I’ve taught law students at Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge, Warwick, Birmingham, and the Open University, and across the board, whenever I ask why they entered the legal profession, they say it’s because they want to help people.
True as that may be for some, something seems to happen between that first introductory meeting with a law professor and the first time a qualified lawyer puts out content for their prospective clients.
In an overwhelming percentage of cases, that desire to help people just… disappears.
It’s remarkable. Those same lawyers that were motivated by helping people out of tough situations become lawyers that act as gatekeepers of legal advice, not distributors of it. They guard information that can help people. And – in the most egregious of cases – those lawyers actually make things sound way more convoluted than they need to be so that people read the post, get confused, have a mild panic attack, and then give them a desperate call.
And I’ve heard all the excuses for this, too.
“I’ve trained for years and it’s high value advice. I need to get paid.”
“I can’t help people via content because the law’s just too complicated.”
“If I got paid for that advice, I’d make a shit ton more money than I would giving it out for free online.”
There might be a little bit of truth to some of these arguments for some people… but most of the time, these are just excuses. And crap ones at that.
Be generous in your content.
By being generous, not only are you demonstrating that you did mean those things you said about helping people back when you were a wee baby lawyer, but you’re helping your brand and your business, too.
People who give away their best advice for free online tend to be the ones who command the highest prices, have the most loyal customers, and build the strongest companies.
And I can attest to this personally. I’ve had clients come to me in the past saying they only want to work with me. I even turned down a piece of work once, and the client offered to pay me twice my usual rate if I would find time for them.
Because once you’ve been there for someone, once you’ve given them advice that has helped them, once you’ve shown up and proved your superpower, people come back to you.
Think about it. If you were looking for advice on, say, accounting, who would you trust more – the person who posts helpful hints and tips on LinkedIn every week (some of which you’ve actually used before on their advice), or the person who just wrote a ten page pretentious ‘look-at-how-clever-I-am’ article about some obscure accounting topic that no-one really understands?
You’d call the first person, of course.
The same is true of legal content marketing. Put yourself out there in a way that is truly, genuinely, authentically helpful for people.
And for goodness sake, be yourself.
Believe me, prospective clients gravitate toward people who actually seem eager to help them. Give it a try in your next blog post. You might be surprised.