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Episode 133: How To Use Copy & Content To Build Trust Through Legal Marketing
Is there a way to build trust with potential clients before they ever hire you? In a word… Yes.
You can build trust through your legal marketing through your copy and content.
Join me and copywriter Rachel Allen to learn how to effectively utilize copy and content to build trust within your legal marketing. In this interview you’ll learn why creating trust this way is so important and how to do it (with practical strategies for getting started).
[00:00:48] Heather: Well, hello hello, everybody. Welcome to theLife & Law podcast. This is your host, Heather Moulder, and today we have another guest. Today we have kind of a treat because she’s a different guest than what I typically have on, which are former lawyers or current lawyers who are in their practice or in another life after practice.
And I knew I wanted to interview this guest when she reached out to me. So let me give you a brief introduction. I want to introduce you to Rachel Allen. She is the owner of Bolt From The Blue Copywriting, where she and her small team make words make money, which I love. It’s a mouthful, though, when you have to say, make words make money.
She’s worked for some of the biggest and smallest names in the online entrepreneur world, helping clients in 21+ countries leverage their language to generate massive impact, influence, and income. And she also works with lawyers and law firms.
Rachel reached out to me about coming onto the podcast to speak about the keys to connecting with clients and preemptively build trust using copy and content. And because we’ve not really gotten into that and yet I know how important that is – through my own business and as I help clients who are getting into copywriting and website content as they grow their business – it is something that most lawyers do not think about and yet really should.
And so I was like, yes, you’ve got to come on. We’ve got to talk about this. Welcome, Rachel.
[00:02:17] Rachel: Thank you so much. What a lovely introduction. I’m happy to be here.
How Rachel Accidentally Became A Copywriter
[00:02:21] Heather: I’m happy to have you. So before we get into the main topic, which is, of course, how to build trust using copy and content, I’d love to hear a little bit about your journey to where you are now. Did you always want to do this and kind of, how did you get into what you do now?
[00:02:38] Rachel: I fell into it completely and absolutely backwards. I had no idea that copywriting was even a job that people did until the day before I started doing it.
So, long story short, I went to college and double majored in journalism and Asian Studies because I was going to become a journalist and I wanted to be a journalist for The Economist in Hong Kong. I minored in Mandarin, did the internship at NPR. I was like ready to roll.
And then I graduated in 2008 and nobody was hiring journalists, and especially not in rural Tennessee where I went to college.
So I sent out over 200 resumes and I got zero responses and I ended up getting a warehouse job unpacking boxes at the Old Navy warehouse forthe 5AM shift. Me and all the other humanities grads.
So I stuck it out for about six months, and then I was like “You know what? I’m just going to go to Hong Kong and see if they have jobs there.” Because I’m 22 at the time, and that makes sense.
And they do have jobs there, but you need this terrible piece of paper called a work visa, which I did not get before I left. I landed in Hong Kong with about $200 in my bank account and I needed to make rent. So I was googling “how to make money online” because it’s 2008 and that’s what you did, and I found out about this job called Copywriting.
There were some contract positions, so I was like “Well, I’m a good writer. I’ll try it out.” And then I ended up really liking it and being good at it. And I’ve since grown an agency in the past 15 years and worked with all kinds of people, including, like you said, lots of lawyers and law firms.
[00:04:03] Heather: I love – I think on your website you have something about a wide array from accounting to astrology, and somewhere in there it includes lawyers and law firms as well.
[00:04:15] Rachel: Absolutely.
Rachel’s Different Way of Niching
[00:04:16] Heather: Which I find interesting actually. Because most copywriters that I come across really seem to niche down into one specific industry. So I’d love to hear why or did you ever niche down?
And if not, what was the reasoning behind it and how did you get such a broad array of types of clients and industries?
[00:04:39] Rachel: Yeah, I deliberately never niched down. Actually, I think I have a blog post, it might still be up saying: you don’t have a niche, you have a cop out. Because I understand why people do it. It’s great for SEO but it’s always been boring for me.
I want to work with so many different types of people. I take in information so quickly and I love learning about different jobs and learning what people do. And while the industries are very disparate, the types of clients I work with tend to kind of fall along the lines of: they’re doing something to make a difference in the world.
So they have a genuine tangible impact and they’re usually more like trending on the more academic what we call like, air quotes boring type industries. So I love working with engineers, I love my accountants, I love my lawyers, I love my dev. People (I’ve done so much work with Agile).
So that’s kind of why I like working with people like that. And it’s better suited to just the way that my brain works and how I can kind of vacuum up information and then the way that I kind of got in touch with all these people.
Honestly, let me pull my exact numbers out of my brain. We run about 84% referrals throughout the entire thing. So I worked with one person and they say, oh great, I know my friend is launching a law firm for entrepreneurs. Can you maybe help her out getting her content structure set up? Absolutely I can. And then it just kind of goes out from there.
