In the marketing world we are living at the height of content consumption and the landscape is competitive. Yes, content is still King and it is essential for the success of your marketing strategy. In this episode I am joined with Law Firm Entrepreneur Marc Cerniglia, founder of Spotlight Branding, a marketing firm committed to helping lawyers become unforgettable. Marc has a passion for helping professionals understand the truths and myths about internet marketing and educating them on how to get the most out of their marketing efforts.
In this episode, Marc and I will discuss:
- Why content creation is important
- How to formulate a marketing strategy
- Why it’s impossible for every small law firm to succeed on SEO
- Why law firms are only getting ⅓ of the referrals
- The 3 ways content is consumed
- Critical marketing systems all law firms should have
- How to create a quick blog post in 20-30 minutes
Are you ready to be in the Spotlight and become an #UnforgetableLawyer? Contact Marc today firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
About Marc Cerniglia
Marc is a founding partner at Spotlight Branding. He is passionate about helping professionals understand the truths and myths about internet marketing, and educating them on how to get the most out of their marketing efforts. He is a proud graduate of UCF and earned his Master’s Degree in Business & Marketing.
To contact Marc
Allison Williams: [00:00:06] Marc Cerniglia of Spotlight Branding. Thank you so much for joining us today on the podcast.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:00:11] Excited to be here.
Allison Williams: [00:00:12] All right. So I’m excited to have you here, too, because one of the things I think is really important for lawyers to understand in the world of marketing that we’re in today is the importance of content. And I know that you’re one of those mavens in the area of content creation for lawyers. So first question I really want to ask you is why is content so important for marketing purposes?
Marc Cerniglia: [00:00:32] Well, how much time do you have? You know, I mean, but there’s a lot of reasons that’s important. I think. I think the most over arcing point I can make and we can dissect it, whatever way you think is going to be helpful to your listeners is that we live in a world of content consumption today. It’s that simple. You look around and we’re almost always consuming content in some way, shape or form, right? We’re in the car listening to podcasts. You know, we’re waiting in the doctor’s office. And we’re on our phones doing what? Reading articles or watching something or listening to something. And I think so, you know, and it’s and it’s funny because, you know, sometimes, you know, depending on what generation you’re part of, you know, you kind of complain about this. Right? People are always on their phones. They’re always on social media. And, you know, maybe that’s true and maybe it’s bad in some ways. But the point I’m trying to make is that we are in a time right now where the amount of content people consume. So things they watch, things they read, things they listen to is greater than it’s ever been. And so for any business, not just law firms, for any business to really be maximizing their marketing efforts, and positioning their business the way they want to be seen in the market. To not have a robust content strategy doesn’t make sense because these are the times we live in.
Allison Williams: [00:01:59] Ok, so it definitely resonates when you say that having a strategy is important. I do think there’s a difference between just creating content and having a systematized way of getting that content to the marketplace and doing it in a way that doesn’t break the bank and also break your timeline, because lawyers are oftentimes kind of in the weeds of lawyering, and not necessarily the business of law. So talk to us about strategy. How do you formulate a strategy around what content is necessary for a law firm to really promote itself to its target market?
Marc Cerniglia: [00:02:29] Yeah. You know, I think there’s a couple of things to think about. I definitely like to start with the end in mind. I think you’ve got to be careful, though, too, because a lot of the gurus out there will talk about how sometimes it’s better to focus on volume of content than necessarily trying to create the perfect piece because you honestly don’t know what’s going to stick. So I think I think you have to, I’m going to give some specific thoughts on what I’ve seen work. But I think what’s also important to recognize is that, you know, things are fluid when it comes to content and what resonates with people today versus tomorrow. So I think kind of always trying different things and, you know, throwing stuff up and kind of seeing what sticks is also OK. You know, it’s not like it’s a billboard, right? You’re just throwing it up. And all you know is you throw up a tweet or a Facebook post today and you know, you know, you know, tomorrow it doesn’t matter. Right? It was yesterday’s post. But specifically, some of the things that I focus on when thinking about having the end in mind are, I want content specifically for lawyers. I want content to help them create more referrals. So I want I want to I want them to use content to stay in touch.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:03:41] That would be strategy number one. Stay in touch. Stay top of mind. Create touchpoints with your existing network, because oftentimes there’s a whole lot more business to be had. The second strategy is really elevating, you know, what we call the brand, which is the image, the reputation, the credibility. And, you know, it’s it’s pretty simple concept. Typically, the person or the entity that is educating, that is supplying information and helpful content. That entity or that person is seen as the experts as at what they do. And when you’re the expert at what you do, people want to work with you. You can charge the rates that you really want to be charging. So those are really kind of the… if I was the boil it down to two things it would be more referrals through creating more touch points with people at your existing network, but then also really elevating your brand and your status so that you can get more of the kinds of cases you want to that you can charge the rates that you want and so forth. You know, we can obviously get into specifics of what type of content that means. But strategically, if you know what you’re aiming for, it kind of frames how you execute it. Does that make sense?
