Quality or quantity? Yes.

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When it comes to writing a newsletter or blog, posting on social media, or otherwise connecting with prospective clients and the people who can refer them, what’s better, frequency or length?

Should you write longer posts and publish less often, or post shorter pieces more often?

Let’s think this through.

You need quality, because that’s why folks subscribe and follow you, and because you want them to see that you know what you’re doing.

You also need quantity (frequency), because you want to keep your name in front of people.

But you’re busy and can’t afford to spend all day crafting brilliant prose, and even if you have the time, you don’t want your readers and followers to think you do.

So, how about a comprise?

You might write a “longer” post, at least a few paragraphs of original thought, once a week. On other days, as you can, you fill in with brief comments, observations, quotes, and links to other people’s posts.

Quality and quantity, for the win.

If you’re not doing anything now, or you don’t publish consistently, start small. Post an inspiring quote once or twice a week, for example, to create the habit of posting; after a few weeks, you can do more.

Whatever you decide to do, put it on your calendar and/or in your task management app, because trust me, you won’t remember.

How to build a law practice with email

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What you’re really selling as an attorney

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I hate to break it to you, but nobody wants to buy your legal services.

Ultimately, clients buy emotional states. They buy relief from pain and problems; they buy safety and security; they buy a path to a more prosperous future.

They hire you because they believe you can transform them from where they are to where they want to be.

Your services are merely the tools you use to do that.

They could get the results they seek from many other attorneys. They choose you because they believe you can deliver what they want.

Their belief comes from what they see on your website, what they read about you (or by you), and what others say about you.

If they’ve read your articles and posts, you showed them you understand their problem or desire and have the knowledge and experience needed to deliver what they want. If they met you, either casually or for a consultation, you said or did something that made them feel good about you and convinced them you were the right choice.

Your clients chose you and future clients will, too, because of the overall package you present; your services are important, but not the only element in that package.

Before you write any kind of marketing message or meet a prospective client or potential referral source, consider the experience you’re offering and make your message about that.

Start by understanding what your clients want and how they will feel when they get it. Show them you know what they want and then show them how you can help them get it.

Marketing is easy when you know The Formula

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Content marketing when you don’t know what to say

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Content marketing is a simple and effective way to market legal services. You create content, your target market consumes it, they learn something interesting or useful, and come back for more.

You build a following who come to know, like, and trust you. When they have a legal problem, they come to you for help.

You know this. But you resist doing it because:

(1) It takes a lot of time.

How much is “a lot”? Would you invest one hour a week if it meant bringing in one new client per week?

I’ll let you do the math.

You can also outsource or delegate a lot of the work. (Don’t outsource all of it, though. Your content needs to speak with your voice

(2) It’s not right for my market.

My clients don’t read, don’t watch videos, and don’t want to hear from me because it reminds them of bad times.

Fair enough. But your professional contacts can read and don’t mind hearing from you, and they can send you more business and introduce you to other professionals who can do the same

(3) I don’t know what to say.

You know a lot more than you think. And if you’ve been reading my daily word-bombs, you know you can write about almost anything.

And you can improve.

Start by reading (and watching videos, podcasts) outside your field of expertise. You’ll get more ideas than you can ever use.

Read about things that interest you. You’ll find that your audience is interested in a lot of things that interest you, too. Are you thinking about getting a new iPad or phone? Guess what? So are a good percentage of your readers and followers.

Read about your target market. You can’t go wrong talking about the people, the issues, and the news that’s a part of their world.

If you have business clients, read (and write) about business and marketing and other issues your clients deal with daily.

If you represent consumers, read and write about things consumers want and need to know (investing, debt, credit, insurance, etc.).

Read, learn new ideas and stories, and share this with your readers, along with your comments, experiences, and suggestions.

And yes, you can also talk about your kids, friends, hobbies, sports, games, and anything else that strikes your fancy.

That’s how your readers get to know and like and trust you.

How to build your practice with email content

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Objection, calls for speculation

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I saw a video the other day that ticked all the boxes. It was clear and concise, delivered the information viewers needed to know, and didn’t waste our time with anything else. One viewer said what many of us were thinking: “Nice, simple and straight to the point.”

Which is what we should all aspire to achieve in our websites, our letters and emails, our articles, briefs, presentations, and all our communication.

William Howard Taft said, “Don’t write so that you can be understood, write so that you cannot possibly be misunderstood.”