[00:05:58] Heather: That’s awesome. Yeah, referrals. And that works for lawyers, obviously, too. Referrals are a big way to get easy clients and quick clients that trust you and also that are good fits because if they’re coming as a referral from somebody who’s already a good fit, they have a pretty good idea of who is a fit for you as well.
[00:06:21] Rachel: Exactly.
A Copywriting Secret: Speak Like You
[00:06:22] Heather: Tidbit from marketing and networking and business development. That always works really well. But I do love how you said you don’t have a niche and you don’t in the traditional sense, but in some ways you kind of do.
[00:06:33] Rachel: Yeah, I am more like a type.
[00:06:35] Heather: Of person. Kind of psychological niche that I’m willing to bet, if we looked at your copywriting on your website and all the stuff you put out, it’s very clear who you’re speaking to as far as the type of person and who they need to be in order to be a good fit for you.
[00:06:54] Rachel: Absolutely.
Something that somebody pulled out on another podcast recently, I do sort of the bigger projects with corporate departments sometimes, where I’ll do customer UX development or customer journey mapping or value statement development.
And I say all those things, but I specifically have a line that says something like, fancy pants projects start at $5,000. And they love that. And I’m seeing you’re laughing too.
But I know for sure if some people looked at that, they’d be like, fancy pants projects? That’s so unprofessional. I don’t want to work with her. And I’m like, fantastic. I don’t want to work with you either. I want the people who will look at that and be like, oh, that’s funny to me. We should do it.
[00:07:31] Heather: And yet you love working with the people who are supposedly from the boring industries, like us lawyers, accountants, et cetera. But I would argue most of us aren’t that boring.
[00:07:40] Rachel: That’s the whole thing. Yeah, people get scared of it or yeah, I know. Especially in the entrepreneur world. They’re like, oh, but lawyers are mean. And I’m like, have you ever actually spoken to one? Like, really? Come on.
[00:07:52] Heather: No, most lawyers are not mean at all.
[00:07:54] Rachel: Yeah, they are not scary.
How To Build Trust Using Copy & Content In Your Legal Marketing
[00:07:58] Heather: Okay, so getting into the topic, you reached out and said, I’d love to speak about how to preemptively build trust using copy and content. So tell me, what do you mean…
What does it mean to preemptively build trust and why is that important?
[00:08:13] Rachel: So I’m going to answer your question a little bit backwards.
It’s important because trust is what makes people hire you.
I mean, we all know the sales cycle. The know-like-trust-buy.
People often approach this trust thing as what happens when you get face to face with somebody. Like, oh, they need to know about you, and then we’ll have a meeting, and then they’ll start to trust me. Which, sure, maybe.
But why not back that process up and have them actually come into the interaction already predisposed to trust you?
Because you’ve demonstrated your trustworthiness through high quality copy and content that actually gives them something of value and lets them know a little bit about you and who you are before they even get into the conversation. So that’s why copy and content is so important.
The whole point of it is not just to have words up.
It’s not just a really glorified billboard. It’s to start that relationship before you even actually get into a room with somebody so that there’s no surprises.
You don’t end up having somebody come in who’s like a really bad fit for you or your firm. And you don’t have to work as hard once they’re in the room because they already kind of know whether they feel comfortable working with you or not.
[00:09:12] Heather: Yeah, and I would say it’s more than what a lot of people think of, which is I just need to let them know what it is that I do. No, it’s more than that.
It’s about really creating your brand.
And your brand by the way – and I think I’ve said this before, but to make this very clear – your brand as a service provider is not about your colors, it’s not about your logo, is not about any of that stuff.
It is about how you show up day in and day out. And what do people say about who you are, how you show up, how you serve them? That’s your brand at the end of the day.
The way you write the copy and the content that you put out, whether it’s on your website, whether it’s a post on LinkedIn, whether it’s a full length article you’ve written somewhere, or a blog post that’s on your website needs to be crystal clear. To show up as you. You’ve got to show up as you.
And you must be speaking in a way that you speak in person to people, asking the same questions. It’s you so that there’s congruence when they first speak to you, they feel like they’ve already met you.
There are no surprises. That’s what I think of it as.
[00:10:26] Rachel: Yeah, absolutely. Something I say – I speak to associations and stuff – and something I say to people in my speeches all the time is if people get to a sales conversation with you and it feels like you’ve had a personality transplant, then something has gone badly wrong beforehand. So it’s exactly right.
[00:10:41] Heather: Yes. And it’s interesting to me because – and we talked about this a little bit before I hit record – 99% (maybe more) of law firm and lawyer websites out there – there is a complete disconnect between the copy on the website versus the people in the firm and how they show up and who they are.