Allison Williams: [00:04:51] It does make sense. And, you know, before we even get into that, the types of content, I think you said something that’s really masterful, which is you never know quote what sticks. Right? And there is… I’m always mystified by the importance of the Google algorithm and the fact that there’s always this kind of behind the scenes wizard behind the curtain, that’s moving the way in which the algorithm is going to receive your content and value your content. And so as somebody that works in that space, how do you advise lawyers where one day it seems like volume is king and the next day it seems like the quality of your writing is king and…
Marc Cerniglia: [00:05:27] You know. Yeah. One of our sayings, it’s about Spotlight Branding, which is my, which is my marketing company, is that when it comes to the content, we focus on people, not robots. So in all honesty, we’re not wondering what an algorithm is doing. We’re wondering what people are doing.
Allison Williams: [00:05:43] OK. Tell me more.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:05:45] Well, I mean, I mean, first of all, even if we’re, we’re talking about algorithms, right? What are we talking about if we’re talking about Google? I mean, what Google is trying to do is actually figure out how people work so that its algorithm can match up more with what you’re looking for. But also in the content space, I think it’s important to recognize that there’s a heck of a lot more to what you get out of doing content other than Google.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:06:10] Right? It’s a that’s kind of the thing about the first strategy I gave. You know, creating touchpoints with your existing network that has nothing to do with algorithms or people finding you on Google. That’s using content so that you’re actually maximizing your existing network first. But even if we were thinking about what if Facebooks got algorithms, Twitter’s got algorithms. But all those algorithms are chasing what what people will connect with people. Right? And so if you if you have people first content strategy, in other words, here’s a real simple example. If you’re creating a blog article, you know, we personally don’t believe in stuffing it with keywords just to make algorithms happy. We write it with the reader in mind. What’s going to be enjoyable to read or what’s going to be informative to read if they skim it right? What’s going to still help them walk away with value? If all they look at is the title of the blog, you know, will they be able to glean some wisdom on exactly how we might be able to help them? You know, so I think, you know, I think if you focus on creating content for people, you’re going to succeed more often than not.
Allison Williams: [00:07:17] Yeah, well, you know, Marc, I think it’s very interesting that you say that, you know, we don’t believe in stuffing our blogs full of keywords because I think that’s probably the the greatest differentiator of anybody that follows legal marketing companies. You know, that that differentiates Spotlight Branding that you’re not about. (Yeah.) Uumm kind of chasing that day’s fad and shifting and staying ahead of tomorrow’s fad. But you’re really about focusing on what it is that the consumer is going to want and going to consume.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:07:42] Well, let me say something that hopefully is real simple and allows us and the listeners to move on a little bit, because, I mean, we’ve got we have talked about SEO and our position on it, you know, to the point of exhaustion in the past. Is very prevalent. But here’s kind of the simple point I always like to make. I’m not saying SEO is bad and showing up on Google is bad. I think if you can pull it off, it’s great. The thing is, is that it’s literally impossible for every small law firm to succeed on search engines.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:08:12] Right? I mean, unless you’re in a town where there’s literally only four or five of you who do what you do, because only the first three, four, five searches matter. So it’s just like literally there’s not enough real estate for every person in your city who does the same areas of laws as you to succeed on Google. Yet everyone is so concerned about it. So my typical Google advice is, if you really care about it, go all in. Go all in.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:08:49] You should be paying thousands of dollars a month to an SEO Company and go for it. Stuff your blogs with keywords go all out because that is a strategy. And if you’re gonna do it, go all out. But what I see happen is people aren’t going all out, but they’re trying to have like one foot in and one foot out, like they want they want everything they do to have some element of SEO. And it just, why, it doesn’t matter. Like if you’re on page 10 and putting a couple keywords in your blog, it gets you to page seven. Like it just it literally is irrelevant. And now you were creating your content focused on how to get your ranking from page tend to page seven instead of focusing on how your content connects with people and can drive more referrals and can help you in other areas of your marketing. So, you know. Long story short.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:09:39] Everybody wants it, but not everyone can have it. So it’s illogical for us to focus 100 percent of marketing strategy on the benefits of SEO. We just got to be willing to let go and move on and say that’s one strategy. You don’t necessarily have to do it. And if you are just understand it, you all can’t succeed. So why do we talk about it so much? Right?
