More legal articles written for syndication

How many legal articles can a lawyer write in a week? It’s so tempting to consider the spinners that use automation systems to jumble your words into new articles. Unfortunately, though they tend to result in complete jibberish. (Don’t say it!) 🙂


Getting your articles to the top of Google

Note that since this article was originally posted, Adrian Lursson who knows more about J.D. Supra than I do posted a helpful correction in the comments section below so it’s well worth reading his comments first. If you use LinkedIn or search Google for law related articles you may already have come across J.D. Supra and wondered who this seemingly omnipresent super-author is. It turns out that J.D. Supra is a news and editorial syndication application allowing lawyers to post their documents for publication on the web. The system submits the work to Google and is registered very promptly but it takes a bit of trial and error to get your work returned for popular searches on Google.  However,  if you think about it before writing the article you can ensure that you use the right phrases, by which I mean the phrases that your target audience are actually searching for.

Employment lawyers usually want employers to read their articles so taking that example, it’s unlikely that employers are going to subscribe to feeds from JD Supra or visit the website because it is predominantly for legal specialists so you rely on them finding your work via the search facility on Google when they search for help with a problem. It would help, therefore, to include the words and phrases that employers will search for.

Your next question is, of course, “How do I find out what employers are searching for?”  Well, you could start by searching Google with phrases you think your audience may use. Google’s new ‘Suggest’ feature automatically shows you what the most popular searches are as you type. Just keep changing the words around and experimenting to find inspiration from Google’s ever changing list of suggestions. The list is based on the most popular searches and is rated by many experts as more reliable than Google’s keyword tool.

The BBC series ‘Turn Back Time’ ended recently and with it a fascinating experiment proved that marketing is vital to growth. The idea was to recreate the high street through the ages from the Victorian era to present day over the course of 6 episodes. Each week a different period was brought to life by the sponsored families who gamely dressed up, took over authentic period shops and grafted for their livelihoods often in very difficult circumstances. The unsuspecting residents of Shepton Mallet watched on and then… joined in.

It soon became clear that those shopkeepers who marketed their products and services with passion were more successful than those who sat back and waited for customers to cross the threshold.

Despite all the odds, an Edwardian butcher flogged pre-historic looking cuts of meat and a milkshake bar drew in crowds of listless teenagers. The blacksmith did a brisk trade in candle stick holders and the hairdresser bagged tips she had only dreamt of.

The successful shopkeepers overcame many barriers including limited product lines, third rate machinery, rationing during WWII and price fixing by the large manufacturers. They beat all the odds and their competition with good old fashioned marketing techniques and a healthy dose of excellent customer service.

This is something the Edwardians developed and the’self-service 70’s’ killed off. Most lawyers can cast their minds back to law school and remember the Boots self service test case as a useful lesson in ‘offer and acceptance’. Beyond that this case heralded a new era in which we liked to help ourselves. The irony is as this series discovered, that we now miss all that pampering and have welcomed it back with open arms in the millenium. We are very sorry we took it forgranted and we want to feel ‘special’ again. Stuff the conveyor belt and self service check out’ and spoil me says today’s typical consumer.

But is this enough for us? The programme seemed to confirm that we want more than just elements of great customer service. We want it all. Personal service, competitive pricing, endless choice and of course, excellent quality.

Well like it or not, as lawyers this is the challenge facing us today. I for one take it up with gusto. It makes my job much more exciting and when I get it right (which evidently I must now do 24/7) it is hugely rewarding.

Nobody, particulary hugely successful businesses have time on their hands and yet they find time for marketing. I know this is a fact, because they cannot reach their potential otherwise.  If you want new business you have to work for it. Allocate significant resources to smart marketing. Stop making excuses and instead make it happen and just like these High Street time lords you will find that it works a treat.


Sell the sizzle not the sausage

Ken Clarke, the Justice Secretary, has said he will slash the Legal Aid bill by more than a third. As a result lawyers fear they will lose out on fees and that their most vulnerable clients will lose out on access to justice ~ and they are probably right to be concerned.