They all sound the same, they all have similar words, they all look the same, and they don’t give you any real – I mean, yeah, they tell you the kind of law they practice and maybe a couple of tidbits about what they do for people and the type of clients they work with – but there’s no branding there.
You can’t tell anything about the people, the human being part, and that’s actually pretty important. Yes?
[00:11:30] Rachel: Yeah, absolutely.
Because that’s what makes people want to actually work with you. There’s so many people who do whatever type of law you specialize in. But as you know, a relationship with a lawyer is deeply personal. It’s often emotional.
They are your person to go to who make things okay. And so you need to have that trust relationship with them, and you need to know who they are as a person before you can decide whether you want to work with them or not.
The Misunderstanding Around What It Means To Be Professional Online
[00:11:51] Heather: And what would you say to a lot of the pushback I get when I work with clients and say, okay, your copy isn’t that good. And FYI, I’m not a copywriter but I can help a little bit with these things. And I say no, you don’t speak like this.
Tell me what you do and how you help people. And they’ll say it one way. I’m like “Why isn’t that on your website? Well, I need it to be professional.”
Hear that a lot, I bet, right?
[00:12:15] Rachel: Absolutely.
[00:12:16] Heather: What would you say to that?
[00:12:17] Rachel: I think it’s absolutely possible to be professional and still sound like yourself. Professional doesn’t mean that it has to sound like any specific type of thing. You are a professional. You’re a lawyer, you went through a great deal of school and you’ve passed multiple exams. Like, you’re here doing a professional job.
The way you speak is inherently professional. And so obviously you don’t want to show up and maybe try to cultivate, like, Internet speak or speak in memes – unless that’s how you operate in your firm. I don’t know, that’d be awesome, that’d be great.
But you don’t need to make it sound like anything specific to prove that you’re a professional. You already have that.
Copywriting Tip To Build Trust In Your Legal Writing: Write Like You Speak To Clients
[00:12:53] Heather: Yeah, and I totally agree. And I would say to anybody out there who listens to this but has not seen my social posts go follow me on LinkedIn and look at my website. Most people come to me – in fact, almost everybody says “I can hear your voice speaking when I read your posts, when I read things on your website.”
That is how I talk, like a human. We’re really just talking about showing up as you talk. Like a human being. Being that way is not unprofessional and you don’t have to be this stodgy buttoned up version of yourself to be professional.
[00:13:32] Rachel: Yeah, absolutely.
What To Talk About In Your Legal Marketing Content
Pay Attention To Tone
One thing I often tell people when I’m teaching this is, the parameters for this are:
- you want to think about who you are to that person, that prospective client,
- in the context of your working relationship and
- if anything that you’re wanting to say or share, if your tone fits within that, it’s good to go.
If it’s something that’s wildly outside of that, I don’t really need to know if you super love coffee, unless maybe you’re representing coffee companies or something.
When To Talk About Non-Legal Things
But it does matter to me, let’s say if you’re a family lawyer and you have a family yourself or you have something like that, that’s how you can kind of sort this information out. And that gives you some nice filters perhaps, or bowling bumpers.
So you don’t have to worry about being unprofessional. As long as it fits within the parameter of the answer to that question of who you are to them, you are good to go.
Keep It Relevant To What You’re Trying To Do (Branding Included)
[00:14:18] Heather: Yeah, I would say what’s relevant, number one, and even if it’s not relevant to what you do for them, is it something that’s so a part of who you are and it often comes up anyway. Like when you’re one to one networking, when you’re speaking to people.
I think that’s fine too. Because people, as you said – something really important earlier and that is this – people form deeply personal relationships with most of their attorneys. And I would say the ones who don’t form good relationships like that with their clients don’t tend to have very good books of business.
The way you develop business is through relationship-building. Solid, good relationships. And so you’re going to have conversations with clients about their families and about other things.
I have a client, for example, who got to know somebody and they quickly connected because of a band they both listened to. And that came out and they often talk about it now. He was able to get business because of that. I’m not saying you plaster that all over your website, but it’s okay to have a post on social media about that upon occasion and show people who you actually are.
[00:15:29] Rachel: Absolutely. I highly recommend sharing stuff like that. And I know people can sometimes feel overwhelmed if you haven’t really been sharing a lot of your own personal stuff, especially if you’ve been maybe trained not to but it’s absolutely okay. It can be fun, maybe if you really get into it.
And I don’t know if this is a thing that your listeners maybe struggle with, but I have a lot of clients coming to me from different industries saying like, oh, does this mean I have to open my chest up and share my entire life with the internet? I’m like, absolutely not.
So what I recommend doing is let’s say you have something that you don’t really want to share all the details of.