Allison Williams: [00:10:00] Yeah, well, I think that’s a brilliant frame when you say that because.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:10:03] Well, thank you.
Allison Williams: [00:10:04] Everybody. Really, because everybody says, you know, these marketing companies are out there. We’ll get you on the first page of Google. And of course, the first page only has so many slots. So how is that really possible with thousands of competitors in the marketplace?
Marc Cerniglia: [00:10:15] And it’s disappointing because it creates this mindset for lawyers that. All of it matters about the Internet is search engines like no, there’s so much more the Internet can do for you.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:10:27] You know, like sending an email newsletter to your existing network, which increases referrals, you know, same you know, same thing with social media. I mean, we talk all the time about how most law firms don’t realize that they’re only getting about one third of the referrals that they actually should be. You know, and and the Internet can help you with that. Content can help you with that. But, yeah, we’re so focused on, you know, search engines, which again, has a very high failure rate. And so that’s why we create content focused on what’s going to connect with people. You know, we’re not you know, we’re you know, just because more often than not, that’s where you’re going to win. Right? If you focus on Google, you’re going to lose way more than you succeed.
Allison Williams: [00:11:10] So I think that’s a that’s a good point for us to now talk a little bit about the content. So if we’re not going to be chasing algorithms, we’re not going to be stuffing keywords and we’re going to be focusing on the people, what types of content would you recommend that lawyers focus on creating so that they can reach those people that they want to get in front of?
Marc Cerniglia: [00:11:27] Absolutely. So I love to work backwards. I love to just, it’s really practical. But, you know, people consume content in three ways, right? They they they either watch something. They listen to something or they read something. If someone has a fourth way, great. Tell me what it is, because I’d like to create something that, you know, that meets that. So, you know, I think when it comes to reading. OK. I mean, you know, some things haven’t changed over the years like, you know, blogging is still important, like creating articles that are going to address common questions that people have and just kind of speak to them about what you do, you know. You know, you can talk about similar things on a podcast. Right? And so that people can listen. You know, and then, you know, just sharing informative information, whether it be links to your website, links to free resources on your social media accounts. You know, you can do video kind of like the same theme as blogs. It’s just different. You know, we with our clients, we’re typically saying, you know, the the same things that we do blogs about, that’s what we do videos about. Right? So, you know, hey, what you know, how do you make divorce a smooth experience for the kids? You can write a blog about that. You can do a two to three minute video about that. You can do a podcast episode about that, you know, and then and then the really fun thing and I know that you’re really passionate about systems. What’s really cool when you kind of, you know, number one, when you pick one topic and you do it multiple places like that, it really eases the burden.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:12:55] But number two, all of that content, you can now chop that up and you can extract from it for additional content. So if you write a blog about, you know, how to make divorce smooth, a smooth experience for the kids, you can now go to that blog and you can pull quotes from that blog. And now you have quotes for social media or Instagram graphics. You know, you can take the video or the podcast and create 15 to 30 second clips and, you know, do that. And I want to admit that some of that gets a little sophisticated. You know, I’ll be honest. Like even at Spotlight Branding, we don’t necessarily go that far, you know, for our clients. You know, but even just even just, you know, sitting down once a week and linking back to your website five or six times, sharing your blogs from your website, sharing your videos from your website, sharing any free resources, that would still be worth doing. So I wanted to sneak that in there at the end, because I caught myself as I was talking. So ok that that would be a really great strategy if someone’s got the time or the energy. But even just posting consistently on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, sharing resources like blogs and videos. You know, if you can get fancy and start chopping up the videos and stuff like that, great, but you don’t have to do that.
Allison Williams: [00:14:10] Yeah. Well, I think that, you know, all of that you just gave us. I mean, there’s so much wealth of knowledge there. I mean, and you’re right that I am passionate about the topic of systems. You know, the idea that Law Firm Mentor helps people to crush chaos in business is all about creating systems around everything. And the idea of creating content, I think you just hit the nail on the head when you talked about the idea of repurposing and using something that you create once in multiple different platforms. And we talk about this all the time. So, you know, when you say, you know, I’ve created a video on something, the fact that you put your video on Facebook doesn’t mean that the same audience is going to see it on Twitter, on Pinterest, on YouTube, on your website. And so if you have that one piece of information and you put it everywhere.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:14:53] You know, why not. They should see it everywhere. Why wouldn’t you know?
