an index of your content. Tell them which page to visit if they want to know X and which page to visit if they want to know Y.

Most visitors haven’t been to your site before. You might want to “greet” them with a page just for “first-time visitors” and give them a tour.

Some visitors have been to your site or heard you speak or read something you wrote on another site. They want to know what to read next or they have questions. You should have a page for them.

Your clients might come to your site to see “what else” you do or learn about updates or addons. Some want to refer a friend. Make sure they know where to go, what to read, and what to do next.

Consider adding “welcome” pages and indices for professionals who might have someone to refer, and for people who have spoken to another attorney and are looking for a second opinion.

Don’t leave it to your visitors to navigate their way through a forest of content. Give them a playlist.

Because if you leave it to them, they might get to your site, see a forest of content, and turn around and leave.

What to include on your website or blog

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Blog or newsletter?

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Many ask whether they should start a blog or a newsletter to market their practice. They require different resources and workflows and it’s understandable to ask, “Which one is better?”

But that’s the wrong question. The right question is, “Which one should I start first?” because, ultimately, why wouldn’t you have both?

If you write a blog post, why not email it to your list? If you email an article to your list, why not also post it on ye old blog?

Why not also post said content on social media, record it as a video, repurpose it as an ebook, and print it for a handout?

Why indeed?

So, that’s the plan. But if you’re just starting down the content marketing road, where do you start?

I’d start with a blog. It’s easy to set up and the sooner you do that, the sooner you can get some traffic coming to visit your “store”.

Visitors will consume your content and share it. Search engines will index you and send you more eyeballs. And while folks are consuming your content, they will learn what you do and how you can help them.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Once you set up your blog and post 10 or 15 articles, start your newsletter.

And send all of your blog posts to your list.

Once a week, more often if you can, less often if you can’t, post and email something to your visitors and subscribers. Re-post that content, or links thereto, on your socials, and encourage your readers and visitors to share it on theirs.

And just like that, people are finding you, hearing about your wicked ways, and eventually, ready to contact you to ask questions or schedule an appointment.

You can set up a blog in a few minutes. Click this, choose that, and done. A newsletter might take you a weekend or two, because you have more options and decisions.

You can hire someone to set things up for you or help you, but I suggest you learn how to do it yourself so you don’t have to call someone every time you want to change something.

You should write the content yourself, or most of it, because your blog and newsletter represent you and what you would say if you were speaking to prospective clients in person.

Schedule one hour a week for writing and posting.

If you’re brandy new to all this, you can work on everything “in private” before you open to the public. Write articles, hang curtains, make everything pretty, and when you’re ready, hang up an “open for business” sign in your window.

But don’t wait too long. Clients are waiting to find you.

How to create a newsletter that does most of your marketing for you

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More ways to get traffic to your blog

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Yesterday, I said there are other ways to get traffic to your blog besides search. Paid advertising should be considered, but there are others that are free (other than the time it takes to use them, but you can have an assistant do most of this for you) and, arguably, better.

For starters, you should routinely ask your clients, professional contacts, and newsletter subscribers to share your content with their friends, clients, customers, and others who might need help or be interested in your (great) content.

Your blog should also prominently display share icons so visitors can easily share your content on social.

Simple. And smart. When someone who knows you or follows you shares your content, they are referring people to your digital door and implying that you’re good at what you do.

That’s a referral, isn’t it?

What else. . .

Mention your blog and link to it everywhere:

  • In your email “signature” and the signature at the bottom of articles you publish elsewhere
  • In your bio, when you are introduced at a speaking event
  • In interviews, when the host asks you how people can learn more about you
  • Print copies of some of your content for the table in your waiting room and the table at the back of the room at speaking events
  • Put print and/or digital copies in your “new client welcome kit” to share with friends and family

You have access to an army of people who know, like, and trust you. Use them.

What about the rest of the universe?

