SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE:
- How to be seen as a “thought leader” and differentiate yourself from other family lawyers.
- How to make your website more of a resource in 3 easy steps.
- The value of writing and submitting articles online.
- The easiest way to create content for your website – we will tell you how.
The New Power of the Word
Welcome to our Marketing Teleseminar. If this is the first time you’ve attended one of our teleseminars, thank you for coming. If you’ve attended our teleseminars in the past, thank you for coming back.
My name is Dan Couvrette. I’m the CEO and owner of Divorce Marketing Group. My firm has worked with divorce professionals for the past 14 years.
It would be helpful if you were in front of the computer. If you don’t have your computer on or you’re not in front of one, please turn it on or go and sit in front of one. You’ll want to check out a few of the things that we’ll be recommending and talking about in this seminar.
There are a few things I want to point out before we start:
- If you want a transcript of this teleseminar, please send me an e-mail and we’ll gladly forward the transcript to you. My e-mail address email@example.com.
- You won’t be able to do everything I suggest. Please don’t panic about that – as long as you do some of the things I recommend, you’ll be doing well.
- You might consider having an assistant, one who’s 100% focused on helping you with marketing, to do some of this work. It can be a virtual assistant (I have a person who works four hours a day for me in India), or it could be a law student, etc. but you’ll probably need help.
- If I mention products and services that my company offers, it is only to give you an idea of what you could create or, if you don’t want to create them, to let you know they’re available through us.
Some of you may know Divorce Magazine. We produce six regional editions in California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, New York/New Jersey, and Ontario. Or perhaps you’re one of the 1.4 million people who’ve visited DivorceMagazine.com in the past year, or you’ve seen one of our monthly e-newsletters; our Divorce Guide, Collaborative Divorce Guide or Mediation Divorce Guide; or a video of me on YouTube or one of our clients’ websites; or a website we’ve built for a family lawyer, mediator, or financial professional. Or maybe you’re a follower of DivorceMagazine.com or Divorce Marketing Group on Twitter, or you’ve visited our Divorce Magazine or Divorce Marketing Group Blog; read a story about us in the New York Times, CNN, ABC, CBS etc.; visited our Facebook page; connected to us on LinkedIn either personally to me or through one of the groups in a part of; read stories we’ve supplied to Ivillage.com; come across one of our articles recommended on Delicious.com, StumbleUpon.com or other websites. Or you may have seen Divorce Magazine or Dan Couvrette on Wikipedia, or you’ve attended a professional conference and have seen me speaking. Or you’re a client of ours and taking advantage of these free seminars.
I say all of this to show that we are “in the game”of marketing, which means we spend a good amount of time marketing not only our clients but also ourselves. We test out everything we recommend to our clients to make certain we understand how they work and the value that these tools might bring to our clients.
We’ve been in the business of marketing divorce professionals for 14 years, so we have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t work – and the fact is that almost anything you can think of doing to market yourself works. It’s just a matter of what will make the best use of your time and financial resources.
It’s almost safe to say (because there are always exceptions to any rule) that as long as you have a marketing strategy (which means you or your money is actively doing something), almost anything works. If you are willing to invest the money and time in advertising in the Yellow Pages, as well as somebody else’s time filtering out the people who call your firm, it could work for you. Or if you commit to blogging about family law issues and little else, this could work for you – but it may not immediately result in clients.
Neither of these examples constitutes what I’d call a marketing strategy; they’re simply marketing activities. If you want to get the maximum bang for your time and money, you need to develop a strategy around those activities.
What do I mean by strategy? Isn’t putting an ad in the Yellow Pages a strategy?
An ad in the Yellow pages is an activity. If you were to build a strategy around the Yellow Pages ad, you could:
- Offer something for FREE in your advertisement. Preferably not a free consultation, unless you have an associate who assesses the potential client.
- Offer something that a potential client can find on your website that differentiates you from other family lawyers such as: a FREE newsletter on your website, a FREE Divorce Information Package, or an information package called “Help Your Kids Through Divorce”, “How to Reduce Conflict in Your Divorce”or “How to Spend Less on Your Divorce”. Anything that would be of value to a potential client will help drive traffic to your website.
Let’s take the Yellow Pages example. Before you run the ad in the Yellow Pages, you’d create these resources (or call Divorce Marketing Group, so we can provide you with our monthly electronic newsletter, our Divorce Guide, or Collaborative Divorce Guide), because you’ll want to have those available on your website and in your office so prospective clients can pick them up.
You could continue to build a strategy around the Yellow Pages advertising that would help you diversify your marketing, which is essential to any successful marketing model.