Allison Williams: [00:14:57] And the proliferation of marketing messages out there now, you know, somebody seeing your message on Monday morning on YouTube doesn’t mean that they’re going to remember that message on Thursday afternoon when they read it on Twitter or when they catch your website link or actually when they see a paid ad to it. So it’s almost. Why? Why waste the inventory by not putting it everywhere and proliferating.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:15:19] And potentially even doing it more than once? I mean, we haven’t pulled the trigger on it yet. But one thing that we’ve actually been talking about internally, at Spotlight Branding, is, you know what, maybe, maybe… When we publish a new blog for a client, we probably share it once or twice on social media. And, you know, we kind of tweak the the, you know, it’s like a one sentence, you know, Facebook post or Twitter post promoting the blog. And, you know, and so we might do it two different ways. But one of the things we’re talking about is what if we took the same exact tweet and tweeted it three times over a couple weeks.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:15:55] Right? To us, that seems like it’s a duplicate. But that’s actually not how social media works. Like like it’s very unlikely that somebody’s going to see that same exact post. And even if they did a week later, they probably don’t even realize it’s the same exact post. And if they do, I think the thought they have is, oh, I guess this is important. I should probably read it. Right? You know, so we’re we’re even kind of talking about things like that right now where it’s like, you know. Why create more work for yourself?
Marc Cerniglia: [00:16:24] You know that, like that’s not how social media works. Like, not every post has to be different than the other posts. You theoretically could create a tweet or a Facebook post about your blog and just share that same post multiple times. Why not? You know what rulebook says you can’t?
Allison Williams: [00:16:40] Yeah. And I think it’s also important to note that the popularity of something is what drives the popularity of something, which means when you create a video and you you share it out and you get, you know, let’s say five hundred views the first go round and then two months, three months, five months, eight months, ten months later, you’re sharing that same content over and over again. When you get to your forty thousand views, someone that happens upon that is one, more likely to see it, because an algorithm is going to say, wow, that’s popular. And two, people that see it are going to say, wow, this must be valuable content because forty thousand people consumed it as opposed to one or two people.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:17:14] For what it’s worth, I think since since we know our audience today and we know we’re talking to law firms and law firm owners, I just want to throw this out there. And if somebody provides a comment in this podcast to tell me how I’m wrong, that would be fantastic. I welcome it. But I do think I want to, you know, tamper expectations a little bit on engagement. I have not seen a lot of law firms that just create viral content. I personally think it’s the nature of the industry. I think you kind of have to choose whether or not you you want to be entertaining or you want to be informative.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:17:55] And I think, this is for lawyers, and I think there’s exceptions. OK. I do think there’s exceptions, but I think for most most attorneys out there, I suggest you typically lean towards being more informative with your content. Because the people that are going to most benefit from consuming it are going to be people that are either in a legal situation themselves or know someone in a legal situation. And so I think you want to focus on being helpful and informative. But what comes with that is that you rarely are going to have a piece of content that has that viral nature. Right? Like who actually is going to watch it forty thousand times. So that’s just what I’ve seen. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. That’s why I talk a lot about content for lawyers. The biggest thing it’s doing for them is actually elevating them within their existing network, because I think they don’t realize how much business you’re leaving on the table from missed referrals, missed strategic relationships because they’re just not putting themselves out there enough. And then we’ve had a lot of clients that over the years raised their rates because they began to realize that their reputation has grown because of content. So don’t get me wrong, I would love to see more viral content for lawyers, but I think it’s also important that if somebody puts out a YouTube video and it gets 50 views, that they don’t feel like they failed because you didn’t. Right? Like that, that’s 50 people for a video about divorce. It’s just you talking about divorce.
Allison Williams: [00:19:27] Well, and I think that’s that’s that’s very important. And I think what we’re we’re probably we’re speaking the same language. I think we’re using different words. You know, when I’m talking about the forty thousand view video, I’m not so much talking about it being viral and being sexy like so many people want to see it. But if you play the same thing over and over again, different people are going to see it each time because.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:19:46] Yeah. And you do increase your chance like the more you post the same thing. Yeah. Yeah. Some people think that if you post something today and it doesn’t take off that the thing wasn’t good enough. Absolutely not. It could have been the timing. You don’t know.
