If you focus on content marketing to advertise your law firm, even in the age of video, you’re probably still pretty heavy into text. Meaning: you likely write a lot. You blog, you guest blog, you comment, you’re on social media, you’re social. This kind of thing can be difficult for lawyers, who are not often writing in a conversational tone, but rather in an overly-formalized legalese. In other words: it’s not easy to shift gears, from crafting a court brief, to a drafting a blog post.
I’m sure that, in the darkest timeline, I am an English professor with a tweed fetish teaching at a small liberal arts college in northern New England. As it stands, I write about law practice, in a mostly conversational tone, which, I believe, works best for online marketing. I’m not a grammar hawk; and, I think that informality can and should rule modern writing. For me, it’s all about the sound. If what you’re writing sounds good, which is part of the reason it will resonate with people, you can get away with quite a bit. (Ain’t that right?)
The best advice I have for lawyers seeking to break into textual content marketing is to listen to what you’re writing — sound it out. Read everything that you write aloud. Imagine you are writing, and then delivering, a speech, rather than building an article. If you can capture the right sound, you place your prospective reader upon her comfiest chair, rather than an ill-fitting, high-backed stool.
Once you develop an ear for your own writing, and you get the sound correct, you can color that with additional shades of meaning. Reflect a certain tone. Develop the right approach. Smooth out the plane. You should sound like melting butter. Keep reading, to refine what you’re doing.
Lawyer writing has a tendency to sound aggressive, like a dull shouting. If you can separate yourself from that crowd, you’ll achieve a palpable uniqueness in the industry, and segregate yourself from your competition. (Of course, if you want aggression, that’s a sound you can develop, too.)
Once you have the building blocks of a consonant writing style in place, you will develop the ability to shape keys for different locks, to target certain audiences.
The expression goes that ‘talk is cheap’; but, on the internet, content is cheap. Modern publication and dissemination tools mean that anyone can publish anything for next to nothing. Of course, that is a good thing for businesspersons, who can write their own content (or hire others to supplement what they do) and gain a following. Since many business content marketing approaches favor quantity and volume, lawyers, who are often naturally good writers (or become so, given the demands of the profession), can take advantage of the situation by filling the quality void.
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We saw JT doing his thing at Fenway this week. He’s a little creaky, but still getting the job done, like your favorite rocking chair. I know this is a schmaltzy song; but, I love it. I go way back to the Apple sessions.