The reason I picked the Yellow Pages as an example is because of something called “change”. Most people believe that the Yellow Pages’ usefulness is diminishing. Ten short years ago, it would have been one of the most powerful advertising tools for family lawyers. Change is something you can count on: what is effective today might become less effective tomorrow, so you need to diversify your strategy now, not later.
One thing that’s consistent with the marketing tools we use and recommend is that they’re all based on providing useful information and resources to divorcing people and professionals serving the divorce market. Information and resources are the cornerstone of our marketing strategy. What is the cornerstone of your marketing strategy? That’s a question worth answering
We package information in/on:
• Divorce Magazine
• Our monthly electronic newsletter
• Our 28-page Divorce Guide
• Our 28-page Collaborative Divorce Guide
• Our 28-page Mediation Divorce Guide
• Our Divorce Marketing Group blog
• Our Divorce Magazine blog
• Divorce Magazine Twitter
• Through FREE teleseminars like this one
We billed this teleseminar as “The New Power of the Word”. Everything I’ve discussed so far has been about the power of the word, now we’ll get to the specifics.
1. What’s the value of writing articles?
2. Is blogging for you?
3. How can you become a “thought leader”?
4. Easy ways to create content for your website.
5. The new way to use press releases
6. Should you participate in online forums?
All of these subjects are about creating and disseminating information that will help you stand out from other attorneys, look more credible, and have others see you as a “thought leader”.
So let me start with our first subject – the value of writing articles:
There is probably no activity that can better define a professional as a “leader” or “thought leader” in his or her field than writing. Yet very few professionals take advantage of this marketing tool. And the main reason they don’t is because they say they don’t have the time. (I’ll come back to this issue in a moment.)
Writing has never been a more effective marketing tool than it is today, because of our massive need for information and the variety of ways to spread the word about what you’ve written. All old media -TV, radio, newspapers, magazines -need content, and most need it 24/7. All new media -websites, forums, blogs, even listservs -constantly need content. Social media -Twitter, Facebook, MySpace -all constantly need content.
So one goal of writing articles (such as question-and-answer columns, opinion pieces, or comments) is to provide content for all of the media, including your own media (your website, blog, newsletter, Tweets, Facebook) plus the other media you can tap into.
But writing can do more than just fill space. It can:
Enhance your credibility and distinguish you from your colleagues
If you were to just put articles or answers to Frequently Asked Questions on your website, you’d look more credible than the 75-80% of all family lawyers who don’t supply that type of information on their sites. This one simple act is a worthwhile investment of time.
Make you more media-ready
By developing a writing strategy to market yourself and keeping yourself and your writing in front of the media, you can become a resource for the media. That doesn’t necessarily mean CNN is going to phone you every time some celebrity gets a divorce, but it could happen.
One of our clients in Los Angeles has made herself one of a handful of “go-to”divorce lawyers for the media when any divorce news happens (whether a celebrity divorce, a change in the law, or almost any other divorce story). Divorce Magazine is in the same position: last week, The Associated Press called me because they were working on a story about “Banning Divorce”and wanted my opinion as the publisher of Divorce Magazine. Divorce Magazine gets mentioned in countless newspapers and probably on countless websites, because we’re on media’s radar.
If you Google “Stacy Phillips”, you’ll find her two websites, one for her firm and one for her book and many media references. On her website, you’ll find all of her media references, video clips, articles, etc. In addition to being a client of Divorce Marketing Group, Stacy works with a public-relations firm to help her develop and disseminate articles and keep her in front of the media.
Most family lawyers don’t have the patience to develop a media strategy based on writing articles or books -which is good news for you if you do. But you don’t need to sit down and write a book; you can write articles (or have someone write them for you) and create a book at some point if you wish, but the articles will serve multiple functions on their own.
You can use articles not only as content for your website, and to reach out to local media, but they can be:
Content for your blog
You can rework articles into something you could use on your blog.
Content for an information package you send out to all of your professional referral sources
Content for an information package you give to every prospective client who comes into your office
Content for an information package you give out to people at networking organizations of which you’re a member
Content for an information package you could give out if you ever have a speaking engagement
Content for your Twitter page
Content you can use for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes
You can submit all of your articles on a host of websites that are looking for content.
Let me tell you what we’ll do with this teleseminar as an example, because it may give you an idea of what you could do with an article:
- I’ve offered the teleseminar to each of you on the call, some of you will e-mail me, and I’ll send you the transcription. Some of you who receive the transcription will forward the teleseminar to somebody else, likely a lawyer or other professional (thank you).
