Don’t Dumb-Down Your Content – How to Show Off Your Expertise

Content-Based MarketingAlthough my law firm thrives on content-based, Internet marketing, sometimes I am still taken aback when I see how well it all plays out.

(Keeping in mind that to protect the confidentiality of my clients I change the story sufficiently so that even they would not recognize it), this week, I received a call from a business owner who is being sued for defamation for something he wrote in an industry magazine. Although he tendered the claim to his E&O carrier who is handling the case, he started researching the legal issues himself. He worked his way through defamation law, found out about anti-SLAPP motions and eventually drilled his way down to CCP section 425.17, which provides an exception to California’s SLAPP law in cases involving businesses. On his own nickel, he retained me to look at his case to determine if an anti-SLAPP motion could survive section 425.17. I determined that it would, and now the insurer has indicated that it intends to retain me to handle that part of the case.

Normally I don’t bother the client about how they found me, but I had a sneaking suspicion that I knew how this had come about and I wanted to test my theory. When I asked the client, he told me that the had done a Google search for attorneys who handle anti-SLAPP motions and are familiar with section 425.17, and I had come up in the number one position. That link took him to my California SLAPP Law Podcast, where he listened to a podcast that included a discussion of section 425.17. After he listened, he decided to hire me at his own expense because he could tell that I knew a thing or two about anti-SLAPP law in general and section 425.17 in particular.

When you create a podcast, generally you create what are called “show notes” which consists of the printed information you refer to in the podcast. For example, it would make for a boring show indeed if I gave the full citation for every case I discuss during the podcast. Therefore, I refer to the cases by name, and put all the citations in the show notes in case anyone needs that information. The only reason the client found my website and podcast was because in creating those show notes, I had mentioned that the podcast contained a discussion of section 425.17, and that was enough for it to come up in a Google search.

But aside from this fun fact about SEO, the moral of today’s story is to eschew all the advice that tells you not to sound like a lawyer in your blog posts, and to dumb them down so that laypeople will be able to understand them. The fact is that potential clients do some very heavy duty research on the issues in their case, and can’t know that you are the expert they need if you are making your articles so simplistic that the expertise does not shine through.

By the same token, most articles about blogging that I have read state that you should keep your blog posts to 500 words or less. They reason that potential clients have short attention spans, and if they see a tome on the topic they are researching, they will move on. Balderdash. As I have said here before, all the great information you have stored in your brain is invisible to clients if you don’t show it off. This client already knew about section 425.17, and did not need a cursory 500-word article that simply set forth the fact that there is an exception to the anti-SLAPP statute when businesses are involved. He needed an attorney who could analyze the challenging facts of his case, and the depth of my podcast discussion gave him the confidence that I was the man for the job.

The reality is that you can present information both ways in the same article. Your introductory remarks can provide a brief overview of the law for all those alleged ADD readers who can’t face an in-depth discussion of the law, and then proceed into a detailed analysis in order to show off your expertise. I sometimes come right out and explain that is what I’m doing.

Today, I offer a very detailed explanation of Penal Code section 999. To explain the context of this law will take some time. If you want just the conclusion, section 999 makes it legal to punch someone in the nose. If you want to know how you can punch someone in the nose without fear of prosecution, then you must read what follows.

Of course you want your blog posts to be engaging, and not to put off potential clients with dry dissertations of the law. But that is different than intentionally posting articles that dumb down the content and fail to show you for the expert that you are.

Here is a great article I found that gives a really detailed discussion of how to craft an effective blog article, both from a content and SEO perspective.

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If you came to YourOwnLawFirm.com through this article, and want to get the full benefit of the site, then please click on the START HERE button to begin at the beginning. I’ll show you step-by-step how to launch your first niche site. If you already have a website where you are utilizing content marketing (or want to try something different), then here are some more articles on how to market your law firm.

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