Share what I call the minimum viable truth.
Just share what’s true about that to the extent that you’re willing to do so, and then move on. Share something else, share random things. So yeah, as you said, it’s all about building that human connection and showing people who you really are because ultimately you are your best brand asset.
[00:16:20] Heather: Yeah, I think it boils down to…
What do you want them to know about you that you think is important, about who you are and why you do what you do.
That is an important piece to why people hire you. And there are tidbits that can come through about your past, your current, your life that can show that and stories around that that are very relevant for that reason.
But you do not need to share everything and you definitely don’t need to share all the messy stuff. And if there’s messy stuff that could have a good lesson, I always say wait until it’s over and give it time and then look back and see if you agree.
Because when you’re in the midst of it is the worst time to share, usually. You can’t see the real message. You overshare. There’s a lot to it, so give it time.
And if you look back and you’re like “There’s actually a valid lesson that I’d like my clients to know,” then it’s time to share and you can share it in a very relevant way at that point without oversharing, if that makes sense.
[00:17:23] Rachel: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. That’s what I call drunk crying on the internet shoulder when we see people do that. Where you’re like, oh, talk about that with a therapist.
The Difference Between Copy & Content In Legal Marketing
[00:17:30] Heather: Yeah, no. Okay, I know the difference, but I don’t know that my audience knows. We refer to both copy and content as two different things. What is the difference?
[00:17:46] Rachel: So the difference is that…
Copy is something that maybe goes on your website.
So that’s going to be like your home page, your about page, your services page, your contact page.
Content is things like your blogs, your emails, your social media posts.
If you do more in depth things like white papers or guides or downloads, those can be content as well.
So copy is more geared towards informing and advertising, whereas content is more geared towards connection.
[00:18:14] Heather: Okay. And I love that you say connection because I think that is probably the linchpin of helping to build that trust, correct?
[00:18:23] Rachel: Yes, absolutely.
How To Use Content For Connection In Legal Marketing
[00:18:26] Heather: So give me some examples of what you’re talking about when you talk about content that you would recommend attorneys, whether they be solo attorneys, whether they be in mid sized firms, maybe they’re even in big law, right? And maybe you give three different examples of types of things they would utilize to connect with people.
How would they utilize content, where would they go? What kinds of things would you recommend they do if they’re trying to get started in this?
#1: A Blog Article (Or More) Addressing Why You Do What You Do
[00:18:52] Rachel: So the first thing I always recommend for lawyers is at least one blog talking about why you do what you do. Like when you pulled that out, I was like, yes, talk about the why because it’s different for everybody and it pulls people to you. It’s a really good point of reference.
So one blog, lots of bloggers are very good with writing. Like they’re okay writing. If for some reason you like speaking more, then say it instead. An audio blog is perfectly fine. I think people get caught up in the idea of content being written and oh, I have to sit down and type out 5000 words. Absolutely not.
Say something, make a video. If you really enjoy doing that, whatever way it is, just share something about why you do what you do.
#2: Social Media Posting
The second thing I recommend is being on some kind of social media. And the good thing is you choose what works for you. So if you absolutely hate, like, no one’s saying you have to get on TikTok. If you don’t like TikTok, don’t do it.
Instagram is where a lot of my people are. LinkedIn is where a lot of my people are. So basically, find one channel that works for you and go with it.
And if you enjoy all the other ones, do all the other ones too, but stick with whatever you actually enjoy and where you spend time.
#3: Have A Resource For Downloading
And then the third thing, which I think is a little bit more of a bonus level thing, but in depth resources are fantastic because they give you a chance to show off your expertise and they help clients really trust you.
Because if I can download, let’s say, a PDF where you outline – I’m thinking right now, I’m a fractional CMO for some estate planning attorneys. And we did a guide to what you need to do if somebody dies in the state of California. Because I know there’s all sorts of little things, and you don’t want to be googling that if you’re grieving.
So we’ve done this very in depth guide based on like, here’s all you need to think about, here’s the paperwork you need, here’s what you need to do in terms of finances, here’s how you execute the trust.
So if you can provide some sort of detail like that where they can download it, it’s free. They look at that and they think, oh wow, these people really know and I can trust them because they’ve already helped me out.
So that’s preemptively a sale for you. The next time something happens, of course they’re going to come to these attorneys to have their trust done because they know that they know how to take care of them.
[00:20:53] Heather: Yeah, I love that idea and I would also say so for that example, some people would think “Well, if they’re going to you in that case, it’s already too late because they’re already dealing with this.” No.
Because then they need to hire somebody maybe a year from then they realize, well, I need to get my estate in order. I need a trust attorney that knows what they’re doing. This person obviously knew this, so they’ll go back to you.
