7 ways to write faster

My goals this year require me to do more writing. To accomplish this, I plan to write faster.

The faster I write, the more work product I will get out the door producing more income, bringing more traffic, generating more leads, and building my brand.

Here’s how I plan to accomplish this:

(1) Stick with what I know

One of the biggest causes of writers’ block is not knowing what you want to say. When you write about what you know, writing is easier and faster.

You also don’t have to do a lot of research. If I do need to research a particular subject, I’ll either do it before I write, so as to not interrupt the flow, or “write around it,” i.e., leave a blank and come back to the subject later.

(2) Create more detailed outlines

I often find myself going down rabbit holes and off on side roads in my writing because I haven’t done enough advance planning. More detailed outlines will allow me to know what I’m going to say before I say it. That will allow me to not only write faster, but avoid wasting time on topics that are off subject.

(3) Write shorter

I’m working on a book now that will be less than one-third the length of the previous one. Shorter writing means more readers coming into my funnel. It also means I can get onto the next project that much quicker.

To write shorter, I’ll (a) choose narrower topics and (b) leave out some details, explanations, and examples.

(4) Bigger daily word count

I write every day, but I don’t crank out as many words as I know I could. This year, I’m committed to a bigger daily word count. I’ll do that by using the AIC method (“ass in chair”).

(5) Dictate more

I wrote most of the first draft of the book I’m working on now in a few hours. How? By looking at my outline and dictating it. I’ll transcribe it myself and flesh it out as I do so.

I’ll also try working more with Dragon Naturally Speaking, which I haven’t yet been able to master.

(6) More music to tame my inner teenager

After about 15 minutes of writing, I feel the urge to check email or do something else on the Internet. It gets me out of “flow” and takes me longer to get back on track.

Music helps me write for longer periods of time. Classical or new age; nothing with lyrics.

(7) Reward myself

Yes, the work product, and the income it will generate, is its own reward. Nevertheless, I’ve got a couple of new books I’m itching to crack open, digitally speaking. I’m looking forward to finishing my work for the day so I can get my reward.

So, no more time to chat. I’ve got words to write before I rest, and miles to go before I sleep.

What to do when you have nothing new to offer

What’s new?

Unfortunately, for most attorneys, the answer is “nothing”. They offer the same services today that they offered last year, and the year before that.

The clients change, the cases have different elements, but for most attorneys, same old same old. Even if they offer a menu of services, the menu rarely, if ever, changes.

Worse, many of their clients need them only once in their lifetime.

If attorneys owned any other type of business, they would regularly offer new products or services. Their business would always be growing.

But if a client doesn’t need another divorce, or doesn’t get in another accident, it’s game over.

It would be great to be able to offer the client another service, wouldn’t it? But if you specialize (as you should), you probably don’t have anything else.

Some attorneys offer updated documents, reviews, and modifications, and that’s good. But what about everyone else?

Well, there are a couple of things every attorney can do.

First, you can partner with other attorneys and promote their services to your clients. In return, your partner promotes your services to their clients. You can also do joint ventures with other types of professionals, and businesses, too.

Your clients have problems and needs that go beyond what you can do for them. They need help finding high quality professionals and vendors. They would love to get a good deal, or at least know they aren’t getting a bad one.

You can help them, and in so doing, help yourself.

Think “clients” not “cases” or “engagements”. Continually look for ways to help your clients with their other business or personal needs.

See The Attorney Marketing Formula for different ways you can work with joint venture partners.

Second, no matter what kind of practice you have, you should continually be creating new content.

Every article, blog post, report, seminar, video, or ebook you produce and put out into the market place can bring you new clients.

They can bring traffic to your website via search and social sharing. You can ask your clients and contacts, (and joint venture partners), to share our content with their clients and lists. You can offer them for sale on Kindle and other venues, where millions of prospective clients can find them.

Each piece of content you create educates prospects about what you do and how you can help them. It pre-sells them on the need for an attorney, and why that attorney should be you. And it prompts them to contact you to ask questions, make an appointment, or sign up for your list.

New services, albeit someone else’s, and new content. These are your new products and services. This is what you should continually create and offer.

Then, when someone asks, “What’s new?” you’ll be able to show them.

To learn more about joint ventures, get this

What’s wrong with your website?

My wife is nesting. Getting the house ready for Christmas company. Cleaning, polishing, making sure everything is ship shape. You know the drill.

