How to build a list of blog posts for your firm in 20 minutes

Build a Bulletproof Backlog of Law Firm Blog Post Ideas

There’s nothing worse than mustering up the willpower to sit down and actually write a blog post, only to give up after 20 minutes of staring at a cursor because you don’t know what to write about.

It’s demoralizing. And every time it happens, it makes it less likely that you’ll even bother sitting down the next time.

In this activity, we’re going to invest some time in clearing the roadblocks associated with getting a blog post written and out into the world.

Before we get into the details of creating the list, it’s probably helpful to explain the reasoning behind it. After all, the goal of these posts isn’t just to give you a to-do list, but to teach the underlying concepts so that eventually you’ll have a good sense of what to do next when you get to the point that these lessons seem basic to your more-advanced marketing skills.

A Strategy for Law Firm Blog Content

Readers of this blog will note that I reference the following article a lot. It’s because it’s so instructive. It demonstrates how a simple, structured approach to informing your clientele in an historically untransparent industry can differentiate your firm in a sea of, well, boring competition.

This is the abbreviated story of Marcus Sheridan the pool guy . Marcus’s company sold pools, and they found themselves in pretty dire straights. None of their marketing was moving the needle. They were being drowned out by their competitors. If they were going to continue on as a business, they needed to find a way to stand out.

And that’s when Marcus noticed that his competition seemed to write about anything except the big questions their customers were asking. The competition wanted to keep their specialized knowledge to themselves in hopes of getting a consultation scheduled where they could tailor the pool to the clients’ exact needs.

Sound familiar?

It should.

So what did Marcus do? Well, he answered the questions that his competition was hesitant to answer. Simple. Potentially risky. But profoundly effective.

Suddenly he was appearing in Google for the searches his customers were actually using. When his customers got in touch, they were already qualified buyers, knowing about the process and willing to put their trust in Marcus to apply his expertise to their unique situation. It was an inflection point for his business.

Simple? Yes. Obvious? Maybe. Effective? Absolutely.

Marcus’ solution might sound really obvious in hindsight. But when you’re in an industry that’s based around the service provider holding all of the cards from an information standpoint, being willing to part with some of that knowledge can go a long way toward jumpstarting your firm’s marketing.

We go over the reasons why in our lesson about why attorneys should add their pricing to their website . But suffice it to say, that while this strategy has been around for a while, it’s still not used in the legal world, and presents a giant opportunity for folks that are willing to take it on.

And so, with that in mind, let’s apply Marcus’ strategy toward building our list of blog posts.

Building our list of blog post ideas

The first step in the process is deciding where we want to keep this list.

There’s no perfect tool for this because everyone is different, but the important thing is that whatever you use is easy/familiar (so that you’ll use it) and accessible (so that it’s available whenever an idea strikes.)

But, if nothing immediately comes to mind for you, I’ve used Evernote, Google Docs, and Trello with success. So pick one open up the editor, and let’s go!

Now that we’re at the actual “do something” portion of the exercise I want to address the elephant in the room. That is, the fact that most folks will read this article to the end, make a mental note to do this “someday” and then pat themselves on the back for spending 15 minutes reading an article about marketing.

But that’s not enough! This isn’t going to work unless we do the work. So take 5 seconds and promise me one thing. That you’ll open up the text editor of your choice, and come up with one blog post topic . That’s it. One topic. I bet you already have one in mind, you just haven’t written it down. It’ll take 60 seconds, tops! After that, you’re off the hook. Feel free to hang’em up for the rest of the day.

But what I hope will happen is that you’ll realize just how unbelievably easy it is, and come up with a bunch more just to see how many you can come up with in the next 5 minutes. Can you do 10? 20?

Let’s find out.

Alright, here’s the secret sauce…

  1. Write down your practice areas.
  2. For each practice area, just stream of consciousness, start listing the questions your clients always ask in their initial consultations or at cocktail parties. The ones that you have a rote answer for in your head. Just write down the question, question mark and all, and move on to the next one.
  3. When you’re all out of ideas, go back through and reorder them in terms of how often you get asked.

That’s it. It’s so stupidly simple. But I guarantee that 95% of the folks that read this don’t ever sit down to do it. So don’t be in that 95%.

Be in the 5%.

If you join that 5%, tweet, facebook, email, snail mail or carrier pigeon us a screenshot of your list and we just might have a special gift to send along!

20 MInute Law Firm Marketing Pricing on Law Firm Website

Gasp! – Add pricing to your law firm’s website.

What?! You want me to put my pricing and fees on my website?

Hear me out! I know this can be seen as a pretty controversial piece of advice, but I’m about to lay out why I think this is one way that you can differentiate your firm and establish trust with potential clients. And not just clients, ideal clients!