This is something most lawyers don’t do. They don’t put something free out there that’s downloadable that then gets them on an email list usually. That’s the point of it, right? So most of you lawyers, if you’re scratching your head like “How do I keep in touch?” You can do this one of two ways.
- You can make it immediately downloadable without you getting any information from them, which is okay. Maybe they’ll remember you, they can do that. And not everybody out there wants to do the email list thing. I get it.
- But the better way of doing things is to require them to opt into your email list to get this. And there are different rules you have to follow and it depends on the state and it depends on where people are and all of that. So you have to make sure you’re abiding by all of those rules. And if you don’t know them, you need to reach out to somebody to help you with that.
Why An Email List?
The whole point is to have an email list where you then send them – maybe a monthly newsletter, updates in this area through a monthly newsletter. For any of you who are like on my newsletter list, I give you a weekly one. You don’t have to do it as often as a lawyer.
And you don’t have to be as in depth as I often am with a weekly podcast and a weekly email and all these social posts. You could even send out just once a month:
- This is something I see all the time.
- Here’s a question you need to be asking yourself about it to help you get to the next step.
It could be the simplest thing, a couple of sentences long, but yet values based. You have value that you provide to them in there related to the thing that you do. And you don’t have to overtly ever sell in those.
You just remind them who you are, what you do, so that when they do need your services or thinking about it, or know somebody who needs them, they go “Oh, I know of somebody”, and they send them your way or they reach out to you.
Building Trust Through Content
[00:23:09] Rachel: Absolutely. The whole thing you want to kind of engender here is you want to kind of become their lawyer friend, because, of course, I would love to work with my lawyer friend to help me out with stuff.
And I love how you talk about how it can just be simple because, see, so many people fall into the newsletter trap where they’re like, here’s the updates from our firm. No one cares. Like, they don’t work in your firm. It doesn’t mean anything to them.
But if you answer a really common question, like, let’s say you have clients coming to you, and they always ask you the same question right out the gate, answer it in an email, make that into a blog. And then when somebody asks you, you can send them a link. So you’ve already shown them that you get them, you understand where they’re coming from, and you’ve provided them with an answer.
When It Comes To Content, Less Is More
[00:23:45] Heather: Yeah, no, it can be super simple, and sometimes the best newsletters are the simplest.
I subscribe, and I cannot remember who does it, but it’s like this daily discipline email that I get, and it’s usually one or two small paragraphs long, sometimes it’s even shorter. Super simple, but it’s always based on one tip or one question or one thing to think about to be more disciplined in your day.
And it’s probably one of the few that I’ve actually kept for years and that I haven’t thought of unsubscribing to, because there’s value in it every single day. But they’re tiny little pieces. Little nuggets you don’t have to give them.
This is where lawyers mess up. I see this in articles. I see this in posts online. I see this in speeches. We want to give too much information. Yeah, I super struggled with this early on and frankly, have continued to but have gotten a lot better at it over time.
How To Say Less: Break Things Down, Be More Specific
You want to get it down to something very specific, be super specific, because I guarantee all the things you think of that you’re like, well, I could just write about this and then I have nothing else. Well, that one thing is probably 20 things. If you could break them into 20 different pieces.
[00:25:01] Rachel: Yeah. That is exactly what I recommend. With people, especially with people like lawyers, you’re trained to think of every detail and every contingency. So of course you’re going to write these very long, very detailed things. I mean, break it down, like you said, one or two paragraphs, and that is your content done for what, a month at a time?
[00:25:22] Heather: Oh, yeah.
Some of my clients who are just getting started on LinkedIn… Most lawyers – I would say practically every lawyer out there who sells to businesses, who has business clients – need to be on LinkedIn. And that would be your social media place.
If you are an attorney that is not business to business but is business to an individual, then depending on who your clients are, some of them may be on LinkedIn, but they may also be on Facebook or Instagram. So Instagram might be your place. It very much depends.
I see a lot of clients who are family law attorneys or PI lawyers. I see more of them on Instagram, whereas of course, everybody else is on LinkedIn. So this will depend.
But I’ve had a lot of lawyers lately who are trying to get started on LinkedIn and they will send me their posts. I’m like, all right, come up with at least three posts and send them to me. And I’ll what I call juuuge them up, send them back to you. And you might need to still revise them a little bit because they’re going to be in my voice.
But I’m going to give you an idea of how to do this. And it’s always cutting way down. Yeah, no, you don’t need to say all this.
[00:26:45] Rachel: Yeah, we’re not writing a briefing.
[00:26:46] Heather: It’s three different ways.
What’s the essence of this? What is the main point? That’s what you’re getting at.
And then a lot of times I’ll just cut stuff out and say, okay, this could be a whole other post.
