AttorneyAtWork Lawyer Marketing Article Collection

Lawyers frequently ask me to recommend a marketing book to help grow their practices. There is a rich variety of good reading to be found in the ABA Web Store and the LawMarketing Store. If you'd like one publication that covers most of what you need to know in 27 pages, I recommend AttorneyAtWork's Lawyer Marketing Collection 2011. It's a free download.

This collection of the top marketing articles from the past 12 months from AttorneyAtWork includes "Six Steps to Single-Minded Marketing" by Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, "Nine Questions to Ask About Your Law Firm’s Website" by Deborah McMurray and my article "How Clients Choose Lawyers."

Other writers include leading lights such as Jordan Furlong, Theda Snyder, Ken Hardison, Bob Denney, Kristina Jaramillo, Keith Wewe and Elizabeth Butcher. 

Their topics include:

  • Demographic Business Development
  • Feature versus Benefit
  • Get the Most from Your Law Firm's Ad Agency
  • Getting the Fee You Deserve
  • New Lawyers: Your Business Development Marching Orders
  • Nine Ways to Leverage LinkedIn
  • Email Signatures: Valuable Real Estate
  • Law Firm Holiday Car Planner

Many thanks to Merrilyn Astin Tarlton and Joan Feldman for putting the Lawyer Marketing Collection 2011 together.




Top 10 New Year's Resolutions for Improving Your Law Firm's Website

top 10 new year's resolutions for your law firm websiteFrom my colleagues at LexisNexis:

  1. Set business goals for 2012. Planning to expand into a new geography or area of practice? Targeting a new type of customer? Want to be considered a thought leader in a particular area of law? Setting specific goals will help you align your website to achieve those objectives.
  2. Make your website mobile. Ensure your law firm’s website is easily found, accessed and utilized 24/7 by mobile device users. Transform your traditional website into one that’s optimized for the mobile Web to drive more potential customers to your business.
  3. Ask an expert. Once you identify your business goals, request a consultation and determine a comfortable budget (earmark usually 2 – 5 percent of monthly budget as a minimum spend). If you simply lack the time, consider outsourcing your Internet marketing campaigns to qualified experts. You practice law and let others grow your business.
  4. Refresh the content on your website. Stale content and broken links will damage visitors’  perceptions of your ability to practice law. Review your website and refresh content and update profiles.  A polished, professional website with timely content is a must-have for any law firm, regardless of size.
  5. Incorporate video on your site. Develop an introductory video of the managing partners that showcases personality as well as expertise. Post the video on the Web (including YouTube). Our studies have shown that a well-produced video can be a primary factor in a consumer’s decision to contact a firm.
  6. Get listed in and link to online directories. Identify all online directories available for posting attorney and firm profiles. This includes attorney-specific portals and social networking sites. Link to these on your website and don’t forget to add your firm’s website to each online listing you post.
  7. Be more responsive. While your Internet marketing team brings in qualified leads, put a system in place to respond to each one. Make a phone call, send an email in response to an inquiry or schedule a meeting. Keep these leads in a simple database so when you’re ready to send the first newsletter from the firm, clients and prospect lists are easily accessible.
  8. Optimize your website. Search Engine Optimization experts can be tremendously helpful in improving online visibility and optimizing a firm’s organic search rankings. Select a search marketing team that specializes in law firms and offers transparent and results-driven metrics.
  9. Make better use of social media. Maximize your website’s visibility and drive more clients to your business by competing in a space that generates half of the Internet’s online conversations. Craft a solid, comprehensive, manageable social media presence that includes a blog page and profiles on major social sites, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn sites. Also consider a social “listening” service to ensure you monitor your reputation in social media circles.
  10. Engage in pay-per-click advertising. No firm is too small to reap tangible benefits from pay-per-click campaigns. Ensure your marketing experts select appropriate keywords, based on analysis, that are geographically and topically suited to your firm. This strategy helps favorably position small firms to directly compete with larger firms in your market.

You can schedule a free website evaluation from LexisNexis by calling 877.440.5783. The evaluation will compare your site with your competitors', evaluate whether your site uses the latest best practices, show you how to measure website ROI, give you an SEO review, and make social media recommendations.


The Best Smartphone on the Market Today

Motorola Razr Verizon Wireless smart phoneCheck out my latest post for the Lawyerist: blog.

