How To Add A Blog To Your Law Firm Marketing Plan
As we have often discussed, frequently updated website content is a valuable marketing tool. One of the best ways to organize and disseminate high quality educational information, on line, is by blogging.
In the past few days, we have addressed issues about blogging frequency and quality. Today I have prepared an outline for blogging effectiveness and an audio program that should help you add blogging to your law firm marketing plan.
This blogging business plan is available on my weekly podcast. Click on the player below to listen or save the file by following the attached link.
Here is an outline of the material contained in the 23 minute podcast:
The Advantages of Blogging:
- Three ways blogging can enhance your credibility.
- Blogging as a tool to improve on-line visibility
- How blogging can help differentiate you from your competition
We answer the three most commonly asked technical questions related to blogging:
- Should a blog be on a separate domain?
- Who should own the blog and the content?
- How much does blog layout and design matter?
Next we cover the three “T’s of blogging:”
- Topic: What should I write about?
- Tone: Should my blog be authoritative, educational or friendly?
- Timing: How often should I write?
Finally we wrap things up by tying everything together and helping it fit into your law firm marketing plan.
A blog is a great marketing tool for any attorney and this podcast will help you develop your content in a way that will get maximum results.
Listen today and take immediate action.
Marketing For Lawyers On The Internet Is About Clients Not Traffic
You build a great website and it becomes a critical part of your marketing strategy. You start blogging and you write about important, timely and relevant topics. You post links to your articles on social media sites. You engage other lawyers in conversation on Twitter. You send email articles to everyone you know and you wait.
After a few days you log in to your Google Analytics account and you check the numbers. That’s just the beginning.
The beginning of an addiction that is as powerful as smoking crack.
You become obsessed with the amount of traffic to your website.
You focus on the number of visitors, where they are from, what they were looking for and how long they stayed.
While these numbers are helpful for a number of reasons they are, in one sense, fools gold.
Traffic is meaningless. Clients are the goal.
Your website exists for one reason and one reason only – to drive people into the chair in front of your desk.
You can be the Earnest Hemingway of bloggers but if your prose does not motivate people to make an appointment and run to your office, it is worthless.
Over the course of the next few days we are going to discuss website conversion tips that will lead to clients in your office and ultimately, money in the bank.
If you have not been thinking of your website as an educational tool designed to motivate clients to engage you, you need to adjust your mindset. Marketing for lawyers is complicated. Using the Internet properly in that function does not have to be.
Your website is not just a replacement for a Yellow Pages advertisement. It can be a powerful tool to help you attract the right clients but, like hammer used to tighten a bolt, the wrong application of this tool will produce poor results.
How Often Should I Update My Blog?
Some lawyers blog because they enjoy writing. Others blog because they realize educating people who visit their website is a good marketing practice. Still other lawyers blog for the search engine optimization benefits.
There is no right or wrong reason to add great content to your website. No matter what, adding high quality content is always a good thing.
One of the questions I receive most often about law firm marketing concerns frequency of blogging.
Lawyers ask: “How often should I update my blog?
The answer is: “You should update your blog as frequently as possible.”
Adding great content frequently has several benefits. Here are a few:
Building Reader Loyalty
Many bloggers (particularly lawyers) underestimate the loyalty of their readers. If you write regularly, and you provide high quality content with personality, you will develop a following of loyal readers. The best case scenario is developing a following that cannot get enough of your information.
These folks expect consistent content. Give it to them as often as possible.
Frequent Search Engine Visits
Search engines love new content. If you update your blog daily and you post links from the social media engines (particularly Google+), your website will be visited by the gods of Google more often. This means your content will have greater potential for discovery.
More Substantial Body of Work
Every blog post adds to your body of work. Continuously creating and adding high quality content to your blog adds to the knowledgebase you have created. This helps reinforce your credibility with first time visitors or people looking to use your services.
Clarity of Thought
One of the most underestimated aspects of blogging is the way regular writing can help you organize and focus your thinking. The way you write is the way you think, but organizing your writing can also assist you in organizing your thoughts. As with everything in life, practice makes perfect.
Frequent updates of content to your blog will definitely help your law firm marketing efforts. If you can fit them into your schedule, daily updates are terrific for a number of reasons – even beyond the few I listed here.
The answer to the question: “How often should I update my blog?” is “Daily or as often as possible.”
The Fine Line Between Discipline And Disinterest
Most of us never worry about sticking with something for too long. It’s not behavior that is positively reinforced when we are young.