So you want to get really that’s the one thing I see lawyers really struggle with. Is that one of your biggest struggles that you see attorneys with when they’re trying to first get started with content?
[00:27:06] Rachel: Absolutely, yeah, because you’re trained to write in a different way.
Internet writing is a different thing.
So of course it’s a little bit of a handover process, but exactly like what you said, just get it down to the main point of what it is. Understand that nobody’s going to go into the comments and be like, well, actually, have you thought about contingency, sub a clause, whatever.
That’s just not going to happen. So you post your thing, nobody knows anything about it anyway except for you. And it’s not like you’re going to have fellow lawyers, like, jumping on and commenting about it. So post it.
Realize that high level is okay, you don’t need to get all the way down into the weeds. And if you really just feel like doing that, link it out to a blog post, which moves them over to your website, which then encourages them to work with you.
[00:27:46] Heather: Yes, absolutely.
I think you mentioned this earlier, but I think it bears emphasizing copy and content. Copy is on your website, but content doesn’t just have to be written content.
And I think this is something a lot of people would learn through you or me in the content area and what they’re learning here in this podcast about the types of things to write about how to approach them.
Copywriting Tip: Repurpose Your Content
How can they translate that into speaking engagements and how they speak and then also even networking when they’re networking with people.
[00:28:26] Rachel: So I think these two things are very fluid. You can go back and forth. The things you talk about a lot in your networking are probably going to be really good posts for your social media because you’re already saying them. You’re very comfortable saying these things.
The same thing with speaking, right. If you have written speeches, you can break that down virtually paragraph by paragraph and have that be separate posts. Or you can post the speech slightly modified for speech versus written cadence as a blog post.
But you can also take content that you’ve written and then maybe translate that into, like you said, social media stuff, podcasts, other places that you might do live speaking, live video.
Anything that you do in one medium, you can do basically word for word in another one. And I really encourage people to play to their strengths with it.
So maybe you’re great with writing and not so great with audio. Of course, focus on blogs.
Copywriting Tip: Get Help With The Things You Need To Do But Don’t Like Doing
If you hate writing – I have a lot of clients who they just don’t like it, they’re not good at it – they’ve literally talked entire books at me on WhatsApp and we just take the voice messages and then I can ghost write that into a book for them.
So whatever your preferred means of communication is, really go with that because you’ll be more comfortable with it and that will come across in the writing as well. Or communication.
[00:29:38] Heather: Yeah, and I love that you said if you don’t love writing but you want to, you realize that there’s benefit in doing more writing. Maybe getting some articles out there, getting some social posts and maybe writing a book. Right.
There are people that can help you with that, like Rachel, and you can speak it and then they can take what you speak and turn it into, and then you just have to edit it like you do other things. So there are ways to do the things that you want to do without going through such pain of having to go through and do all that writing.
[00:30:17] Rachel: Oh, gosh, yeah. I see that so much with what are the two oh, FASCO and Forbes articles, people publishing things on Forbes or whatever. And they’re like, oh, I’ve sat down and I’ve labored over this thing and I’m like, well, could you describe it to me in like 15 minutes on a voicemail? Oh, yeah, of course, no problem. And I’m like, well, then it’s done. You don’t have to sit there and just angst over it.
Copywriting Tip for Posts/Blogs/Articles: Speak It Out
[00:30:36] Heather: Absolutely. And I would actually say if you are thinking you’re a really good writer and you enjoy writing, so you want to write. One of the tricks I learned early on is to speak it out. Learn to speak it first, because you will learn to write better and more concisely.
You often speak more concisely than you write. I don’t know what it is about going to law school that teaches all of us to write with these long words, and stuff a bunch of things into these long sentences and paragraphs. If you just say it, write it that way, don’t write differently.
[00:31:20] Rachel: Yeah. The way that I encourage people to kind of think about this is and I might change this up a little bit for legal writing, but honestly, think about what?
Copywriting Tip For Writing: Be Clear & Concise (Write Like You’re Telling A Child)
If you can describe whatever you’re trying to say to where a fairly smart eight year old could get on board with it. They don’t have to be like a gifted and talented eight year old. They’re like a pretty smart one, if you can describe it that way, that is usually about the cadence you want to hit for Internet writing.
So, like, in my case, as a copywriter, if I talk about doing client analyses and CMO, an eight year old is going to be like, that’s boring. Can we go do something else? But if I tell them I help people make their words, make money, then they’re like, oh, that’s kind of cool. Okay, now can we go do something else? But they can at least track it.
[00:31:58] Heather: Understand the gist of what you’re trying to tell them, right?
[00:32:01] Rachel: Yeah.