Clarity is equally important in our bills and invoices.

A bill shouldn’t be merely a list of how you spent your time. It should be a narrative that describes your effort.

Spell out what you did in plain English, and what it means for the client. Use active verbs and specific nouns to describe the process you used to deliver the results you obtained, even if (especially if) those results aren’t yet fully realized.

In school, teachers told us to “show your work” instead of merely reporting the answer. They wanted to see what we thought and did and why.

The same standard should apply to your bill.

Show clients your work; help them see and understand what you did and why. If there isn’t room on the actual invoice, add a cover letter and spell it out.

Don’t make clients guess what you did or what you meant. Explain it to them as if they were a child. Or your teacher.

How to write a bill your clients want to pay

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Psst, wanna buy a used blog post?

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I didn’t write it, it doesn’t say anything new, but I’ve saved a blog post for future reference and I am recommending you do the same.

13 Brilliant Ways to Repurpose Your Content & Save Time is an excellent roundup of that very subject.

It’s written for authors, but the information applies to anyone who uses content to promote their business or practice.

I’ve used only one method. I’ve turned blog posts into books and used those books to generate more traffic to my website. I get more visitors, more subscribers, and more clients, and I didn’t have to write anything new.

This post reminds me that there’s a lot more I can do.

If you don’t do any content marketing, seeing what’s possible might encourage you to start. It’s a simple way to use what you know to help people find you and find out how you can help them.

One more thing. The content you repurpose doesn’t have to be your own.

You can point at someone else’s blog post or article or video, for example, and tell people about it.

Like I’ve done with this post.

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Did I ever tell you about the time I messed up a case?

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Success stories are valuable tools for marketing professional services. They show prospective clients that you’ve helped others solve the same or similar problems, implying that you can do the same for them.

Talk about the problems people brought to you, the pain this caused them, and the hard work you did to deliver them from misfortune.

And don’t forget the happy ending.

On the other hand, don’t make everything look too easy.

You’ll be more believable and relatable if you tell people about cases that didn’t have a happy ending.

The client didn’t listen to you or the case had problems you couldn’t solve.

You might also tell stories about times when you messed up.

Talk about a case you lost and how this affected you. Talk about your struggles to “save” people and your guilt or sadness when you couldn’t. Talk about a mistake you made and what it cost you to fix it.

Show people the human you, the imperfect you, because people know you’re not perfect and they’ll love you for being honest with them.

But be careful. You need a deft hand to do this.

It’s best to talk about failure in the past tense. Talk about what you learned from the experience and how it made you better at what you do.

You’ll hear me talk about things I did when I first started practicing, how I struggled, what I learned, and how I changed and became successful.

A failure story with a happy ending.

You also need to be selective about the issues you talk about.

If you messed up a case because you got hooked on pain meds after surgery a few years ago and finally kicked the habit, I don’t think anyone would look down on you. If you abused recreational drugs for many years, however, and only recently got clean, you might find some people worrying about you relapsing.

I was late for court once and my case was dismissed. I had to file a motion and pay sanctions to save it. I can tell that story because people understand “being late” and because I saved the case. If I lost because I blew a statute and the client sued me and won, I probably wouldn’t tell that story.

Tell success stories, mostly, but occasionally talk about things that didn’t go so well. If it was your fault, be careful. It’s easy to go too far.

If you’re not sure, have a friend look at your story before you publish it.

Because friends don’t let friends publish drunk.

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10 tips for better blog post titles

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Good blog post titles attract search traffic and social traffic and get more people reading your posts (and newsletters).

So how do you write a good title?

These10 tips should help:

