Annette Choti is the CEO and owner of Law Quill, a legal digital marketing agency focused on solo and small law firms. Law Quill is the only legal digital marketing agency that provides unique SEO optimized content videos, SEO audits, backlink strategies, prepackaged content and courses for lawyers to learn themselves through Law Quill Academy. Annette is the host of the Legal Marketing Lounge podcast and a weekly contributor to Above The Law. I’m really excited to talk to Annette, because she offers something that I think a lot of lawyers look for, which is a do-it-yourself solution, before they invest in a full service digital marketing agency.
Tune in for a lot of interesting stories, guidance and marketing tips for the solo and small firm owners that you can implement right away.
In this episode we discuss:
- The jigsaw puzzle of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Pay Per Click (PPC) versus organic influence on search rankings
- Where do you start marketing online without becoming overwhelmed?
- Understanding the difference in writing skills necessary to be understood by a Google Bot
- Determining when it’s time to outsource your social media marketing
- A scheduling tool that posts to multiple social media platforms using the same content in multiple ways
- How to determine a budget that will meet your goals and make business sense
- Setting out a roadmap to beginning an online presence that is manageable
Allison Williams: [00:00:11] Hi everybody, it’s Allison Williams here, your Law Firm Mentor. Law Firm Mentor is a business coaching service for solo and small law firm attorneys. We help you grow your revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money.
Allison Williams: [00:00:24] Annette Choti graduated from law school 20 years ago and is now the CEO and owner of Law Quill, a legal digital marketing agency focused on solo and small law firms. Law Quill is the only legal digital marketing agency that provides unique SEO optimized content videos, SEO audits, backlink strategies, prepackaged content and courses for lawyers to learn themselves through Law Quill Academy. Annette is the host of the Legal Marketing Lounge podcast and a weekly contributor to Above The Law. Annette used to do theater and professional comedy, which is not so different from the legal field if we’re all being honest. Annette can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter and on Clubhouse and of course at Lawquill.com. So I’m really excited to talk to Annette, and we had a really good conversation because Annette offers something that I think a lot of lawyers look for, which is a do-it-yourself solution.
Allison Williams: [00:01:26] And we talk about some of the ways that philosophically I would never have called myself a do-it-yourself type of person. I always advise people to go out and invest to get the expertise that you require. But we know that some lawyers, one are just never going to do that. They’re going to insist that they want to do it themselves. And then second, before you can actually afford to get yourself a full service digital marketing agency, having some strategies in your toolkit that you can employ to get yourself some traction so that you’ll ultimately be able to afford that SEO company, was something that Annette really shared a great philosophy on. And I think it’s beneficial for all of us to consider what she has to say about that. And then finally, I love innovators. So the fact that she has created an entire academy to help you with resources and do-it-yourself strategies, as opposed to you not only having to figure out what to do, but figure out how to do-it-yourself, and when you should do it yourself versus investing in someone, I think is very unique to the marketplace. So Annette had a lot of interesting stories to share and a lot of good guidance for the solo and small firm space. So without further ado. Annette Choti.
Allison Williams: [00:02:41] Annette Choti, welcome to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast.
Annette Choti: [00:02:46] Thank you so much for having me. It’s a complete honor.
Allison Williams: [00:02:49] Yeah. So I’m happy to have this conversation with you because you’re one of the many people that I have the utmost respect for because you’re in the marketing space and marketing is its own series of conundrums and the psychological cluster fucks for the lawyers that I help, myself included. We are always trying to figure out how to do our marketing better. And so just talking to somebody who I think not only knows the space, but also understands lawyers because you are a recovering lawyer, I think is always fun. So I want to talk to you first about that. Like what made you go from being a lawyer of two decades into the digital marketing space?
Annette Choti: [00:03:27] Well, I worked for the government, the federal government for 20 years. And I was at a place where I was just not really, I had just done everything I could do there. And it afforded me a lot of opportunities. I won’t say anything bad about it. It’s just I was ready to move on to something else, but I really didn’t know what that was. And it was very fortuitous. It was just I think it was just a blessing from God. Out of nowhere, one of my friends started talking to me about writing for law firms with a digital marketing agency, and she started talking about SEO. I had no idea what SEO even was several years ago. I had to look it up. I remember actually Googling it. And so I started writing for very large digital marketing firms just on the side while I was still working for the Department of Labor. And I loved it so much. It was just fun. And I got to do the research and I got to learn a lot about not only all these different areas of law, but also all the things about digital marketing. And then I was hooked so that that was my introduction to all of it.