For lawyers who need to have the very best in mobile technology, there’s no way to beat the new Motorola Droid Razrsmart phone from Verizon Wireless. This Android phone is the fastest, lightest and most convenient smart phone you can get today.

Verizon loaned me one of these hot, new smart phones and it is #1 in several categories:

  • Lightness. Weighing in at only 4 1/2 ounces, you can put this phone in your pocket and it won’t pull down your pants. It’s only .28 inches thick and takes up less space than a pop tart.
  • Speed. Run by a 1.2 GHz dual core processor, it displays the web as fast as your desktop computer, when using Verizon’s 4G network.
  • Durability. No bulky protective case is needed. The screen is covered by scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass and the back plate is made of Kevlar.
  • Battery life. The Razr has 12 1/2 hours of continuous talk time and up to 205 hours of standby time. I had no problem getting through an entire day without having to recharge the Razr.
  • Readability. Android phones have the wonderful “autosize” feature, which takes a web page and fits it into readable text that doesn’t scroll off the screen. This feature makes it far superior to any iPhone.

For the rest of the review, please visit The Lawyerist Blog.


Using Social Media to Drive Revenue at Marketing Partner Forum

Marketing Partner Forum 2012Social media should be part of every law firm's marketing and business development strategy. Join me at the Marketing Partner Forum on January 18, 2012 for a workshop where you will learn how to develop real opportunities through social media and sustain your effort through tracking and reporting. From creating content to creating buy-in, this roll-up-your-sleeves session will provide tools and ideas to help you fully utilize social media options to drive revenue.

My colleagues in this three-hour workshop are:

  • Adam L. Stock, Director of Business Development & Marketing for Allen Matkins in San Francisco.
  • Jasmine Trillos-Decarie, Director of Marketing & Business Development for Foley Hoag in Boston.

Adam, Jasmine and I made a presentation on social media to a packed room at the LMA Bay Area Chapter meeting earlier this year, and you won't want to miss this.

Adam Stock Allen MatkinsI've attended the Marketing Partner Forum for more than 10 years in a row, and I recommend it. This year the conference will be in Miami at the classy Turnberry Isle Hotel.

The MPF will have more than 50 speakers. There will be programs on legal industry trends, business development, relationship selling, competitive intelligence, client service, branding, alternative fees, staffing structures, and web trends for 2012.

The keynote speaker is Mario Moussa, Ph.D., Co-Author of The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas. The conference runs for 20 hours over a three-day period.

But the main reason I attend is to talk to the other attendees. More than 200 people -- practicing lawyers and top-level CMOs -- have registered so far, and many more will be there. I know I'll have many intelligent conversations with people who are see-in-the-dark smart. The MPF is the conference where the decision-makers go.

Here's a little tip from your Uncle Lar: you'll get 10% off your registration when you use promo code MPF10 when registering.

I expect to blog live from the conference, so stay tuned right here for daily updates. There are many reasons to go, and being in Florida in January has a certain appeal to a Chicago boy like me.

Nation's Top Ranked Law Firms Published in Fortune

When your legal case is really important, you’ll want to find a lawyer from the nation’s Top Ranked Law Firms. And frankly, when is a legal case not important? 

Be sure to pick up the new copy of Fortune Magazine, where you’ll find a unique list of the nation’s top firms drawn from the LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings.

The list of Top Ranked Law Firms features US law firms with 21 or more attorneys in which at least 1 in 3 of their lawyers earned the AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review rating — the highest rating available. An AV Preeminent certification is a significant accomplishment – a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.

Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings are based on confidential opinions of lawyers and judges who receive invitations from LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell to review lawyers about whom they have professional knowledge. Unlike some “best,” “leading” and “super” lawyer ratings, Peer Review Ratings are not based on some mysterious, hidden algorithm. They are based purely on the confidential assessments offered by a lawyer’s peers.

The ratings will help you make an informed decision about hiring a lawyer who is respected by other lawyers.

  • Peer Review Ratings are an objective indicator that a lawyer has been deemed by his or her peers as having the highest ethical standards and professional ability.
  • The ratings methodology is sound, time-honored, well understood and well respected in the legal industry.
  • Peer Review Ratings help consumers validate attorney credentials and to gather a more complete picture of lawyers they’re thinking about hiring.

Pick up a copy of Fortune on December 26 and keep it handy.

