How Lawyers Can Create Magnificent Quality Content – Part 2
Many novice marketers play a dangerous game known as “moving the free line.” The gist is this: if we give enough great free stuff away, clients will want to do business with us.
Even top marketers are not immune from this delusion. Darren Rowse, the widely respected founder of Copyblogger, just published the following (in my opinion, misguided) advice:
“Your content has to be impressive, both in quality and scope… Answer the question so much better and more comprehensively than the competition does, and chances are much better that your effort becomes worth linking to and your search results improve dramatically.”
I cannot emphasize enough how wasteful Rowse’s approach is in today’s environment:
- It’s why attorneys who sign-up to blogging networks — who buy generic content to publish on their sites — see anemic results, if any;
- It’s why lawyers who pay thousands of dollars a month to “SEO” their websites rarely see sustainable returns on the investment;
- It’s why “no name” firms often trounce much more legitimate, experienced firms online — because those firms are not wasting time trying to move the free line.
The problem with “moving the free line” is that, even if you get targeted prospects to hook into your content, consume it and want to take action (like call for a consultation), your content won’t necessarily drive them to crave your particular services.
This brings us to a key question: what is the point of doing any kind of legal marketing – content-centered or otherwise?
Peter Drucker, a legend in the marketing world, put it best: “The purpose of marketing is to make selling superfluous.” Your marketing should instill a strong desire in your prospects to crave your legal services. It’s not just to “inform people” or get them to crave any legal services. You want them to want your particular brand of help.
Once you create content that does this, it’s a real game changer.
My mentor, Rich Schefren, used a 33-page free report he crafted based on this concept — The Internet Business Manifesto — to land tens of millions of dollars’ worth of business. I have personally used this concept to make thousands of dollars and grow my ventures. With “Peter-Drucker-level” marketing content, you can do far more with far less. Clients will actually thank you for hooking them up with it. You can easily set yourself apart from the crowd and define yourself as a passionate expert in area of law that you know well and love to practice. The content can be a workhorse, providing years of trustworthy service.
So how do you manufacture this magical, mythical content? Here’s a basic guide:
1. Your content must call out to a “sub niche” of your market.
Let’s say you’re a personal injury attorney in New Jersey. You don’t want to write a generic guide to PI law in New Jersey — that topic would be way too broad. Most lawyers (and lawyer marketers) get that, and they take it one level deeper. They “niche.” For instance, they might create content, such as a free report, to address the concerns of car accident victims in New Jersey. But again, that is too broad. Today’s web is highly competitive; that content will get lost in the crowd. However, if you “sub-niche” — i.e., go a level of specificity one deeper — you’ll be more likely to hit pay dirt. For instance, you might create a free report for elderly people (65 years and older) who have been in car accidents in New Jersey. That content will “call out” to a sub-segment of prospects and get them curious.
Many successful businesses, online and off, use “sub-niching” to win big. For instance, Starbucks set itself apart by doing “just coffee.” Sunglass Hut set itself apart by doing “just sunglasses.” FedEx struggled mightily when it started, because it offered three tiers of service. But when FedEx sub-niched and focused just on delivering “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” service, it exploded and crushed its competitors. Think about that! FedEx actually did less. It reduced its services. Yet this is made the company more profitable. Why? Because it successfully “called out” to a sub-niche of prospects.
2. Your content must play to your strengths and what you are passionate about doing.
What if you had to spend the rest of your professional career engaged in just one or two activities? What would those be? The more that your content is in line with your strengths and passions, the easier it will be for you to write it (or outsource the writing). Plus, this focus will tee you up to retain great clients who will pay you handsomely for your services.
3. Your content needs to solve one problem, not many.
The more focused your content, the more powerful of a marketing vehicle you will create. Period. A magnifying glass can transform the sun’s gentle rays into a superhot beam capable of starting a fire. Focus = power, in the natural world and in the legal marketing arena.
4. Your content should be counterintuitive and offer deep insight for prospects… ideally, this insight should solve a small problem for your prospect in a way that simultaneously stimulates the prospect’s craving to solve a bigger, related problem that you are uniquely positioned to solve.
When your marketing content is obvious or contains generic information or ideas, it will not work as well to galvanize interest in your services. It will fail the Peter Drucker test — it won’t make the selling of your services “superfluous.”
So here’s the big challenge: you need to come up with unique counterintuitive insights into a problem that your sub-niche market faces in a way that leads those people to crave your services. Needless to say, this can be hard, uncertain work. This is why even the masters describe the process as like “bottling lightning.”
I have done it, both for myself and for my clients, and the market has validated the efforts.
For an example, if you go to my nutrition website, www.caloriegate.com, you can download a free report I wrote called “The Black Box: A NEW Way of Thinking about Fat Loss.”
I happen to be very passionate about obesity science — I spent 5 years in a journalistic capacity researching this subject. My point in bringing this up is not to lecture you about calories and carbohydrates, but rather to show you how this content strategy works
The Black Box report does not “move the free line.” Rather, it creates a counterintuitive epiphany in the mind of my target audience — i.e. smart people, ages 30-55, who have failed to lose fat on traditional ‘eat less/move more’ style diets. The report convincingly shows that “excess calories” do not make us fat; rather, obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation caused, to a first degree, by too much carbohydrate in the diet stimulating insulin levels. The solution — to a first degree — is to count carbs, not calories. Lo and behold, at the end of the report, I pitch the reader a guidebook I wrote about low carb diets.
The Black Box report has helped me sell thousands of books, without a publisher, without a good looking website and without much of a traditional marketing strategy.
The point is that epiphany-based marketing really does work, and it can create clients and fans essentially out of thin air. It is some serious ninjutsu.
This level of content marketing may sound tough. But since so few personal injury lawyers do anything more than “move the free line,” if you implement these ideas even half-heartedly, you will be miles ahead of your competitors.
So there you have it!
That’s how you create truly compelling lawyer marketing content. Do it right, and your firm can enjoy major long-term benefits.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this series and gotten value from it.
If you’d like to learn more about me and my business, visit www.virtuosoebooks.com.