Allison Williams: [00:04:36] Ok, so being hooked is one thing, because when you say digital marketing, that was not the thing I would think of that would get a person hooked. Let’s kind of talk a little bit about what it is, because when you hear digital marketing, I think a lot of people confuse website, search engine optimization, PPC, social media, like what is digital marketing?
Annette Choti: [00:04:58] So I have to tell you that the Segway to this question is I loved it so much that I realized that the large digital marketing agencies that were providing all these different services of website design and content marketing and writing and all the things, small and solo law firms really didn’t have much choice. They either could go to a content mill where they were getting content for twenty, thirty dollars and not very good information or marketing, or they could spend ten to fifteen thousand dollars a month and there was really no middle ground. And I really felt like there was an opportunity there where I could really help small and solo law firms. And frankly, I’m a competitive person, I’m an attorney. We’re all sort of type A personalities. And for me it’s like a game. I want… It’s it’s a challenge. I want to get the small and solo law firms competing with the large ones and beating them on Google. So that’s that’s just why it is so fun for me. But to answer your question specifically, digital marketing and digital online presence is really a lot of things at once and it is overwhelming. So the way that I kind of like to demystify that entire area is to say it’s like a jigsaw puzzle.
Annette Choti: [00:06:16] So when we’re talking about that search engine optimization and let’s be honest, we’re talking about Google there. It’s Google is the search engine we’re all trying to rank on. And what we’re trying to do is get people organically to the top of Google. If they are not getting, if they’re not paying for advertising, that’s PPC. That’s pay per click. That’s that is a component of digital marketing. But you pay for that. So there’s organic, which you’re just doing organically, writing blog posts, talking on social media. People are finding your website organically. And then there’s the other portion, which is pay per click. And what Google does is it doesn’t know what the top of your jigsaw puzzle box looks like. And it tries to take all of these little pieces together from the Internet. It tries to take your website and your Google My Business page and your reviews and your content and your social media and all of these things and figure out who you are and where to serve you up first. Hopefully first, where to serve up in the search engines. OK, so it’s a lot, right?
Allison Williams: [00:07:24] So it is a lot, you know, and I’ve heard I’ve heard a lot of definitions of it that I think is probably the most expansive definition, which is where to serve you up. Right. And one of the things we talk about here at Law Firm Mentor is about the idea of being popular because nobody wants the captain of the Parcheesi club. Everyone wants the captain of the football team. Right. So you help lawyers to become the captain of the football team in their marketing, right?
Annette Choti: [00:07:49] Yes. You want to be on that first page of Google. And the reason is because sixty eight percent of all users on Google never get past that that first page. So you want to get there and Google wants, as as an entity. Google’s job is to try to give the people searching for something the very best answer they can possibly give to whatever they’re typing into Google. That’s Google’s job. And my job is to take what we think people are searching for, which is called keywords in Google, the search terms and match it up with the things that law firms are talking about, so the Google bots can understand that they should serve you and your Law Firm up, and your law firm website up first.
Allison Williams: [00:08:42] Wow. OK, so if if I am a consumer of digital marketing services and I am trying to get under that umbrella of all the different ways that I can give information off of my sources, right off of my website, off of my social media, off of, off of back links to other websites so that people, so that Google will find me and find me authoritative and refer me to people, how would I distinguish as a law firm owner where I should spend my time and energy creating? Because I can obviously, like you said before, I could hire a mill and pump out a bunch of content, or I could go about something more strategic in terms of getting more pieces of content in different places. So is it kind of like a fill up your website first and then go out into the the social media and Google Streets? Or is it go out everywhere all the time and make a job of marketing separate and apart from owning a law firm?