However, that isn’t the full story because disputes won’t simply evaporate, they will move to other venues. The cut and thrust of court will give way to the diplomacy of mediation meetings and I expect the vast majority of lawyers will catch on pretty quickly and give their mediation skills a higher profile on their websites. But, hang on a minute…

What is the best way to attract mediation work? One answer is that having identified a growing niche market you are in an excellent position to craft some targeted marketing copy for your website and other communication channels but don’t forget to sell the sizzle not the sausage!

Put yourself in the shoes of those who need mediation services and reassure them that you can supply them with what they ‘want’. ( don’t assume that just because they ‘need’ mediation services that they necessarily ‘want‘ mediation services.)

I expect that most parties considering mediation will be looking for a low cost alternative to court. They will want to secure a mutually acceptable outcome relatively quickly and without fuss.’ In a nutshell, they want peace of mind. So that is what I would advertise, not ‘mediation services’ but ‘peace of mind’.

Are your services being upstaged by your brand?

It is natural for law firms to give their brand top billing in their marketing materials but it’s turning off droves of potential clients.

Law firms often feature their brand at the centre of their marketing materials because it is the one thing that brings all the partners and their teams together.

However, clients don’t buy brands they buy solutions to their problems. Certainly they need to see the brand but they don’t ‘buy’ the brand. Instead, they buy services that solve their problems and if you want to engage them and capture their attention you need to start talking about those services, in fact, you need to shout about them.

If you are not putting your services centre stage it’s little wonder that prospective clients look at your marketing materials and glaze over because all they see is soundbites and pictures of team members and endorsements from happy clients. Don’t misunderstand me, all these things have a role to play but it’s a supporting role not the main event.

Employment Lawyers are looking for clients that want ‘a Toolkit for managing redundancies from start to finish’ or ‘a set of contracts and policies to ensure legal compliance’ or ‘a complete HR management package’ so give those services top billing and demote the sound bites about quality and relationships to the supporting cast.

If you don’t believe me just take a few minutes to analyse your own buying behaviour. For instance, how do you go about buying a holiday? The likelihood is that like millions of other people you search Google for holidays to your preferred destination. In other words your primary interest is in the product not ‘quality travel agents’! Certainly you will carry out due diligence before buying, but it isn’t the first thing on your mind and the same goes for your clients.

Marketing Trends for Law Firms

marketing trendsIt is often said that the U.K. is 5 years behind the United States when it comes to trend adoption but that gap is seriously reduced when it comes to internet related trends so it’s well worth keeping an eye on their view of developments in the sphere of marketing for law firms.

Here are some predictions from Lawyer SEO Marketing about what lawyers can expect from social media marketing for the remainder of 2010 and into 2011 in the U.S.:

• Google Places and local search will replace yellow page listings.

• The majority of both solo attorneys and multi-lawyer law firms will have a presence on one or more social media sites.

• Documented guidelines for social media marketing and advertising rules established by the American Bar Association.

• An increase in social media policies for law firm employees created by individual companies.

• YouTube Videos and Vlogging (video blogging) will become common website content.

• Law firms will increasingly optimize their websites for smartphones functionality.

Full article on Top Wire News

September 30th Webcast on Effective Online Marketing for Attorneys

Press Release – September 30th Webcast on Effective Online Marketing for Attorneys.

Today, Thursday September 30th, attorney Laura Kalish will co-host a webcast on legal marketing and how law firms can build a strong, distinctive, client-generating brand online. The complimentary one-hour FindLaw webcast, titled Beyond The Basics — Standing Out from the Crowd, is designed for attorneys with online client-development experience who want to improve their Internet marketing and differentiate themselves from the competition.

This is a free one hour webcast and the first broadcast is available 11.00am CDT which is 4.00pm GMT and the second is in the evening. You will need to register if you want to listen in which you can do by following the above link.