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

My title my be tongue-in-cheek, but my message this week is quite serious.

We’ll get to that in a moment. First, I want to consider for a moment what happens in a crisis. We panic a little bit, right? Even if we stay mostly calm, our world gets very small, and we’re often looking only at the three feet around us. It sometimes means that we’re looking only at what our firm, our office, or our team is doing, and not focusing on the larger picture. We’re also trying to do everything extremely quickly and efficiently, because the needs all feel so IMMEDIATE – clients need us RIGHT.NOW. And that’s not imaginary – they do. Orders have come down from state or national governments asking them to shutter their businesses within hours. They’ve had to move employees from in-office to remote immediately, sometimes with no plans in place. You may be assisting them in doing this often while having to make similar decisions for your own firms.
Continue Reading “I Don’t Want No Hubs” – a.k.a Show me the Value

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

Daily, we interact with lots of people – this happens in person, at our offices, in the coffee shop, at our kids’ sporting events or art classes. It happens online, through our group chats, text messages with friends, Facebook shares, LinkedIn comments, etc. We interact so much and so frequently, that we’ve reached a real saturation point with these interactions, and even with our professional messages, we can see a lack of care that a lot of us are giving to the details over the tools and the shiny new thing. Instead, we’re just blindly producing more and more and more and more, adding more noise (as Adrian Lurssen would say). 

If you’re sure that YOU are producing things of value, and not just more noise, ask someone in your circle if they can remember the last thing you shared on LinkedIn, or the last article you wrote. If they can’t, chances are, you’re not producing anything memorable. You’re not creating connection in your relationships. 
Continue Reading Building Relationships: Connection Through Storytelling

Content marketing can feel like the opportunity to be the author or podcaster or speaker that you’ve always wanted to be.

But when done strategically, it’s about building relationships with clients and potential clients, and providing additional value to them that will make you top of mind when they have a matter that requires your expertise. When you bear that in mind as an end goal, it’s a reminder that you can’t simply put out content – you need to build an audience. 
Continue Reading Putting the Cart Before the Horse: Why Building an Audience is Key for Successful Content Marketing

Content marketing is a tool in your arsenal for building effective business relationships.

But like any tool, it’s not going to be useful to you if you don’t use it efficiently. In the past, you could get away with producing *something* and getting the attention of a client or potential client, because you were the only one writing or talking about it. But today, content is so ubiquitous, that if you’re not standing out, you risk being relegates to background noise. 
Continue Reading Better Business Relationships Start with Better Content Marketing

Recently, Greentarget and Zeughauser Group released their annual results for the 2019 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey. I had the chance to chat with Greentarget President and Founding Partner, John Corey, about the results, which had some actionable findings for lawyers and law firms, as well as a few surprises.

First, the report – Corey notes that they work to take it somewhere new each year, and their six months of hard work are obvious. In addition to the report’s results this year, you also get access to some excellent thought leadership pieces that expand on the ideas revealed by the data. The data itself examines three categories of respondents – general counsel, the C-suite, and law firm CMOs, which gives a full and interesting picture of what your firm clients are looking for at various levels, and whether your firm may be correctly addressing these needs. 
Continue Reading Lawyers: What’s the One Thing that Makes Clients Care About Your Content?

Remember the good old days when we just did a bunch of things and didn’t have specialized terms for them? Yep, these aren’t them.

Social media marketing” came about when social media platforms were introduced and we learned how to use online technology to build relationships that we’d previously been building offline (that’s tremendously simplified, but you get the idea). Then “content marketing” came along to describe what many law firms had been doing for years – writing about the law and its impact on their clients, and then sharing it with them. As a term, content marketing is broader than that, but in terms of the legal industry, that’s pretty much the short version.

As we worked through the introduction of the terms, we separated people into two camps: the “broadcasters” and the “engagers.” The “broadcasters” treated social media and content marketing as a means to spread their message around, but without the end goal of developing community with anyone. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a different valuation – some of the goals that firms/lawyers who embrace this philosophy might be pursuing are reputation enhancement, being considered a thought leader on a particular subject, etc. Many firms/lawyers have been successful, and even built a large following this way, and spend little or no time engaging with their audience.
Continue Reading Want to Build Better Business Relationships? Try Content Marketing