Allison Williams: [00:19:59] You know the patients factor. Right? You know, because lawyers you know, many of us, not all of us, but many of us are inherently inpatient. And it’s a long term game. So the more that you’re putting out there, you may be thinking I’m I’m not getting people to like my videos. I’m not getting people to comment on my posts. But the reality is, you don’t know who’s watching. You don’t know who’s seeing. You don’t know who’s consuming. And you’re missing opportunities if you’re not taking the perspective of, my job is to just get it out there. And if I build it, they will come.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:20:28] Absolutely. And you know what? I’m glad you shared that. I think kind of you know, I have a natural disposition on this topic. Right? Because, you know, I often see lawyers who are doing these things, focusing on likes, focusing on views. And, you know, so I’m just kind of seeing those expectations be a little too high sometimes. And also pointing out that likes and views don’t put money in your pocket. Right? So, you know, I often tell lawyers who have been, you know, doing these things for a little while, sending out email newsletters, publishing blogs, you know, consistent presence on social media is, when’s the last time you raised your rates? You know, when’s the when’s the last time you compared your referrals month over month, year over year? Because even if you’re only getting 50 views or 100 views, all the you know, all that really matters is that this stuff is actually producing a result in your business that matters. And so, you know, I just want to encourage the listeners to, you know, go all out for a content strategy, but don’t necessarily judge success by the amount of use, because I’ve kind of seen that… I’ve kind of seen that undermine where the real value could be.
Allison Williams: [00:21:36] Yeah. And, you know, Marc, you also when we talk about this idea of not putting emphasis in the wrong place, you also earlier talked about the idea of marketing to your referral sources, because we know the easiest way to get business from someone is to market to somebody who is already consumed you, already has that know, like and trust factor. So how do you focus that when you’re talking to lawyers about creating a content strategy? How do you shift their focus from going out for the new business to really cultivating and calling the resource that is their list, their prior clients and their prior referral sources?
Marc Cerniglia: [00:22:06] So real, real simple, real simple. Strat like solution system. Create create one blog a month. Knock it out in 20 or 30 minutes, which you actually can do if you just outline it. Pick a topic, pick three main points you have. Write one paragraph about each word there. And then do an intro and a conclusion. That’s how you write a blog in 20 to 30 minutes and then and then write like you would talk. It’s OK. And then take that blog, publish it to your website. Take that blog, share it on social media. But then this is what’s important. Also, take that blog and make it the feature article in the email newsletter. There’s really in terms of the Internet, there’s really two main areas to stay in touch with your existing network, social media and email. And I think they’re often overlooked because they’re so prominent. I know all the time here, I don’t think people want a newsletter from me. OK. Well, Spotlight Branding has banked its success on newsletters being a core product. And, you know, all of our clients are really, really thrilled with the results they get from an email newsletter. So, you know, I think that if you’re not doing it, you’re missing out. And so the key then is that that blog and that newsletter and the stuff you post on social media, it reminds people what you do.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:23:27] Like that’s how you get more referrals. People don’t often not refer to you because they didn’t want to. They typically don’t refer to you because they just didn’t think of it or they didn’t know you did that thing or it just had been so long since they heard from you that when they got into that conversation with their neighbor about having a baby, a.k.a.. I should probably redo my will, you know.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:23:53] Or, you know, I’m thinking about getting divorced. OK. You should probably talk to a lawyer or. I just got a letter from the IRS. OK. You should probably talk to a tax attorney. Like there’s so many things in life, like life triggering events that mean I should talk to a lawyer. And so when you educate your network on those types of situations and the things that you’re good at there, you’re basically training your network to see opportunity for you. You’re not saying it that way. You’re just. Every month they’re getting a newsletter in their inbox that talks about divorce or talks about what to do in this situation or talks about why when you have a baby, you should update your will or your estate plan. Right? And so you’re just kind of subtly nudging them and kind of saying, hey, don’t forget about me. This is what I do.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:24:44] But here’s the real silver lining, Allison. Is that, that same stuff that you’re using to stay on top of your existing network is also what will elevate your brand and your status to new people that do find you. Because when someone else does find you, whether it was a referral or whether it’s from Google or some form of advertising, they’re going to come to your website. They’re going to see these blogs or they’re going to go to your social media presence. They’re going to see this content. And what it’s going to tell them is you are the expert at doing this stuff. So the beauty is that you’re still focusing on both. You just, you don’t, you know what it is. You don’t necessarily want to see content.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:25:21] If I can use a marketing term for a second, I don’t always think content is top of funnel, meaning content isn’t always the thing that creates the lead. But content is something that’s going to move the lead closer to wanting to work with you, to wanting to refer to you, to wanting to pay you what you’re worth. Content can also help you filter out the wrong people. So that you’re not wasting time with things you people, you shouldn’t be, removing the chaos, you know, of talking to the wrong people.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:25:53] So I think sometimes you’ve got to remember that content is not necessarily always a lead generation strategy. It can be. But it’s not always. And a lot of the gurus out there, it’s not even a lead generation strategy for them. Yeah, or maybe maybe 10 percent of this, you know.
