Jake and Paul of the Lawsome Podcast had me back on their weekly show. In addition to discussing my new book, Stop Putting Out Fires, we talked about a variety of topics that included the stress relief of yard work, communication skills, the Enneagram, and law practice management. You can find the episode on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or you can check out the webpage for the interview for an exhaustive list of other places the episode can be found.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve written a good bit about the importance of lawyers engaging and exploring their creativity. In fact, I’ve gone so far as to say that when we take time away from work to devote to family, hobbies, and exercise, we will be better lawyers. I can’t understate the importance of using all our gifts, rather than suppressing them for the sake of the billable hour. Your creative expression may take the form of cooking, writing, photography, knitting, or singing; whatever it is, do not forsake it.
For a decade, through high school and into my early 20s, I wrote creatively and was an avid photographer. Then for a while the creative writing fell off, and I really focused on my photography. This continued through law school and into my first couple of years of practice. The in 2014, we had our first kiddo and the spare time I had once had evaporated. There was about a two-year void where I didn’t engage in any creative outlets. But in 2016, I really felt an internal push to do something.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know this is what became of that urge. It has since grown and evolved in ways I could not have dreamed of three years ago. I have met people and done things that would not have been available or possible otherwise. As an example, my second book Stop Putting Out Fires is coming out soon. I am actively working on the next two books. And I have a half-dozen other book ideas in various stages of formulation. I have fully adopted a creative life that I make time for in addition to having a busy law practice and raising a young family.
Frank Ramos (managing partner at Clarke Silvergate) recently posted
about not losing your creativity as one of his daily thoughts on LinkedIn:
Somewhere along the way, many of us lost our imaginations. Remember elementary and middle school, where we painted and drew, wrote short stories and poems? Many of us put those days and activities away years ago, and never looked back. Look back. Take a drawing or painting class, take a fiction class or improv class. Stimulating your imagination will help you view you cases in a new light and possibly lead to epiphanies for case themes or theories.
Here are some other lawyers I’ve interviewed who have also intentionally cultivated their creativity and found it rewarding:
- Keith Lee of Associate’s Mind and LawyerSmack
- Curt Runger of Attorney Mentors
- Portia Porter, author of Can You Stiff Your Divorce Lawyer?
- Phillip Lewis, author of The Barrowfields
I want to take this opportunity to encourage you not to neglect your creativity and side hustles and hobbies. Taking the time and opportunity to recharge ourselves is imperative to maintaining mental and emotional health. To do your best work, you must be your best self.
In early November of 2018, I finalized my 2019 goals. I committed them to paper in the moleskin notebook that I’ve carried everywhere since August of 2016. But before we jump into talking about 2019, I want to give you evidence that setting goals matters.
Looking to the past for evidence of success
When I bought my moleskin notebook, two of my earliest entries pertained to goals for my law practice for 2017 and goals for this blog for the last five months of 2016 and for 2017. I had launched the blog in June 2016, and up until August, traffic had been … meager, stilted, inconsistent. Whatever word best communicates that there hadn’t been very much traffic in the first few months of the blog’s existence, that’s what I’m trying to say. So my goals for the remainder of 2016 were humble:
- Have daily traffic
- Have at least one guest writer on the blog
- Publish 6-8 posts per month
So what happened the rest of the year? In November, I had 94 visitors to the blog and published 19 articles. In December, 393 visitors came to the site, and I published 17 articles. I was also listening to podcasts and reading as much as I could about growing the blog and improving my content. But most importantly, I found a community of people who supported my work and were interested in what I was doing.
At the same time that I committed those 2016 goals to paper, I also developed my goals for 2017:
- Average 100 visitors were month
- Publish 2 articles per week
- Publish an my transportation litigation primer ebook
As it turned out, due to a number of factors (including the relationships I had formed), my goals should have been more ambitious. By the end of 2017, blog had more than 2200 visitors per month, and I was able to meet my other goals as well.
You may look at those numbers and think that they’re pretty meager. And I won’t disagree with you. I am not measuring the blog’s success on the numbers alone, but rather what opportunities I have developed as a result of having a platform.
Looking forward for future success
But more importantly at the moment, all I want to illustrate is that the act of having goals and writing them down pushed me toward achieving them. Dr. Gail Matthews of Dominican University in California performed a study on goal-setting that revealed you are 42% more likely to achieve goals for the mere act of having written them down (article).
