Another easy way to write a book

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You often hear me encourage you to write a book to promote your law practice. I’ve said it isn’t as difficult or time-consuming as you might think.

I’ve mentioned that one way to do it quickly is to have someone interview you and publish the transcript. I did this with an interview of a successful appellate attorney I did and another book based on an interview another attorney did of me.

If you’re interested in writing a book based on interviews, you can learn what to do in my book, The Easy Way to Write a Book.

Today, I want to show you another way to quickly publish a book.

I just uploaded a book to Kindle: How to Sell Your Legal Services in 15 Seconds or Less. It’s roughly 6000 words (so, short) and is essentially an updated version of a report I previously offered to new subscribers to my list.

You may have read a copy of the original report. If not, you can get the revised “book version” here.

So, there you go. Take something you’ve written before–a report, a presentation, or the transcript of an interview, and re-purpose it as an ebook.

If you don’t have anything suitable, you can write something in a day or two.

Take something you know well that your prospective clients might want to know, write it down or speak and record yourself. One hour of dictation (or an interview) should yield approximately 10,000 words.

And then, you’ll be able to add to your bio that you are a published author. You’ll also have a book published that can bring traffic to your website.

And that’s good traffic. Anyone who reads your book and comes to your website to learn more about you is “interested” in you.

You’ll also have something you can give away, to build your email or newsletter list.

Let me know if you have any questions about any of this, or you want some help getting your book written and published.

How to Sell Your Legal Services in 15 Seconds or Less

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Real ID is a real pain

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October 1, 2020, the new “Real ID” law goes into effect. After that date, you’ll need a Real ID card or other federally approved documents such as a passport or military ID to get on an airplane or enter a secure federal facility.

Did you know?

I didn’t until my wife renewed her driver’s license recently and found out about it. Later today, we’re headed to the DMV to submit our applications and supporting documents.

We hope we have everything we need. I say that because there are a lot of rules about which documents to bring, and if you get it wrong, “No soup for you!”

Do yourself a favor and find out what you need to do–and do it. As we get closer to the deadline and more people find out about this, you can be sure the lines are going to get longer.

Once you have a handle on what to do, give a heads up to your clients and prospects. Give them the link to get the details, apply online (if available in your state), and gather the required documents.

They’ll need a certified copy of their birth certificate, for example, and may need time to send for it.

Your clients will be glad you told them, glad they have you as their attorney.

Post a summary on your website. You might invite your clients to call your office if they have any questions.

Consider blogging about it, making a video or two, and posting on social.

You’ll generate some goodwill and get more people coming to your website where they will learn about the (paid) services you offer.

Your website can help you make the phone ring

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Spoilers

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I love a good hamburger and one of my favorite hamburger joints is In-N-Out Burger.

This morning, a video presented itself to me with the title, “BRITISH Try IN-N-OUT BURGER for the FIRST TIME!” so naturally, I read the description: “This is probably our most requested video EVER! We FINALLY GOT TO TRY IN-N-OUT and we LOVED it!”

Color me surprised.

Videos like these usually don’t tell you the verdict. You have to watch the thing to find out. Now I don’t have to.

For the record, even if they hadn’t revealed their opinion, I wouldn’t have invested 11:50 to find out.

Okay. I don’t know if posting “we LOVED it!” in the description was done intentionally, but in marketing, we do our best to come up with irresistible headlines and clickbait-y titles, to draw in readers and listeners to our content.

So, you have to wonder, is there anything to be gained by revealing the takeaway in advance?

The answer is, “maybe”.

If you’re a fan of the couple who made the video, if you’re one of the many who requested it, you watch it because it’s your thing.

If you’re crazy about IN-N-OUT and are curious to see what they ordered or to hear what they liked best or you want to know what they thought about the crowds or the service or the decor, or you’re bored and looking for something new to watch. . . maybe you watch even though you know how the movie ends.

Different strokes.

But this raises another question.

When you’re making videos, writing blog posts, or creating other content and hoping to get more eyes and ears on your creations, how do you know when (or if) you should provide spoilers?

You don’t.

But when you know your market well, eventually, you develop your Spidey Sense and know when it’s okay to break the rules.

Which is why you need to research your target market and make sure you know it inside and out (In-N-Out).

You can learn how to do that in my Email Marketing for Attorneys course.

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Do you have to get a lawyer to get divorced in Indiana?

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Saw this question posted on Quora. If you’re a divorce lawyer in Indiana, should you answer it?

Should you go looking for questions like this for your practice area or jurisdiction?

My take:

Answering questions on forums probably won’t bring in a lot of business. More importantly, the business it does bring probably won’t be high quality. 