I am amazed at the little things she finds that need repair. A chip in the paint that needs touching up, for example. I walk by it every day but never noticed. Why? Because I walk by it every day.

I’m used to it. So it doesn’t stand out. If you came to the house, having never been here, that chip would probably be the first thing you’d notice.

My wife is also proofreading my latest book. I’ve been through it more times than I can count. To my eye, it’s done. She spots typos on almost every page.

We all need fresh eyes to look at our work. We’re too close to it. We can’t see what’s obvious to others.

Take your website for example. Do you know what’s wrong with it? Can you spot the things that are missing or need improvement?

Even if you know what you’re doing, there’s a good chance you’re missing things, simply because you’re too close to it.

You need someone else to look at your website. You need fresh eyes.

Have a client go through your site with you. Have them narrate what they see and what they’re doing. Note the pages they go to first, and where they go after that.

Have them find and fill out the contact form. Have them find your bio, your list of services, and the directions to your office. Have them follow you on Twitter or Like your Facebook page. Have them share one of your posts.

You’ll see how others see and use your site. I promise you, it will be an eye opener.

You should also have an expert look at your site. They’ll find more things that need fixing. They can show you how to get more traffic, more subscribers and more social media followers. They can show you how to get more visitors to see you as the lawyer they should choose, and get them to call or email to hire you or take the next step.

You can hire me to do that. I’ll go through the site with you and tell you what to do. Or, you can have me do this for free.

Remember, when you order The Quantum Leap Marketing System, you get a free coaching session with me as a bonus. You can use that session to have me go through your site with you.

What’s wrong with your website? Have me take a look and help you fix it.

How Neil Patel got to 100,000 visitors per month

Neil Patel is a very smart, and very successful marketing guy. His blogs receive a boatload of traffic.

In a post today, he explains how he got to 100,000 visitors per month by following 7 rules for writing blog posts.

He’s an expert at SEO and social media, and I expected his rules to be oriented to those subjects. They’re not. There’s nothing technical about his rules. They are the softer side (my words) of writing blog posts to communicate with your readers.

For example, he talks about hooking your readers by framing your post properly, and writing about subjects you are passionate about. He also talks about the critical importance of headlines and building your list.

One thing he recommends that I think most lawyers intuitively understand: using data to build credibility. Citations, links, quotes from other experts, and our own opinions, backed up by our experiences, are routinely included in posts and articles by attorneys.

Often when I read Patel’s posts I come away thinking, “Okay, I don’t do that,” and “I don’t want to do that.” With this post, I was pleased to find that he and I are on the same page.

If you want to know how I handle SEO and social media, get this.

How to make your phone ring

Suppose that next week you get an email from another professional, a business owner, a blogger, or someone else who sells to, advises, or is otherwise influential in your target market. The email says something like this:

I want to thank you linking to my site in your post last week. I really appreciate it.

I just spent an hour reading through your site and I’ve got to tell you, you’ve really got some valuable information. I also signed up for your email list, downloaded your free report and think it’s awesome.

I’d love to interview you for my blog. I know my 10,000 subscribers would love to “meet” you. Would you be open to that? Of course I’ll also mention your website and encourage them to sign up for your list and download your report.

Could we do this some time next week? Please let me know, ASAP.

Nice. 10,000 email subscribers in your target market who will learn about you, with a strong recommendation from the owner of the list.

Do you think you might get some new clients out of this? And sign ups for your list that will lead to more clients down the road?

Fairy tale? Not at all. This kind of thing happens all of the time.

What’s that? It hasn’t happened to you? I find that hard to believe.

You do have a website with lots of good content on it, don’t you? You also have an email newsletter and a report or ebook you offer to encourage visitors to subscribe, right? I’m sure you regularly link to other sites in your niche, pointing to content your subscribers would benefit from reading, don’t you?

What do you mean, you don’t know how to do this? You do have a copy of Make The Phone Ring, don’t you?

If you want to make your phone ring, get Make the Phone Ring

Why you should tell prospective clients to talk to other lawyers

I read an article this morning written for people looking for a lawyer on how to find the right one for the job. I’ll summarize it:

  • Attorneys specialize and it’s important to find someone who handles your type of case; [examples]
  • Keyword searches are a good way to find some candidates; avoid referral sites and directories, you don’t need a middleman
  • Check out their websites and choose three or four attorneys who handle your type of case; [examples]
  • Call all of them and ask questions about them (how long practicing, what percentage of their practice is this type of matter?), and about your case (what are the options, how much will they charge?)
  • Meet with them, ask more about the case, about how they will work with you, accessibility, fees, etc.
  • Most people looking for a client won’t do half of this, they will hire the first attorney they speak to, and that’s not wise. You have many lawyers to choose from so take your time and choose the one that is most qualified and “feels” right

Twelve paragraphs. Basic stuff. Something any attorney could write.