It really is as simple as that. One simple act increases your odds of success by more than 40%. Even if you’re skeptical about the importance of goal-setting, isn’t it worth doing? If you haven’t set written goals before, in October 2018, I shared some short and simple steps for setting measurable and time-sensitive goals (here).
Since I’m asking how your 2019 goals are progressing, I’ll share with you one of my goals and how it stands. I set five goals for 2019. One of them is so ambitious that I’m not sure whether it achievable. I set out to sell 1000 copies of my books in 2019. That seems like a lot. I honestly don’t know whether I’ll even get close. But I’m doing everything within my control to accomplish it. So where do I stand as the second quarter of 2019 begins?
Since I released the audiobook of Building a Better Law Practice in February (on Amazon/Audible), 25 people have purchased it. My second book, Stop Putting Out Fires, is scheduled for release on May 2 (on Amazon — $9.99 ebook; $11.01 paperback — and everywhere else), and 87 people have pre-ordered copies. There are also likely some sales of print and ebooks of Building a Better Law Practice, but I won’t receive an accounting from the ABA for those until August. So to date, I have sold (at least) 112 copies of my books; I have made 11% progress toward achieving my goal. Want to help me achieve my goal? Buy a copy … or two.
How are your goals coming along? Have you put your list where it’s staring at you every day beckoning you to take affirmative steps that will enable you to achieve those goals? Or has it been a rough start? Persevere. Continue plodding forward. You have three quarters of the year still ahead of you to accomplish what you set out to do with your 2019 goals.
Photo by iluvgadgets.
During a recent conversation with a partner at a law firm, he said to me, “I was never the kind of associate that anyone said, ‘We can’t lose that guy.'” In fact, most associates never have that said about about them. Most associates are pretty replaceable, even good associates. Good associates deliver solid work-product, meet their billable requirements, and don’t make waves. But there are thousands, even tens of thousands of young lawyers who can do those things. So what do you have to do to become non-expendable, or at least the closest thing to it in the legal industry?
The answer to the question is far easier than any of the things you’ll have to do to get there – all you have to do is develop your own business relationships. That’s it. Yeah, I know. Why is that potential client you’ve been eyeballing going to send their business to you? In fact, we may be getting ahead of ourselves; maybe, the more pressing question is how do you find potential clients to start mooning over in the first place?
Where to find potential clients and start forming business relationships
If you represent corporations, one of the best ways to find potential clients is to be a part of industry organizations and go to conferences. But merely being a part of the organization or going to the conference are insufficient. You can go for years just existing within those ecosystems and putting on your firm bio that you’re a member of Organization X without every forming business relationships as a result.
As for organizations, you need to get involved. Find a way to make contributions. Write articles. Ask and answer questions in discussion forums. Join substantive law committees.
Regarding conferences, you have to establish to your firm why sending you to a conference is beneficial to them. This may require you to do some research and make a sales pitch about it. Once you get the green light to go, you must get an attendee list ahead of time so you can reach out to clients and potential clients to have dinner or just meet up. I’ve landed one insurance client this way and expanded business with another. If your firm isn’t inclined to let you go, push for them to do it anyway, and show them there’s a return on their investment. If you don’t develop your own business relationships, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
An in-house lawyer’s thoughts on the importance of attending industry conferences: “My company doesn’t pay for conferences, so if I can’t get comp’ed somehow, I pay out of pocket. Even in-house, going is important for the networking and career development aspect.” If your clients think the networking opportunities at conferences are important, that should be a glaring signal to us.
I was talking to one of my client’s one day, expressing that I always feel bad for the insurance folks at these big conferences because they’re like the pretty girl that everyone bothers and wants to take to prom. His response was, “THAT’S WHY I GO! And to find lawyers I want to work with.”
In his book Your First 1,000 Copies (Kindle Loc. 1014), Tim Grahl tells readers what he did in preparation for attending SXSW in Austin when he was launching his book marketing business. It fits in extraordinarily well with what I’m saying here.
In the lead-up to the conference, I went into a frenzy researching every speaker and found every one that had ever written a book. I then began searching Twitter and the SXSW online community for anyone that worked in the publishing industry.
Once I had made my list, I began contacting every one of them asking to set up a meeting during the conference. I scheduled meetings anywhere from 6: 00 a.m. to 11: 00 p.m. My hard work paid off because, when I landed in Austin the day of the conference, I had a schedule packed with people in the industry, some potential clients and others key influencers.
My time at SXSW was over before I knew it. The experience was exhausting but totally worth it because I had two new clients and over a dozen new contacts by the time I got home. I had worked hard to get my business well positioned for a lot of growth within the publishing world. Those outreach efforts then continue to provide opportunities today.
