When lawyers ask the readers of their marketing and business development content to parse legal jargon, jump through intellectual hoops, or simply wade through dense and uninteresting writing, they’ve failed.
It’s a funny thing.
When lawyers write letters to opposing counsel or third parties, or they file briefs or motions or other documents with a court, they obviously want to ensure they’re making their arguments clearly and in a well-organized fashion.
But ultimately, the burden falls on the recipient—opposing counsel, a third party, or the court—to understand what is being said in those documents and to respond or react accordingly.
Opposing counsel and third parties have no choice if they want to do their jobs correctly, preserve their or their clients’ legal rights and arguments, and avoid malpractice claims. Judges and their clerks must do so in order to ensure they are providing due process to the parties before the court.
Like it or not, the recipients of a lawyer’s work product know they will almost certainly have to devote time and energy to working their way through what a lawyer has written in order to understand what that lawyer is saying.
But when it comes to marketing and business development content, the game changes.
The audiences lawyers and law firms target with their marketing and business development content, such as general counsels at large companies, referral sources, individuals with certain legal issues, etc., actually DO have a choice.
They don’t have to read a law firm’s 1500-word blog post.
They can delete an emailed client alert without reading it.
They can close their web browser tab that currently has a lawyer’s bylined article on it and suffer no consequences.
They can do all of these things—avoid reading law firms’ marketing and business development content—without doing any harm to themselves.
That’s why when crafting marketing and business development content, the burden is on the lawyer—YOU—to create compelling content that keeps the consumers of that content engaged.
Your marketing and business development content is competing against all of the other content your target audiences are consuming at any given moment.
Take a look at your own web browser. Chances are good you’ve got a number of tabs open with different pieces of content waiting to be read, like:
Articles from your local daily newspaper;
Articles from national newspapers like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal;
Articles from magazines like the Atlantic and the National Review;
Posts from blogs you frequently read;
Email newsletters (both those you voluntarily signed up for and those you have been meaning to unsubscribe from);
Social media posts; and/or
Your personal email inbox, full of sales emails and (more) newsletters.
This content is what your marketing and business development content is up against when your target audiences receive it and are deciding whether or not to read it. That’s because they’re reading just as much content as you are, if not more, throughout the workday.
They’re not going to want to read dry, dense language that is neither interesting nor enjoyable to read, even if it is “work reading.”
More importantly, they don’t have to.
That’s why the burden is on YOU to create compelling marketing and business development content.
Bottom line: When lawyers ask the readers of their marketing and business development content to parse legal jargon, jump through intellectual hoops, or simply wade through dense and uninteresting writing, they’ve failed.
Wayne Pollock, a former Am Law 50 senior litigation associate, is the founder of Copo Strategies, a legal services and communications firm, and the Law Firm Editorial Service, a content strategy and writing service for lawyers and their law firms. The Law Firm Editorial Service collaborates with today’s and tomorrow’s rainmaking BigLaw and boutique partners to ethically craft knowledge-conveying, book-of-business-building marketing and business development content.
Contemplating engaging a ghostwriter to ethically collaborate with you or your firm’s lawyers to write and publish blog posts, bylined articles, client alerts, and the like? Click here to schedule a 30-minute Content Strategy Audit to learn if collaborating with an outside writer is the right move for you and your law firm.