Yes, there are exceptions. You might indeed get some decent clients this way. If you’re just starting out or you otherwise have the time to troll through forums and answer questions, why not?

Just don’t make this your primary marketing method.

On the other hand, there are some very good reasons why visiting forums and answering questions can be a good use of your time.

You’ll get to learn what people want to know about the law in your practice area. You’ll see the words they use to describe their situation, their pain, and their desired outcomes. This can help you write more effective marketing documents.

You can get some ideas for blog posts and your newsletter. Hey, I got this idea from a forum, didn’t I?

You could get some traffic to your website from the answers you post. That might improve your website “score” in the eyes of the search czars, and that could bring you some good clients.

Now, are you thinking what I’m thinking? Did a divorce lawyer in Indiana ask someone to post that question so he could answer it?

Devious minds want to know.

Your best clients come from referrals

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Give it away, give it away, give it away, now

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Some lawyers are concerned that if they give away too much information–through a blog or newsletter or other means–the people who consume that information won’t need to hire them.

“I’m paid for my knowledge and experience and I’m not going to give that away,” they say. “If they want information, they need to hire me.”

But here’s the thing.

It’s true that some people will take your information and never hire you. They’ll use that information and do the job themselves. But that’s a very small percentage of the whole and those people are unlikely to ever hire you anyway so you lose nothing.

Some people will do the job themselves, mess up–because they can’t do what you do even if you tell them how to do it, and hire you to fix their mess. You’ll get more business this way, not less.

And some people will see that it would be too difficult or time-consuming or risky to do the job themselves and hire you. They might not have done that had they not seen your information.

In other words, giving away information helps you get more clients because:

It educates prospective clients about the scope of their problem, the risks of ignoring it or trying to handle it themselves,

It demonstrates your knowledge, experience, and ability to help them solve their problem,

It distinguishes you from other lawyers who say, “If you want information, hire me,”

It attracts people who find your information through search or sharing, thus increasing the pool of prospective clients for your services, and

It sells them on choosing you because they get to hear your “voice” in that information and see what it would be like to have you represent them.

If you’re smart, and I know you are, you’ll give away lots of information, and let that information do most of your marketing for you.

What information you should put on your website

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3 simple ways to quickly create content

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You need more content for your blog or newsletter or channel. You don’t have a lot of time. What do you do?

Here are 3 ideas:

(1) The simplest source of new content is old content. Find something you’ve written before and re-use it. Convert a blog post into a video or vice versa.

Or, re-write it. Add some new information or examples.

Done.

(2) Almost as simple is to re-write something written by someone else.

Find a blog post or article by someone in your niche, put it into your own words and add your own examples or stories. Or, summarize the other person’s article and comment on it–what you agree with, what you don’t, and why.

Done.

One more.

(3) Respond to comments or questions posted on your social media, blog, or in your email inbox.

You can get some of your best content this way because you’re responding to real people with real questions about things you’re already thinking about or talking about.

And, done.

Wait, what? You don’t have any comments or questions you can respond to?

No problem. Go find someone else’s blog or social media and answer one of their questions.

Now, since you don’t have a lot of time, I’ll shut up and let you get to work.

More ideas here

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Stealing from other lawyers

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Yesterday, I said you should plagiarize yourself, that is, take your previously written, recorded, and presented material and re-use or re-purpose it. I also suggested that you pay attention to the emails, documents, and other materials sent to you by other lawyers, and use it for ideas for creating your own materials.

Today, I’m going to take things a bit further and suggest you blatantly steal from other lawyers.

Now, don’t lose your lunch. I’m not going to tell you to do anything illegal, immoral, unethical, or unbecoming of a professional.

What I mean is this:

Go online and find content in your practice area that other attorneys are publishing–on their blogs, in guest posts, articles and anywhere else you can find it. Look especially for material that is getting a lot of traffic, upvotes (Medium), Likes, shares, comments, and so on. You might use a tool like Buzzsumo.

Once you’ve found some popular articles, look for ways to cover the same subject or idea in a different or better way. A few ideas:

  • Take a post by a lawyer in another state and write a version of that post for your state
  • Write a more in-depth article on the subject, or a shorter, more accessible summary
  • Write a version of the article for a different type of client or market
  • Link to the article and provide additional arguments, stories, statutes, or case law, to support the argument posited in the article and why you agree with it
  • Link to the article and show why you disagree with it or explain when and why things can be different
  • Take one section of the article and explore it in depth
  • Take something barely mentioned (or not mentioned) in the article but relevant to the subject and write about it
  • Interview or survey other attorneys or subject matter experts on the subject for your own article

Re-write the headline, optimize the headline and body for keywords you target, and you’ll not only have new content for your blog or website, you’ll have something you know is likely to bring traffic and engagement.