Show Off Your AV Rating with Martindale-Hubbell Merchandise

AV golf balls from Martindale-HubbellYou’ve practiced law for years, your colleagues have given you exceptional recommendations, and you’ve reached the highest level of professional excellence. But what do you have to show for it? 

Sure, you’ve got those extra gray hairs and a corner office.  But, you’ve also gotten a Martindale-Hubbell AV rating.

Now you can show off your AV rating to your friends, family, colleagues and clients with of Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Branded Merchandise.  Come to the next holiday party with your AV logoed windbreaker, golf shirt, business card holder, umbrella or Cross pen. You can even get AV golf balls.

Imagine the fun you'll have when people ask you, "what does the AV mean on your Double Wall 11 oz Ceramic Tumbler?"

AV windbreaker by martindale hubbellIf you don’t already have your AV rating, don’t feel left out.  You can personalize chocolate, poplin shirts and dozens of items from t-shirts to coffee tumblers with your firm’s name.

Check out the Martindale branded merchandise store. Who says Martindale doesn't know how to put some bling in your law practice?


How to Think of Your Next Blog Article Topic

Hat tip to Hubspot for this concise video. To develop topic ideas for your blog:

  1. Take a question from a conversation and answer it.
  2. Find an interesting news item, give it an industry spin and write about it.
  3. Answer a question that is posted in LinkedIn.
  4. Teach someone something.



81% of Large Law Firms Use Social Media for Marketing LexisNexis Vizibility social mediaVizibility Inc. and LexisNexis announced the results of a survey conducted to shed light on the use of social media in legal services marketing. To illustrate the findings, the results have been released as an infographic (see below).

The research suggests a high degree of reliance on broadly defined social media marketing programs, with 81% of survey participants reporting they already use social media marketing tools and another 10.1% saying they plan to deploy social media marketing elements within six months. Furthermore, reliance on social media tools and how they’re measured differ significantly by firm size.

The survey found that a clear majority of participants consider social media an important part of their overall marketing strategy, with nearly half (48.5%) reporting that social media is “somewhat important” while another 31% believe the tools are “extremely important” to their total marketing efforts. A minority, 5% of responding firms, report not using social media.

You have to measure the results from social media to justify it. Our new data reveals a split between small and large firms in social media marketing objectives. For example:

  • Among small firms, almost 71% of participants in practices with five or fewer attorneys said that they rely on social media marketing to generate new business.
  • In contrast, among respondents from big firms with 100 or more attorneys, only 37% measure social media success this way.

Large firms better get smart about social media if they expect social media marketing to produce new work.

Actual social media use among lawyers, however, could be overstated. This survey, as well the 2011 American Bar Association (ABA) Technology Survey Report, both recorded that 63.5% and 62% (respectively) of individual attorneys say they have LinkedIn® profiles. A search on LinkedIn, however, reveals only 393,338 U.S. profiles with the keywords “attorney,” “counsel” or “lawyer” in the current job title. This is less than one-third of all U.S. attorneys and half the rate of usage as reported by the participants of these two surveys when extrapolated across the 1.2 million attorneys in the United States.  

“Of the respondents to our survey who reported that their attorneys had LinkedIn profiles, less than 20% said they were completely up-to-date,” said Vizibility founder and Chief Executive Officer James Alexander. “In the face of a recent BTI Consulting Group survey which found that one in two legal decision makers are less likely to hire an attorney if their credentials could not be verified online, this discrepancy exposes an immediate action item for lawyers and legal marketers.”

The new research also reveals basic search engine optimization best practices for social media are not being followed. For instance, in the United States only 4% of legal titles on LinkedIn profiles contain the word ‘Lawyer,’ as compared to 23% with the word ‘Counsel’ and 73% with ‘Attorney.' Yet, of the average monthly Google searches for these three keywords, 38.8% contain the word ‘lawyer’, 3.5% contain ‘counsel’ and 57.7% contain ‘attorney’. To ensure placement in search results, marketers need to ensure that professional profiles contain the keywords being used by the buyers of their services.

For a copy of the results, view or download the infographic at



Allen Pusey Is Named Editor and Publisher of the ABA Journal

Allen Pusey Is Named Editor and Publisher of the ABA JournalAllen Pusey, a veteran journalist, has been named the ABA Journal's editor and publisher after serving as managing editor since 2007. He's been the acting editor since May, after Edward A. Adams, left the Journal to become the Multimedia Editor for Bloomberg Law.

