If you’d like to “Crush It!”


I wrote this brief review of “Crush It!” by Gary Vaynerchuck on another blog more than a year ago. My knowledge and use of social media has come a long way since then. I’ll post reviews of other books I’ve read that have more of the “how to’s” but this is the book to read if you want to know “why to”.

I’d heard a lot of good things about “Crush It!” and finally downloaded it (kindle for PC, in case you’re curious). I’m fairly new to the world of social media marketing so I was surprised at how much I already knew and how much I was already doing.

After reading Crush It!, I now know (a) social media marketing is not a passing fad, (b) properly implemented, it’s an incredibly powerful way to build almost any kind of business, and (c) it’s not that complicated. In other words, if you market something on the Internet, or you want to, you need to add social media marketing to your marketing mix and it’s a lot easier than you may have thought.

Now, if you’re looking for a detailed manifesto on social media marketing, this isn’t it. It’s a great story and a compelling look at the power of social media marketing and worth it for that alone. Where it really shines, however, is in driving home the importance of finding your passion, your DNA as Vaynerchuk calls it, and building your brand, and your business, around that.

Vaynerchuk makes you think about who you are and what drives you. If you’re going to “crush” anything, it’s going to have to be something you are passionate about, or you won’t do it enough, or well enough, to cut through the noise and clutter that competes for the eyes and ears of your target market. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you aren’t going to make it; if you do, the journey will be as rewarding as the destination.

A friend of mine often says, “if you do what you love and you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life.”  No doubt Gary Vaynerchuk would agree.


Create a (free) social media web page about you with about.me


A social media hub page is a virtual business card: a single web page with a brief bio (or link thereto) and links to your websites, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts. This allows you to provide a single link in your email signature, your (paper) business card, in an article byline, and anywhere else your name appears in print or online. A single link is clean and professional looking, one reason why virtual business cards are becoming more popular.

I’ve experimented with different options. Recently, I set up an account with about.me. My page was easy to set up and customize. I uploaded a background image (me, looking fierce) but did not include a bio. Instead, I listed my professional roles as attorney, writer, and entrepreneur.

If you click on the doo-hickey at the top of the page, it will take you to a random assortment of other about.me pages, many of which are quite creative. Great for ideas.

About.me is integrated with Klout, a new social media “rating” service that tells you how influential you are in the online world. It also tells you who you influence and who influences you. I’m not sure how useful this is but it’s interesting to watch my klout index increase.

I also set up an account with flavors.me, which allowed me to create an almost identical page. They have a paid version ($20/yr.) with added customization features. Attorney Dan Gold set up a page on flavors.me and took advantage of those upgraded features.

About.me is free; I couldn’t find a paid version. I’d like to see more options for configuring pages, like the paid version of Flavors.me seems to provide, but all in all, this is a great way to quickly set up a virtual business card. Give it (or flavors.me) a try. Send me a link to your page and I’ll feature it in a future blog post.


What I learned in the fourth grade about marketing legal services


After my post, “What to say when someone asks, ‘What do you do?”‘ I read an interesting take on the issue at The Non Billable Hour. In, “The Haiku of What You do,” Matt Homann suggests crafting your answer using Haiku.

As you might recall from fourth grade English, a Haiku is a three line poem consisting of 17 words (or syllables), five on the first line, seven on the second line, and five on the third. Homann suggests structuring your response as follows:

  • Who do I help? (Answer in Five Words)
  • What do I do for them? (Answer in Seven Words)
  • Why do they need me? (Answer in Five Words)

The minimalist nature of Haiku lends itself well to an elevator speech. It forces you to get to the essence of what you do and for whom you do it.

Holmann offers this example for a personal injury attorney:

I help injured accident victims

understand their rights and recover medical expenses

from people who are responsible.

Here’s what I came up with for what I do:

I show attorneys how to

get more clients and increase their income

accomplishing more and working less.

Give it a try and see what you come up with. Post your results in the comments.


What to say when someone asks, “What do you do?”


The next time someone asks you what you do what will you say?

“I’m a lawyer”?

That doesn’t say very much, does it? It’s a good way to clear the room, however.

“I’m a PI lawyer”?

I used to say that but too many people wondered if I was a lawyer or a private investigator.

“I’m a personal injury lawyer”?

Getting better, but many people still don’t know what that means or how you can help them.

If you’ve ever found yourself searching for the right way to answer this question, help is on the way. All you need to do is follow these three steps:

  1. “You know how. . .?” Orient the listener to the problems you solve.
  2. “I help. . .”. Tell them what you do.
  3. “I’m a. . .”. State your practice area.