Including you.

Have you written an article like this and submitted it to blogs and websites in your target market? You should. It will bring visitors to your website who like your information and the honesty with which you presented it. They’ll want to learn more about you and put your name on their short list of candidates.

But here’s the thing. They probably won’t call other attorneys, as you advised, or if they do, there’s a good chance they will come back to you. They “met” you first. You helped them. You know what you’re doing.

And let’s face it, if they wind up hiring someone else instead of you, they were probably going to do that anyway.

One more thing. After you write an article like this, post it on your website, too. Yes, tell visitors that they should call other lawyers who do what you do, and tell them what to ask. Crazy? Not at all. They will respect you for being so forthcoming. They will see your confidence, and like it, and like you.

Just do it. You’ll thank me later. You’ll get lots of traffic from people searching for “how to find a _____ attorney,” and a good percentage of them will hire you.

Marketing online is simple when you know what to do

Even more ideas for writing quick blog posts

This week, you learned three ways to write quick blog posts. You learned the three point model (with opening and summary), you learned about commenting on someone else’s post, and you learned the question and answer post. Today, I want to talk about the another method of writing quick blog posts: the series.

Writing a series means taking a bigger topic and breaking it up into a series of smaller posts. This week, I could have written about the subject of writing quick blog posts in one long post. Instead, I wrote a series of short posts.

You might write a series about litigation, for example. You could write short posts about liability, damages, filing a complaint, statutes of limitations, discovery, motions, trial, and appeal. You could undoubtedly break down most of these topics into multiple posts.

With some series topics, you’ll have enough material for many weeks of posts, and yet each post will only take you a few minutes to write.

One advantage of a series of short posts is that each post represents another point of entry to your website for prospective clients who are searching for information about one of your topics. Put links in each post to the other posts in the series and you’ll get more visitors reading more of your content.

What’s that? You want even more ideas for writing quick blog posts? Your wish is my command:

  • Update old posts. Add new information, new links, new or revised comments, and links to other resources, including your other posts
  • Round up posts. Grab five or ten of your old posts on a given topic and write a new post that simply links to each of them. Add a sentence or two describing each post
  • Graphic post. Photos, infographics, charts, survey results, videos, and the like, don’t require a lot of writing.
  • Re-purpose other content. Post excerpts or entire transcripts of your articles, slides, presentations, white papers, books, reports, videos, audios, and so on. You can also break these up and create a series.
  • Resource post. A list of websites, apps, books, blogs, and other resources you recommend relative to a theme.
  • News. One paragraph summaries of recent news stories, appellate decisions, or upcoming events.
  • Interviews. Interviews with professionals, bloggers, authors, speakers, and other subject matter experts, make good posts and are easy to write. Ask questions (over the phone, via email) and let them supply the material for your post. You can post a video or audio, a transcript, a summary, or any combinations thereof.
  • Guest posts. Let others write posts for you. They get exposure to your subscribers, you get good content. You may also open the door for writing a guest post on their blog.

The more content on your site, the more opportunities you have to show visitors how much you know and how you can help them. I hope you can see that there are many ways to write quick blog posts and you are encouraged to do so.

For more ways to use content to get more traffic, more subscribers, and more clients, get this

The three quickest ways to get new clients

You want (need?) new clients and you want them fast. You want them today. Next week at the latest.

I understand and I can help.

Here are three quickest ways to get new clients:

1. Referrals

Not only can you get clients quickly through referrals, those clients tend to be better clients. Because they trust the person making the referral, they are more likely to hire you, more likely to follow your instructions, and less likely to complain or argue about fees. They are also more likely to refer other clients.

The simplest way to get referrals is to ask for them. Contact your clients and former clients and professional contacts and social media contacts and ask for referrals. You can do this in an email, letter, post, or phone call. Say, “Who do you know. . .[who fits the description of your ideal client/might have a specific legal need]. Ask them to have these people call your office to schedule a free consultation or visit a page on your web site to learn all about how you can help them.