  • Pusey worked for 26 years at the Dallas Morning News as an investigative reporter, feature writer, special projects editor and U.S. Supreme Court correspondent.
  • In one signature project, Pusey worked on a study of 14,000 Dallas County jurors and a survey of federal judges regarding their attitudes about the jury system.
  • He also was one of the first reporters in the country to uncover the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s.

Pusey becomes the fourth editor and publisher of the ABA Journal in the past 11 years. I was the editor and publisher at the magazine during the 1990s, and maybe we should start an alumni association.

In addition to directing the editorial and business operations of the magazine, Pusey will oversee the Journal’s email publications and website. The electronic publications are distributed to more than 400,000 readers each week. The magazine goes to all members of the association and some outside subscribers. Pusey also will be a member of the ABA’s senior management team.

“The ABA Journal is an extraordinary publication with a very unique place in legal journalism,” Pusey says. “We have a terrific staff who have fascinating stories to tell about the people and issues that shape the law in these very interesting times.”

Pusey served for 19 years as a board member of the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C. He attended Davidson College in North Carolina before joining the U.S. Army and serving in Vietnam. He later graduated from the University of Texas-Dallas with a degree in sociology.

Congratulations Ed! Best of luck in your new position.

Seven Tactics of Highly Productive People

Ily Pozin, tactics highly effective peopleJust spotted this in Inc. online by Ilya Pozin. Here are his tips for staying productive:

  1. Work backwards from goals to milestones to tasks. Writing “launch company website” at the top of your to-do list is a sure way to make sure you never get it done. Break down the work into smaller and smaller chunks until you have specific tasks that can be accomplished in a few hours or less: Sketch a wireframe, outline an introduction for the homepage video, etc. That’s how you set goals and actually succeed in crossing them off your list.

  3. Stop multi-tasking. No, seriously—stop. Switching from task to task quickly does not work. In fact, changing tasks more than 10 times in a day makes you dumber than being stoned. When you’re stoned, your IQ drops by five points. When you multitask, it drops by an average of 10 points, 15 for men, five for women (yes, men are three times as bad at multitasking than women). 

  5. Be militant about eliminating distractions. Lock your door, put a sign up, turn off your phone, texts, email, and instant messaging. In fact, if you know you may sneak a peek at your email, set it to offline mode, or even turn off your Internet connection. Go to a quiet area and focus on completing one task.

  7. Schedule your email. Pick two or three times during the day when you’re going to use your email. Checking your email constantly throughout the day creates a ton of noise and kills your productivity.

  9. Use the phone. Email isn’t meant for conversations. Don’t reply more than twice to an email. Pick up the phone instead. 

  11. Work on your own agenda. Don’t let something else set your day. Most people go right to their emails and start freaking out. You will end up at inbox-zero, but accomplish nothing. After you wake up, drink water so you rehydrate, eat a good breakfast to replenish your glucose, then set prioritized goals for the rest of your day. 

  13. Work in 60 to 90 minute intervals. Your brain uses up more glucose than any other bodily activity. Typically you will have spent most of it after 60-90 minutes. (That’s why you feel so burned out after super long meetings.) So take a break: Get up, go for a walk, have a snack, do something completely different to recharge. And yes, that means you need an extra hour for breaks, not including lunch, so if you’re required to get eight hours of work done each day, plan to be there for 9.5-10 hours.

Lying Blogger is No Journalist and Must Pay $2.5 Million for Defamation

lying blogger, not a journalist, defamation, $2.5 million If you attack someone on your blog -- and post defamatory falsehoods against a private individual -- you will not be considered a journalist and you will be held responsible. It happened to a blogger who unleashed a series of unfounded personal attacks -- and it can happen to you.

Many states have special shield laws reserved for journalists, but a court in Oregon ruled that a self-styled "investigative blogger" didn't fit the definition and had to pay for wrecking her victim's reputation.

Here's an excerpt from the blog, which I edit:

"It didn’t take long for the court to decide against the blogger on the defamation claim over her argument that she was protected by the First Amendment. There was no proof her statements were true, and applying long-standing Supreme Court principles, the court ruled that her victim was not a public figures and the blog statements were not matters of public concern.

Why the Fuss?

