Use your conversations and your matters as inspiration for your legal thought-leadership marketing and business development content.
Have you ever struggled to come up with topics for a blog post or a bylined article?
If you are a lawyer with a practice that often relies on court decisions, pending legislation, or administrative agency actions to provide you with ideas and inspiration for your thought-leadership marketing content like blog posts and articles for third-party publications, I’m willing to bet you have.
That’s because sometimes the well runs dry.
Sometimes, it can be a while in between court decisions that are relevant to your practice or your clients.
There may be long periods of time between draft legislation that is relevant to your practice or your clients.
And sometimes, administrative agencies go months between taking action or releasing guidance that is relevant to your practice or your clients.
When these dry spells arise, what are you to write about when you are due for a blog post, or a deadline is fast approaching to submit an article to a third-party publication that reaches your target clients?
I recommend you tap one of these two never-ending sources of topics for your thought-leadership marketing and business development content.
Today’s conversations are tomorrow’s blog post topics
The first never-ending source of topics for your marketing and business development content are the everyday conversations you have with your colleagues, your clients, and your referral sources.
You know, the issues you or your colleagues chat about regarding tricky legal issues.
The questions your clients come to you about.
The overlap between the area of law you practice and other areas of law your referral sources practice that you discuss with them.
These can all be fodder for blog posts and articles.
I recommend lawyers and their marketing and business development colleagues keep a running list—either on a phone or a computer app, or with a pad of paper and pen—of future blog or article topics they can add to soon after they have a face-to-face or electronic conversation with someone that covers a topic that could be the subject of a future blog post or article.
(The topics on the list need not be fully formed when they are added. An entry as brief as “Civil RICO claims in business divorces?” should be more than enough to jog your memory when you have time to flesh out the potential topic more or actually start writing.)
Look inward (or at least at your client files)
The second never-ending source of topics for your marketing and business development content is your own day-to-day work you do for clients. By looking at your body of work on a daily or weekly basis, or throughout the life of a matter, you’ll surely find inspiration for blog posts and articles.
Were there interesting and novel gray areas in the law that you had to explore for a client that could make for an interesting blog post or article (that may be seen by a current or prospective client or referral source who might be facing a similar issue?)
Are there common obstacles to resolving a particular kind of matter that you can cover?
Have you developed a tried-and-true strategy for resolving a particular kind of matter, whether it be a construction defect case or an intellectual property licensing agreement, that you can discuss in either a single blog post/article or over a series of blog posts/articles?
Have you had an experience with marketing, technology, law firm culture, or some other “non-billable” area of your practice or life as a lawyer that is interesting and could help build your brand?
Again, keeping an easily accessible list of potential topics will help you capture your thoughts as they occur so you can easily refer back to them down the road.
A word about client and firm confidences
Yes, I am well aware that when we lawyers write about client matters we’ve worked on, or internal firm issues we’ve dealt with, we need to maintain confidences.
And yes, I am well aware that clients are unlikely to want their matters to be discussed in our marketing and business development content, and most lawyers will not be particularly enthusiastic about making such an ask of their clients.
But here’s the thing, maintaining client and firm confidences is not an obstacle to crafting marketing and business development content inspired by client matters and what transpires at your firm.
If you are unable to craft marketing and business development content in a way that maintains client confidences, you’ll need to develop that skill in a hurry. Some of the most effective content you can write is content that current and prospective clients consume and think, “Wow, we have that same problem. We’ve got to reach out to [your name] because they obviously have experience handling those issues and seem to have a solid strategy for doing so.”
The only way to create that content is to talk in it about the kinds of legal and business issues you have helped your clients with.
If you avoid writing content inspired by your work for your clients and your experience at your firm, you handcuff your ability to use content to market yourself and build your book of business.
Prevent a content-topic draught
When you rely on court decisions, legislation, and administrative agency actions for inspiration for blog posts and articles, sometimes when it rains it pours. You may have a period of time where there is shortage of things to write about.
But dry seasons come around. When relevant court decisions, legislation, and administrative agency actions are nowhere to be found for a period of time, you’ll need topics to write about for your blog posts and articles so you can continue to position yourself through your marketing and business development content as a trusted advisor to current and prospective clients and referral sources.
Drawing on the conversations you have with colleagues, clients, and referral sources, as well as the work you’ve done for your clients and your experiences as a lawyer, will help prevent a legal-development dry season from turning into a content-topic draught for you and your practice.
Thinking about bringing on an outside writer or content strategist to help you build and execute on a content strategy that draws from these two never-ending sources of topics? 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.