Find a way to be where your clients are, and make a way to meet new people once your there. Your ability and willingness to form business relationships directly correlates with your long-term success.
After you’ve identified a potential client …
Once you’ve met someone who may be interested in doing business with you, it’s time to cultivate the relationship. This can be a long process. It may be months or years before they are ready to hire you as counsel.
I do not use term “relationship” flippantly here. Business relationships share the same foundational principles as personal relationships. Before your potential client will commit to doing business with you, you have to establish (at a minimum) that you understand their business, you are trustworthy, and you have the expertise necessary to guide them to a successful result.
People do business with those they know, like, and trust.
I’ve written before about how to build relationships and develop trust, so I’m going to share those links with you rather than rehash it all here:
- Law Farm Marketing Myths: Marketing Means Telling People How Great You Are
- Business Relationships and Courting Potential Clients
- Why Lawyers Should Be Doing Content Marketing
- How Outside Counsel Can Make Life Easier for In-House Counsel
- The Importance of Having a Reputation for Integrity
To be totally transparent, I am still mostly expendable. I have some of my own clients, but I am largely reliant on others in my firm. Building a book of business is a career effort. It takes time, persistence, and a little bit of luck (and by luck I mean doing the work that puts you in the right place at the right time). So don’t be afraid to put in the work. Build your business relationships as if your career depends on it.
Photo by Jeremy Chivers.
Much is made of coaching trees that derive from assistant coaches who have worked for prominent head coaches. The success or failure of the coaches that branch out after having worked under a particular head coach can bear significantly on the legacy of the head coach. Consider the former coach of the Green Bay Packers, Mike Holmgren. Two well regarded head coaches were once assistants under Holmgren: Andy Reid and Jon Gruden. Reid’s teams are perennial playoff contenders, and Gruden has won a Super Bowl. Each of those guys also has a coaching tree. John Harbaugh, Ron Rivera, and Doug Pederson worked under Andy Reid, and each has either won a Super Bowl (Harbaugh and Pederson) or led his team to the playoffs (Rivera).
There are other coaches whose trees are less fruitful. Bill Belichick and Nick Saban are extraordinarily successful head coaches who are renowned for turning out assistants who largely do not become successful head coaches. Of course, not every protege will go on to success. There can only be so many teams in the playoffs each year. But this reputation serves as a modest mar to the accomplishments of each coach.
What does your lawyer mentoring tree look like?
I recently scheduled a mediation with a lawyer in Montgomery. I didn’t know him, but he had a reputations as an effective mediator. After putting the mediation on my calendar, I went down the hall to my mentor and asked her about the mediator. I was surprised to learn that the mediator was my great-grand-mentor; he had been her mentor’s mentor. Since my mentor’s mentor is the founding partner of my firm and the person who recruited me, I know him well.
What this knowledge further ingrained in me is that there is a strong legacy of lawyers who precede me. They are all known to be good litigators and better people. They have great relationships with their clients. They get good results, not only in the courtroom but also in getting cases resolved that don’t need to make it to a courtroom. The lawyer mentoring tree on which I am a branch has a reputation for integrity. In the midst of adversity, they are stalwart.
So what does this mean to me? I’d better not screw it up. My reputation is not only mine. It is also the legacy of those who have mentored me, who have poured a part of themselves into me. My own reputation could either be a jewel in their crown or a black mark on their record. I carry that knowledge with me and use it to instruct my decision making.
Don’t be afraid to grow your own branches
Regardless of whether you’ve had good mentors or have had to make your way without any, consider mentoring other lawyers who have less experience than you. When done well, it can be a deeply rewarding experience that affects the lives of both the mentor and the mentee. Those you pour yourself into will become a part of your legacy. Not everyone you mentor into will go to be successful or will themselves have a good reputation. But what they have learned from you should spur them in the right direction.
Take stock of what your lawyer mentoring tree looks like. Look at both the limbs you have branched from and those you have mentored who will be associated with you. Are you building a legacy of lawyers helping other lawyers be better at their craft, better at serving their clients, and better at managing their businesses? If not, now is a good time. There is someone you could serve well by sharing your knowledge and experience.
Okeoma Moronu recently had me on her podcast “The Happy Lawyer Project” to discuss time management and productivity, making yourself indispensable within your law firm, influential books that I’ve read in the past year, and of course, my new book, Stop Putting Out Fires. You can listen to the interview wherever you normally listen to podcasts or at Okeoma’s website.