[00:32:02] Heather: No. And there’s actually tools out there you can utilize, and I cannot remember the name of it. You may know, but there’s a tool where you can pop in an article, pop in whatever it is, and it will tell you grammatically and where to simplify, and it color codes it, and it tells you, “Okay, this is written for a college level or this is written for a fifth grader.”
You’re trying to get down to that, like, fifth grade level. Because the fact is you don’t sound smarter by using big words and by these long sentences. It’s really about clear, concise communication.
[00:32:40] Rachel: Yeah. And it’s the same thing. I think that you brought this up, but just to underline it, if you don’t speak that way to people when they’re sitting down across the desk from you, you really don’t need it in your posts.
Copywriting Tip: Using Stories To Build Trust Through Your Legal Marketing
[00:32:50] Heather: Okay, we’ve gone through, I think, most of what I wanted to talk about. Is there anything you wanted to add around what attorneys can do to really build trust online and in their content before we move on to the I want to get into the ethics in a second.
[00:33:08] Rachel: I think we’ve touched on it. But just to really put a point on it, I think attorneys are trained and also maybe just a little bit naturally shy about sharing their personal stuff, sharing stories about themselves, really talking how they talk.
The more you can share stories about yourself and show up as fully who you are, the better it will be. And I think again, there’s this fear of like, well, I don’t want to look unprofessional, but how much more do you trust somebody when you know about their experience and you know that they’ve gone through something or you know that they’ve worked with a client like you?
There’s lots of ways that you can bring in stories, but the more human you can bring to this whole experience, the better results you’ll get.
A Note About Sharing Mistakes & Missteps
[00:33:47] Heather: I would even say that sometimes it makes sense to share when you’ve screwed up.
[00:33:51] Rachel: Oh, absolutely.
[00:33:54] Heather: There is a story that I’ve shared with some of my clients as they come to me, just, oh, I totally lost a client, and I did this and this happened.
And I’m like, oh, well, I’ve been there, and here’s what I want to tell you about that. We’ve all been there. We’ve all made mistakes.
We’ve all screwed up from time to time, and we’ve had to live with the consequences of it. And sometimes it’s okay to share that too.
How & When To Share Mistakes
So maybe the time a case went bad because you were green in an area and you didn’t know, but it was ten years ago and you learned something important. And here’s what you learned and here’s what you’ve done ever since, and here’s how you’ve used it. So it’s not just about the mistake, right? It’s about what you learned, how you grew, and how you’re a better lawyer now because of it.
I find a lot of lawyers are scared to share because they don’t want to ever admit they’ve made a mistake, but it’s not realistic. Like, you’re a human being. Nobody expects that you’ve been perfect.
If there’s a client who hears a story like that where clearly it was a mistake, but it’s something to be expected along the way of training and learning, and you learned something from it, and you can show the lesson and how you’ve used it to help your clients ever since.
If somebody isn’t going to hire you because of that, you don’t want them for a client anyway.
[00:35:24] Rachel: No, that’s going to be somebody who is really high maintenance, very high maintenance.
[00:35:28] Heather: Very difficult, and it’s not the person you want, but it will attract some of the right kind of clients. You would be surprised.
It Makes You More Relatable
[00:35:36] Rachel: Yeah, it takes a lot of that fear factor away too, that people, if they’ve never worked with attorneys or they don’t know any socially, I think there’s a lot of fear of like, oh, but if I call them, they’re a lawyer. The ones on TV look really weird. So I think that it just goes a long way, kind of opening those lines of communication.
Quick Note Around Website Copy (And Hiring The Right Website Copywriter)
[00:35:52] Heather: Right. The one last thing I would like to say is, when it comes to copy on your website, be careful who you hire to do your website, because as I said earlier, and I’m not plugging Rachel. There are plenty out there.
[00:36:08] Rachel: But yeah, absolutely.
[00:36:09] Heather: Do your research and pay attention. Like when you’re hiring somebody, get examples and pay close attention to do they all sound similar? Do they all sound similar to what all other attorneys do? Or is there a little bit different? What’s different about this and why? And is that what I want to put out there?
Because a lot of copywriters have different styles. So you want to be with somebody who’s going to really understand you and your style and cater to your style. So you want somebody you’re going to be comfortable with in that area.
But do not just hire somebody because they do a billion law firm websites because they all sound the same. They all look the same. And again, what’s going to differentiate your firm from everybody else? You do need something and you need to show a little bit more personality and a little bit more about who you are as a firm and who the people are within the firm if you want to get the right clients coming to you.
Tip: Pay Attention To Your Copywriter’s Intake Process
[00:37:09] Rachel: Yeah, absolutely. And no matter who you hire, I would also encourage you to look at their intake process. So if there’s anybody that wants you to fill out a multi page form and then that’s all you get. Probably not the right person.