Annette Choti: [00:09:38] Well, the thing is, you just you just hit the nail on the head. For law firms that are small law firms. The truth of the matter is, at some point you have to actually practice law, right? I mean, you’re being a business owner. You’ve got your accounting, you’ve got your financing. You know, you’ve got your Clio, you’ve got your all the things you need to do with billing. Then you need to be a digital marketer. You know, it’s too much. So what I do in digital marketing is a lot. They create whole degrees. I’ve spent many, many years and I’ve written three million words of content for law firms in the United States and Canada. It’s a career. So what I tell law firms is to take a deep breath and just start at the beginning, step by step. So it’s just like anything else. Once you have systems in place, for one thing, you can move to the next thing. My suggestion is to always start with a website. You have to have a home base that everybody’s going to come back to from social media, from your interviews that you do on podcasts. Whatever you’re doing, you have to have a home base for everybody to come back to. OK, if you have a website, the next step you need to do is make sure that you have also real estate on all the social media platforms that you plan on being involved in.
Annette Choti: [00:10:55] Facebook. You have a Facebook group, you have a LinkedIn group, maybe you’re on Instagram, maybe you’ve got a tiktok. OK, so Twitter. So after you have those set up and you feel like, OK, I’m, I’m riding the bicycle, I’ve, I’ve got it. You need to have your Google My Business setup because Google My Business is going to start creating these connections for Google bots to understand who you are. You want to make sure you have good Google reviews. After you kind of have all these foundational pieces, my very next step that I tell Small and some of the law firms is you must continue to put fresh content on your website. The reason is because Google will go and read your website and then they’re done. If you don’t have new content on your website, Google just sees it as a garden that’s dying. It doesn’t see it. It’s either you’re growing or dying. So there’s nothing left for Google to review on your website if you don’t have any new information. So my very next step after you have all the foundational pieces is to start creating content on your website that then you carve up into little micro content and put throughout social media to link it back to that piece of content on your website and then rinse and repeat.
Allison Williams: [00:12:20] Wow, so that sounds very strategic, it’s kind of like you know, you’re creating, like you said, that home base and whatever goes out needs to ultimately come back to that home base so that Google finds you more often and signals to other people that you’re a source for that particular piece of information.
Annette Choti: [00:12:39] Yes. (Yeah.) So and and there’s a couple of reasons why that’s so important. The first is, is that if you have content on your website, there is something for potential clients to read and then see you as an expert in this area. You know, maybe you’re answering their questions or maybe you’re answering questions they didn’t even know they have. Maybe they found you from other areas on social media and they come to your website, they read one or two blogs, and then they see three or four more that they’re very interested in.
Annette Choti: [00:13:13] If you’re an estate planning attorney, maybe they didn’t even know that a special needs trust exists. Right. So then you become the expert. And the longer that they stay on your website, the more likely they are to pick up the phone. So that’s the first piece. The second audience that you are talking to are the Google bots. So you’re talking to real life people and you’re also talking to robots. And while they are very, very smart, they are not our robot overlords quite yet. And we need to talk to them in a way that helps them understand the content on the website to show that you are an expert as well. So having content on your website is really pivotal and critical. And frankly, it is the linchpin that connects everything. How you talk to your potential clients and the Google bots and that all raises your organic rankings.
Allison Williams: [00:14:09] Yeah. So you’re taking what I consider to be a very esoteric, seemingly confusing, complex inter web of information and really distilling it down. And I really appreciate that, because for a lot of us that that are solo law firm owners, small law firm owners and we have but so much time and we’re trying to figure out how best to use our time and how best to use our money. This is one of those areas that often gets us overwhelmed. But since we’re talking about challenges, we know that for you, this is not challenging. For us, it’s challenging. Right. But this is what you do. So what would you say that, of the lawyers that you’ve helped and those that you, of course, know in this space, what is our greatest challenge with being able to effectively create a digital marketing strategy?
Annette Choti: [00:14:54] Well, I would say this, that lawyers are excellent writers. They’re typically very prolific writers. They are, they have a fine command of the English language. So a lot of times I feel like lawyers will say, well, I can write, I can do this, and they will write a post. Maybe it will be long enough. Maybe it won’t address the right issues. And the way that I sort of explain this to a lawyer is this. Just as when you go to court, different courts have rules regarding submitting briefs. Right. You’ve got to you’ve got to submit it in a certain font and with certain double spacing, whatever it is, the court’s not going to look at it unless it is submitted, a certain form is submitted in a certain way. It is the same for Google. You may be the very best. You may be writing the great American novel on your website, and it may be brilliant. But if you are not writing it in such a way that the Google bots can understand it, then no one is going to see it. So I would say that the biggest challenge that lawyers have is they they truly don’t understand that they are writing also to the Google Bot. And one of the things that I’ve done, I write a lot of blog posts and I have a podcast and everything, and I really try to show lawyers how to come up with ideas, how to keyword those effectively, how to do so that they can do this all for themselves. Of course, many lawyers don’t have the time to do this for themselves, so that becomes the second biggest challenge. So the first biggest challenge is the fact that they may not really be considering that they are writing to two very different audiences, one of which is a robot. And then the second challenge is that they just have the best of intentions. Right. But they just don’t have the time to actually do it.
