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Even people who love attention usually get butterflies in their stomachs when they Google their own names, especially now that so many people use the Internet as a place for the ugliest and most misanthropic parts of their souls to run wild. Most people don’t have to worry about what the Internet might be saying behind their backs; they only Google their names when they are about to have a job interview.


For better or worse, though, lawyers cannot run from their online reputations; it is usually the first thing that prospective clients see. Negative online reviews, which are theoretically visible to everyone in perpetuity, are such a source of anxiety for lawyers and practitioners of other reviewable professions that online reputation management has become a major industry.



The Old Ways Don’t Work Anymore


In the old days, it was possible to deal with negative online reviews by simply waiting for them to go away. The domain name might expire, or people might write enough positive reviews to boost your average score and push the negative review so far down the list that hardly anyone would read it. Today, web content is more permanent, and it is much harder to fool search engines with fake reviews. The negative publicity is much easier to find, so now you must deal with it instead of just trying to paint over it.


Telling Your Side in a Respectful Way


Getting involved in flame wars online is unbefitting of a lawyer. When a negative review misrepresents you, though, it is fine to write a respectful rebuttal. It is bad enough when a jury finds your client guilty, but it is worse when, the next day, you find an online review entitled “Branwell Bloggins Is a Lousy Lawyer.” The reviewer goes on to say that, because of your incompetence, her brother is serving a ten-year sentence for drug possession with intent to deliver. You, of course, know that the review doesn’t tell the whole story. You counseled the defendant to plead guilty and offered to try to get his charges reduced to simple possession. He had a previous possession conviction for which the charges could have been dropped if he had followed his previous lawyer’s advice and completed a pretrial diversion program. At trial, you made every effort to establish reasonable doubt, but the defendant was obviously guilty. For a variety of reasons, he might be eligible for parole or be able to get his time reduced.


In a Word document, offline, write what you wish you could say, all of it. The defendant was obviously guilty, but his sister is delusional about her brother’s drug problem. His previous lawyer didn’t do a good enough job of getting him into a pretrial diversion program and supporting him through it. A few days later, reread what you wrote, and edit out the parts about what the defendant’s sister and previously lawyer did wrong. Do say, “I advised this defendant to plead guilty, but he chose to exercise his right to a fair trial,” and then go on to explain the laws and processes of plea deals, pretrial diversion, repeat offenses, and so on. Meanwhile, on your website, highlight cases you have won.


Let Law Blog Writers Do the Writing


You can count on Law Blog Writers to produce engaging blog content that gives readers a refuge from the troll-infested swamp that is most of the Internet.

Eugene Schwartz died in 1995, but his career as a writer of advertising copy has made him a legend in the age of content marketing. Schwartz made most of his fortune writing text for advertisements sent by mail, and later in his career, he wrote ten advice books for writers. Schwartz operated in a world very different from the one in which today’s businesspeople vie for the attention of clients; when he died, the World Wide Web was in its infancy. Despite this, his guidelines for communicating your message succinctly, holding readers’ attention, and generating publishable prose quickly still ring true for the current generation of web content writers. Eugene Schwartz is a superhero for marketing professionals, but you are a lawyer first and a marketer of legal services second, so to what extent does his advice apply to you?



What Made Eugene Schwartz Such a Great Writer?


Eugene Schwartz mastered the ability of figuring out what his target audience wanted and offering them a product or service that would give it to them. He did this in relatively few words and so quickly that he once received a commission of $54,000 (in Eisenhower Era money) for an advertisement he wrote in a single afternoon. In one of his books, he outlined his “rules of great marketing” as follows:


· Always keep your ears open for what is on the public’s mind

· Write for short periods of time, giving it your full attention (a similar principle to the Pomodoro method)

· Concisely summarize information that you know inside and out, instead of creating new knowledge as you write

· Your message can never be too simple; the simpler your thesis, the better

· Show the reader how to get what they already want; don’t try to convince them to want something

· Show how your product meets readers’ needs; don’t just showcase its features

· Get to the point quickly

· You become an effective writer through trial and error


What Does This Mean for Lawyers?


You already apply some of Schwartz’s rules when communicating with clients in person and in writing. You are a good listener, and you know how to tell clients only the information they need to know about the law, without getting bogged down in all the details. You have developed productivity strategies.


You already know how to keep it simple, but in writing blog posts for your law firm’s blog, you could stand to keep it even simpler. In a consultation, you get to listen to your prospective clients’ questions, but in a blog post, you must anticipate them and answer them. Eugene Schwartz was writing about selling gadgets and household cleaning products, but his advice applies also to writing blog content to engage prospective clients of a law firm.


Hire Legal Blog Writers


Do you need to use your short bursts of productivity to write legal correspondence instead of blog posts? You can count on Law Blog Writers to produce engaging blog content that would make an old generation copywriter proud, no matter how puzzling he might find the word “blog.”

The new year is almost here, and even if you are averse to New Year’s resolutions, it’s time to think about ways to get a better return on the money you spend marketing your law firm. Unsurprisingly, most law firm marketing takes place online, so most of your marketing strategies will involve digital marketing.



The digital marketing website 99 Designs has published a list of digital marketing trends to follow for 2020, and like most content related to marketing, only some of it is applicable to law firms. For example, shoppable posts are of no use to law firms; your profession is too complex to be practiced merely through clicks and the exchange of digital currency. The following are suggestions from the 99 Designs listicle that law firms would be wise to incorporate into their marketing strategy for the new year.


Sentiment Analysis


Sentiment analysis is not a new concept in brand marketing, but the sheer volume of data available about users’ behavior means that marketers can do it more effectively. In short, sentiment analysis means figuring out what your target audience thinks and cares about and validating those sentiments with your brand image. The ideal client profile, such as Becky the Christian radio listener, is an example of sentiment analysis. With an ideal client profile, you think about your prospective audience and create a fictional character who embodies their identifying qualities. You develop that character in detail and craft your blog content as though it is addressed to them.


Smaller Social Media Sites


When you try to reach a smaller audience, you can communicate with them in more detail. You can get a clearer idea of what they want and how they respond to your current marketing efforts. Don’t delete your Facebook or Twitter account if your law firm has one, but try out some smaller social networks, too, and see how much better you can communicate with your followers.


Snippets


Google automatically extracts snippets from websites when it displays search results. Therefore, your SEO goal should not be just to get your site listed on the first page of search results; it should also be to have Google extract a snippet that will make readers want to click on the result and visit your site. As in the pre-snippet area, writing high quality content is the key to earning recognition from Google.


Vlogging


If you are good enough at public speaking to be a lawyer, you are good enough to make a vlog. You can use your vlog to inform viewers about the laws related to your practice area and also to give them a preview of the knowledgeable, approachable person they will meet if they have a consultation with you.


Hire Legal Content Writers


You can count on Law Blog Writers to sort through the hype and identify the digital marketing strategy that fits best with your law firm and its intended audience.