Social media (if that’s your thing) can be a good source of traffic. Flakebook, Quora, Reddit, Linkedin, and many others have groups you can join or discussions about subjects within your area of expertise you can take part in.

Answer questions or comment on the answers provided by others, and link to your blog.

You can do the same thing in consumer or business forums.

You can share your content on sites like Medium and direct readers to your blog for more of your wisdom about the subject.

You can find small blogs in your niche, even those written by other attorneys (or perhaps especially those), and comment on their posts, with a link to your blog. You can also offer to write guest posts for those blogs.

And, when you have enough content, you can gather up your posts and create an ebook, which you can sell on Amazon, and/or offer to visitors to your site, as an incentive to sign up for your newsletter.

There, that should keep you busy for a while. Busy with new clients, that is.

Email (and blog) marketing for attorneys

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7 ways to grow your law practice with videos

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Everybody (and their brother) likes to watch videos and you can use them to build your practice.

You don’t need expensive equipment or software or spend a lot of time recording and editing. And you don’t have to appear on camera.

Because it’s not about the videos, it’s about the content.

Here are 7 ideas for videos to make that content:

  1. Explain something. Tell people about the law, legal issues in the news, teach them how to do something, share your opinions, and anything else your market would like to know about your area of expertise.
  2. Interview someone. Ask another lawyer a series of questions about their practice area. Interview your business clients, authors, bloggers, and subject-matter experts. Ask a friend to interview you.
  3. FAQs. Invite your subscribers, clients, or followers to submit questions and answer them.
  4. Talk about your work. Describe your services, who might need them, and when. Tell folks what you can do to help them and how to get more information or take the next step.
  5. Show how you make the sausages. Demonstrate your document creation software, calendaring system, research systems; explain how you open a new file, investigate, or prepare for trial.
  6. Recommendations and reviews. Software, books, websites, businesses, trade shows, courses—anything you recommend or have heard good things about.
  7. Promote your other content. Show folks your website, blog, articles, books, podcasts, newsletter, and other videos, and your upcoming presentations or publications. Tell them what they’ll learn and encourage them to read, watch, listen, subscribe, and share.

You can also re-use content you’ve previously created. Convert your blog posts or articles into videos (read and record), upload your presentations, podcasts, webinars, or panel discussions.

Post your videos on your channel and blog and encourage others to share them on theirs.

You’ll get more traffic, subscribers, followers, leads, repeat business and referrals.

You might also have a lot of fun, you ham.

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Getting traffic old school style

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You want more prospective clients to visit your website, to see what you do and how you can help them. The more who visit, the more clients you get.

You can improve your SEO. You can advertise. Or you can get more traffic with some old school tactics.

Here’s the plan:

Step One: Create Content.

Create 10 or 20 articles that talk about the things prospective clients want to know—their problems, their risks, the law, the procedure, timing, options, and what you can do to help them.

The kinds of things they search for when they are online, or ask you about when they talk to you.

Each article should mention one or more of your services and link to a page that provides more information. That page should tell them how to get their questions answered or get started.

Create an “index” or directory page that links to these articles and post that page throughout your site. You want to help visitors find your content and, once they’ve consumed one article, to see what else you have available.

Step Two: Promote Your Content

Copy your index page, add your website address and contact information, and distribute this in print and digitally:

  • Email it to your clients, ask them to forward it to anyone who might like to see this information
  • Mail it or hand a print copy to clients and former clients (for them and/or to hand out)
  • Send it to referral sources, to give to their friends and clients
  • Put copies in your waiting room; if you have business clients, ask them to put copies in their waiting room
  • Pass them out at your speaking engagements
  • Put it in your new client kit
  • Offer it on your social channels
  • Offer it at the bottom of articles you publish elsewhere
  • Offer it to listeners/viewers when you are interviewed

And so on.

You can also gather up your articles, or the ‘best of’, into a booklet or report, and distribute that. You might offer it as a lead magnet to anyone who opts in to your newsletter, for example.

