Most professional service firms are aware that publishing articles and other updates on their websites can attract clients. However, with most firms jumping on board the overcrowded blogging boat, the key question is – how can you ensure your blogs not only stand out but persuade a potential client to get in touch?
Here are ten tips to ensure that your professional service firm’s updates work hard to persuade a potential client to call you instead of one of your competitors.
With writing, it always helps to know your intended audience:
• Are you writing for CEOs of large public companies?
• Are you writing for in-house counsel?
• Are you writing for owners of SMEs?
Once you’ve worked out who your audience is, use a voice and tone appropriate to it.
It helps to remember that just because someone is a CEO of a blue chip corporation, this doesn’t mean they want to be bored senseless. Try writing updates that are not only high quality but easy to read.
One of the biggest problems with the updates coming out of professional services firms is that they all look the same. In addition, most are as dull as dishwater.
In the case of law firms, most updates are written like the case notes or essays that students write at law school.
Is this kind of writing going to attract clients?
Because no one wants to read a boring piece of writing, even if it is written in a way that an existing or potential client is very familiar with.
What is the solution?
Don’t be afraid to ditch the conventional model and write articles that can be easily digested.
In short, don’t be afraid to write something that will shake your intended audience out of the drudgery of their normal working day. You’d be amazed how much goodwill you can generate by nudging someone out of a work-induced coma.
When an existing or potential client decides whether or not to read your update, the first thing they consider is the title.
Therefore, it is important to ensure the title is an encouragement to keep reading. Having a hook helps.
It always helps to explain briefly at the beginning exactly how the issue you are examining may affect your intended audience.
This is where you persuade existing or potential clients to read the body of the update.
A client will always warm to a professional who is able to explain complex concepts in a clear and concise way. You don’t want to baffle your readers in the first paragraph so that they need to get a cup of coffee to recover. Everyone wants a lawyer, accountant or engineer who can explain things clearly, and updates are a great way of demonstrating your ability to communicate.
The best test of whether something is clear is to place yourself in the shoes of your intended audience and ask yourself, ‘Will they understand this?’.
Also, don’t get bogged down explaining extraneous details. Ask yourself, ‘What exactly does my intended audience need to know?’.
Any update should be as interesting and punchy as possible. Ideally, every sentence should drive the reader to finish the update. An interesting or unusual approach to the topic will obviously help.
Essentially, an update is more likely to attract attention if it is not only informative but takes a refreshing approach to the topic.
There is no doubt some of the firms that are having the greatest success in using updates to attract new clients aren’t afraid to be different.
What do I mean by different?
This depends. Some law firms focus on cases with quirky facts. Some allow their lawyers to share their opinion on a particular topic. Similarly, others make sure their updates provide witty insights, or even point out the absurdity of a case or piece of legislation.
Why does this attract clients?
Clients are like anyone else: they like to read updates that are only informative but entertaining. In addition, they like to get a glimpse of the person behind the lawyer, especially if they are going to have to spend a lot of time with you. Wouldn’t you rather spend time with someone with a bit of personality, who you can have a conversation with?
Therefore, if you are willing to write an update that engages your readers, you’ll stand out from the crowd, because the vast majority of people working in professional services seem most comfortable hiding behind large chunks of turgid prose.
It also helps if a firm develops a strong house style, so clients know what to expect when an update lands in their inbox.
If the house style involves being punchy, interesting and clear, it will enable you to build a following for your firm as a whole, because clients and potential clients will have a clear idea of the types of updates you produce. In short, the house style is a way to build up a fan base.
If a potential client likes your style, they may even look out for your updates.
It also helps if articles are easy to read.
By that, I mean you should avoid long paragraphs, and break up the text with subheadings and bullet points.
Finally, there is no doubt that updates produced by professional service firms benefit from the attention of a copyeditor. A copyeditor is a highly trained professional who can help ensure that your firm’s publications are:
• conform with your house style
• able to be understood by human beings who don’t work as lawyers, accountant or engineers.
Finally, use a proofreader, to ensure that you don’t publish updates with grammatical mistakes and typographical errors. Nothing looks more unprofessional than an update that is riddled with errors.
Some of these tips may seem obvious. However, it never ceases to amaze me how many professional service firms serve up gobbledygook in their blogs and then wonder why their blogs fail to attract clients. In short, when it comes to blogging, not even lawyers and accountants can afford to ignore the basic rules.
Do you need assistance with your professional service firm’s blogs. The Pink Rottweiler can help. If you would like to have a chat about how to improve your firm’s blogs, call me on +61 (0)409 609 903 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is the Pink Rottweiler? The Pink Rottweiler is Genevieve Burnett – a copywriter who will take the time to research your business and come up with the smart words to sell your product or service.