Think about it. When was the last time you heard a parent say to a kid:
“You need to cut back on the vegetables and water. Your eyesight is too good and your energy level is too high.”
“It’s time for you to stop exercising so much. We have a perfectly good couch going to waste. Sit down and play some video games. ”
“Stop reading so many books. I’m sick of you answering all the questions on Jeopardy.”
Although I’m joking about kids and zealously reinforcing positive behavior, there is, in general, a lack of focus on discipline and persistence.
Typically, we develop these traits as a reaction to negative consequences in our life.
Maybe we were the kid who was told he was too short to be a basketball star and we spent hours perfecting free throws. Maybe we were the youngster who lost in the spelling bee and studied night and day to make sure we have a brain that autocorrects sentences before they emerge from people’s mouths. Maybe we were the child of working class parents who vows to work three jobs to never live in poverty as an adult.
Persistence and discipline originate within us in response to external factors, but most often we develop these habits as a result of responding to pain.
If our parents forced us to do something over and over again, we would become proficient but, unless we internalized the desire, never exceptional. Remember your piano or dance lessons?
This is the reason we see so few people enjoying sustained success. It is the reason attorneys marketing their services flit from one “flavor of the month” strategy to another. There is so little focus on discipline and consistency that attorneys try a marketing strategy for a few days and then give up because they don’t have the innate drive to see things through to fruition.
I’ve written several times that everything works for attorneys marketing their services. But there’s a caveat that goes along with that statement. Everything works as long as you stick with it.
If something works for an attorney in your practice area, in your city, there’s a good chance it will work for you if: 1). You know what you are doing and 2). You stick with it long enough to make it work.
We all want to take a pill, go to sleep and wake up rich, smart, and thin.
That pill doesn’t exist.
But the pain of being broke, ignorant and fat is not strong enough to motivate us to find a solution.
The only way to snap out of this malaise is through a shock to the system. Just like when we were kids, the shock must be external and emotionally motivating.
The good news: You can find your own external “shock” every day.
Your car just died? Find that new client to increase your monthly income so you can afford a new Mercedes.
Your wife wants a new house? Well, maybe it’s time you began sending out those direct mail letters to get some recurring business in the door.
Your kids are getting ready to go to college? Looks like it’s time to start speaking to groups again in order to find a few new clients.
These are not dramatic events. But you must recognize their impact in order to use them to motivate you.
Forget the magic pill. Instead find a marketing strategy that fits your market and aligns with your personality, work really hard at it, go to sleep, and wake up and do it again, at least 10,000 more times.
That’s what it takes.
Day after day you are forced to address law firm marketing by walking the fine line between discipline and disinterest. It’s actually a high wire act. You are 50 feet above the ground, balancing on this thin line, with a stiff breeze in your face. Each day you can make the choice not to step off the ledge onto the think line.
How Do Successful Lawyers Marketing Their Law Firms Think?
Successful lawyers think, act, and speak differently when compared with other lawyers. You can recognize patterns in their behavior. Here are some of those patterns.
Opportunity vs. Problem
Every problem presented by a client is an opportunity for the successful lawyer. He knows that if the client feels uncomfortable and he can take away that discomfort, the client will trust him.
Progress vs. Perfection
Consistent perfection is an unattainable goal. Progress is what a successful lawyer strives to achieve. He knows his job is to help the client achieve his goals and that doesn’t always mean getting things buttoned up perfectly. It means getting the best result possible given the circumstances.
Passion vs. Money
Successful lawyers follow their passion. They do what they do because they love it. The money comes when people recognize that passion and invest in it.
Speed vs. Need
Successful lawyers respond quickly to clients and they do this because speed is a competitive advantage for them. If they address the client’s issues rapidly, the client does not spend time thinking about things and letting his imagination run wild.
In contrast, the successful lawyer does not enable needy clients. Neediness is often a form of intellectual immaturity that will destroy an attorney/client relationship. The best lawyers address this with a client the minute they see it. This helps keep the relationship on solid ground.
Systems vs. Controlling Behavior
Successful lawyers create systems that help them achieve their goals. They have no illusions of working on every project themselves. They gladly train, develop and delegate.
If you spend any time wondering what successful lawyers think about marketing, business strategy or practice management, you need only have a conversation with one of them. You will immediately recognize the difference in the way they think, act and speak from the patterns listed above.
Inside The Mind Of The Rainmaker Lawyer
If you are wondering how to get clients as a lawyer you need to take a trip inside the mind of the Rainmaker.