  1. Write a lot of bad titles. The more bad titles you write, the more likely you are to write some good ones. Keep an idea file, mix and match phrases to create new (and better) titles.
  2. Check your stats. If one of your posts did well before, it will probably do well again. Update an old post with new information, change your opinion, show a different side of the issue, and write a new title to reflect this. Or just use the same title again.
  3. Read what other lawyers write. Agree with them, disagree, point out what they missed, use your own examples. Emulate their best titles (and subjects) and use them as prompts for your own.
  4. Numbers work well. People are drawn to specificity and order. They’re curious and want to know the “10 tips” or “7 Steps” or “5 Secrets”.
  5. Explanations and predictions work well. Readers want to know what happened and discover what’s going to happen.
  6. You can go wrong with “How to”. People use search engines to learn how to do something or find something or someone (a lawyer). A title that promises to deliver what they’re searching for is likely to draw more readers. Also good: What, When, or Why.
  7. Pain and promises. Talk about your readers’ pain, show them you understand their situation, their industry, their problems, their desires, and promise solutions and benefits,
  8. Use cultural references. Movie, song, TV and book titles, news stories, famous people, hot products, trends—things people are already thinking about, talking about, and will recognize.
  9. Mix it up. When someone visits your blog, you want them to see some variety. Use short titles and long titles, “normal” titles and “strange” titles, intriguing questions and surprising statements. Show readers you’re not like other (boring) lawyers.
  10. Have fun with it. Don’t (always) be so serious, don’t contort the title for SEO purposes, or try finding the perfect title. Write what comes into your head, play with it, twist it, kick it in the arse, be irreverent and bold. If a title makes you smile or laugh or cry, chances are it will do the same for your readers who will want to read your post to find out more.

Sometimes, the content of your post will drive your title. Sometimes, it works the other way around. I’ve written many posts with nothing more than a title.

Which means there are no rules, except one:

If you’re getting traffic, opt-ins, appointments and new business, you’re doing it right.

More ways to find and create good blog post titles

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If a guy named Howie wrote your newsletter

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Most lawyers who write a newsletter or blog or post articles on social media do something you would expect a sober professional would do. They write about serious topics and use a serious tone throughout.

While that’s generally the right call, they risk being uninteresting, predictable, and just plain boring.

All work and no play made Jack a dull boy.

Eventually, readers and followers stop reading and following.

Which kind of defeats the purpose of publishing content and staying in touch with people who can hire you and send you referrals.

If this sounds a bit like your story, take heart. The solution is simple.

Put some fun in your writing.

A dash, a dollop, a sprinkle can go a long way.

You don’t have to do a stand-up routine, just make make the occasional wry comment or play on words.

You don’t have to be silly, just report something amusing you saw or heard.

You don’t have to go completely off topic, just include a side note here and there.

You want your readers to look forward to hearing from you because they know you’re going to say something interesting or something that puts a smile on their face.

And they’ll love you for doing that because most lawyers don’t.

One place to start is in your titles and email subjects. Take what you’ve written and see if you can juice it up. Make people curious about what’s inside.

That’s what I did with the title of this post.

Start collecting interesting headlines and titles you see in the articles and emails you read, the ones that make you curious and want to continue reading. You may be able to use them by changing a word here and there to come up with something suitable for your readers.

You’ll also get better at writing your own.

You can make your articles and emails more interesting and fun to read by including things like a surprising statistic, a bold prediction, a pithy quote or a relevant story.

Give readers a taste of color or contrast, something to think about and remember. They’ll have fun reading your article and eagerly await your next.

Email marketing for attorneys

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My latest productivity hack you might want to use

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You’ve heard me say, “Plan tomorrow before tomorrow begins”. Make a list of what you intend to do each day so you can focus on your most important tasks, instead of being distracted by whatever might come up.

Sometimes I do that in the morning. Usually I do it the night before, when things are quiet and I can think about what I want to do. The next day, I know what’s on tap and I can immediately get to work.

I get my important tasks done early in the day, which means that no matter what else I do (or don’t do) the rest of the day, every day is productive.

As you know, I write a blog post/newsletter article every weekday and have done so for many years. Writing the post doesn’t take long. I can usually crank out a first draft in a few minutes. What takes time is figuring out what I want to talk about.

And sometimes, that can take a minute.

Recently, I made a small change to my workflow that makes things easier. I choose the topic for my blog the night before.

I go through my notes and choose an idea. I jot down a line or two or some bullet points, things I want to say about the topic. I might also add a working title.

That’s all. But that’s enough, because the next day I don’t have to do any of that, I can just start writing.

I get my post done quickly and I’m on to other things.

Anyway, you can use this idea even if you don’t write a blog or newsletter. You can use it to flesh out any project or case you’re working on.

Gather up your notes and resources and make a list of tasks or steps to do the next day.

Who will you call? What will you say? What do you need to research?

When you plan and organize your day the night before, your subconscious mind works on your project or post while you sleep.

Which is why the next day, your work is easier to start and quicker to finish.

How to get more referrals without asking for referrals

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Would you write more often if you could do this?

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A blog post or newsletter can be brief. A few paragraphs, even a few sentences.

As long as you say something valuable or interesting.

Seth Godin and others do it. I just did it. You can, too.

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