Developing Your Business Without Spending a Dime
A few days ago, in the wake of my social media presentation for the SCMA, I pulled out an old hand-out that mediator and USC Mediation Clinic Director Lisa Klerman and I used for a "write your way to success" seminar for the SCMA a couple of years ago. I am pasting it here for the use of any mediator who is at a loss for a starting place to market his or her practice in these difficult economic times.
Write Your Way To Success: A Workshop on Marketing Your Mediation Practice
Vickie Pynchon and Lisa Klerman
Why Write Articles As A Marketing Tool?
1. A reminder to your existing clients that you still exist
2. Exposure to potential clients who don’t yet know you exist
3. Become recognized as an expert in your niche
4. Increase your prominence and credibility within the field
5. Improve traffic with increased links to your website
6. Expand your geographic reach
8. No face to face selling
9. You will master a known topic or perhaps even learn something new
10. Writing can help you clarify your personal vision and goals
“Yes, But I’m Not A Great Writer”
Not an acceptable answer. If you can talk about an interesting topic or idea in your practice, then you can write about it.
Tips to Get Started Writing:
Here is a simple approach to start writing your first article:
1. Determine your target market – who do you want to reach?
2. Ask yourself: “What do I know that my target market would like to know?”
3. Pick a topic, such as how to deal with difficult negotiators, cross-cultural mediations, etc. Choose a topic that you find appealing and exciting.
4. Ask: how would my target market prefer to receive information? Blog, newsletter, print, electronic? Short and punchy, or detailed and well-researched?
5. Ask: what about my articles will attract my market to me as a result of reading those articles?
- knowledge of industry
- knowledge of legal specialty
6. Write an outline of the points you want to make.
7. Decide on three to five main points within your chosen topic that you want to share with the reader. Do not overload the reader with too much information.
8. Write it. Put it aside for a day or so.
9. Return to it with a fresh perspective. Edit it, and send it out!
Blogs: What’s All The Fuss About?
Law blogs (“blawgs”) have radically changed dialogue and scholarship on legal issues, leading Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor of the on-line magazine Slate, to recently observe:
The most compelling, cutting-edge, honest legal writing being produced in this country today is happening on the Internet, and the crop improves daily. From the fistful of judges (including Richard Posner) who maintain regular blogs, to the vast and growing number of law professors and law students who find the time to post daily, it's clear that the real bones and guts and sinew of the national conversation is happening online, and not in print.
Benefits of your own blog (a very short and incomplete list)
- you can write about and link to people in your market (rule of reciprocity)
- you can publish at will (for the instant gratification crowd)
- you can generate subscribers
- you can become an indispensable source of information your market needs to have but doesn't have time to read, summarize, locate, etc.
Benefits of publishing elsewhere
- greater prestige
- greater reach
- targeted to a market that isn't yet aware of your existence/services
- A good place to get your publishing feet wet.
- Mostly read by mediators but you can pass these articles along to your clients.
- Mediate dot com itself packages these articles, which then appear on other mediators' web sites, increasing your presence on the internet.
- It is fairly easy to get published here.
Local and Specialty Bar Associations have newsletters and are always seeking content - learn their submission guidelines and turn your thoughts into an article for your market's reading pleasure.
YOUR OWN PERSONAL MARKETING PLAN
Within the next month, I will:
- identify my target market
- identify areas of interest to that market
- write at least one article for publication in ___________
- gather information about __________
- subscribe (preferably by RSS feed) to the following sources ____________ to generate article and blog posting ideas
- begin to read ADR blogs and post comments on them to get a feel for how they work. Start Mediator Blah Blah, The Mediation Channel, Settlement Perspectives, PGP Mediation, Civil Negotiation and Mediation, and the rest of the blogging posse at mediate.com/blogs.
Within the next ___ months, I will:
- write at least ___ pieces for publication in ____ publications
- gather information about __________
- post entries in the following blogs: ____________
- interview one lawyer in my market for a short article about an area of interest to him/her for publication in _____.
- interview one __________ in my market via web cam & send it to any blogger who writes in your niche practice (5 minutes or less)