Unless you’re new here (and if you are, welcome!), you’ll know that I often say that networking happens everywhere. So what happens when your “everywhere” gets slimmed down during a pandemic, and even when you ARE out and about, your (hopefully) smiling, open and friendly face is hidden behind a mask?

We adapt!

I know how much lawyers love change, and how much change you’ve already embraced in 2020, but this is the year to throw out old systems, test new ideas and see what works and what you feel comfortable with. The GOOD news is that we’re not changing what has always been true about how you get new work – by doing good work in the first place, and then through word of mouth. For lawyers, we’re in a people business, and that’s not going to change no matter how much technology we add into the mix. What IS going to change is the how.
Continue Reading Networking Happens Everywhere – the Quarantine Edition

It’s true – running an organization that is built on in-person personal relationships has it’s challenges. But what doesn’t have its challenges in 2020, right?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post about how lawyers and law firms can leverage their referral networks to achieve more value, whether these networks are formal or informal (I happen to run a formal one). There’s no reason that this has to stop because in-person events have been put on pause; in fact, many of our members have said they’ve never felt their membership has been more valuable than it has been this year. In part, that’s due to the historical relationships that they’ve built over many years. But we’re welcoming new firms too. And it’s possible to forge new relationships and create new business – it simply takes a little creativity.
Continue Reading Leveraging Your Referral Network for More Value…During a Pandemic

Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with LexBlog’s Bob Ambrogi on “This Week in Legal Blogging,” their new Facebook Live interview series. Bob and I discussed the ILN, running a legal network during a pandemic, and the eleven years that I’ve spent blogging here on Zen (how did that happen??). Two of his questions touched on tips for bloggers who were either getting started in legal blogging, or looking to focus or amplify their efforts, so I wanted to share them here with you! These are my six tips for legal bloggers:
Continue Reading Six Tips for Legal Bloggers

We often hear that legal content is lacking in personality.

Lawyers have the talent and the intelligence to communicate their valuable legal expertise, but often, their passion for the subject doesn’t translate well for someone who’d prefer that they “give it to them straight” instead of filling an article, post, or video with legalese.

But what does that mean – “add personality” to your content? And how do you do it?

The Content Marketing Institute’s Sarah Rickerd authored a great post with 13 Easy Tips to Give Your Content More Personality, and two of them really stuck out for me. Before we touch on them, I know your first question is going to be “why bother?” The reason is simple, and Sarah addresses it early on – it’s about engagement.
Continue Reading Lawyers: Create Engagement with Your Content Through Your Personality…Yes, Really!

The saying goes “If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

In modern times, we should be asking ourselves, “If you write an article [insert other content format] and no one reads it, does it matter?”

The short answer is no.

For me, content is very much tied up with content audiences – if you’re taking the time to write or create something to add value and promote your message, then it should matter to and reach your audiences, right?

How can you make that happen?
Continue Reading Lawyers: Answer These Two Questions to Make Your Content Relevant

Last week, we talked about content as a means for building relationships, while some of our more traditional methods for relationship-building are on hold. “But HOW do I do that?” you may ask?

Lawyers and law firms often think of content marketing as a solo activity. While you may have a strategy that is firm or practice-wide, in general, you’re thinking of the producers of the content for that strategy as individuals.
Continue Reading Two Ways to Use Your Content to Build Relationships

It’s week ten of lockdown in my state, and while there are some places that are entering a phased reopening, some countries have extended their border lockdowns and many of the firms I have talked to are planning to continue remote working for a while because it has proven so effective. As a result, we all continue to have to find new ways to network, build relationships, and yes, even in some cases, develop business.

I think we can all agree that at the moment, the only thing we should all be doing is finding ways to relentlessly deliver value, and if business comes from that, then great. One of the ways we can do that is through content. We’ve already covered the two biggest problems with legal content as well as how to really deliver exceptional content, so today, I’d like us to think more about how you can make your content about building relationships. It can often seem like it’s a one-way conversation – you write or say something, push it out into the world, and that’s it; your content lives there and does its thing, and hopefully it brings in some business for you. But what if you used it more strategically than that, particularly in this moment when it’s harder to have in-person relationships?
Continue Reading In the Age of COVID-19, Make Your Content About Building Relationships

As I mentioned last week, it may not seem like the most important time to be digging into discussing content. But since many of us are publishing SO much of it right now, we want to make sure we’re doing it in a way that’s adding value and not detracting from it. Recently, I came across the “one content marketing question” that we should all be asking ourselves, and it really brought me up short. A reminder, when we talk about “content marketing,” we’re using that to encompass the universe of articles, blog posts, conference presentations, webinars, podcasts, informational videos, etc. – essentially all substantive content that is and can be shared with others.

These days, I think it’s safe to say that we’re pretty much all producing content. So what’s the one question we should all be asking ourselves?

Would anyone miss your content if you did not publish it?


Continue Reading Become the Beyonce of Legal Content with These Three Tips

People have remarked that the word “unprecedented” is certainly having a moment right now. I think that’s something we can all agree on. And one of the things that is truly unprecedented is the sheer amount of content coming out of law firms. While firms have long been known for producing a variety of client alerts, articles, blog posts, and more, the amount of information that is pouring forth from legal minds around the world is quite a torrent.

We’ve already talked about it in recent weeks here on Zen, and it has me looking back to some of our previous discussions around content marketing, and its best practices. That may seem a bit superficial at a time that is a dire as this one is, but we’re going to delve into some content conversations over the next few weeks and I’ll tell you why I think they’re essential for firms at the moment:

  • Number one on every lawyer’s list right now is being their clients’ trusted business advisor. And if it isn’t, it should be. My saying that here isn’t news to anyone, and the engagement with each of your clients to best serve their current needs will be very individual.
  • As all of the chaos surrounding the initial lockdowns begins to settle and we either continue to remain remote, or we return to limited work, there will continue to be some slowdowns. Firms are expecting this. We know we can’t engage in the previous ways that we used to for knowledge sharing, like networking events, seminars, client lunches and dinners. But we can improve our content marketing and use it to stand out among the noise.
  • “Content marketing” isn’t a dirty word. When used well and effectively, it’s a targeted, smart method of adding value in a way that reduces the burden on lawyers while expanding their profiles and allows for relationship-building opportunities. Currently, those opportunities will remain virtual, but they still exist!


Continue Reading Fixing the Two Biggest Problems with Legal Content Writers Amid COVID-19

Now that it’s 2020, I think (read: I hope) that we’ve all come to the conclusion that it’s important to develop a strong plan that identifies the goals that we have for business development, and the tactics and strategies that we’ll use to develop those goals, right? I have a sneaking suspicion that there are still a few people out there who are throwing various ideas up at the wall with the hope that some of them stick, and this is the year to stop doing that. Really, I mean it.

In my post today, I’m going to talk a lot about content marketing, and yes, I know I’m using both the dreaded words “content” and “marketing” together, but stick with me, because we’re also going to look at how these tips impact the message that you’re sending out regardless of the activities that you’re pursuing. Why is that? Because no matter what you do, you’re offering a message about yourself. Talking to someone in line for coffee about how you help clients? I hate to tell you, but you’re marketing yourself (and by the way, that’s a good thing). 
Continue Reading Lawyers: Stop with the Noise & Promote Yourself Specifically & Thoughtfully with these Two Tips