A Rainmaker Lawyer knows there are few problems that cannot be remedied by more revenue.
A Rainmaker Lawyer focuses on starting new relationships and deepening existing ones.
The Rainmaker Lawyer is immune from criticism. His ego makes him bulletproof.
The Rainmaker Lawyer knows his ethics must be beyond reproach because his peers (with lesser business development skills) will, out of jealousy, critique him for every little misstep.
The Rainmaker Lawyer respects and admires the skills of his legal team. He knows he is nothing without their support.
A Rainmaker Lawyer works hard behind the scenes to learn what his clients want but more important, he learns what his clients need. Then he works hard at helping the client want what they need.
Time is not a friend to the Rainmaker Lawyer. He knows that speed makes all the difference when working with clients. He thinks fast, he talks fast but he takes action even faster.
When the going gets tough, the Rainmaker Lawyer always comes through. His instinct for making a deal and his relationship development skills magically seem to come together at the perfect time for the client and the Rainmaker’s firm.
Everyone wants to be the successful trial lawyer who wins the big case. Everyone wants to be M&A expert who closed the big deal. Nobody goes to school with the ambition of opening doors and closing deals but the lawyer with that skill is indispensable.
So if you are wondering how to get clients as a lawyer, you need to start inside the mind of the man who puts food on the table for all the others.
Website Not Converting? It’s Your Personality
The phone in my office rang the other day and there was a lawyer on the other end of the line complaining about his website.
He gets lots of traffic but nobody calls him.
He has an opt-in box that offers a free report and he updates his blog each day, yet…nothing.
No calls, no email, no opt-ins – in short, no love.
His question to me: Why?
Why, when he was seemingly doing everything right, did he not have the business to show for his effort?
“Hmmm.” I said. “Let me take a look.”
It turns out this lawyer’s marketing strategy was solid but his execution was poor.
This lawyer is a personal injury attorney. Typically he deals with devastating injuries, horrific accidents and gross medical errors. Due to his efforts, victims are able to live the best life possible in spite of their circumstances.
And that’s what he writes about on his website. Constantly.
Topics from the past week:
- Medical error that killed a grandma.
- Devastating car accident that left a farther of five paralyzed.
- Wrong drug dispensed in a hospital resulting in a seizure and partial paralysis.
- Compound fracture of a leg by an 8 year old in a little league game.
- Nursing home abuse of several elderly residents.
His articles go into significant detail about each case. He highlights the damages to the parties involved. He includes photos. And he invites you, the reader to call him if this happens to you.
And he follows this routine every day.
After reading one week’s worth of posts on his blog, I was ready to drink a bottle of scotch.
It was depressing.
This guy was missing the point.
Your blog is not a sterile academic environment. It is a cocktail party.
People drop by from time-to-time to engage in conversation and see what’s new. If you want to tell them a story, that’s great. Make sure you keep it light and in the language of the layman. Then move on to discussing things you have in common and things that can help them improve the quality of their own lives.
Yeah, I know, Google loves those keywords and you write about actual cases because it is a great way to naturally introduce them into your blog. But more and more, Google is moving away from your keyword stuffed content and toward author authority – which is gleaned from the context of your body of work.
So if you are the purveyor of gloom and doom, you may be confused with a mortician or an emergency room doctor. (I’m making that up to illustrate a point.)
Write for people.
If, at a cocktail party, you told someone seven stories in a row about death and medical errors, how long do you think that person would hang around you?
The most egregious website errors I see in lawyer marketing stem from misunderstanding the reader and not using your personality in your writing.
Write for people not search engines.
Attorney Marketing Through Niche Market Dominance
Everyone wants rapid results.
It’s as universal as the sun rising in the East and setting in the West.
Achieving market dominance – becoming the firm everyone thinks of when a topic comes up – is not easy but there is a formula to creating this situation.
In every industry and in every market there is an underserved need. If you can find that need and fill it, you will develop a great reputation. In fact, that reputation may be so powerful you may be able to dominate an entire industry. Need examples?
FedEx was originally created to deliver paychecks for the Federal Government. The company now dominates global package delivery and logistics planning.
Google was developed in a garage as a way to organize the internet in order to help people find information. This behemoth not only fulfills its originally intended purpose it also provides web-based software and email to 30% of the Fortune 500.
IBM was originally a company that built office hardware (including typewriters and clocks) but has transformed from that into the leading manufacturer of computers and printers (in the 1980’s) and then again (late 1990’s through today) into an information technology consulting powerhouse.