I consumed about 40 books last year. I say consumed rather than read because about 2/3 of them were via audiobook, and some people draw a distinction between reading and listening to books. Nevertheless, below are the books I read last year and a sentence or two about what I thought of them.
For the last 15 years, I’ve kept a 4-star rating system for every book I’ve read, so I’ve included that here for some additional context. I hope you find this enjoyable and it gives you some ideas for future reading.
Robert Olmstead’s Far Bright Star (***): A Western that harkens to Cormac McCarthy’s border trilogy.
Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (***): For some reason, it didn’t register with me like it has in year’s past.
James Scott Bell’s Write Your Novel from the Middle (***+): A different perspective on how to write a novel from an experienced writer and former practicing lawyer.
Michael Connelly’s The Scarecrow (**+): I’m not much for thrillers, and this one didn’t do anything to change my mind.
Phillip Lewis’s The Barrowfields (****): One of my favorite books of 2018. I interviewed the author, who’s a lawyer in North Carolina.
Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile’s The Road Back to You (***): This book influenced me in a deep and lasting way. This was my launching point into the Enneagram, and gave me language to understand things about myself that I hadn’t previously explored. I would recommend it to anyone interested in self-assessment and understanding how your personality drives your behavior.
Eric Metaxes’s Bonhoeffer (***+): The true story of a German pastor/theologist who was involved in several plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler. It was as good as it sounds like it would be.
Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane (***): This was the first Gaiman book I’d read. There will be many more to come.
Dave Eggers’s The Circle (**+): This is easily Egger’s worst book to date. It wants to be more than it is.
Malcom Gladwell’s David and Goliath (***+): It’s Malcolm Gladwell, so it’s good and thought-provoking. Sometimes we can use our perceived weaknesses to turn the tables on our opponents.
John Hart’s Redemption Road (***): I keep going back to John Hart hoping other books with live up to The Last Child. They haven’t, but they’re still good enough.
Donald Miller’s Building a Story Brand (***+): Many of my ideas about good business marketing are anchored in this book. I’ve been reading Donald Miller for the better part of 15 years, and this is his most practical work yet.
Stephen King’s Carrie (***): There’s a reason it’s iconic.
Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons (**): So bad. So, so bad.
Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning (***): One man’s journey through the Holocaust and the psychology that he developed out of his experiences.
Neal Stephenson’s Zodiac (***): A funny and engaging ride that has stood the test of time.
Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s Nudge (***): If you like behavioral economics, this is a book you should read.
Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (**+): I remember having enjoyed this more when I read it in years past.
Caleb Carr’s The Alienist (****): A really interesting psychological mystery set around the turn of the 20th Century.
Andy Weir’s Artemis (***): It’s not The Martian, but it’s not a bad space thriller.
Don Winslow ‘s The Cartel (***): While the novel is fascinating, it is also one of the most grim exhibitions of the depraved capacity of man that I’ve ever read. It is not for the weak of heart … or stomach.
Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (***+): 2018 was a year of self-exploration, and Quiet was an enjoyable part of that journey.
Malcom Gladwell’s The Tipping Point (***+): A study of not only how things become popular and take hold in the marketplace but also who are the mavens, connectors, and early adopters that shape trends.
Joanna Penn’s Successful Self-Publishing (***+): If you’re interested in authoring books, this is a must-read, whether you’re going to publish independently or traditionally.
Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist (***): An interesting book about how we can develop our creativity.
Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants (****): One of the most entertaining science fiction books I’ve read in a while, written in interesting format. I had to pry myself away from it.
Jennifer Haigh’s Heat and Light: (**+): She told the story well, but I didn’t identify with any of the characters.
Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (***+): One of Heinlein’s two best novels. A fun tale about a small group who orchestrate the overthrow of an oppressive system.
Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art (***): An interesting taking of fighting the Resistance that can keep us from doing our best and most meaningful work.
Erik Larson’ s Dead Wake (***): The story of the sinking of the Lusitania set in the context of German U-boat warfare.
Ernst Cline’s Ready Player One (***): I want some depth and a coming of age story, but all I got was a YA thriller. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if my expectations had been different.
David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon (***+): Dozens of Osage Indians were killed for oil money in Oklahoma in the early 1900s. An incredible story, well told.
Sylvain Neuvel’s Awaking Gods (***): The second book in Neuvel’s trilogy. Good, but not as good as the Sleeping Giants.
Michael Lewis’s The Undoing Project (****): Two Israeli psychologists changed the field of economics with decades of collaborative work.