Instead of asking for referrals directly, you can ask indirectly. You do this by offering a copy of your free report, ebook, planning guide, checklist, coupon, or other goody, and telling your contacts they can forward your email or share you post with anyone they know who might want one. Give them a download link to make it easy. For step-by-step instructions, get The 30 Day Referral Blitz.

You’ll get referrals, build your email list (which will lead to more new clients and more referrals), and self-referrals, i.e., people who hear about your request or offer and contact you with their own legal matter.

2. Advertising

If you get it right, advertising is an incredibly quick way to bring in new business. You can place an ad today and have new clients calling within minutes.

The key is to test different headlines, offers, and media/lists, until you find a combination that works. When you do, repeat those ads, and run them more often and in more media.

You can offer your services directly, or offer a free consultation or other incentive for new clients. You can also offer your free report, planning guide, etc. Which leads me to the third method of getting clients quickly.

3. Special offer to your list

If you don’t have a list, you need to build one immediately. Include prospects, friends of the firm, people who have attended a seminar, newsletter subscribers, former clients, and other people in your target market. People who know who you are and what you do.

If you have a list, you know you can make things happen with the click of a button.

Send your list an email and remind your subscribers about what you do. Some of them need your services right now and will contact you. Others will know people who need your services and refer them.

Spice up your email with a time-sensitive special offer, something that gets the maybes off the fence. Your special offer could be a bonus service for new clients who come in this week, a one-time discount for new clients, something extra for returning clients, or you can get creative. For example, you could enter all new clients into a drawing for free tickets to the World Series or dinner for two at a good restaurant.

You wanted quick, you got quick. Go forth and slay ye some new clients.

Create a referral blitz in your practice with this

A simple way to find hot ideas for blog posts

Are you running out of ideas for blog posts or newsletter articles? Do you want to zero in on topics prospective clients want to know about?

No problem. Your competition can help you. Ideas are just a few clicks away.

Go find a few popular blogs in your niche. You can find legal blog directories here, here, and here, just to name a few. While you’re there, submit your blog. Get you some links and traffic.

When you’ve found a few popular blogs by lawyers in your practice area, (in any jurisdiction), visit those blogs and have a look around. Subscribe to their feeds. Follow them on social media.

Then, look at their sidebars, “Start Here” pages, and lists of “Popular Posts”. Look at the posts that have received the most “Likes” or shares and comments.

These are the posts visitors are reading and sharing. They are likely to be about topics they have been searching for.

Got ’em?

Now, what do you have to say about that topic? Do you agree? Disagree? Think you could do a better job?

Is the law different in your jurisdiction? Any pending legislation you know about? Have you had any cases on these issues you could write about?

Chew on these posts and brainstorm ideas and get writing.

For more ideas for blog posts, traffic, and getting clients online, get this.

What to do when people ask you for free advice

Do people ever ask you for free advice? Of course they do. So, what do you do about it?

Do you tell them to make an appointment? Give them the speech about “all a lawyer has to sell is his time and advice”? Or do you answer their question and hope you’re not wasting your time?

I have another suggestion. In fact, if you agree with my suggestion, you will no longer dread calls or emails asking legal questions or seeking free advice, you will encourage them.

The next time someone asks for your advice, don’t answer them over the phone or in an email. Write your answer and turn it into a blog post or newsletter article.

Quote the question but omit anything that might identify the questioner. Answer the question by explaining the law and procedure. Describe the options and the criteria for making the best choice. Provide advice in “if/then” terms.

Send a copy or a link to the inquirer and tell them you hope it helps. Tell them to contact you if they would like to talk to you about their specific case or matter or they wish to proceed further. Tell them you would be happy to quote a fee for this work or consultation.

Your post provides the questioner with guidance about what to do. It shows them that if they choose to take the matter further, you have the requisite experience and knowledge to help them. They’re happy because they got some information and advice from an expert. They understand that if they want more from you, they will have to pay for it.

You get a prospective client who is now one step closer to becoming an actual client. If they contact you again, they will almost certainly hire you and pay you.

You also get content for your website or blog that demonstrates your expertise, your thoroughness, and your willingness to help people. That content helps website visitors understand their legal issue and sells them on you and your ability to help them. If you get inquiries about similar issues, you can point people to your “library” of previous answers. That library of content will also attract visitors through search engines and social sharing.

Don’t merely answer questions, leverage those questions to create traffic, build your reputation, build your list, and pre-sell clients on hiring you.

For more on how to create online content, see this.