Home Legal Marketing The Write Stuff: 5 Steps to Build
Your Reputation Through Your Writing
The Write Stuff: 5 Steps to Build Your Reputation Through Your Writing

The Write Stuff: 5 Steps to Build
Your Reputation Through Your Writing

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Content marketing is a great way to build business and burnish reputation. This is especially true for professionals that sell their knowledge, such as lawyers.

That’s because experts write. They write to inform, they write to engage, and they write to attract. They write to position themselves as the “go-to” person with respect to a particular issue or topic.

As a consequence of their writing, they build relationships of trust and loyalty with readers without ever necessarily interacting or engaging with members of their audience directly. Over time, when a need or opportunity arises, a lawyer who writes can shift a relationship from one of writer/reader to that of attorney/client.

But writing that blog post continues to languish at the bottom of your to do list. You can write, so why don’t you?

It’s probably the same reason that you don’t eat Paleo or exercise every morning – it’s hard and requires lots of discipline. It’s also a non-billable task that is easy to defer (and defer, and defer…).

There’s no secret formula to consistently writing good content – you just have to commit to it.

First, make sure you shut down the distractions. Disable email notifications, close internet browsers, shut the door. Prioritize your writing time just as you do other important tasks you perform throughout the day.

Second, just let it rip. Don’t try to edit as you go. Get words on the page, sleep on it, and edit the next day.

Third, take notes and write about issues that come up during the course of your day, week or month. Many people agonize over what to write about, blaming “writer’s block” for lack of production. You just need to be more mindful throughout the day, as every interaction you have, every matter you work on, and every article you read is a source of inspiration for nuggets of wisdom to write about. Also, if you’re struggling for content ideas, go to the source: ask your clients what issues they want to learn more about, and are affecting their business. Not only will you get a bunch of great ideas, but your audience will become more invested in your efforts.

Fourth, get it out there. Don’t be afraid to compete in the marketplace of ideas. You’ve got a point of view, so share it. Use the publishing resources (website, blog, e-newsletters) that your firm provides. Publish on LinkedIn. Find a trade publication in need of content. There’s huge demand among publishers for good content, it just takes a little effort to find the right fit in order to reach your audience.

Fifth, stick with it for at least 30 days. It’s easy to be habitual for a week. It’s more challenging to plow forward for two or three weeks. Once you can get over that hump, though, it gets much easier. Hang in there and achieve some success (you will, trust me), and content creation will soon become an indispensable, inviolate part of your daily or weekly routine. Words will come, then insights, then invaluable nuggets that blaze new intellectual ground that get you noticed.

James Harrington on EmailJames Harrington on Twitter
James Harrington
James Harrington

Jay Harrington is co-founder of Harrington Communications, where he leads the agency’s Brand Strategy, Content Creation and Client Service teams. He also writes weekly dispatches on the agency’s blog, Simply Stated. Previously, Jay was a commercial litigator and corporate bankruptcy attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Foley & Lardner. He has an undergraduate degree in journalism and earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.


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