Post Google calendar events to Evernote with KanMeet extension for Chrome

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In Evernote for Lawyers I wrote about how I use Evernote with my calendar, specifically, to track future events and tickler items. Until Evernote comes out with a native solution, I use a manual workaround–posting “note links” on my calendar that allow me to call up the note that corresponds to the calendared event.

I said I expected we would see various third party tools for coordinating calendars with Evernote. I’ve tried Tusk Tools, a Windows app, and Zendone, a web and iOS app. Both connect your Google calendars to your Evernote account, and do this well.

Yesterday, I discovered KanMeet, an extension for Chrome. It does not offer two way synchronization between calendar and Evernote, but simply sends newly created calendar events to Evernote as a new note. Not a perfect solution, but what it does it does well.

When you install the extension, it adds an option to the new event creation page to “Post to Evernote.” Events are sent to your designated Evernote notebook when you click, “Create Event,” or “Save.”

After installing the extension and restarting my browser, I created a new event, filled in the details, and saved. A new note appeared in my default Evernote notebook with the details of the event. I can then add additional details, documents, checklists, or anything else that might be needed for the appointment or event.

Very handy.

But because KanMeet does not offer two-way synchronization, on the day of the event, you have to find the note manually. Here are three ways I can think of for making this easier:

  1. You can record the “creation date” of the note (the date you created the event) in the details section of the event. Then, you can search for the note in Evernote by creation date, with or without additional key words.
  2. A second method is to add an “Event” tag to the note and click on that tag to find all of your event-related notes. They will, however, be listed in the order you created them, not the order of the event date, so you would also want to use key words or other tags in your search. Alternatively, you can put all event-related notes in an Event notebook.
  3. The most accurate way to find the note is to paste the Evernote “note link” into the details section of the event detail on your calendar. This is what I currently do. On the day of the event, that link will call up the corresponding note. However, the note link is not clickable (Google’s limitation) and you have to copy/paste the link into a new browser window to launch the Evernote note. It’s a clumsy extra step but it works. (NB: on iOS, the note link is clickable in the calendar apps I’ve tried.)

Despite its limitations, KanMeet works well and does save time. Until Evernote provides us with another option, such as the long awaited “Due Date” field which will allow us to add future dates to notes and sort by those dates, this allows me to quickly create notes from calendared events.

To use KanMeet, you must use Google Calendar and Chrome. You can find it in the Chrome store.

Have you found other ways to coordinate your calendar with Evernote? Please share in the comments.

Evernote for Lawyers: A Guide to Getting Organized & Increasing Productivity is available here.

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Eight ways to use audio recording apps for marketing

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I was reading some of the reviews for Dictamus, the dictation app I use on my iphone. Many lawyers and physicians extol its virtues, saying things like, “best on the market, ” “replaced my 0 dictation equipment,”and “I use it every single day.”

I don’t dictate to a secretary these days, but I do dictate to myself. My phone is always with me so it’s very convenient to capture notes or ideas on the fly. I also dictate entire articles, letters, and other longer documents, using Dictamus’ “insert” function to insert new thoughts into the middle of already recorded sentences. Yep, just like  the old cassette and belt dictation machines I used to use.

Anyway, I started thinking about how audio recording apps (any app will do) can be used for marketing. In addition to the obvious use of recording ideas for articles, people to call, things to do, and dictating complete articles, emails, and letters, here’s what I came up with:

  1. Networking: record details after meeting new contact (where, when, what you talked about, etc.)
  2. Interviews with subject matter experts for podcasts, or transcribe for written articles
  3. Record audio track to add to video slide presentation
  4. Practice your next presentation
  5. Record consultations with prospective clients, give to them as added bonus
  6. Create audio book to sell or give away for lead generation
  7. Record brainstorming sessions with partners, staff
  8. Record consultations with hired consultants, live trainings, teleconferences, or webinars

Do use audio recording apps (or digital recorders) for marketing in your practice? What do you do? Which apps do you use? Please add to the comments.

Want more marketing ideas? Of course you do. Click here.

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Marketing legal services by offering digital document signing

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Technology allows us to get legal documents signed without ever printing them. This post on the Evernote blog shows how to do that with two free apps, Docusign and Evernote (or Box, Google Drive, Dropbox).

