Tell Stories to Find Clients
Lance and Linda Lawyer of L & L Law are sitting in their conference room early Friday morning for their monthly business meeting. The topic for today’s meeting is marketing.
“I’ve been reading Aesop’s Fables to the children,” said Linda. “I’m amazed at how easily they get the message. The story helped them understand the moral.”
Lance looked at his twin sister. “What does that have to do with marketing?” he said.
“We faithfully write a blog post each week. We present new information but we don’t get many hits and according to the analytics, many times the readers don’t stay past the first sentence or two. I realized what we are writing are like the fables, except we start with the moral or statute and don’t tell the story that describes it. I think we should write stories to explain the information we are presenting.”
Linda is right. Stories can keep readers on the page.
Since the beginning of time, stories have been used to teach lessons and pass on the values of a culture. Today, businesses and professionals use stories to connect with their audience. Readers appreciate a story that can make complex laws or court decisions understandable and relatable. Simply stating the facts loses readers, but stories with characters experiencing legal problems keep the reader on the page.
Why use stories?
- Stories can simplify complicated issues.
- Stories help consumers adopt a new idea.
- Stories make concepts memorable.
- Stories can inspire consumers to act.
What makes a good story?
Here’s where the realm of fiction comes to the aid of non-fiction.
Each story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The main character is challenged in the beginning, tested in the middle, and solves the problem in the end. In this article, I started with Lance and Linda Lawyer sitting in their conference room discussing a problem common to all lawyers—marketing. Linda presents a challenge: their blog posts have poor readership. She suggests they use stories to help explain the information they are presenting.
From there, I move into the discussion of stories as a marketing tool.
In the world of the law, all cases start with the facts, the story, or problem the client brings to you. You take those facts and search the law to find resolutions to the client’s problems. For example, many of your clients ask about estate planning. On your blog post for your website or the blog section of the SBM member directory, create a fictional couple in their late 50’s with grown children who want to know the difference between a will, a trust, and powers of attorney. You set up the problem using a story format, now you can define the documents in general terms, helping readers understand what they are and when each is used.
Not all blog posts should start with a story. Every once in a while, give it a try. Stories can build trust around the writer, draw the reader in, and motivate consumers to call you.
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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