Allison Williams: [00:16:59] Yeah. So I think it’s a great the first challenge in particular is a great commentary on how lawyers get in our own way. We are, we are perpetually of the mindset that because we are intelligent people that we can figure out anything and we’ll just figure it out. But the real, the real truth of it is not just that you’re writing for a robot. Like there’s so many competing, competing forces that go into this, including, you know, like you said, article length and word choice. And like, one of the things I learned just a couple of years ago was the idea that you’re writing for an eighth grade level and, you know, and in some instances you could be even down to a third grade level. Right. But we think. All right, well, I want a sophisticated clientele, so I need to use all these big words. And then what you do is ultimately, it doesn’t rank as well because it’s considered less authoritative, because it’s harder for it to be understood.
Annette Choti: [00:17:52] That’s right. And I think that, again, the problem is, it’s not a problem, really. I mean. You want your attorney to be intelligent. You want your attorney to understand, you know, the the concept of respondeat superior. Right. If you are doing product liability law, you want an attorney who understands that. But if you’re going to talk about a manufacturing defect case, maybe in an article, if you’re a if you’re a personal injury lawyer, you can’t just throw that word out. You, that phrase out, you have to be able to then explain it and then use other words that are related to it so that then the Google Bots also understand, oh, hey, this is a personal injury attorney that is offering services to receive compensation for injuries and losses regarding someone getting hurt by a kitchen appliance or whatever it is. So, yes, I would say that it is it is both a blessing and a curse that attorneys are so intelligent and and frankly are very quick. They’re all type A. They can figure it out. Anyone can figure out digital marketing, Allison. Anybody can figure it out. It’s just it just takes a lot of time. So where do you want to spend your time? So what I try to do is I try to demystify the whole process so that those attorneys that are working on more of a shoestring budget that really want to do this themselves can have all the resources they need to try to do this themselves in a very methodical way.
Allison Williams: [00:19:31] Yeah. So I think that’s a very important point is I think a lot of people will tell you the story that it’s so complicated that you could never figure it out. And I think lawyers resist that notion because they intellectually understand that they can figure things out. Right. But the question of how you spend your time is always going to be out there. And if I have someone I can spend an hour with right now and I can bill that person three hundred dollars or five hundred dollars or whatever, and I can make money today versus, I can go study something with the possibility of getting it right so that I can ultimately generate opportunities to sell to someone who I can help later to make money. It’s almost kind of a no brainer. So people spend a lot of time doing the legal work instead of learning the digital marketing, and then they try to DIY it in ignorance, which is its own, its own additional problem. Right?
Annette Choti: [00:20:20] Well, and you know, I think as a business owner and especially one who’s an attorney or type A personality like me, it was something I struggled with in my own business. I just wanted to do everything. And I now practice what I preach. I, I moved to this platform called Click Up. It’s a it’s a task platform that’s like Monday dot com or whatever, and it’s so powerful. And I thought, my goodness, I could literally spend a month trying to figure this out or I can pay someone who is an expert in it to just literally sit down with me for a day and work through all of it and show me how to do it. And that’s what I did. And it was worth every penny because I got it done in a day versus me spending. I mean, I could have figured it out. I could have, but I didn’t want to. That was not my, the best use of my time. It wasn’t. So that’s sort of what I try to impart to attorneys, is that if whenever that point is that you that you’ve gotten on the teeter totter, where it makes sense, where you have a little bit more money than time, outsource immediately. If you still are at the point where you still have more time than money, that’s where you should go to my blog and look up all the things, because I really do have a lot of resources there for free. So but once you get to the point where you can outsource something that you are not an expert in, I highly recommend I practice what I preach. I do it myself.