I have Docusign and several other apps like it. I have pdf’s emailed, open them in the app, sign them, and send them back. It saves time, paper, postage and/or the cost of a messenger. And saving a copy in Evernote allows me to access those documents everywhere. (For more on how to use Evernote for storing client and other documents, check out my ebook, Evernote for Lawyers: A Guide to Getting Organized & Increasing Productivity).

If you have a tech savvy client, they can download the app to sign and return the documents to you by email. If you don’t, or if you need to explain the document to the client before signing, you can meet with them and have them sign on your tablet.

Offering digital signing is a benefit to you and to the client. If you offer it, you should promote the fact that you do. Make a big deal out it. Let clients and prospects know what you do, how it works, and how it saves them time and money.

Even if other attorneys do it the same way, most of them don’t promote it. When you do, you will “own” that benefit in the eyes of your target market.

To stand out in the crowd, you must show people how you are different. Click here to learn how.

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New iPhone? Here are the apps I use and recommend

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A Facebook friend posted that they just got a new iPhone and wanted suggestions for apps. I just went through my screens and jotted down the apps I use the most and thought I would share them with you.

I’ve downloaded hundreds of apps, most of which I quickly abandoned. Some had a steep learning curve or were confusing. Some duplicated apps I already had that did the same thing, only better. And some I just didn’t like.

Of course everyone has different needs and preferences. This is just my list and it is by no means complete. Just the apps I use the most.

I’ve included a few excellent apps I don’t use that much. Dictamus is one example. You can replace your expensive dictation machine with this app. iA writer is another. I don’t do much long form writing on my iPhone. Small screen, small keyboard, old eyes. I make notes on my phone and do my writing on my laptop.

I try new apps all the time because I’m always looking for better and easier ways to do things, and because it’s fun. I like apps that are well suited for the job, and actively developed and supported. Many of my favorites are at or near the top of their categories.

I’ve organized my list by category. Please let me know (in the comments) if you use these apps, and if not, what you use instead.

Productivity

  • Evernote (Essential. Nuff said.)
  • Drafts (Great for quick notes that are uploaded to other apps (including Evernote).
  • Workflowy (I’ve been using this a lot lately; great for outlining. I use the web app mostly, and tweak my outlines on my phone; if you sign up for a free account through this link, you’ll get more free space (and so will I).
  • iA writer (Simple, distraction free writing with few options. Sync to Dropbox, iCloud, other devices.)

Business

  • Dictamus (Best dictation software; try the free version and you’ll see)
  • Jotnot Scanner Pro (I have others but mostly use this)

Utilities

  • Easy Calendar (Simple, quick to update)
  • Pocket Informant (Used this for a long time. Very capable, but more than I need; find it in Productivity)

News

  • Instapaper (Must have; anything saved for later reading, but not in Evernote, goes here)
  • Newsify (Google RSS)
  • Stitcher Radio (Live radio, podcasts)
  • Flipboard (News, social media feeds)
  • Zite (News, blog feeds, great for finding sources you don’t currently follow)
  • AppAdvice (For finding new apps and reading reviews)

Social Media

I have the native apps for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but don’t do much updating on my phone. When I do, I usually post from other apps (i.e., Drafts, Flipboard).

Other

I also have (and use) Youtube, Google, and Kindle. I have several apps for document downloading, storage, (Dropbox, etc.) and editing, but I prefer to use their desktop or web app equivalents. I listen to Pandora and Spotify. I don’t download games any more, but I do play Words With Friends.

So that’s my list. How about yours?

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Evernote for Business: Is it right for your law firm?

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Evernote has launched Evernote for Business, which promises enhanced sharing capability for the workplace. For lawyers, the idea is that your firm would have it’s own business account, with a library of shared notes (documents) which employees (with permission)  can access. You and your employees can also have your own personal Evernote notebooks which are private.

Does your firm need this capability? I’m not so sure.

Personal Evernote accounts already allow sharing. You can set up one or more notebooks in your account and share those notebooks with others in the firm. Sharing basic firm documents such as email templates, checklists, and blank forms is pretty straightforward. Where things get hairy is with sharing client files or other non-public information.

In Evernote for Lawyers, I discussed the idea of storing client files in Evernote. If it’s just you who is accessing that information, your comfort level will depend on whether you feel the need to encrypt that information before uploading it. The more critical issue is sharing that information electronically with others in your firm.