This case is cutting-edge, because the judge ruled, point-blank, that Cox was not a “journalist” entitled to special protection under a state shield law. In defending the lawsuit, Cox argued that she got her information from a confidential “inside” source and, under Oregon’s shield law, she wasn’t required to divulge that source’s name. She also claimed that her victim couldn’t recover damages for defamation because he never requested a retraction from the blogger as required by Oregon’s retraction law.

The judge didn’t buy it. In his rulings (PDF), he found that Cox was not a “journalist” within the meaning of Oregon’s laws and so she wasn’t entitled to the protections of those laws. A litany of “media” sources are listed as covered by the laws, such as newspapers, magazines, television stations and news services. As a blogger with no affiliation to any of these types of media, Cox was not a “journalist.” In fact, the judge noted, she had no educational background in journalism, no connection to a known news outlet and offered no proof that she followed standard journalistic rules, such as fact-checking.

For the full story, read Lying Blogger Must Pay $2.5 Mil for Defamation on

Using Promotional Products to Market Your Firm

This is a guest blog post by Chloe Impney:

In the past, many companies have turned to promotional products to help market their firm and to increase brand awareness. It has always been seen as an effective marketing strategy by offering useful items to clients and employees that will act as constant advertisements for their firm. Today, the promotional products industry is thriving as companies choose this cheap and effective advertising method to promote their firm.

There are various items to choose from that serve different purposes but have the same outcome of increasing brand awareness. These include traditional office items such as coffee mugs, pens and lanyards. These products will always be part of any office and therefore have long-lasting appeal. For instance, people will always have a need for printed mugs for drinks such as coffee or tea and by using an eye-catching design they could prove to be a useful advertisement for your firm. The same can be applied for pens as most desks will always have at least one lying around. In the case of lanyards, these can serve two purposes; they can be used as a promotional item with your logo or firm motto printed on it and they can also be used to hold ID cards or keys to aid security precautions.

There are also more modern promotional items that embrace technology such as USB drives and various phone products. With technology playing an increasingly important role in our lives, it is natural that the promotional products industry would change to accommodate this. In the case of USB drives, they have an additional feature where you are able to add extra promotional information onto the actual drive. In terms of mobile phones, everyone appears to have one and by incorporating your logo into an attractive design, you could encourage clients and employees to use firm phone covers or other useful phone-related products.

The key to successful promotional products such as branded mugs is that they have to be useful and if possible displayed where they can attract attention. These two points are vital if they are to serve the purpose of promoting your firm and increasing brand awareness. Nowadays, you can have your logo printed on practically anything and with there being so many choices, it will be your decision as to which will benefit your firm more. However, it is clear that with so much choice, it would be difficult not to find a product that can aid you with your promotional activities.


Only 19% of Large Law Firms Have Mobile Sites

mobile web, pda, amlaw 100, amlaw 200, global 100The Law Firm Mobile Blog just released a new report on the state of the mobile web for AmLaw 200 and Global 100 law firms:

What We found

  • Of the firms on the 2011 AmLaw list, 37 firms (19%) have mobile sites.
  • Of the firms on the 2011 Global 100 list, 22 firms (22%) have mobile sites.

Best Practices

  • Layouts tailored for the size and proportions of a smart phone screen
  • Professional look-and-feel through appropriate graphics and layout. The best sites “fit” the screen.
  • URL input box automatically hides itself
  • Amount of content on each page is appropriate to reading on a phone
  • Easily accessed “home” button
  • Mobile web site that “feels” more like a native application than a website
  • Simplified navigation interface
  • Appropriately sized text
Bonus Practice
  • Options to allow users to share content via social network services (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter)

Areas for Improvement

  • Text-based site (This is deja vu for websites at the infancy of the web)
  • Letting your developer generate a cookie-cutter site similar to many other clients
  • Failure to automatically direct a smart phone user from the firm’s main site URL to the mobile website
  • Providing only limited content (e.g., only offices, only general description)
  • Awkwardly placed graphic elements
  • Taking up significant space on the mobile web home page with general firm description text
  • Including too many navigation and content elements

Overall, many large law firms in the AmLaw 200/Global 100 are not yet part of the mobile web.  For those firms who have created mobile web sites, many have done an admirable job. We look forward to seeing law firms engage more aggressively in this area in the year to come.

We give credit to the LexBlog and its State of the AmLaw Blogosphere as inspiration for this report.

And there's more. Click to read the entire report.