They’re going to take the form and you’ve basically written the website for them. Look for somebody that you can talk to. Look for somebody that you have a good rapport with. Look for somebody that’s going to take the time to really get to know you, like you said.
And that will get you far better results than just going on upwork and finding somebody who’s done 500 lawyer websites, right?
[00:37:38] Heather: Yeah, absolutely.
How To Write Online Ethically
Okay, so lawyers have ethics issues that they have to deal with, like on solicitation. And most attorneys, I’m finding they fall into two categories. Either they’re afraid to say anything online because they’re afraid it’s going to fall into that, or they forget and they accidentally solicit without realizing that’s what they’re doing.
Because most of their posts aren’t about solicitation. But then they add something at the end that is like “Hey, call me if you need that kind of thing.”
So how do you help lawyers stay within the ethics rules, remember what they are, and yet still sound like them?
[00:38:25] Rachel: Yeah, well, the first thing that I always do is I review the solicitation clauses within the ABA guidelines to just be like, okay, what are we actually doing here?
The main thing about that is you can’t get up in people’s face if they haven’t asked you to do so. So you can’t put people on your email list if they haven’t opted in.
You can’t go up to somebody in the street and be like, hey, I’d like to be your lawyer. And they’re like, what? Same thing on social media.
You can share things, you can educate people about what you do. You can basically do everything except for be like, hey, I’d like to be your lawyer. You should hire me. So as long as you get right up to that line, you’re fine.
Don’t make false claims.
The other things that I encourage people to take a look at, and this varies from state to state, but it’s pretty widespread.
Obviously making false claims, like if you can’t do something, if you don’t have a specialty, don’t say that you do, just don’t. You’re not going to do that anyway. But occasionally you’ll see people be like, no, I could totally learn real estate law for you, or whatever.
And don’t set unrealistic expectations.
Again, lawyers are normally on the other side of this where they’re very grounded in their expectations and what they were going to promise to clients. But you just need to be very clear and make sure that you don’t accidentally promise something that there’s no way of either measuring whether you followed through on or that you really can’t follow through on.
Another thing that kind of ties in with that is making comparative statements.
So you can’t say like, I’m the best family lawyer in Washington state. There’s no possible way that you can say that, there’s no grounding for that. So just be careful with phrasings like that.
And this is, I think, especially important if you’re working with a copywriter who’s not familiar with these ethics laws because they’re naturally going to want to say things like that and they’re naturally going to want to kind of big you up and maybe set those unrealistic expectations. So just kind of keep an eye out for that.
[00:40:12] Heather: I would actually, though, argue that that’s not very effective copywriting and that you want to show your expertise, not tell. And that’s telling, not showing. Right?
So if you’re actually focusing on educating and showing through case studies, stories, whatever, and educating in that way, you probably aren’t going to go astray of any of the guidelines.
[00:40:38] Rachel: Yeah, that’s a really great way to phrase it because again, it’s all stuff that normal people would feel very awkward if it was coming out of their mouths.
I think, again, just to kind of underline your point from earlier, if it’s not something that if you don’t walk up to somebody at a networking event and you’re like, hi, I’m the best attorney you’ll ever meet, and I can make sure that your case never goes to court and everything will be perfect, you should hire me. Don’t do it online either.
[00:41:04] Heather: I think that’s great advice.But it’s funny because so many lawyers think that’s what marketing and selling is supposed to be.
[00:41:12] Rachel: Oh, I know. It’s horrible.
Marketers have ruined everything. I know that I’m in this industry, but there’s so many courses that are like, no, this is how you sell. And I’m like…
Sales language. All it is, is an invitation to connect.
There is no way of there’s no special sales language. You don’t have to phrase it. Your website doesn’t have to do the standard like you’re a one, two, three, who’s experiencing ABC, I’m a blah blah who can help you with data. That’s horrible. It’s boring, it’s outdated.
All you have to do is show up and be yourself and then have some kind of invitation to connect at the end. And that’s selling.
[00:41:46] Heather: Perfect. How can people find you online if they want to reach out to you?
[00:41:51] Rachel: I am all over the internet. They can go to Boltfromthebluecopywriting.com. I’m also on Facebook at Bolt From The Blue Copywriting. Same thing on Instagram, same handle: Bolt from the blue copywriting. Or you can just email me at hello@boltfromthebluecopywriting and I’ll actually answer you.
Somebody like a live human on the team.
[00:42:10] Heather: That’s awesome. And I will put links to all of those places in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining us today.
[00:42:17] Rachel: Thank you.
About Rachel Allen
Rachel Allen is the owner of Bolt from the Blue Copywriting, where she and her team make words make money. She’s worked with some of the biggest (and smallest) names in online entrepreneurship, helping clients in 21+ countries leverage their language to generate massive impact, influence, and income.
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