Allison Williams: [00:21:52] Yeah. And I’m right there with you. And we’re definitely going to talk about both your podcast and your blog. And I want people to have access to those resources. So we’re definitely going to hyperlink them and include them in the show notes to today’s episode. But I want to now shift a little bit and talk about the different lanes. Right. So we’ve talked about content. We talked about website and talked about SEO so that that in and of itself is just kind of the foundational pieces. But then there’s still so many different places where a lawyer can go. Right. They can be posting on social media that you reference some of the sites. Right. They could be on Facebook. They could be on tiktok. They could be on … They could be on LinkedIn. And and I think people have a really hard time figuring out if I’m going to DIY it, if I’m going to take that time that I have and devote it to some portion of digital marketing strategy before I ultimately have the resources to start outsourcing. Where should I go? So you’ve already said that they should have a home base. Right. So let’s assume that the website is built and that we’re we’ve got a content marketing strategy to fill the website. Where should they be spending their time to get the most traction in order to make that website the most valuable marketing asset that they have?
Annette Choti: [00:23:01] I love this question. This is probably my very favorite question ever, Allison. So I will tell you that the first decision you need to make as a law firm, is where you want, where you want to be seen throughout social media. Maybe tiktok is not your thing. Maybe Instagram is not your thing. Maybe those are not your thing. When you pick the ones that you want to go to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, wherever it is, there is a tool called SmarterQueue. I love this tool. I do not get paid to promote it, but I love it. I love it so much. I actually created a course to teach law firms how to take one piece of content and distribute it dozens upon dozens of different ways, like a crockpot. You set it and forget it indefinitely for the next few years. What you do is you use, and you can link to that course, seventy nine dollars. It’s like almost nothing but. But what it is, is you take this tool called SmarterQueue, which is a very inexpensive tool as well. And you take your blog post and you write a little blurb. You know, let’s say you’re an estate planning attorney in your articles on wills versus trusts, and you say, are you interested in the pros and cons of wills versus trusts, whatever you’re going to put down, and then you can schedule it out to all of your social media platforms at once, and then you can have it recurring like a crockpot.
Annette Choti: [00:24:36] You set it and forget it. So once every quarter, once every six months, once every four weeks. And here’s the trick, Allison. You take that piece of content and you carve it up into a few different pieces. Maybe there’s one little blurb you write about a will, you write about it. It’s all going back to the same blog post. Right. And you use this social media scheduling tool or you hire a VA from UpWork or you have an assistant or whoever you have do this for you so you can take one piece of content and sit down on a Saturday afternoon and take all of your blog articles that you have and spread them out from all social media to be scheduled out in the future. And then you just forget about it. You don’t have to worry about it. You should probably still go on those platforms and engage with people to get organic conversations going. But it is, it eliminates the need to make a decision between what platform should I build up first? You can be building all of the platforms up at once.
Allison Williams: [00:25:44] I definitely have to ask a question about that. So first of all, this sounds like just mind blowing. This is the first time I’ve ever heard about SmarterQueue. But immediately the thing that comes to mind is what I had always learned was that you can’t just copy and paste things from place to place because Google is going to like ding you for kind of gaming the system. Does it really work that you can just have one piece of content and it mass produces across different platforms without a negative effect on your rankings?
Annette Choti: [00:26:11] So this is a huge misnomer. Google abso… Let me start by saying the important thing. Google absolutely hates plagiarism. So if you have something on your website that is even something on your own website that you’ve self plagiarized, that you’ve cannibalized from your own website, Google doesn’t like it. So you cannot plagiarize or even, you can’t do that from website to website or Internet to Internet. But here’s the thing. Social media platforms are sort of like these bubble pockets within the Internet that Google does not use regarding plagiarism. So if I’m going to use a plagiarism checker and I do in my business every one of my articles I ever write, I put through the gold standard, which is called Copyscape, which I pay for. Copyscape as in any other plagiarism tool, doesn’t have the ability to check Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, because those are proprietary platforms owned by those organizations. So the issue of plagiarism is a non issue when it comes to posting the same content on social media. Now, you can’t have like, let’s say like, for example, I write for Above The Law, as a weekly contributor. I can’t write an article for Above The Law and then copy and paste that on my website, because then both of our… Google doesn’t even care about whose was first. They don’t. They will ding both of our websites. But if I have an article on my website and I carve it up into four or five pieces and literally copy and paste that into into SmarterQueue or directly into LinkedIn, there’s no plagiarism issue.