Robert Heinlein’s Sixth Column (***): A novel about using unconventional means to wage war against an oppressor.
Michael Lewis’s Moneyball (****): You all know this one. It’s about how some really smart guys started considering baseball stats in a different way so they could overcome their team’s meager payroll.
Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic (***+): An interesting read about where creativity comes from and how to use it so you don’t lose it.
Honoree Corder and Ben Hale’s Write, Publish, & Market Like a Boss (***): If you’re looking to do any writing and independent publishing, this is a good resource.
Alright, so that’s it for 2018. This year is off to a slower start. I’ve been doing a lot of work getting my second book, Stop Putting Out Fires, ready for release on May 2. If you’re interested, you can pre-order the e-book now on either Amazon or Kobo. The print version should be ready to pre-order within the next month.
Photo by Vincent Fuh.
Five Mile Creek is stalked by a yellow crowned night heron. Every morning she fishes there for crawfish, wading its waters looking for a good spot. One morning, I took my camera so I could watch her more closely. This is what I saw.
The heron perched on a submerged rock and waited, watching. For long minutes, she stood motionless. Water bugs and leaves floated past her. A school of minnows swam by. Still she stood there, statuesque.
Abruptly, she plunged her head through the surface of the creek. Just as quickly she pulled herself upright with a crawfish wriggling in her back. She tilted her head back, and the prey was gone. Then she returned to her stillness.
The heron used her experience to scout a fishing spot where she was most likely to succeed. She found a narrow channel where the water was funneled between two rocks. The current ran a bit stronger there, but her critters beneath the surface had little room to move laterally and avoid capture.
She was patient. She didn’t take the first thing that came along. She didn’t settle for less that she had set out for. She waited. When her target made its appearance, she was poised to strike.
The heron made her own opportunity. She did not sit in her nest and ruminate about how hungry she was. She did not wait for her partner (assuming for the sake of illustration that yellow crowned night herons have partners) to bring back for her the breakfast he had caught. No, she got out there early in the morning and positioned herself so when the crawfish awoke and started their morning, she would already be in place. She wouldn’t disturb or alarm them by getting into position. She made her opportunity and increased her likelihood of success.
Do you have a new practice area you want to expand into? A new client you want to work with? A new business or litigation strategy you want to implement?
Make your own opportunity! No one is more interested or invested in your success than you are. Do your market research. Discern how you might be able to build up trust equity with your potential client and begin to form a collaborative relationship. Do your work and position yourself for success. Do what is necessary to make your own opportunity and then capitalize on it.
How do you think it would be received if the first time you met someone you planted a kiss right on their mouth and began to assume that you were in a dating relationship? Likely not very well. Why then do we treat business relationships any different?
Let me tell you a story
About a year ago I was at an insurance defense conference where I and other lawyers went to dinner with some potential new clients. We had a nice meal. We talked about the business in various states where the potential clients had work. The lawyers talked about their firms and the kind of work they did. That was the purpose of this meeting – to get to know each other, see if we liked each other, and if down the road we could do business together.
But one of the lawyers got a little handsy at the end of the meal (figuratively speaking). He began to push the potential new client to make a commitment to use his firm as their panel counsel in his state. He wasn’t just forward; he was quite persistent.
For the lawyers, it was uncomfortable watching this unravel. It was also quite evident that the potential new client found it very off-putting and was no longer a potential new client. The formerly potential client was trying to disengage and wrap up dinner. The date had gone wrong. It wasn’t a good match. And the only person who didn’t know it was the overly aggressive lawyer.
The lawyer hadn’t built up any trust equity with the potential new client. He hadn’t done anything to establish that he was capable of doing the work the potential client required. Yet he was asking for a commitment.
It was entirely inappropriate. Entirely ineffective. And entirely too common among lawyers courting new business. Many lawyers approach potential clients this way. I myself have done it. But it is no way to operate and no way to establish good relationships with people with whom you want to do business. You have to lay the foundations for the relationship before you can ask for a commitment.
Photo by Maessive.
Lawyers should be doing content marketing as a means of providing value and building up trust equity with clients/potential clients, as well as exhibiting your expertise. If you’re not engaging in content marketing to enable clients to find you and so you can answer their questions, here’s a primer about what content marketing is, what’s it’s not, and how to do it well.
What is content marketing?