  • Estate planning: “You know how people want to protect their kids and their spouse in case something happens to them? Well, I take care of everything for them so they never have to worry about that again. I’m an estate planning lawyer.”
  • Personal injury: “You know how people get injured in a car accident or on someone else’s property and want to collect money from the other party or their insurance? I make sure they get their bills paid and don’t get taken advantage of so they can get well and get back to work. I’m a personal injury lawyer.”
  • Small business lawyer: “You know how business owners need to protect their businesses and make better decisions? I help them do that with advice and legal documents. I’m a business lawyer.”
  • Family law: “You know how when people get divorced they want to protect their kids and get a fair property settlement? I take care of that for them so they get what they deserve and can sleep better at night. I’m a family law attorney.”

You can also add a few words about “what else” you do: “I’m a business lawyer. . . I also help business owners collect money that’s owed to them and defend them when anyone sues or tries to make a claim against their company.”

You get the idea.

Answering this way gives the listener a context so they can better understand what you do and how you can help them, or someone they know. It may still clear the room, however.


The Zen of Attorney Marketing: Quietly Building a Successful Law Practice


What if you could build a successful law practice quietly–without shouting your message but by letting your message be heard, without trying to find clients but by letting clients find you?

In my father’s day, attorneys didn’t do any marketing. Oh, they did a little networking or public speaking or they wrote the occasional article, but they did these things because they naturally flowed from what they were doing in their practice. They didn’t attend a bar meeting because they were “marketing”; they went because they enjoyed being there, catching up with their friends, and learning some things they could use in their practice.

It’s different today. Not because there is more competition, higher overhead, or a faster paced world. Yes, the world is much more complex than it was fifty years ago when my father started practicing, or thirty years ago when I did, or even fifteen years ago, before everyone had broad band and smart phones. But our world is not different so much because of those things but because we make it so.

We run and push and struggle because we’ve bought into the notion that to be successful, we have to shout louder, promote harder, and spend bigger. We advertise or jump on board the latest social media concept, not because it feels natural, not for the joy of doing it, but because we fear being left behind.

Is the effort worth it? We might bring in more clients but are we any happier? Too often, the answer is “no”.

How do we get back to the way it used to be when a lawyer’s practice grew naturally? By getting out of your own way and letting things happen, instead of constantly trying to make them happen.

It starts with letting go of assumptions that don’t serve us and realizing that marketing can not only be organic, for sustained success and true contentment, it must be. Marketing can never be something you loathe or feel like you “have to do.” It cannot be something you do, it must be an expression of who you are.

Leo Babauta, who writes the Zen Habits blog, reminds us that sustained success and contentment don’t come from following the herd or from doing things you resist doing but feel you must, they come from delivering value, something my father didn’t need to read, he just did.


How lawyers are using social media marketing


Lawyers are starting to use social media in a variety of ways only one of which is marketing. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking platforms, make it easy to find prospective clients and referral sources, as well as other opportunities to grow your practice.

It’s easy to find people online who write for or consult with people in your target markets and it’s easy to approach them (“friend,” “follow”). If you’re not networking online, you’re missing out on a simple, inexpensive, and effective way to grow your practice and otherwise further your career.

I know. I resisted doing so for a very long time.

Then, I discovered Facebook and realized it’s not just a site for college kids. I spent time watching what others were doing and learned what to do (and what to avoid) to meet more people online and do business with them. I’ve made a lot of new friends on Facebook and re-connected with some old ones from high school and even earlier.

I set up a Twitter account, but didn’t use it. I just didn’t “get” it. I do now.

I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now, and this I do get. I just started working with a lawyer and went to her web site for a quick take on what she’s doing. Well, one of the first things I will suggest to her is to add a blog. I believe it is the single most valuable thing a lawyer can do to market their law practice online.

If you’re new to the world of social media (marketing) I can tell you that the individual components–the various sites and resources that are available to use–are relatively simple to understand and begin using, but if you’re like me, you won’t appreciate their power until you have a better understanding of how they all fit together.

Over the weekend, I read “Crush It!” by Gary Vaynerchuk. The book provides a fascinating look into a bigger-than-life personality and a road map for creating a brand and monetizing it via social media. I was surprised at how much I knew (and was already doing) but I also learned a lot. More importantly, the book made me think about my brand, my “DNA” as Vaynerchuk describes it, something every professional needs to think about, no matter what kind of marketing they use.

Another valuable lesson is the importance of being yourself. That’s sometimes hard for professionals to do, but it is our authenticity that makes us simultaneously unique and attractive to the people in our niche.

The bottom line is, once you create your own brand and use social media to connect with people in your niche markets, you will not only do a better job of selling yourself to the world, you will also attract a lot of business via the Internet traffic that is a natural byproduct of the social media network.

Educate yourself and get started. Social media is here to stay and if you take it one step at a time, it is not only remunerative, it’s a lot of fun.