Allison Williams: [00:28:06] Wow. Wow. I think that is going to be just, first of all, that’s just mind blowing for me. But I think that’s going to be amazingly valuable for people to know because I think there’s a lot of confusion around, you know, we can’t, we’re kind of afraid of the Google gods, right? We don’t want to do the wrong thing. That’s going to have them saying, oh, this person’s copying and pasting. Stop it, stop it. Let’s punish them. And we also don’t have the time to create organic reach or to be able to become what I refer to as omnipresent in our marketing where we are everywhere all the time. And so this is a wonderful tool. SmarterQueue. I’m going to make sure that we link to that in the show notes so that people can just go straight to that link and check that out and weigh in.
Annette Choti: [00:28:49] Yes. And and like I said, I created a little course that has video because I was literally explaining this so many times to so many people. I finally created an entire course in Lim videos about how you can use your one piece of content. So let’s say your Wills Versus Trusts article. You can write, you can send that to your email newsletter. Right. You can do little voice snippets. I’m sure you’ve seen that, Allison. Everybody, on the different LinkedIn, and little voice snippets, you can make those going back to the same blog post. You can make a podcast about it. I do that often. I’ll write a blog post and then I’ll make a podcast about it as well. A few months later, there’s so many ways you can take one piece of content and frankly carve it up so that you have I think I think I ended up with near is like eighty seven or something different ways to carve up one article. So.
Allison Williams: [00:29:49] Wow. So I mean we actually ironically I didn’t know that we were going to go here today, but this is one of the things that we actually teach lawyers at Marketing for the Masters how to take one thing and mass produce it in multiple different places. We always brainstorm, like if you have, if you have a great article, what can you do with that? And by the time that we get done, we’re usually like in the fifties of all the different ways that we can take that one thing and make it into something else, making it that omnipresent marketing that we talked about.
Annette Choti: [00:30:17] And Allison, if you can take that foundational teaching that you are giving these people and say put it into something like SmarterQueue then it can continue to repeat indefinitely, forever, because someone in a year from now, if it’s evergreen content, which evergreen just means its content, that is always going to be relevant unless something dramatic changes, you know, the differences between a will versus trust, that’s evergreen content, that’s probably not going to change drastically any time soon. People a year from now are going to be just as interested in that content as they are right now. So it makes sense to use a very inexpensive scheduling tool like SmarterQueue. I’ve used other ones, but the one I, there’s HootSuite and there’s Tailwind as well. The one I (and Buffer). Yeah, the one I prefer is SmarterQueue just because it it allows you to put it all on at once to all of these platforms and it allows you to repeat it as well. So, so I’m a fan,
Allison Williams: [00:31:25] So I love that. And now I want to, I want to talk about before we before we wrap up, I definitely have to talk about the budget. Right. Because you’ve already talked about the fact that there, there were these options. Right. You can do the the twenty dollar, buy some crappy content route or you can go the ten, fifteen thousand dollar marketing route. And neither one of those will be effective at getting the result that the small law firm attorney wants. Right. On the one hand we don’t have good content, we don’t draw eyes, we don’t draw ears, we don’t draw attention. And on the other hand, if we spend every dollar that we made this month on marketing, then we don’t have the ability to stay in business. So clearly those two options were not the right fit. But when people are trying to figure out what is the right budget for the amount of traction that I want in my business. I just like, some some clients, lawyers that I’ve spoken to have even said, you know, I only want another two or three clients right now. I’m like, I’m not even trying to scale. I’m just trying to get to a point where I have enough traction that I’m consistently generating more than I need for our base expenses. How do you even start the process of conversation with a lawyer as to what they should be spending when they have a limited pool or where they should direct those funds?