- We’ll feature the entire teleseminar on DivorceMarketingGroup.com.
- We’ll break this seminar into three or four segments (blogging, writing articles, etc.) and feature all of those on DivorceMarketingGroup.com.
- We’ll submit all of those segments to websites that feature articles. These articles will promote me as a marketing expert and my company as the “go-to” marketing firm for professionals who want to target the divorce market.
- Those articles will provide links back to DivorceMarketingGroup.com, which will help to optimize our website -meaning that more family lawyers will find it.
- We’ll take all of the teleseminars that we’ve done, along with this one, and make a podcast series.
- We’ll send four or five of the text and audio versions of the teleseminars to the Chairs of the family law section of the largest bar associations (L.A. Bar, New York Bar, etc.) and offer myself as a speaker at family law events. I’ve spoken at a number of family law events in Florida, Illinois, Texas, Toronto, etc., and we want to do more. People trust experts.
- Will submit these teleseminars to the Family Advocate and other legal publications and offer me as a writer for these publications.
- We’ll offer these teleseminars to marketing-related websites.
- We’ll send this teleseminar to marketing professionals to spread the word about our expertise in this area.
- We plan to do a series of press releases that will promote these teleseminars.
- We’ll let all of our existing clients know that they can listen to or read transcripts from the teleseminars.
- We’ll take the individual segments of this teleseminar and optimize the content of those segments for search engines. So if somebody searches for “lawyers and blogs”, “lawyers and writing”, etc. they’ll find my articles on our website or on somebody else’s.
- We are in the process of completing a Marketing Guide for Lawyers, so we will add part of this teleseminar to the guide.
- The guide may eventually be turned into a book.
These are some of the possibilities of what you could do with something you’d write.
This teleseminar took me about five hours to write (and my 30 years in the marketing business was the research phase), so I want to make the best possible use of my time. Whatever I take the time to create, I want to put it to the maximum use. I wish I’d remembered to videotape this, because I could have featured the video on DMG.com, Youtube, Google, etc.
So what would you write about?
I’ve already given you a few suggestions, such as:
• How can I reduce the cost of my divorce?
• How can I reduce the stress associated with divorce?
• How can I help my children through my divorce?
Start by writing answers to questions that clients and prospective clients ask you every single day, and go from there.
• How long will my divorce take?
• What are the basic details of the divorce process?
• When will I get to see my children?
If you need some ideas, go to DivorceMagazine.com and check out the FAQs About Divorce section. The FAQs are by state, and the state with the most FAQs and answers is California.
The main problem with writing is that almost every professional I talk to has no time for writing, because they’re too busy and writing would cut into their billable hours.
Here’s one possible solution:
There is a service you can learn about at SpeakWrite.com. On that site, you get a phone number that you call. Your message is recorded, and within three hours of calling in, they will e-mail the transcript of your call to you. It’s similar to using a Dictaphone and having an assistant type it for you, but it’s better because you can call in from anywhere, anytime and have the transcript within hours.
There are three reasons why I recommend Speak Write:
- It’s easy. Almost every family lawyer I know has some free time during a commute to his office or spends some time every week going to or from court.
- If you write down 5-10 FAQs on a sheet and bring that with you in the car and answer those 5-10 FAQs during your ride, you’ll receive a transcription of those FAQs shortly after you get to the office.
- If you’re serious at all about marketing your practice, everybody in your office should have more useful work to do than transcribing from a Dictaphone.
If you want to make writing and providing information the cornerstone of your marketing program, you’ll probably need to create a structure to make certain the writing happens. We created this monthly teleseminar series so we’d have a structure in place to force us to write; we’re human beings, after all. If there’s no structure or deadline, very little gets done.
By the way, I’ve been doing these teleseminars for four months, and I don’t think that we can directly attribute getting any new client from it. But we don’t care -this is about getting the word out, building a marketing information base, and establishing ourselves as thought leaders. So you should measure results using similar criteria. Don’t measure everything you do to market yourself based on how many direct cases you can attribute to the activity.
So let’s talk about Blogs for a moment.
You can set up you own blog or have a company like Divorce Marketing Group do it for you. We charge $595 to set up a blog, following the same design as your website.
So what is the purpose of a blog?
From a marketing point of view, it’s to promote you as a thought leader and share information that interests divorcing people, professionals in your field, or both.
