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Marketing For Lawyers And Writing For Relationships Using A Personal Approach

When it comes to marketing for lawyers, building a relationship with your prospective client is critical. Before a client will trust you, they must feel as though they know you and like you. This is where regular writing can be a big help.

By regular writing, I mean using a blog, a newsletter or a weekly email to keep up communication with your base of clients and prospective clients. Writing and sharing these articles with some frequency will allow your readers to gain an insight into your mindset. It allows them to project themselves into your world and they can actually develop a relationship with you through your writing.

You Write for Two Audiences: Clients and Referral Sources
When I introduce this as an important component of marketing for lawyers, I always receive some resistance. This comes from criminal lawyers, immigration lawyers, personal injury lawyers and family lawyers. They tell me that people will not even visit their website until they have a need for their services. While this may be (partially) true, when they do visit your website, they will read EVERYTHING that is up there. If the information is only about you and your law firm, they will not have a full understanding of how you can help them. It is far better to have them read an ongoing narrative of your thoughts than to read a canned bio.

Referral sources will also regularly read everything you write. It is critically important that your referral sources know you, like you and trust you. If you can keep them interested in what you have to say, on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, you will be amazed at the business that comes your way. Think about the member of the clergy who wants to refer immigration cases to you or the financial planner who needs to refer a divorce attorney to a client. If they want to send this referral to you, how will they gain any insight into who you are and your philosophy?

How to Write
When attorneys start writing on a regular basis, they complain about the amount of time it takes. It does take time to organize your thoughts and put them into a coherent format for print or Internet consumption. But it is not like writing an academic research paper.

You are writing to develop a relationship. Nobody is grading you. While including facts and figures is good, sometimes people are more interested in what you think and how you feel about the topic. That is how relationships are developed. You do not build a relationship in a sterile environment with clinical information. It is messy and emotional. That’s life and that’s how you should write.

There are four elements that should be included in an article you are writing for the purpose of building a relationship. These elements are summarized by using the acrony.

P.O.K.E. That stands for Personality, Opinion, Knowledge and Entertainment. Those are the four things readers are looking for when they read your writing. Below are some ways to incorporate each of these elements into your writing style.

Personality
Each of us has a distinct “voice” when we write. Legal writing tends to dull that voice. You need to find it and put in on display in your marketing. Be a real person. Demonstrate some emotion. People are not hiring a robot when they need a lawyer. They are hiring a flesh and blood human being and they expect you to act like one. Show them who you are through your writing.

Opinion
What do you think? How do you feel about this topic? Those are the questions running through the mind of the reader while they are reading your article. If you take a stand, offer an opinion, some people will disagree with you. Some may even be turned off. But others will bond with you forever. Have some courage. Give your opinion. Your readers want it.

Knowledge
Educational marketing is fantastic for demonstrating knowledge. Your challenge is to do this in a way that is not condescending or demeaning. Help your readers discover the truth; do not beat them over the head with it. You are helping people explore, grow and understand; you are not teaching. There is a huge difference.

Entertainment
People want to feel something when they walk away from reading your work. You must engage them emotionally. That is what entertainment is all about. You must, at some point, tap into their emotions and stir up some kind of feeling in them. That is the only way to truly develop a relationship with them.

Writing this way is an acquired skill. It takes practice. Start by thinking about how you tell a story and model your writing after that. Then go back and look for each of the elements of the P.O.K.E. method in your article. If you can identify them, you’ve done well. If you can’t, see what’s missing and add it in later.

It’s also very important to remember is that all of these elements must be interesting to the reader. This can be done in three different ways:

Third Party Stories
Telling a story about a third party is an effective way to get your point across to your audience. Think of the story as an educational opportunity. Grab the audience and pull them into the story but wrap it up with an educational message. The third party story blends an emotional appeal with the appearance of a logical fact pattern.

Case Studies
Case studies are a more academic version of the third party story. They contain actual facts, case information and often will contain citations. Many people use case studies when they want to make a logical appeal to their audience. Some people find this methodology to be more sterile and academic.

Personal experience
This is the most effective form of writing. When you tell a story about yourself, it allows the audience member to paint a mental picture of the entire situation. The receiver of your message will suspend disbelief and “get into” the story. They will feel the emotions you felt. They will relate to you.

These three additional methods of emotionally engaging the audience of your message are all highly effective. The only decision you need to make is which method makes the most sense for you. Experiment with each writing style in your attorney marketing.

David V. Lorenzo

David V. Lorenzo is the Chairman and Founder of Rainmaker Lawyer Consulting. He and his team help attorneys “make a great living and live a great life.” If you’d like a FREE CD from Dave, titled: The Five Secrets to Making a Great Living and Living a Great Life as a Lawyer, visit: www.LawyerSecretsCD.com or call 888.692.5531

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Filed Under: Marketing

About the Author: David V. Lorenzo is the Chairman and Founder of Rainmaker Lawyer Consulting. He and his team help attorneys “make a great living and live a great life.” If you’d like a FREE CD from Dave, titled: The Five Secrets to Making a Great Living and Living a Great Life as a Lawyer, visit: www.LawyerSecretsCD.com or call 888.692.5531

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