Allison Williams: [00:26:09] Yeah, I think that’s a brilliant point that, you know, when we talk about content, it’s really a marketing concept. But marketing is not just getting new people. It’s also getting the right people, reaching the right people. It’s filtering out the wrong people. And it’s getting people more likely to become your client from just being your lead or your potential new client.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:26:29] Right. Exactly. And I think, you know, look, it’s hard it’s very hard to measure the ROI, the return on investment of a content strategy. I will be the first to admit that. But that’s where for me, I kind of go back to where we started, which was the idea that we live in a a world of mass content consumption today. And so to question if you even need a robust content strategy, it would be like questioning if you need to have a phone in your office or a business card, you know, we’re just, if you’re, I’m not saying you can’t have a successful firm. It’s just a view. I think what I’m suggesting is that if you don’t have a really solid content strategy, there is something you’re missing out on that might be referrals, it might be your brand. You know, one of the things we haven’t even talked about, although we’ve kind of hinted at it there at the end, is that a content oftentimes enhances any other marketing strategies you’re doing. So, for example, I’ve had clients, do you know, Google ads with, with somebody else that does Google ads? That’s kind of their expertise.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:27:26] And what they saw is once we started doing the content strategy, the blogs, the videos, et cetera, those ads started working better. Why? Because the same exact people that came from the ads were now having a better experience once they were at the website or wherever they went from their, social media, maybe they signed up for the newsletter. So now they kind of we’re receiving correspondence, you know, but but seeing the ROI isn’t always easy. But, you know, you have to kind of to a certain degree, understand that like it’s the times we’re in and you kind of have to do these things. And I think to something I know you’re passionate about. All the more reason to either figure out how to do it systematized or to do it in an affordable way if you hire somebody. But it’s got to be part of your portfolio. Otherwise you kind of have a ship that might it might totally still be sailing, but it’s got holes. You know, it’s taking on water and you’re just not maximizing what you could be. You know.
Allison Williams: [00:28:26] Why I think you you really are driving home the idea that business is a long term strategy. And you need to get clients today, but if you’re getting the wrong people, it’s going to be harder to get the right people in the future. And it’s going to be harder to maximize your reach with the people you have because they’re not going to have a great experience of working with you in the first place.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:28:45] Exactly. Yeah. I would say, put it real simply, if you don’t have a good content strategy in place, you have that leaky ship. Like like you might still be doing all right. But you’re either missed, you know, you’re either losing some stuff you should be getting or you’re spending time, you know, filling buckets of water, throwing it out of the ship. You know, time you shouldn’t be, maybe dealing with the wrong kinds of leads or not getting paid what you should be getting paid. Right? You’re getting clients. But gosh, man, you feel like it’s a fight every time. You know, one of the best stories I ever heard from one of my clients is somebody walking in during the consultation and saying, this is how the potential client started off. He said, I’ve already been to your website. I read some of your blogs. I watched some of your videos. I just I love what you guys are doing. It’s so clear to me that you’re the firm I need to hire. (Ok.) My prices just doubled. (I know, right?).
Marc Cerniglia: [00:29:41] I mean. Yeah, and the thing is, not every not every person is going to even be that self-aware to be able to communicate that that’s what their thinking is. Yeah, but I think that example really illustrates it. It also illustrates why it’s hard to kind of track the ROI, you know, but but that’s the effect content has on people. And if you if you don’t believe it, look in the mirror, because we’re all content consumers. We’re all doing it these days. We’re all consuming content. We’re all letting that content shape and form our beliefs. We’re letting it affect what we think about businesses. And so, you know, be the business, be the law firm that is putting out content so that people know what you do. And so that they see you as the best of what you do. And it’s that simple.
