The Hardest Part of Writing for Lawyers

Dana Abatemarco Content Marketing, Creating Content, Digital Law Marketing, Digital Marketing

In a previous life, I taught English. I read a lot of essays – a LOT of essays. There were some truly extraordinary papers in those batches over the years; essays that explored a new angle or analyzed a small part of a classic, and turned that book into something entirely different for me. I loved reading those papers.

Don’t get me wrong; there were always a few duds, too, by students who weren’t interested in my class or the subject matter. But many of those papers, even when well written, weren’t amazing and they weren’t terrible. What they were, to me, was dull. So very, very dull. They regurgitated the lessons dutifully, but they added nothing to the mix at all – just a simple recitation of facts. Reading these papers about books or authors I loved, that I knew intimately, that I considered cultural markers that helped turn me into who I am today, was the cruelest joke I could have ever played on myself. After all, how could any student not be moved, not be passionate, about this thing I loved so deeply for so long?

The great irony of my life is that I now work with men and women who look at my content sometimes and think, This is dull. How could she not understand how important this is? How could she not be passionate about it?

I hear you, folks: I hear you loud and clear.

This is the hardest part of my job. It’s not the research or finding good topics, though that can be frustrating too. It’s knowing that sometimes, you’re going to read what I write – no matter how well written it is – and your eyes will glaze over and your heart will sink, and I will have put you in the same position I was in so many years ago.

Creating content you actually want

So how can we root out this issue once and for all? How can I create content that not only works for you, but also makes you happy? I think there are a few things we can do together to make the process easier on both of us, while still creating pages and blogs that are beneficial to your clients and your campaign. Tell me:

  1. What are you most passionate about? I need to understand what makes you tick. This doesn’t always coincide with what types of cases you want the most, either – and that’s okay. Tell me what moves you as a person AND as an attorney, so I can try to find topics and stories that work for both.
  2. How do you normally talk to clients? If you use short, declarative sentences when you work with a client, I can use short, declarative sentences when I write. If you tell stories or use anecdotes, I can do that too. If you have a wicked sense of humor, or use certain phrases, or feel your heart swell when you’re fighting for those clients, tell me those things.
  3. What reactions do you have to cases or stories that make you angry? You’ve no idea how important this one is. Anger is a powerful motivator, and it’s also the hardest thing to accurately convey in a piece of writing. For example: I read a story about, say, some child ending up in a wheelchair because of a botched surgery, and my immediate reaction is righteous indignation. But if that’s not your immediate reaction, then you’re going to be wildly disappointed with the tone I take in that blog piece. Tell me how and why you get mad.

And most crucial of all: How much do you trust me? This is the big one. It’s okay if you don’t; it’s nothing personal against me, I know. I’m a writer, an online marketer, a reader – but I’m not a lawyer. My responses are different from yours. The way I view injustice is different from the way you view it. My knowledge of the law is limited to what I’ve learned over the years and how well I can read and interpret a statute. You have every right to be wary of my content.

Perhaps this is the biggest disconnect. After all, you want legal content. I want to write content for legal professionals. There’s a huge difference. I don’t have the same experiences as you, so I can’t create the same type of content that you would.

But you know what? That’s okay. In fact, it’s to your benefit that I don’t know what you know, because it means that I’m going to pick topics and stories that seem to be outside your wheelhouse, but end up being important stories to tell. When we put our experiences together, we can create something magical and interesting that showcases your talents and skills, while still keeping people engaged in the narrative.

“So, you don’t want me to send you blog topics?”

Let’s not get carried away now. Absolutely, I want you to send topics and articles you find interesting. I’m even fine with you telling me to take a certain tone or stance. There will be no looking a gift horse in the mouth over here, I assure you.

I just want you to know that when I or one of my team members creates a piece of content that you think doesn’t hit the right tone, or doesn’t emphasize the right part of the story, or doesn’t covey what you hoped it would – in short, when we write something that bores you – you should tell us exactly why that is. We’ll keep on it until we get it right. We always do.

Work with a team that works with you

Are you ready for an online overhaul? Digital Law Marketing, Inc., can help. To find out more about our services, please call 877-916-0644 or fill out our contact form. Let us help you get on track.