Evernote can be accessed anywhere there is an Internet connection, so if your employees aren’t as careful as you are, someone who is not authorized to access those shared notebooks might be able to do so. If your secretary’s laptop is stolen, for example, your client files could wind up in the wrong hands.

I don’t know how Evernote for Business handles permissions and other security issues, but if it makes shared access to private information more secure, that alone would make it worth considering. The added functionality it promises would be icing on the cake.

Evernote for Business is $10 per month per employee, a small investment if it allows you to set up a secure virtual filing cabinet for your firm. But that remains to be seen.

Are you planning to use Evernote for Business? Let me know in the comments.

Evernote for Lawyers shows you how to use Evernote for marketing, GTD, blogging, AND storing client files.  

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Evernote search just got easier. Well, sorta

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Although I use it extensively, I don’t write much about technology. One reason is that by the time I’m up to speed on a new piece of software or hardware, it’s usually old news. One exception is Evernote, my favorite tech tool.

I’ve written before about how I use Evernote for everything from note taking to writing to managing all of the information in my personal and professional life. I also use it for Getting Things Done (GTD).

In fact, so great is my love for Evernote, I wrote a book about it: Evernote for Lawyers: A Guide to Getting Organized & Increasing Productivity.

I included in the book’s resources an extensive list of Evernote’s “Search Operators”–the syntax used by Evernote to find notes. These search operators are powerful but can be difficult to remember, so many of us use “Saved Searches,” another Evernote feature that comes in handy, especially with complex searches. But Saved Searches don’t help when you’re looking for something for the first time.

I just found an alternative that looks promising. BitQwik is free software (for PC’s and Mac’s that can run Windows) that serves as a front end portal for searching your Evernote database using natural language. That is, you don’t have to remember precise search operators to find something. Instead, you can use a regular query, much like you would ask Siri.

Here are some examples, from the BitQwik web site:

  • “Show me notes created between May 1st and March 15 that are tagged with robotics, surgical robots, or telepresence”
  • “I want notes sent to me via the E-mail gateway”
  • “Find my encrypted notes that have the words financial data or private in the title but leave out notes I created yesterday”
  • “Give me notes with pictures from Skitch”

I usually find notes in Evernote by browsing tags and using a few simple search operators. But as my database has grown to over 5,000 notes, I find myself relying more on search, and BitQwik looks like it might be just what the doctor ordered.

I just downloaded BitQwik, so I don’t have a lot to report just yet. If it pans out, I could see Evernote adopting this technology, and that would be great because I don’t like the idea of using yet another piece of software. But I’m not holding my breath because everything Evernote does has to work on ten platforms, not just one, and that doesn’t happen overnight.

If you’ve tried BitQwik, let me know what you think. You can add your comments below, or join me on the Evernote Forum.

Get your copy of Evernote for Lawyers. Unless you don’t want to be organized and productive.

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More ways to use Google Alerts to grow your practice

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I’ve written before about using Google Alerts to spy on your competition and to find out what others are saying about you and your clients. Every day I get an email alert with links to articles and posts that mention my name and the key words I target in my marketing. I get to see what others are saying about me or my market and get ideas for articles.

I just found out that when it comes to Google Alerts, I’m a piker.

This excellent post provides a roundup of different ways the author uses alerts to leverage his brand (his name and business), authority, traffic and sales. Thanks to this, I see so much more I can do.

For example, although I have an alert for my name, I never considered adding one with variations of my name. The same goes for my web sites. I could be missing mentions that don’t get the name just right, but I will now.

I also like his suggestion for monitoring questions in your niche. “You can monitor your niche for a range of question based terms and then jump in and provide an expert answer with a link back to your site,” he says.

An estate planning attorney could create alerts for “Why * living trust”, “How * avoid probate”, or “Does * avoid estate taxes”, for example. The author says, “Every time I create a new piece of content that answers questions about a certain topic I setup corresponding alerts so I can direct people to the answer.”

Nice.

The author has suggestions for using alerts to monitor mentions about your content, finding new guest post and link building opportunities, monitoring your site’s security. and discovering new niches.

The author challenges you to be creative in how you use alerts. Okay, here’s an idea: let’s say our estate planning attorney would like to network with CPA’s who represent small businesses in his or her local market. Our estate planner could create an alert that notifies them when a CPA in their market posts new content with appropriate key words. Our estate planner could then contact the CPA to compliment them, promote their content, and invite them to lunch.