Maybe you’ve heard of content marketing before, and maybe you have’t. So for the sake of making sure we are speaking a common language, I want to provide a definition. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as follows:
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
This blog is an example of content marketing. I’m providing you practical information about different ways to manage your clients, cases, and law practice. I’m not selling you something every day, but I do hope to provide you enough value that you will see additional value in buying my book, Stop Putting Out Fires. As concerns your practice, your content marketing should be done with the goal of attracting potential clients and providing them with information that will identify their problems for them and show them you have the expertise to resolve their issues.
To help discuss content market in a law firm context, I reached out to Karin Conroy of Conroy Creative Counsel, who helps lawyers with their websites. You can see from the image on the right side of the screen that she’s an ad partner for this blog, and that’s because I believe in her message. Below are Karin’s thoughts about how you can best utilize content marketing for your law practice.
1. In what ways is content marketing a long-game approach to success?
Content marketing is any strategic content your law firm shares with the public, such as social media posts, videos, or blogs. For most law firms, regularly scheduled blog posts can be helpful in engaging potential clients. However, blog posting should not be a haphazard free-for-all. Instead of writing whatever comes to mind on the day you scheduled a blog post to go out, a much more effective (and less stressful!) way to approach content marketing is by looking at the long game. You’ll want to come up with a list of topics relevant to your practice, decide how often you want to post and create a content marketing calendar that you can stick to. Commit to posting frequently to your blog for optimal results. We’ve all seen that website with the latest blog post from 2016 and it gives the visitor a bad impression of your ability to stay current and fresh.
2. Why should lawyers engage in content marketing?
Content marketing lets law firms share how they are different and establish their authority on a subject. What makes you uniquely qualified to serve your clients? Content marketing should express your unique value proposition, whether that’s your experience, your enthusiasm for the subject, your geographical location, or something else. A well thought out blog will explain your niche and attract your targeted audience. For example, if your firm specializes in estate planning, your blog should focus on questions pertaining to the problems that niche has, and how your firm can best solve those problems. A blog on a personal injury attorney’s website will have different content. Here’s your chance to attract your ideal clients and let them know that you’re the right attorney to help solve their problem.
3. What does good content marketing look like?
Good content marketing lets your visitor know they’re in the right place. As they’re reading your content they should be saying “this guys really understands me” to themselves. Your message shouldn’t come across as marketing. No one wants to be pitched to all the time. Instead of a salesman, picture yourself as a helpful colleague that has addressed their issue many times and knows answers to questions they haven’t even thought of yet.
Tell a story instead of selling yourself. How do you do this? Put the human element into your content by sharing what attracted you to this type of law or why you are passionate about your specialization. By exposing your human side, you will draw in the reader and make a connection between yourself and your potential client. Think about your favorite advertisements and the story they tell. How did the story engage you? Content marketing is a powerful tool for converting website users to leads to clients.
You can also use your blog as a chance to boost SEO for your website by sprinkling in relevant keywords in your blog posts. Try using Google’s Keyword Planner. For example, if you are a bankruptcy attorney in Los Angeles than using bankruptcy attorney Los Angeles or bankruptcy lawyer LA in your blogs can help boost your search rankings for those terms. However, don’t overuse these keywords (commonly called ‘keyword stuffing’), as Google will downrank you for that.
Make it easily readable by ensuring the content is broken up into easily digestible chunks with bulleted lists and appropriate headers and subheaders so your readers can scan through the post. The most important factors in content marketing are conveying your unique value proposition through storytelling, readability, and regularity.
4. What makes for bad content marketing?
Bad content marketing is a nuisance. We all have businesses on our email lists and social media that constantly throw out their sales pitch without ever providing value. What happens to those companies? Most of us eventually unsubscribe from their emails or hide their posts from our feeds. You don’t want to be the annoying pest!
No one enjoys constantly being pitched to, without any personalization or sense of what the business can offer you. Law firms need to carefully plan their content strategy to provide value for their target audience. Instead, offer your website visitors valuable content. For law firms, I highly recommend a white paper or legal guide on common questions. Make it clear your firm is the expert source for specific legal inquiries surrounding your specialization.
Lastly, just because you’re writing a white paper does not mean your content has to be overly long, rambling, or full of jargon. This is an easy way to lose your readers. Make it easy to read for the average person who has little to no exposure to legal terms. That’s it! Follow these rules to avoid bad content.
Good content marketing is not clickbait. It is not self-promotion. It is not a sales pitch. Good content marketing answers your the question your clients and potential clients have. Good content marketing is a proven and effective strategy for helping clients find you and enabling you to grow your business.
Photo by Karl-Ludwig Poggemann.