And you’ll never again say, “I don’t know what to write about”.

More ideas here

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One day you might not need a website

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When I started practicing there was no Internet, few attorneys had computers or even fax machines, there was no social media, email, or instant messenger. We talked to people in person or on the phone. Or we mailed them a letter.

Marketing was done the old-fashioned way: networking, speaking, writing, and referrals. Oh yeah, we also had the Yellow Pages.

Yes, I’m an old fart.

By the time I retired from active practice, most of my business came from repeat business and referrals. It took a long time to get there but when I arrived, it was nice.

My father would tell you a similar story. So would my accountant, who is still practicing. To the best of my knowledge, neither have ever had a website or social media account.

The point?

If you’ve built your practice to a point that it sustains itself and continues to grow through repeat referrals and referrals, mazeltov. You can do whatever you want.

If you haven’t done that, if you are struggling, or if you still have big plans and a lot of gas in the tank, you need to consider doing some other things.

For starters, you need a decent website.

Today, when someone tells a friend about you, that friend goes online to check you out. If you don’t have a website where you can tell your story, show the world what you do and why someone should hire you, that friend may wind up in some other attorney’s waiting room.

If you have a website but it looks like something circa 1998, or you use AOL as your email provider, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

I’m not saying you need a great website. Just one that looks like it’s from the 21st century with some good content. Get your own domain name. And make it easy for visitors to call, email, follow you, share your content, and sign up for your newsletter.

This is not difficult to do. Or expensive. And if you do it right, your website can do a lot of your marketing for you.

When someone searches for a lawyer with your qualifications, or when someone (that includes you) sends them to your website, it can show them what they need to know, answer their questions, overcome their objections, and persuade them to take the next step.

Nice.

One day, you might not need a website. Until then, you might want to turn off the Starsky and Hutch reruns and get to work.

If your website needs an overall, get this

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Live, from your office. . .

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The other day I recommended not relying solely on live presentations but to record them so they can go to work for you 24/7.

It’s leverage. Do it once, use it over and over again.

But don’t stop doing live presentations.

I don’t just mean “live and in person”. I mean live online. Podcasts, hangouts, chats, webinars, and so on, that are presented in real time. There’s magic in something done live.

When you promote a recorded video, it’s harder to create a sense of urgency. You can say, “This will only be available until. . .” but you then lose the ability to get eyeballs on an ongoing basis. If you leave it up all the time, many people say, “I’ll catch it later,” but we all know that later often never comes.

When you do it live, however, you can promote it as a special event because it is special. You can say, or more likely imply “Never before and never again,” has this been done, creating an even bigger sense of urgency.

When it’s live, you can say, “Join me” or “Ask me anything” and thus provide more value and build a closer relationship with your followers. Or you can promote it by saying you’re presenting some new or timely information that shouldn’t be missed.

One of the biggest draws of a live event is that nobody knows what will happen. What will be said, what will be asked, what information will be shared for the first time? And let’s face it, one reason people watch live events is that they know it could be a train wreck and they want to see that.

One way to make your live events have more train-wreck potential is to have someone else speak with you. If you have a co-presenter, a panel discussion, you interview someone or have someone interview you, the likelihood of something noteworthy or cringeworthy happening is even greater. (You’ll also get the other speakers’ followers to tune in.)

Do some live events and watch your subscriber numbers and engagement soar. Of course, you should also record these events so you can use them again or make them available 24/7. But you might not want to mention that you’re recording it when you promote it for the first time.

Let your website do the heavy lifting: Marketing online for attorneys

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Don’t just tell me about your legal services, tell me what problems you solve

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People contact you and ask about your services. Or they find your website and have a look around. Some of those people are looking for X service because they believe that X is what they need. Other people don’t know what they need, they just know they have a legal problem.

If you’re smart (and you are), you’ll tell people about both the solutions (services) you offer and the problems you solve.

You have a “Services” or “Practice Areas” page on your website, right? If you don’t, uh, hello, McFly? If someone finds your website by searching for X, you want to show them that you do X, right?

Okay.

You should also have a “Problems We Solve” or a “How We Can Help You” page that describes the problems you solve, prevent, or mitigate, or the objectives you help clients attain.

Your “Problems” summary page should then link to pages where you present text and video content about those problems and the solutions you offer. You can then link to your specific “Services” pages(s).

Make sense? Sure. It also makes dollars.

Learn more about creating a website that sells

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