Womble Carlyle Sends Video Greetings

No less than 10 days after I predicted that 2011 would be the year that law firms started to send video greetings, Womble Carlyle created a Twitterfest video of holiday salutations featuring their loyal bulldog mascot, Winston. Congratulations on this nice work by Heather Allison, Director of Graphics at Womble Carlyle, who was the driving force. It shows they really are Innovators at Law.

womble holiday greetings, law firm marketing, legal marketing, lawmarketing blog


Great Meeting... Now What? Follow-Up Strategies That Turn Meetings into Matters

WEBINAR PRESENTED BY: The Ackert Advisory and Apollo Business Development 
SPEAKERS: David Ackert and guest speaker Larry Bodine, Esq. 
DATE: Next Wednesday, December 14, 2011, 10AM - 11AM Pacific
LOCATION: On the web, on your computer
MORE INFO: Laura Kresich, program director; (Tel) (312) 925-8955 or

In this brand-new Webinar, you will learn which steps are most effective for post-meeting follow-up with prospective clients and new referral sources. Business development specialist David Ackert and I will show you how to introduce a powerful follow-up system into your business development routine so that you can fully capitalize on new opportunities.

Click here to sign up for this event

Learn exactly which follow-up communications work best so you can expertly and comfortably turn your prospects, existing contacts, and new referral sources into productive assets for your practice.

Register now
Click here to registerSave 10% if you register on or before Nov. 12: fee $270
Fee beginning Nov. 13: $300

You can pay online with a credit card. Display the program in a conference room and invite as many attendees as you wish.

David AckertTopics Include:

  • Common Follow-Up Mistakes that Attorneys Make
  • How to Create a Follow-Up System That Maintains the Momentum from Your Last Meeting 
  • How to Use Social Media as a Follow-Up Tool
  • How to Make Networking with Referral Sources More Productive
  • When to Use Email and When to Avoid It At All Costs
  • How to Add Value to New Relationships
  • How to Propose Effective Next Steps

Who Should Attend:

  • All Attorneys who want to improve their capacity to win new business 
  • Associates looking to ensure their first meetings with prospects are successful
  • Marketing Directors looking for ways to support their attorneys with sound, practical follow-up methods

You can gain the ability to convert a meeting into new business. Many attorneys make common, self-defeating mistakes in discussions with a prospective client or referral source:

  1. They WAIT for the prospect to follow up with THEM.
  2. They PUT OFF following-up because they don't want to be perceived as a PEST.
  3. They send meaningless emails to "TOUCH BASE" with the prospect that are largely IGNORED.
  4. They DON'T HAVE A FOLLOW-UP SYSTEM so opportunities pile up and collect dust like a stack of ignored BUSINESS CARDS.  
  5. Their communications are NOT STRATEGIC.
  6. When they do follow-up, they LOOK, ACT & SOUND needy.

This program will show you exactly how to avoid these common mistakes and give you a clear step-by-step follow-up system that you can use repeatedly to build on the meetings you have with prospective clients and referral sources so that your meetings are always a good use of time and a tangible step toward winning new business.


Hubspot: 10 Business Blog Posts You Should Write NOW

hubspotLawyers have a hard time coming up with new content for their blog entries, and I found this teriffic list of ideas on Hubspot, posted by Kipp Bodnar

1. The Problem Solver - Name the biggest problem your clients have. With that problem in mind, write a detailed blog post that provides practical and non-service focused solutions. Solve your clients' problems with content.

2. The Data Story - As a business, you are working on selling an idea as well as a service to your clients. Use data to help you. Gather data either internally or from third-party sources. Use this data to sell your big idea using your business blog.

3. The Controversial Stand - Sometimes you have to take a hard stance on an issue to get attention. In a blog post, argue one side of a controversial industry issue in an effort to get prospects and industry thought leaders talking about your business.

4. The Big List - Sometimes readers don't want to read through endless paragraphs for practical advice. Instead, they want a long list of industry resources that they can bookmark and easily access again and again. Aggregate practical advice and resources for an important industry topic, and compile it into one long and easy-to-scan list. 

5. The Visual Story - People learn in different ways. Some folks are visual learners. Understand that you'll need to provide information and data to them in a way that is easiest to consume and understand. Create an infographic, cartoon, or series of charts to help tell teach your prospects in a visual way.

