Ben Wright, also known as the Editing Lawyer, advises attorneys to write for their state bar’s publications. He believes that the exposure can attract referrals and grow a practice, but he’s concerned that lawyers don’t know how to leverage the writing they’ve done.
It’s a shame when that happens, when you write something and just say, “Okay, well that’s done,” and move on. Because what you’ve done is turn your time and knowledge into a product, into a discrete thing that you have in your pocket now. It’s a resource for you to share.
As Ben points out, the power of your writing is amplified when you broadcast it to the world. Although bar journal editors might like to believe that every lawyer in their jurisdiction reads through every page of the latest issue, the reality is quite different.
Sharing Shows your Expertise
If you want your work to have maximum impact, make sure you put it out to the world. That way potential referral partners can feel confident that you are knowledgable in your practice area.
It’s a piece of your work that you can show other people. You don’t have to just tell; now you can show. You can share this with other lawyers and with professional contacts. E-mail it to other lawyers, but also to other professionals in your network.
If your writing is enjoyable and informative, potential referral partners both inside and outside the law will want to see it. It can be awkward to reach out to professional contacts when you have nothing particular to say. Sharing your latest publication keeps you top of mind.
Start with Social
Writers and commentators have worried aloud about the so-called Filter Bubble, the social media tools we use to filter content down to just those pieces that interest us. As much as that dynamic may concern you, it is very real and can be used to your advantage.
When you write for bar journals and other publications, make sure you promote the piece on social media with audiences who resonate with it. Share broadly, but also tag or direct message those you’ve targeted as referral partners.
People who refer to you, share with them, “Hey I wrote this thing that you might be interested in.” It’s a tool now for you to show people that you have this knowledge, that you know what you’re talking about.
Social media sites make it easy for your contacts to re-share the writings you’ve posted. By sharing on social sites and tagging or direct messaging the right people, your piece may spread far beyond your personal network.
Recycle Old Pieces
One common error of writers is letting old articles fade into obscurity. Don’t do that. Instead, keep tabs on your old pieces in a spreadsheet and track when you’ve shared it last. By frequently recycling those old posts, you can keep your writing in front of your target audience.
Many social media tools, including Buffer and HootSuite, allow you to schedule posts far into the future. Using those kinds of automations will help you recycle your writing without having to keep mental track of the task.
Build Your Own Platform
Ben also advises that you promote your articles and books in places that you control, like your firm’s website.
At the very least, put a link on your website or on your blog… Put it somewhere that you can reference it and know it’s in your pocket. You can bring this out later and show it to people and be proud of it. This is a way that you can show your work. I think that’s the real value in leveraging that.
There is a reason so many bar associations seek content from writers like you. Quality articles build prestige as they help other people, and content increases exposure on the web.
Ask your bar publisher what you are allowed to do in terms of sharing. Can you put the entire text of the article on your own site, or create an original article that expands on the piece? By providing new content on your firm’s website, you might move those who are really interested in your writing over to your owned platform. That will allow you to continue demonstrating your expertise.
As Ben says, only by promoting your writing can you get the maximum benefit from it. The respect you’ll gain from becoming a known authority will be worth the time spent to share your work.
Want to Learn More about Writing Well?
To see the entire interview with Ben, check out the video below…
And take a look at the other articles in this series on better writing for lawyers. We’re happy to support the development of good writing habits and would love a chance to explain how you can incorporate Casetext’s AI-enabled research tools to enhance your skills.