Old school. Easy to do, zero cost, and highly effective for driving traffic to your site and prospective clients into your loving arms.

More

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Do you need more than one website?

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Do you need more than one website? Most lawyers and law firms don’t. But there are several reasons to at least consider the benefits of having additional sites.

If you do PPC ads or SEO and target highly competitive keywords, having a site that’s “tuned” for those keywords could give you an advantage. If you do broadcast or display advertising for major tort cases or consumer class actions, having sites dedicated to those matters also makes sense.

If you target very different markets, financial professionals on the one hand and first responders on the other, for example, or businesses and consumers, having separate sites that provide content, testimonials, use cases and offers appropriate for those markets may also be a good idea.

The same goes for your practice areas. Your business clients might not be interested in your criminal defense work and might actually see you in a different light if those practice areas are promoted on the same site. And remember, clients prefer to hire lawyers who specialize, so keeping what you do separate from what else you do might be a sound practice.

Do you have different locations or practice in different jurisdictions? Do you target clients who speak different languages? You might want to “localize” your marketing with separate sites for each location or language.

If you want to test special offers for new clients, without alienating your existing clients, maintaining separate sites is a good way to insulate yourself.

Finally, if you have more than one or two lawyers, especially in different practice areas, you might want each lawyer to have their own site in addition to the firm’s site.

That way, each lawyer can build their individual brand, post their own practice-area specific content, maintain their own blog, promote their own newsletter and social media channels, and otherwise do their own marketing, without getting in the way of anything being done by the other lawyers, or the firm.

So yeah, different websites might be just what the doctor ordered.

How to create a website that makes the phone ring

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Milk it

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You like the idea of writing shorter emails and articles and using them to stay in touch with your subscribers and followers. You like being able to get your blog post or newsletter done in less than an hour.

You have time to do that. But what if you need to or want to write longer pieces?

Some content can take hours to write. Or days. You can’t do that every day or every week.

You don’t have to.

You can use all the research and writing you do to create a 5000 word article, report, podcast, or presentation to create additional content, the kind of content you can create in minutes because you’ve already done the heavy lifting.

The research is done. The writing is done. Go back to your original material and create new content:

  • A summary of the key issues or arguments
  • Profiles of the parties or stakeholders
  • Additional issues or cases related to your subject
  • A list of resources
  • Answers to FAQs
  • Additional comments by you or others
  • Additional cases or examples you didn’t use
  • Recommendations for readers in different niches
  • A PDF collection of your slides, notes, or case summaries
  • Transcripts of interviews from your research
  • And on and on

Each of these ancillary bits of content shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to put together.

You might get a month or two of additional posts out your original post or presentation.

Each post gives you another opportunity to stay in touch with and provide value to your readers and followers. Each post gives you another opportunity to be found through search and social.

And, when you think you’ve milked your original content dry and there’s nothing left to write, write one more post summarizing and linking to all of your posts, for the people who came late to your party, and for those who will come next month and next year.

Email Marketing for Attorneys

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Would you hire you?

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Here’s an interesting exercise. . .

Pretend you are someone else. A prospective client who’s never heard of you or what you offer.

You come across your website, presentation or other content. You read or listen. Examine the services, benefits, and offer.

Would you respond? Make an appointment? Call and ask questions?

Would you send referrals? Forward the link? Recommend the content?

If so, why? What persuaded you? If not, what stopped you?

You may not be your prospective client and you may have different standards than they do, but you can put yourself in their shoes and give yourself an objective once over.

Do you make a good impression? Are you the kind of lawyer you would want to work with?

Do you appear honest, caring, and thorough? Are you tough enough? Smart enough? Successful enough?

Do you answer frequently asked questions, show the visitor you understand their situation, and persuade them to take the next step?

Does something need to be fixed, added, or removed?

Give it a shot. Take a look and ask yourself: Would you hire you?

The Quantum Leap Marketing System for Lawyers

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