Allison Williams: [00:30:24] Well, since you mentioned systems and you mentioned this idea that people are not always gonna know. That’s that’s kind of a very stark example of somebody being very definitive. I read this. I saw this, I consumed your messages. But there are a lot of people that are going to come to your business that are not going to necessarily know. They’re just going to feel that you are the right one. And so you don’t have to interrogate people to get an idea that they watched videos and that they they went to your webite. Some people are those laggards. Right? Those people that they’re not going to make a decision today. They’re gonna make a decision months from now, weeks from now, years from now. Even, if you’re the one who’s been peppering them and stay in front of them with all that you’re putting out to the marketplace, they’re that much more likely to choose you when the problem resurfaces for them.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:31:07] Yeah. Yeah. So I think there’s a couple there’s a couple procedures that a law firm has to have in place. And they’re really simple. I think one is every person that comes into your system needs to be added to your email newsletter, you know? So, you know, right there, you know, every person you meet, whether they become a client or not, whether they become a referral source or not, immediately, they’re now going to get correspondence from you until they unsubscribe if they ever do. The other thing is an e-book, even a lot… Not enough Spotlight Branding clients do this even though, you know, I know we often try to tell them. At some point in the process educate them on the resources that you have available, you know. So, for example, you could have a templated email, pre-consult email that is, hey, really looking forward to seeing you on such and such date. You don’t have to. But if you get a chance, here’s some of our resources we love for you to peek at. We’ve got a, you know, video library. Here’s the link. You know, the answer is common questions you might have. We have a blog that we update monthly or however often and, you know, feel free to take a look there. We also do our best to be active on social media. So if you know, if that’s helpful to you, here’s the links to our social media accounts. If you have a podcast throw that in there, too.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:32:23] Don’t make it a novel. Just… Here’s what we have available. Here’s the really cool thing about that. Even if none of them engage any of it, you’re kind of tooting your own horn a little bit, right? Like, hey, look at us. Look at all this content we have. But what you’re also doing is you’re inviting them to engage in that content, which they also then might engage after the consult. Right? That would even be an email, a templated email you know, you could even send your network, right? You get you get 10 business cards. Hey, great meeting you. Let’s grab a coffee sometime. Also, something that’s really important to me is that my firm is always trying to be a resource to the community. Here are some of the resources we put out, our social media, our videos, our podcasts, whatever. Just want to let you know these things exist. Love for you to take a look when you can. And if there’s ever anything that we could put on there that would help you or anyone, you know, let us know. We’d be happy to do that. Right? Just have that template. You know, there’s a template you use every time.
Allison Williams: [00:33:22] And that’s a beautiful system, Marc. I mean, it really is that it? Because once you create it, it’s done. Right? And it’s just something that you would update. And I think that’s the one thing that lawyers often miss. And this is one of the things that we highly, that we highly promote in systematize your law businesses with one of our signature retreats that once you create something.
Allison Williams: [00:33:43] Well, it’s definitely if you own a law firm, if you’re a solo, a small law firm attorney, you’re not. But, you know, (I just love saying them.) Systems are the sexy stuff that makes it easy. And that’s what I cannot emphasize enough. Part of the reason why a lot of law firms stay small is that they say it’s just too much work. It’s too much work. I’m putting in all this work. The reality is, once you create something and you make it a system, it stops being work. It starts to be something that can be delegated.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:34:10] Especially if you have someone else execute that system.
Allison Williams: [00:34:12] Exactly. And so you you create the thing and then you hire somebody to go run the thing while you are going out and getting new business. So it becomes a two step process that I’ve got my I’ve got my templated email. Right? And somebody else is setting up that templated email. So every potential new client then gets that templated email. And that’s a part of the things that we do. It becomes as automatic as brushing our teeth in the morning and it stops being a drudgery and a project. Every time you engage with somebody, it becomes just one of those things that we do. And I love, by the way, your idea of having that template because people consume content differently. Right? And the same person may consume content differently based on what mood they’re in, based on what time of the day it is. Some of us like audiobooks now instead of reading, some of us watch videos when we’re streaming at nighttime, when we’re on the way to court. We may be listening to a podcast when we get to the courthouse, we may be streaming content or reading content on our phones. And so if you have it available in lots of different ways, you teach people, hey, you can get to me, however you need to get to me.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:35:15] Right. (You read about it.)