Annette Choti: [00:32:39] Well, I’m an attorney and the very first thing you learn in law school is that the answer to every question is what? … Right. So I will I will pull my lawyer card in. But having said that, what I will say is this, again, it’s going to be the steps. The very first thing you should be spending money on is a website. You need to have a website and you need to have one, frankly, that you love. It has to be, you know, your home on the Internet. That’s your home. And it has to be something that you really love, that you’re proud of. I highly encourage people to, if they’re creative, do their own branding or hire someone to do their branding that so that they are very proud to continue to direct traffic back home to their website. The next thing that I would say is all of the social media places are free. My next step is to create your own content, which is free and and use a very inexpensive scheduling tool, like I said, SmarterQueue. The next step that I would suggest is to, if you are, are really wanting to know, there’s a fork in the road here, Allison. You can either spend money at this point on organic traffic or paid marketing or some combination thereof. So I am a strong believer. It is. It is what I do is what I’ve made my living on.
Annette Choti: [00:34:12] I believe in it so strongly that content is on your website does so many things right. It informs readers. It helps the Google Bot. It helps your rankings. It helps you have something to talk about on social media, even in other people’s Facebook groups. It gives you something to say in your emails. So so the first thing you need to look at organically is content. And that would be hiring someone to do your content. Right. I, I know that there are very large digital marketing agencies that will do everything for you. They will do your website. They’ll do your content, they’ll do everything for you. But there are other digital marketing agencies that will allow you to do that all apart. So if you can’t afford everything at once, I would say don’t be bullied into it. Go find a digital marketing agency that will allow you to work within the budget that you have, because to me, that’s honorable and that’s ethical and that is the way that it should be. At the same time, you can dip your toe into maybe some paid advertising as well. LinkedIn advertising is super expensive. I have heard that it’s maybe not quite worth it. I had heard good things about Facebook advertising and I’ve heard good things about Google ads as well, and specifically local searches that obviously lawyers are trying to rank for. And I think it’s a little bit of, it is OK to just test and see what’s going to work for you and for what your law firm…
Annette Choti: [00:35:58] You know, it also depends a personal injury law firm is going to have very different clients than estate planning or criminal defense. So kind of also look what your competitors are doing. And if they are successful, just follow the trail that they’ve made. If you’re most successful competitors appear to be doing really well with organic traffic and paid marketing. We’ll start with organic traffic because that is cheaper. Right. So I do feel like lawyers. We do get… Listen, we’re very smart. Most lawyers are very, very smart. And they and they know that they can accomplish something. And so they want to eat the whole elephant at once. But it’s just one bite at a time. Right? So it’s just these baby steps. So I’d say the website first, I would say branding and then I would say there’s a fork in the road between organic and paid and maybe just a little bit of both until you find out what is the most comfortable for you. And then is your law firm grows? You can dump more money into either organic or paid, you know, that you’re comfortable with. And don’t let anyone, don’t let anyone sort of bully you into spending more than you are ready to as a business owner. That’s, I think, really super important as well.
Allison Williams: [00:37:26] Yeah. So, I mean, you’ve given us a lot of great resources, a lot of great things to, first of all, think about and give it a little bit more of a frame so that lawyers that are really eager to get out there and to get into those Internet streets are able to do so in a way that fits where they are in their practice and allows them to continue to grow and scale and try different things and to start seeing different results as they grow bigger. So having said that Annette, I really want you to talk to us about your podcast. First of all, what’s the name of your podcast? Second, what is it, what is it designed to do? How does it help those that are listening? And then finally, your blog, like we really want to know all those great resources that you referenced earlier that are absolutely free, that people can can start to learn about some of this stuff.
Annette Choti: [00:38:11] So thank you. So my podcast is called Legal Marketing Lounge, and new episodes drop every single Wednesday. I started with a series when I launched the podcast, I started with a series. I think it’s six parts or seven parts. I can’t remember now, of every single thing a small or solo law firm would need to do from start to finish, to create a blog on their website, a blog post from start to finish, from idea to formatting to curating all of that. So everything on the podcast is going to be directly about legal, marketing, how you can do that yourself, either for free or inexpensively, and what your options are really to sort of demystify the entire digital marketing and CEO process, and I do the same thing on my blog as well, on my on my website. It’s just articles that talk about should a lawyer be on tick tock? What are the best social media platforms, outgoing links from your website. How do you get backlinks? Just all of the questions that I keep getting asked by lawyers. As soon as I get a question, I’m like, I’ll make a blog post on that. So I really just try to demystify that, both through my podcast and then also on my blog.
