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Four signs you should consider working with a ghostwriter to publish thought leadership content

Lawyers should consider working with a ghostwriter when they appreciate the role content plays in their marketing, have a niche or target audience, do not have the time to write thought leadership content, and do not enjoy writing the content enough to do it themselves.

I launched the Law Firm Editorial Service after hearing from lawyers who told me that they were just too busy to write the kinds of marketing content, often known as thought leadership marketing content—blog posts, client alerts, bylined articles, and the like — that they knew they had to in order to market themselves and build their practices.

I figured that if those lawyers could collaborate with another lawyer whom they could trust to produce written marketing content as high-quality as what they could produce themselves, they would come out ahead. After all, they would be marketing themselves while staying billable by virtue of not having to write their marketing content themselves.

In talking with lawyers and law firm marketing personnel about ghostwriting, it quickly became clear to me that there are typically four signs that indicate a lawyer should consider working with a ghostwriter on their marketing content.

Before I walk through the four signs, you should know that just because you do not exhibit these signs does not mean that you should pay no mind to working with a ghostwriter. However, these signs are the four most prevalent signs I have seen that a lawyer should consider seeking assistance with their content marketing and the crafting of their thought leadership marketing content.

Sign #1: You understand and appreciate the role content marketing and thought leadership marketing play in attracting clients to you and your law firm.

Most legal practices, whether they are consumer-facing or business-to-business, can benefit from strategically creating marketing content like blog posts, bylined articles, client alerts, ebooks, free guides, and the like.

This is particularly true if you have the kind of legal practice where past, current, and future clients are likely to discover you on their own, and need assurances that you are both knowledgeable about the areas of law you practice and that you understand the kinds of issues those clients are likely grappling with in their current predicaments.

When you understand the role content plays in helping past, current, and future clients find you and become confident that you are THE lawyer to help them, you can’t help but realize you will need to publish content frequently to give those clients more opportunities to find you and be “wowed” by your knowledge.

If and when you have that realization, that’s a sign you should consider working with a ghostwriter.

But not every practice will be reliant on content as a marketing tool.

Many legal practices and law firms are heavily referral based. Those practices rarely need to use content to attract prospective clients directly. Instead, those lawyers have to make sure that they stay top of mind with both their lawyer and non-lawyer referral sources.

If you have a practice like that, you probably won’t need to turn frequently to a ghostwriter. Sure, a ghostwriter could help you stay top of mind with your referral sources, but lawyers generally need far less content to engage referral sources than they need to engage past, current, and future clients.

Sign #2: You have a niche legal practice or you can address a specific target audience with your thought leadership content.

The more specific your target clients are, the more opportunities you will have to create substantive content to attract them—and the deeper you can go with that content.

I know this sounds counterintuitive. Let me walk you through an example.

Let’s say you want to target general counsels of life sciences companies with your marketing content because you have handled a few intellectual property matters for life sciences companies in the past. Or maybe you are a white-collar criminal attorney who specializes in internal investigations and wants to develop a book of business focused on internal investigations for life sciences companies.

With a niche legal practice or a practice focused on a specific target audience, you will be able to dive deep into both the legal and business issues that arise in your niche or that your target audiences are likely to face. In addition to writing about new cases involving companies in your niche or your target audience, you could write about the business impact of proposed legislation or administrative agency actions. You could publish content regarding trends in the industries you serve. You could even compile regulations from across the United States or world as part of lead magnet designed to attract new clients.

When your niche or target audience(s) affords you the opportunity to explore more substantive legal and business issues than recent court rulings, you will need to invest more time researching and writing content exploring those issues than you would spend writing about a recent court ruling. Of course, the more time you invest in crafting this content, the less time you have to bill clients or to spend with your loved ones.

That’s a sign you should consider working with a ghostwriter.

If you have more of a general practice, or a direct-to-consumer practice like personal injury, family law, or criminal law, then you most likely do not need a ghostwriter to write in-depth analytical content. You could probably hire a marketing assistant or a marketing agency to write straightforward blog posts and website content for your firm in order to attract people searching for lawyers like you on Google and other search engines.

Sign #3: You do not have much spare time to devote to writing thought leadership content.

In my experience, the most frequently cited reason why a lawyer is considering working with a ghostwriter is because they just do not have the non-billable time during the workday, or the time at night or on the weekends, to consistently devote to writing marketing content.

The non-billable time issue is particularly problematic for lawyers at corporate law firms that bill by the hour. Those lawyers know that every hour they spend crafting marketing content is another hour (i) they fall behind on their year-end billable hour target, and (ii) during which they are not bringing revenue (and profits) into their firm by billing their time.

They know marketing themselves by writing thought leadership marketing content is important. They know they should be doing it. But they just cannot find a way to devote time to the task without negatively impacting their billable work, their time with their families, or their time spent on outside interests.

If this sounds like you, that’s a sign you should consider working with a ghostwriter.

On the flip side, if you have the kind of practice or lifestyle where you have time to write, then go ahead and write. Don’t worry about delegating or outsourcing to a ghostwriter.

Sign #4: You do not enjoy writing blog posts, bylined articles, client alerts, and similar kinds of thought leadership marketing content.

If Sign #3 covers the investment of time you will need to make in your content marketing efforts in order to consistently create effective thought leadership marketing content, then Sign #4 covers the enjoyment you get from engaging in that process.

Even if you have the time during the workday or on nights and weekends to consistently commit to creating blog posts, bylined articles, client alerts, and similar marketing content, in order to actually follow through and create that content, you are going to have to enjoy the process. If you do not, you will not be motivated to put in the effort. If you do not put in the effort, the writing will not happen.

If you do not enjoy writing marketing content, that’s a sign you should consider working with a ghostwriter.

On the other hand, if you truly love writing marketing content and do not want to delegate or outsource it, then working with a ghostwriter is probably unnecessary.

In which direction are these four signs pointing you?

Many lawyers stand to benefit from working with a ghostwriter to help them publish marketing content, including thought leadership marketing content.

The four signs I walked you through above are four indications that you should consider working with a ghostwriter to help you consistently craft the marketing content that you know you should be writing and publishing but are probably not writing and publishing as frequently as you would like.

So, in what direction are these signs pointing you?

Thinking about bringing on an outside writer to help your law firm strategize and create compelling thought-leadership marketing and business development content? 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 firm.

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 ghostwriting service for lawyers and their law firms. The Law Firm Editorial Service helps Big Law and boutique law firm partners, and their firms, grow their practices and prominence by collaborating with them to strategize and ethically ghostwrite book-of-business-building marketing and business development content.

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