A good slogan (tagline) can be worth its weight in gold


Most slogans I hear fail to accomplish their purpose: to communicate a cogent, benefit-rich, memorable marketing message. Although attorneys usually don’t use slogans, the ones I’ve heard have almost always been bad. An attorney in Los Angeles has a slogan that works, however. Miles Berman, the self-proclaimed “Top Gun Dui” attorney, uses the following slogan as the tagline for his frequent radio commercials: “Because friends don’t let friends plead guilty.”

Why does this work? First, it plays on the familiar public service slogan used to promote the use of a designated driver, “Because friends don’t let friends drive drunk”. Berman’s version is tied to something that has been drilled into our heads by millions of dollars in public service advertising, and is thus familiar. In addition to being familiar, it’s relevant. Both slogans deal with different aspects of the same issue. And because it is familiar and relevant, it is memorable, the ideal of any slogan. Finally, the slogan does what few slogans ever do, it promises a benefit. In telling the listener not to plead guilty, it suggests that there are alternative solutions, and all they have to do to get them is to call the “Top Gun Dui Defense” attorney. Very effective.

Eric Swartz is a consultant who bills himself as “The Tagline Guru.” His web site presents the benefits of a good tagline and advice on how to create one. He also has a list of “The 100 Most Influential Taglines Since 1948.” I remember most of these, and you will, too. Good examples of taglines that have created household brands.

You don’t need a tagline, but if you use one, use one that works.


Should you buy a “canned” newsletter?


If you write a newsletter or a blog (and you should) you need content. But it takes time to write something worth reading and attorneys have precious little time to spare. There are services now that sell articles you can use, copyright free. You pay your money and you can print them under your name.

It’s a new twist on an old idea.

Canned newsletter for professionals have been around for years. My state bar sells pamphlets lawyers can send to their clients with their name stamped on the back. Of course you can hire a ghost writer, or assign someone in your office to write material for you. There are plenty of ways to get content that you don’t originate. The question is, should you?

In my opinion, you should not. Canned materials are never a good substitute for creating your own newsletter, articles and reports. They are better than nothing, but not much.

One reason is that far fewer people will read it. These articles and newsletters are very general and very bland. And a lot of people will know you didn’t write them. I toss my insurance agents newsletter in the trash, unopened, because I know it comes from a staff writer in New York and has little value to me. There is nothing personal or interesting in it. My dentist writes a personal newsletter, but it is terribly boring. I open and glance at it, in case there might be something that pertains to me in it (e.g., a change in his office personnel or procedure) but I don’t read it.

(Here’s a clue that it’s canned: there are no stories in them. Facts tell, but stories sell, and if what you write doesn’t have stories in them, either, you’re missing the boat.)

Now, there is some value in your clients getting something from you with your name on it, even if they don’t open the envelope or email. They are at least reminded that you still exist. But you’re missing the opportunity to build a relationship with them, and that’s costing you more than you can imagine.

The purpose of newsletters and reports and blogs is to (a) stay in touch, reminding people that you still exist, (b) demonstrate your expertise, your ability to deliver the benefits they seek, and (c) create a dialog with the reader that supports your relationship with them. With canned material, you can only stay in touch, and poorly, at best.

You want people to read your words, and "hear" your voice. You want them to believe you are writing just to them. You want them to read and appreciate your special news or offer. And you want them to see that you care enough about them to take a couple of hours once or twice a month to write something "just for them".

The time you invest in this process will not only be "worth it," it is the single most profitable thing you could do to build your practice.

Seriously. The people who know, like, and trust you will hire you again and again and they will efer people to you, too. There is no cost to acquire these clients, other than printing/mailing costs if you do that (and you should) and your time.

Now, don’t panic. Once you get the hand of it, it doesn’t take as long as you think.

Start by producing some "evergreen" materials, reports, for example, that once written, you can use over and over again for years to come. You have expertise in your field and you can write a report in two hours. Here’s your assignment for your first one: Take the five or ten questions you are asked the most by prospective or new clients, and answer them. There, you have a report.

A newsletter or blog require continual replenishment of material, but this is worth it, too. You don’t need as much as you think. A monthly newsletter could be two pages. A postcard, if that’s all you can do. Far more important than quantity is that they hear from a real person, sharing a story, a thought, a piece of your mind.

For a blog, three to five paragraphs, one to three times a week can be enough. What’s important is that it be your voice, your opinion, a glimpse into your world. Your clients and prospects (and referral sources) need to feel they are a part of your life and you a part of theirs. You want them to "know, like, and trust" you, and to do that, your material needs to be your own.

I’ve told attorneys in the past to order the canned newsletter or articles if they feel they must, but to make them their own. "Rewrite them, add your commentary, offer examples and advice that are specific to your practice. What do you agree with? Disagree with? What else does the reader need to know?"

Today you can pretty much do that without paying a service. Just go online, find something someone else has written, and use it as an outline or idea starter for your own material.