Possible topics/subjects you could cover on your blog are endless. Some topics specific to divorce are:
• The divorce process
• Debt and divorce
• Taxes and divorce
• Property division
• Child custody
• Child support
• Domestic violence
• Grandparent’s rights
• Collaborative Divorce
• Assets and debts
• Attorney-client relationships
• Prenuptial, postnuptial agreements
But you could write about subjects in which you also have expertise, even though they’re not strictly divorce-related:
• Dealing with stress
• How to take care of yourself during a divorce
You could also comment on the divorce process and the best ways to make it through a divorce. You could comment on what’s right or wrong with the process and what should change.
Why create a blog rather than simply putting this information on your regular website?
- Blogs are usually less formal than websites, tend to be more personal, and are usually updated more frequently.
- Blogs can give people the opportunity to interact with you. Normally this opportunity doesn’t exist on a website.
- Blogs are easy to find on search engines such as Google.
- There is a community of bloggers with whom you can interact and build networks; this is not as available with websites.
- If you have both a blog and a website, there’s more opportunity for others to find you.
- Being a blogger gives the impression that you’re “with it”and have “something to say”, in much the same way that using Twitter does.
- Since a blog is more personal, it may be easier to build trust with it. But there’s also a chance that a prospective client may not agree with a point of view you express in your blog if you make it too personal.
You can ask other professionals to be guest bloggers on your blog. You could also ask other professionals to provide you with articles for your website, but being a guest blogger might seem like less work because blog posts tend to be shorter than articles, which tend to be less personal.
Having a blog might make you more attractive to media, particularly if you’re sharing your opinions rather than just information. The media often is looking for a personality, not just information.
To find blogs, you can go to Google Blogs or Technorati.com and type the search term “divorce” or “divorce lawyer”. This will give you lots of blogs to look at for ideas and information.
Some tips for blogging:
- Know what “keywords”people are searching for and write at least some of your blogs using those search terms.
- Be regular. Anything less than monthly isn’t considered serious; weekly would be better, and a few times a week is even better.
- Include resources and links to other sources of info (including your own website, where you should link to articles you’ve written).
- Make sure to align the subjects you cover in your blogs with your target clients’ interests and needs.
So let’s talk about press releases.
Most people don’t think they have something to say that’s newsworthy -and yes, press releases should be newsworthy, otherwise nobody will pay any attention to them.
However, if you are writing articles, writing a blog, and are actively making a contribution to your profession, you should have some opinions, announcements, thoughts, and ideas that you can express through a news release.
Some events that warrant a press release:
• If you are ever appointed to anything
• If you ever get recognition by your peers, a charity you belong to, or an association you belong to
• If you write something that is published (hopefully, the medium that published it will send a release)
• If you’re mentioned in the media, and they recognize you in some way
I won’t go into details about how to write or format a press release. You can learn about that on the Internet.
Here are a few reasons to do press releases:
- Most people believe that if there’s a press release about you, you must have done something worthwhile.
- It further establishes you as a leader in your field.
- It impresses your colleagues and clients (if you send it to them).
- It impresses visitors to your website if you feature the press releases there.
- They can get media attention. Some immediate attention is possible, but they may keep you on file for future reference.
- All content on your website has SEO (search engine optimization) value.
Divorce Marketing Group creates and distributes press releases. Talk to us if that interests you.
The last thing I will mention, to tie up the areas I’ve covered, is that most of your marketing efforts will cause prospective clients to go to your firm’s website. So your website must represent your firm the way you’d like to be represented, that it provides information and resources that help to differentiate you from other family lawyers, and that it be up to date and get new content on a regular basis.
Divorce Marketing Group can help you achieve all of these goals and many other marketing goals you may have. We build websites, update websites, do SEO work, built blogs, etc.
Please visit Divorce Marketing Group.com or call 866.803.6667 if you’d like to set up a time to talk about your marketing needs.
Also, please attend our next Teleseminar about Social Marketing on Wednesday, December 16th.
Wednesday, December 16th Teleseminar, 2:00 p.m. EST
Social Marketing and Your Family Law Practice
• How can you take advantage of the social marketing movement?
• How can you use Linked In, Facebook, and Twitter to build your practice?
• What should you avoid in the social marketing arena?
• How can social marketing establish you as a “thought leader”?
We did a teleseminar on social marketing, and we’re repeating that teleseminar because we had a lot of interest in the subject, it’s developing very quickly, and there’s more we can say to help you understand how social marketing can help you build your business.
Thank you for your time.
Other subjects I didn’t get to that I’ve included on the transcript you’ll receive are:
1. Tips on how to position yourself as “the best solution”
2. How to create and clarify your niche
3. Three key elements to branding yourself
Thank you for joining me, I always appreciate feedback, so please send me an e-mail and let me know whether you found this teleseminar useful to you. If you have any suggestions as to how I can make it better, please let me know.