What do these three case studies (and hundreds of others like them) have in common?
The companies first dominated a narrow market niche and then transformed in order to dominate an entire industry.
You can do the same thing, even if you are currently one person in a law firm with a bare light bulb and a computer.
Today on The Valtimax Podcast I provide you with the blueprint for this kind of market dominance.
No, I can’t help you become FedEx or IBM. That part is up to you. But I can help you identify a market that needs your services and I can help you design an approach to gain a stranglehold on that market.
Listen to this radio show and take action. The world is yours. Let’s get started.
Sould You Outsource Law Firm Marketing?
There are two things you never outsource. One is signing the checks. The other is law firm marketing.
You can outsource some of the execution of your marketing tactics but you should never outsource the strategy associated with selecting your target audience, crafting your message or selecting the delivery systems (media).
Don’t Outsource Audience Selection
I have yet to meet an agency or internet expert who knows your clients as well as you do. They do not know your best client. They do not know how to spot tire kickers.
Outsourcing law firm marketing creates waste and it is directly related to audience selection. Since the marketing company cannot hone in on the exact audience, they source a broad swath of clients. You and your team then need to weed through these prospective clients and separate the good from the bad. This takes time.
Don’t Outsource Message Creation
Nobody is inside your clients’ heads like you. You know how they think. You know how they speak. You know how they make decisions. This makes you the most qualified person to interact with them. You craft the message based upon what you want them to do.
An outsourced law firm marketing message will not resonate with the audience and it will not generate the results you desire because it doesn’t come from you.
Don’t Outsource Delivery System Selection
The minute you start letting an agency select media for you, you sign up to triple your costs. Why? The agency gets paid based upon what you spend. Not to mention that you know what your clients read. You know where they go and what they do. You know what conventions they attend.
Save money and make more accurate media selection decisions by doing it yourself.
What Can You Outsource?
So when it comes to law firm marketing, what can you outsource? You can outsource the mundane repetitive tasks. Things like stuffing envelopes, responding to social media comments and loading up email campaigns lend themselves well to being outsourced.
In the end, you need to be strategic and judicious in outsourcing your marketing. Hire people to do the tedious things but keep the important decisions for yourself.
Most People Will Never Use This Powerful Business Success Secret
Many lawyers say they get clients by networking. I hate that word. Networking. When most of us think about networking we think about going to meetings with groups of people passing out business cards, shaking hands and trying to sell something.
That’s not what I mean by networking.
True networking involves understanding the value someone provides and matching that value with someone who needs it.
Whenever I meet someone new I ask them two key questions:
“What do you do better than everyone else?”
“What’s keeping you awake at night?”
Then I spend the rest of my career matching people up – paring strengths with issues.
When you do this, you develop deep relationships with people because they know you care about them.
You demonstrate this caring by:
1). Helping people use their greatest talent
2). Helping people solve their greatest problem
This is such a simple concept it begs an additional question:
“Why don’t more people do this?”
My answer is probably something you would not expect…
More people don’t do this because it requires emotional investment in others and diligent effort in furtherance of the agenda of another human being with the promise of nothing in return.
This is called having an external orientation.
You must be focused on other people to use this successfully.
What results can you expect?
Three out of five times (60% of the time) people will do nothing. You will, in some cases, change their lives, their businesses and their future. And people will either not remember you did it or they will pretend to not remember. As a result, you will receive noting in return other than the satisfaction of having made this person’s situation better.
One time in five (20% of the time) the person will be grateful. He will express this gratitude to you. That will feel good. At some point in the future this person will (either actively or passively) do something that benefits you in some way. These people will be loyal to you for life. You can commit offensive acts and these people will defend you. This person will feel a deep emotional bond with you forever.
One time in five (20% of the time) is a magical experience. This person will move heaven and earth and deliver some sort of value to you in excess of anything you could have ever done for him.
This article describes the single greatest success philosophy I have ever learned and practiced.
Just about everything I have accomplished in my career, to this point, has come in part because of this philosophy.
I’m sharing it with you because someone once shared it with me and I put it into practice and it changed my life.
You need to ask yourself: “Do I want my life and my business to improve dramatically?” And “Am I willing to help others selflessly in order to achieve that result?”
If the answers to those questions are: “Yes,” then you must go out and begin to put this philosophy into practice.
Most people won’t.
But if you do, you must promise you will, one day, pass along this external orientation strategy to as many people as possible. Because it not only improves businesses, it can change the course of people’s lives and make the world we live in slightly better.