Allison Williams: [00:39:37] All right, everyone, you heard it, you heard it here, you heard it here first, or at least I hope it’s first, that we have a wonderful resource in Annette Choti. She is a friend of the solo and small law firm owner and the host of the Legal Marketing Lounge podcast and a great resource for learning how to not just understand what is digital marketing and to create some of that traction for yourself, but also how you can start to use some of these amazing tools she referenced. Like I never even heard of SmarterQueue. I’m really excited to go check that out and some of the other things that we talked about in today’s episode. So I want to thank Annette for coming on to the podcast. You have just been a wealth of knowledge. We really appreciate you. And for everyone out there listening, I am Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor. Everyone have a great day.
Allison Williams: [00:40:34] Thank you for tuning in to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor podcast. To learn more about today’s guests and take advantage of the resources mentioned, check out our show notes. And if you own a solo or small law firm and are looking for guidance, advice or simply support on your journey to create a law firm that runs without you, join us in the Law Firm Mentor Movement free Facebook group. There, you can access our free trainings on improving collections in law firms, meeting billable hours, and join the movement of thousands of law firm owners across the country who want to crush chaos in their law firm and make more money. I’m Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor. Have a great day.
Annette Choti graduated from law school 20 years ago and is now the CEO & Owner of Law Quill, a legal digital marketing agency focused on small and solo law firms. Law Quill is the only legal digital marketing agency that provides unique, SEO-optimized content, videos, SEO-audits, backlink strategies, pre-packaged content, and courses for lawyers to learn SEO themselves through Law Quill Academy. Annette is the host of the Legal Marketing Lounge podcast, and a weekly contributor to Above The Law. Annette used to do theatre and professional comedy, which is not so different from the legal field if we are all being honest. Annette can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter, @annettechoti on Clubhouse, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Legal Marketing Lounge Podcast: https://lawquill.com/apple
SmarterQueue (Social Media Posting Tool): https://smarterqueue.com/
Allison C. Williams, Esq., is Founder and Owner of the Williams Law Group, LLC, with offices in Short Hills and Freehold, New Jersey. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney and is the first attorney in New Jersey to become Board-Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in the field of Family Law.
Ms. Williams is an accomplished businesswoman. In 2017, the Williams Law Group won the LawFirm500 award, ranking 14th of the fastest growing law firms in the nation, as Ms. Williams grew the firm 581% in three years. Ms. Williams won the Silver Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017. In 2018, Ms. Williams was voted as NJBIZ’s Top 50 Women in Business and was designated one of the Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners. In 2019, Ms. Williams won the Seminole 100 Award for founding one of the fastest growing companies among graduates of Florida State University.
In 2018, Ms. Williams created Law Firm Mentor, a business coaching service for lawyers. She helps solo and small law firm attorneys grow their business revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money. Through multi-day intensive business retreats, group and one-to-one coaching, and strategic planning sessions, Ms. Williams advises lawyers on all aspects of creating, sustaining and scaling a law firm business – and specifically, she teaches them the core foundational principles of marketing, sales, personnel management, communications and money management in law firms.
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00:12:20 (53 Seconds)
Wow, so that sounds very strategic, it’s kind of like you know, you’re creating, like you said, that home base and whatever goes out needs to ultimately come back to that home base so that Google finds you more often and signals to other people that you’re a source for that particular piece of information.
Yes. (Yeah.) So and and there’s a couple of reasons why that’s so important. The first is, is that if you have content on your website, there is something for potential clients to read and then see you as an expert in this area. You know, maybe you’re answering their questions or maybe you’re answering questions they didn’t even know they have. Maybe they found you from other areas on social media and they come to your website, they read one or two blogs, and then they see three or four more that they’re very interested in.
00:29:24 (53 Seconds)
I do that often. I’ll write a blog post and then I’ll make a podcast about it as well. A few months later, there’s so many ways you can take one piece of content and frankly carve it up so that you have I think I think I ended up with near is like eighty seven or something different ways to carve up one article. So.
Wow. So I mean we actually ironically I didn’t know that we were going to go here today, but this is one of the things that we actually teach lawyers at Marketing for the Masters how to take one thing and mass produce it in multiple different places. We always brainstorm, like if you have, if you have a great article, what can you do with that? And by the time that we get done, we’re usually like in the fifties of all the different ways that we can take that one thing and make it into something else, making it that omnipresent marketing that we talked about.