The New Year is a time for making resolutions, and one that law firms can make to improve their bottom lines is to write. One of the easiest and best law firm marketing tools is the creation of byline articles written by lawyers for legal and other publications.
Byline articles are attorney-written columns about a legal topic that can vary from about 750 to 2000 words in length. They demonstrate the authors’ expertise, enhance a firm’s reputation and help keep it top of mind among current and potential clients.
But law firms often overlook this vital marketing tool. Too often, lawyers will say they’re too busy to write byline articles or simply don’t know what to write. Both can be easily overcome. Here are five tips for finding the time and the topics for byline articles:
Write what you know: It’s a basic writing tip and applies to byline articles as well. Are you currently researching an area of the law for a brief or for a memo for a client? Are you preparing a presentation for a conference or a group of clients? Or have you attended a legal conference where you learned about a new or different area of the law? If you can answer yes to any of those questions, then consider turning that legal research, memo, presentation or PowerPoint into a byline article. Just be sure to attribute, where needed, to the appropriate sources, such as a presenter at a conference.
Explore new worlds: Are you considering expanding your practice to cover a new aspect of the law? You will need to research this new world, so why not turn that research into a byline article? It’s a great way to structure your research and let the world know about your newfound expertise.
Turn your case into a case study: Do you have an interesting case that would make for a great case study? If so, there are outlets that are interested in the lessons you have learned through your own legal practices. Here and here are two great examples of lawyers who turned their own experiences into interesting and engaging byline articles.
Get personal: Attorneys too often are afraid to talk about their personal lives, causes and concerns. Yet they expect clients to openly share their personal experiences, failures and more so that they can represent those clients. Revealing something about yourself can make you more relatable and help foster the relationship that ensures clients will seek you out when they need a lawyer and continue to hire you in the future. Here is an example of an attorney who has openly shared her personal background in her writing.
Bring in an expert: If all else fails, engage an expert to help. An associate in the firm or an outside writing professional can ghost write your columns for you. They can brainstorm topics, conduct the needed research and draft a column for you to edit so that it ends up in your voice and with your expertise demonstrated. You likely will find that editing is much easier than writing.
So make a resolution to start 2017 right by writing about what you know to remind your clients and prospective clients that you’re the one to call when they need a lawyer.