6. The Breaking News Angle - Every industry has news and events that can have a major impact. Write a blog post about a major news story for your industry. Include your  perspective as well as actionable takeaways about what this news means for your readers.

7. The Third-Party Commentary - Identify a major expert in your industry. Conduct an email interview with him or her for your blog. Ask a series of questions that your readers would be interested in learning about. Review the answers and publish them on your blog.

8. The Unexpected Connection - Standing out and driving traffic and leads with inbound marketing is often about doing the unexpected. Think of something that your readers enjoy that is not related to your industry like a sport, a movie, or something from popular culture. Once you have identified that, find a way to connect it back to an industry best practice, and write a blog post about the topic.

9. The Keyword Post - What is the most important search engine keyword that you have not yet blogged about? Take that keyword, and write a blog post about it. Blogging is a great tool for driving search engine traffic. Take advantage of it!

10. The Reader Survey - You aren't a mind reader. However, you do need to understand what your audience wants. Ask them for their ideas. Create a short survey for ideas for future blog posts, and publish the survey in a blog post for your readers.



If You Want to Look Old, Get an iPad

older woman using ipadI recently asked my 27-year old son if he had an iPad and what he thought about it. I always like to get the viewpoint of the younger generation. The kid works at Deloitte and knows technology since the days when we used to take computers apart when he was little.

He emailed back:

"I do not have an iPad.  I don't actually know anyone my age that has one...but apparently they are pretty popular with the Baby Boomer generation.  The main reason nobody my age has one is they are expensive, and they are basically just oversized iPhones that can't make phone calls.  They are like computers, but not anywhere near as capable as a normal computer.  My guess is that they mainly appeal to people that enjoy the following:

  • Touch screen instead of using a mouse [read: your hands are too unsteady to hold a mouse]
  • Easy access to Internet browsing at home [read: so you can text your grandchildren]
  • Large screen for apps [read: you need reading glasses]
  • eBooks [read: people who have a lot of free time, grandma]
  • Facetime chat

"None of those things above appeal to me in particular, not for the $500 price tag or whatever they cost.  But for someone that's older, has money, and not really into computers, an iPad may have a lot of appeal."

So if you want to look really old, ask Santa for an iPad.


The Key to Becoming a Better Blog Writer

Mike Mintz, blog authoerThis is a guest blog post by Michael Mintz, lawyer, blogger, and online strategist.


I recently came across a letter I wrote as a first year attorney.  I was shocked at how poorly written it was.

Today, I read an excellent Lexis Communities article on Orwell’s rules for clear writing, called “Inside Baseball and Orwell’s 6 Rules for Clear Writing.”  In his 1946 essay, Politics and the English Language, Orwell, provided 6 rules for clear writing:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech, which you are used to seeing in print.

  3. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

  5. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

  7. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

  9. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

  11. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything barbarous.

If we all adhere to these six rules, we are sure to become better writers.  As the writer of “Baseball” correctly states, “If we can think and convey ideas with precision through simple words, then that’s the way to go.  It’s the precision of our language, not the number of syllables, that matters.”

Read here for Mike's full blog post.


Marketing by Caring Convincingly

best western new providence new jerseyIn my decades of business travel, I've stayed at the finest hotels in the country. I got a massage at the Ritz Carlton beach resort in Naples, Florida. I admired the Frank Lloyd Wright influence at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. I enjoyed the marble, style and comfort of the Metropolitan Club on Central Park in Manhattan.

But today I'm at at the homely and humble Best Western in New Providence, New Jersey, where they make you feel at home. There's hot scrambled eggs and bacon in the morning, free wi-fi and people at the desk who remember you're staying there. Plus it's two blocks from the office.

Whoever runs this place is a marketing savant. He's so good, he doesn't even know he's doing it. Every room at this hotel comes with an anonymous prayer for you.

Here's what it says:


In ancient times there was a prayer for "The stranger within our gates." 

Because this hotel is a human institution to serve people, and not solely a money making organization, we hope that God will grant you peace and rest while yo are under our roof.

May this room and hotel  be your "second" home. May those you love be near you in thoughts and dreams. Even though we may not get to know you, we hope that you will be as comfortable and happy as if you were in your own house.

May the business that brought you our way prosper. May every call you make and every message you receive add to your joy. When you leave, may your journey be safe.

We are all travelers. From "birth till death" we travel between the eternities. May these days be pleasant for you, profitable for society, helpful for those you meet, and a joy to those who know and love you best.