I like that you don’t have to be tech savvy to use google alerts, nor do you have to let them overwhelm you. You can set up alerts for daily or weekly notification, and have those results delivered via email, RSS.

Check out The Ninjas Guide to Google Alerts and tell me how you use (or plan to use) Google Alerts in your practice.

Here’s an alert for you: The Attorney Marketing Formula shows you how to get more clients and increase your income.

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4 tools for finding ideas and content for blogs, articles, and presentations

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How do I create content that will rank well and bring me traffic? What are my prospects searching for? What should I write about?

If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, help is on the way. I just discovered 4 tools for finding out what people are looking for (aka, what people want to read), generating ideas for content, or fleshing out content you’re already working on.

I know I’m going to be spending some time playing around with these. (After I’ve updated to iOS 6, of course).

Check out the post on this page for a description of these 4 tools.

I don’t spend much time on SEO. Frankly, the whole subject is daunting. But I do pay attention to writing content that people want to read and I am always looking for ideas. That’s why these tools are helpful.

If you have used these tools, or others like them, please let us know in the comments.

Find out how to earn more than you ever thought possible. Download The Attorney Marketing Formula.

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Stupidity is contagious

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At one point in the presentation I gave last night I said, “stupidity is contagious.” I was referring to people who without thinking, buy into what someone else is saying or doing. We see this in politics, don’t we? Someone takes a position and others follow suit, often for no other reason than the person who said it sounds like they know what they are talking about.

It’s also true in business and marketing. An”expert” declares the new direction and like lemmings, legions follow. They sign up for the webinars, buy the courses, and invest countless hours with the new tools. Of course their friends take notice and they don’t want to be left behind so they do it, too. Before you know it, everyone is rushing after mobile or ebook publishing or Pinterest pinning, until something newer and better comes along.

People get caught up in the excitement. Greed sets in. Like the Gold Rush, nobody wants to be left behind. But like the Gold Rush, the only ones who make money are the ones who sell the picks and shovels. Most of the miners get the shaft.

I’m not saying these are bad ideas. Some are quite good. Some will take off and change the world. But you don’t have to be an early adopter to leverage these new ideas. Someone signing up for Facebook for the first time today, after nearly a billion other people beat them to it, can be just as successful in using it to generate leads and referrals. Arguably more so now that it has proven itself for so many others.

What I’m saying is, wait a bit. Don’t rush in. Stand back and observe. Let others spend their time and money sorting through the multitude of things that don’t work or don’t last, to find the few that do. Spend your time and money doing things that have proven themselves over time.

Technology comes and goes. There will always be something new. What has never changed, and never will, are strategies that invoke the human element: giving your clients extraordinary service, positioning yourself for referrals, and leveraging your existing relationships to create new ones.

Now, excuse me, I have to post a link to this post on Facebook.

If you want to learn the strategies that have always worked and always will, pick up a copy of The Attorney Marketing Formula.

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The problem with video marketing

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Everyone (and his brother) is touting video as THE marketing tool you MUST use. You have to deliver content using sight and sound and movement. You have to entertain people. Nobody reads anymore. Yada yada yada. . .

Of course it’s true that a well done video is a great way to engage people. Video also allows you to control the staging of your material, so you can deliver it for maximum effect. Millions of youtube views per day demonstrate the public’s appetite for video content.

But there’s a problem with using video in marketing: there are too many of them.

With everyone (and his brother) using videos, with so many coming at me every day, I don’t have time to watch them. So I delete the email or close out the web page. Or I bookmark it to watch later, and we all know that later never comes.

A brilliant video that nobody watches is worthless.

The written word is, and always will be, better than video.

People can skim a written message, and get the gist of it. If they like what they see, they will find the time to read more.

People can print a written message. When it’s in front of them on their (real) desktop, they are more likely to read it.

People can read a written message in their email inbox, without doing anything more than opening it.

And if people read your message, even if it is only mediocre, it will always outperform the brilliant video they do not watch.

I’m not saying ‘don’t use video’ in your marketing. Use it if you can. Audios, too. A lot of people like to listen while they are commuting or at the gym.

But if you don’t also use the written word, you’re missing out on a boatload of people who might be interested but didn’t have the time (or bandwidth) to find out.

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