Let’s imagine two scenarios…

Scenario A

You get a call from someone that’s found your website online. They have a case. A great case. The best case. At least according to them. You schedule (and reschedule after the client no-shows) a consultation to go over it with them. On the day of the consultation, you review the case (potentially for free) and then you let them know about how much it’s going to cost to resolve their matter.

“Really? That much? I thought it would be much lower. Can you do it for less? No? How about contingency? No? Have I told you how great of a case it is and how lucky you’d be to have it? Oh, right. Well what if I did most of the work and you just reviewed it? Ok ok, I’ll find someone else.”

You’ve now spent hours of your time working with someone that couldn’t afford your rates in the first place. If you’re in a level-headed mood, you’re probably thinking you lucked out because most of the cost-concious clients end up being your neediest. But if you’re like most people, you’re probably left wondering if you should offer a discount. After all, you’ve already sunk time into this, at least you can get something out of it. Or maybe you’re wondering whether you set your rates too high and you start questioning what your services are worth.

None of it is healthy. For you or for the client.

Scenario B

You get a call from a potential client. They tell you they have a potential case, and that it seems to be pretty straightforward based on some of the criteria you laid out in your blog post. In fact, the reason they decided to call you first was because yours was the only firm they could find that even mentioned how much the services might cost.

They schedule a consultation, and when you get to the point where you let them know an estimate for the costs of your services, they nod in agreement. It’s right around the range you mentioned in your blog post. They’ve already mentally spent that money with you. Now it’s just about signing the fee agreement.

And that other client? The one that wanted to haggle for a discount. Well, they never called in the first place. They’re off having a consultation with your competitor, telling them that their rates are too high.

Which one would you prefer?

The latter of course.

So why don’t other law firms put pricing on their website?

Have you ever known attorneys to be revolutionaries when it comes to marketing? Me either. That’s why every attorney and law firm website looks exactly the same. And it’s not doing them any favors.

But the real reason they don’t do it is fear. Fear that the estimates will be held against them; fear that potential client will see a price and say “that’s too expensive”; fear that they’re putting their firm out there too much, that they’re the only one doing it, so it must be wrong.

Let’s look at each of these fears individually and knock each one down.

But I don’t want my estimates held against me!

Imagine a friend or family member (that you like) calls you up. They have a potential matter to discuss, but they want to know what something like this typically costs so they can decide if it’s worth pursuing.

You won’t tell them to buzz off. You won’t give them a curt “well every case is different, we’ll need to do a consultation before we can discuss any of this.”


You’ll probably answer with a range, and follow that up with some of the factors that go into that estimation, and you’ll probably close with a “but every case is different so the numbers could be higher or lower than what I’ve laid out, so don’t hold me to it.”

Perfect. Let’s put that in a blog post! You’ve given nothing away. You haven’t locked yourself into a bad deal. You haven’t improperly set expectations.

But what you have done, is to put your trust in the potential client. You’re implicitly saying that you trust them not to use that information against you. And what do you do when someone extends you their trust? Well, you probably reciprocate. And so now that you’ve answered a question that no one else will answer, that potential client is going to trust you a little more than the other firms they’re considering, and guess who’s going to get the call?

You. All because you were willing to put yourself out there more than the other firms.

What about being disqualified for being too expensive?

I think the scenarios up above illustrate the point pretty well, but let’s hammer it home shall we?

Marketing your firm is as much about repelling bad clients as it is attracting the ideal clients. By being willing to publish your rates and your pricing information, you’re sending a signal.

To the folks that can’t afford your services, you’re letting them know that it’s not worth your time or theirs to make contact.

But to the ideal clients, the ones that not only can afford your rates but that value your services as much as you do, you’re telling them that you’re the person to call. You’re telling them that you trust them to be reasonable, competent adults when it comes to estimating the costs of your services. And reasonable competent adults like to work with other reasonable, competent adults.

But I’d be the only one!

In the legal field, true differentiators are really hard to come by, mostly because your potential clients don’t know enough about the process to figure out what factors they should be differentiating on. You can’t say “I work harder than everyone else,” you can’t guarantee results, and saying “I write the best employment agreement in the state,” besides being ethically dubious, is completely unverifiable by a potential client.

So what are we left with?

“Smith law firm promises to work hard to deliver you conscientious and zealous representation in your matter of blah blah blah zzzzzzz.”

The same copy you see on every single law firm website.

Cost transparency is one of the single most effective ways to distinguish your firm from your peers.

We’re in an age where the companies that are willing to be the most transparent and the most approachable will get the business. Take the story of Marcus Sheridan. He’s a pool installer. And his business was floundering until he decided to answer the one question none of the other pool installers were willing to answer. How much does a pool cost? Pools, like legal services have a wide range when it comes to cost, and every pool is different. But he didn’t have to give an exact answer, he just had to address the question on all of his clients’ minds, cost.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. It’s one of the few advantages you have as a smaller, more nimble firm.