Marketing Takeaway: a demonstration that you really care is a much better marketing technique than all the glitz and glamor that money can buy.


Last Chance for FREE Webinar on Search Engine Optimization

Keywords to success, search engine optimization, seo, google, yahoo, bingTime is running out to register for our new, free webinar, “Keywords to Success: How to Generate More Business for Your Law Firm with Search Engine Optimization” to be broadcast on this Tuesday, December 6, 2011.  We are applying for CLE credit for the program.

You can register at

I’ll present the webinar and will describe how your law firm can focus its online search marketing strategy generate leads and new business.  The program will show you how to optimize your website to promote the areas that matter most to your clients and prospects.

At a time when more and more consumers are searching online before meeting with a lawyer, this seminar will show you how to make your website more visible to prospects searching for the areas of law you practice.

You will learn:
•     How keywords and search engine marketing works
•     The difference between organic links and paid links, off-site and on-site optimization
•     How to promote specific business initiatives at your firm such as entering a new market and targeting new types of clients.

There’s no charge and no obligation. You can register at for free at

Ethics Rules Should Not Prevent a Lawyer from being Active on Social Media

Reid Trautz, section of law practice management, american bar association, ABASocial media will result in new business, according to lawyer and blogger Reid Trautz. "But you have to put a full profile on LinkedIn. My tweets are on my LinkedIn page. When I write a blog post and it also shows up on LinkedIn. The idea is to write once and create many places where it can show up."

Trautz, of Washington, DC, is an advisor to lawyers who seek excellence in the practice by providing superior legal and customer service to their clients, while maintaining a balanced quality of life.  He spoke at the FirmFuture conference today in Boston.

However, there are several areas of ethical concerns lawyers face on social media. But none are so severe that they should prevent a lawyer from being active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Ethical concerns include:

  • Confidentiality - when you "friend" a client, you are making the attorney-client relationship public, to which the client may object.
  • Communicating through network tools - "You don't want to put something on social media and think we're sending a private email. Use social media wisely for your marketing efforts, but don't use it a communications device with client," he said.
  • Over sharing client information. "If you had a great day in court and you want to write about it, you have to ask if the client wants it made public," he said. "Just ask the client, they may say 'it's fine.'" He recommended that law firms have policies in place about what can be posted.
  • Revealing firm proprietary information. "You can't post something false or misleading. You can't omit things, puff things -- and no solicitation," he said. He showed a tweet from a lawyer reading, "Need a divorce lawyer? 20% discount this week only. Immediate response to any direct message." Trautz said, "You wouldn't do that in person and you shouldn't do it online."

"We've been scared to death about ethics and social media," he said. "You're OK as long as you stay within what social networking is about: building connections -- not advertising. As long as we stay within the rules of conduct, we'll be fine. Whether we are quoted in a newspaper or we post a message on Facebook, the same rules apply."

A big concern is inadvertently creating an attorney-client relationship. However Trautz said that a few "outlier" cases have gained wide publicity, but "there's not a lot of ethics decision or case law out there about social media."

Regarding Avvo,  a lawyer rating service, Trauz said, "You get higher rankings if you answer questions that consumers post. This is where we have to be concerned about that relationship starting. If a person asks a substantive question, and the lawyers provides an answer, then a relationship may have formed. The key is to make sure that we're very clear that we're providing general information, not specific legal advice."


Prediction: 2011 is the Year of the Video Greeting

you tube, video greetingI predict that this holiday season we will see the first video greeting cards sent out by law firms. (Adam Stock and Aden Dauchess, are you reading this?)

People are tired of the run of the mill holiday cards that seem to be flying around every festive season. Do you want to wrap your wish in a different package this year? Then head over to YouTube to send a video greeting card.

Rather than send a paper greeting card which will get thrown away or a email greeting card which will get deleted immediately -- why not send a video of yourself and your partners singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" or a message celebrating New Year's Day, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.

It couldn't be easier:

  1. Get a book with carols or songs.
  2. Stand in front of a video camera and record yourself. See How To Create a Professional Video Studio for Under $1,500
  3. Transfer the video from the camcorder to your computer.
  4. Upload it to YouTube for free.
  5. Send the YouTube link to clients, friends, referral sources, prospects, colleagues, employees and the management committee.

Hey, if the Muppets can do it, so can your law firm.