Marc Cerniglia: [00:35:17] Yeah. You’ve got to tell them it’s there. And you know what’s interesting is that what we’re really kind of doing is we’re creating a system to get more mileage out of another system. Right? So the content strategy is a system. But then, you know, email templates for consults or people you meet at networking events, that’s also a system. But what’s great about it is that you’re using the email templates, one system, so you then actually get more value out of your content system. You know, and so I think that’s you know, obviously you and I are kind of nerding out on systems right now. We’re the rare breed. But I think one of the really great things when you start creating systems, you also begin to see how they can play off one another and how one process or one procedure can actually enhance another.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:36:00] And so it’s not rocket science. I mean, we’re literally talking about an email telling people that you have social media accounts. It’s like it’s not that crazy. It almost seems so simple that some of your listeners might gloss over it. And so I’m glad we’ve actually spent five minutes on it, because it’s actually a really big deal. It’s such a simple thing. But now when you’re sitting down to create content for your newsletter, for your blog, you actually feel like you have more purpose doing it because, you know, you’re actually going to tell people it exists. You’re not just relying on those algorithms, to show it to people. You’re showing it to people, right? You’re saying, hey, I have this, please go look at it.
Allison Williams: [00:36:42] Right? And a little minds that hack around this and I always like to throw in a mindset hack in the podcast is, the reality is, people love to hear from you. And I think that’s a limiting belief that lawyers have that we think we’re going to be harassing them. We think people are going to get turned off if they get too many emails. The reality is people are always on the go and they’re not always sitting down waiting to receive your communication. So the more you give them, the more opportunities you give them to know that you are the authority that you can help them and that you were available when they have a need.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:37:15] Allison, you know what? It’s probably good that I don’t do the sales calls anymore in my business because I’ve gotten to the point where I just give up when a lawyer tells me that they just don’t think they should do a newsletter. They don’t think anybody really wants that and they hate when they get stuff like that. I just got to the point where I give up because I just I don’t. I don’t know what to say anymore because it’s just not true. You know, so. I’m so glad you said that. You know, I always tell. I always, I used to tell my clients, you know. You know, back when when I was doing the account manager role before we systematized and hired people and did all that fun stuff. I always said, you know, when they’re putting their emails together, I would say, don’t discriminate.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:37:59] They’d say what do you mean by that. I mean, you know. Like, don’t take somebody off unless you have a really, really good reason. Like. Oh, yeah. I’m a divorce attorney and this is the ex spouse of one of my clients. Although even in that case, maybe you do leave him, right?
Allison Williams: [00:38:18] Maybe. I have gotten referrals from some of the angry people that hated me, when I was divorcing their spouse.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:38:26] Exactly. You know, other people be like, oh, this is this person to judge. I don’t want to bother them with my email. Well, your mindset is wrong. You’re not bothering them. You’re trying to be a resource to the community. (Yeah.) And you know what? If they don’t want it, they’ll unsubscribe. Exactly.
Allison Williams: [00:38:43] So, Marc, you have given us so much positive, wonderful feedback and information that we can use to learn how to create content systems in our law firms. I think Spotlight Branding could be a great resource for people that are listening to the podcast, but certainly they need to know how to get a hold of you. So, Marc, please let us know how we can reach out to you. If somebody wants to learn more about Spotlight Branding and the way that you can help them to create a content strategy for their law firm.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:39:05] Sure. Yeah. Appreciate that. So, I mean, it’s pretty simple Spotlight Branding dot com. You know, you’re welcome to look at examples and kind of browse our approach to websites, blogs, social media, etc. If you want to reach out to me or if you want to speak to someone on my team who won’t give up when you tell them you don’t think you need a newsletter. Just fill out the contact form and the right person will get in touch with you. You can, you know, book a call. We can even have a conversation. You know, it’s that simple. And I also think that, I think in the show notes we’re going to put a link. We just published a book recently. That’s The Ultimate Solo Lawyer’s Guide to More Referrals and Better Clients and so… We’re for a limited period of time, we’re actually giving that book away for free. (Wow.) So I think we’ll have a link in the show notes where you can request your copy.
Allison Williams: [00:39:59] Absolutely. You guys definitely don’t want to miss that opportunity, because if you’ve gotten any value out of today and basically you couldn’t possibly have listened to this podcast and not gotten value, I have taken my own notes for things that I am going to be using in my own law firm. So this is definitely a great resource. The Ultimate Guide, The Ultimate Lawyer’s Guide to More Referrals and Better Clients. OK. So, everyone, thank you so much for tuning in to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor Podcast. And thank you, Marc Cerniglia for all of the great, wonderful resources and tidbits that you’ve given us today.
Marc Cerniglia: [00:40:33] Oh, my gosh. I hope it was helpful. So glad to be here.
Allison Williams: [00:40:36] Yeah, it definitely was. Everyone, thank you for tuning in. Have a great day.