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October 2011 Archives

October 4, 2011

Words and Space Around Them: Writing and Designing for Results

Words and Space Around Them: Writing and Designing for Results
by Russ Korins, Esq. and Graham Murray

We all know lawyers love to write. There are all the reasons your argument should prevail. Then there are the reasons that, even if the other reasons were wrong, your argument would still prevail. Then there are the exceptions, but reasons why those exceptions are inapplicable. All of a sudden, the simple proposition that today's weather is nice becomes a fifty-page tome.

Unfortunately, marketing does not work this way. You need to be concise and compelling. Marketing can never be too obvious: clever arguments can actually undermine your message. Website text in particular needs to be crisp. People read online text differently than they do text on paper, and leaving your website is just a click away.

Our seminar will discuss how to target your message and your marketing so they deliver the most impact. For now, if you err on the side of wordiness when you write, a couple of tips are worth keeping in mind.

First, every piece of writing should present the information most important in the eyes of your readers--and little else. Website biographies and practice descriptions should not be exhaustive reports of everything you have ever done in your life. Rather, they should present carefully selected information about your work so prospects and referral sources are motivated to become or refer clients.

Second, design is a critical element of the appearance of text on a web page. Resist the temptation to fill every free pixel with words. A carefully selected font and font size, as well as the right amount and configuration of open or white space, can make a practice description or biography seem shorter and more readable.

Marketing is not legal writing. Save the nuances and footnotes for your client work. Use editing and design approaches to sharpen your message, and clients will understand better why that work is valuable.

Russ Korins, Esq., Nimbus Law Firm Marketing (formerly known as Russ Korins Consulting LLC) advises law firms on marketing. Graham Murray, Lookit Design, assists businesses with website design and development.

Register for the upcoming seminar on Attorney Websites and Marketing online at www.nysba.org/October18thWebcast.

October 14, 2011

Don't Forget the Links: Maximizing the Value of Website Content

Don't Forget the Links: Maximizing the Value of Website Content

by Russ Korins, Esq. and Graham Murray

Think of the last time you visited a news website. Rather than read one story after another in the order they were listed, you probably scanned the screen to locate an item interesting to you, and then clicked on a link. Then, once you read the story, you wanted to learn more about the author, so you clicked to the author's biography. Then you saw links to the author's other stories, clicked to one of them, and then returned to the home page to see what else you could find.

This is typical of the way people navigate websites: from the top level to pages within, then back to the surface: up, down, and across. Many technologists say that website content is "three-dimensional," as opposed to the linear format of print. The most successful law firm websites make this multi-layered approach into one of their strengths.

To see how this three-dimensional format matters to lawyers, consider a firm that wants to include recent articles on its website. A simple approach would be creating a website section for articles. But why stop there? This is a website, not a brochure.

The articles are written by attorneys. Each attorney biography can also link to articles by that attorney. Now a visitor has two ways, not just one, of finding an article that enhances the firm's reputation and may result in business.

In addition, the articles are about areas of legal work the firm handles. Each practice description can link to articles about that practice area. Now a visitor has three ways of navigating to each article, rather than one or two.

Finally, think in two directions: links that could appear next to each article, so visitors can navigate from those articles to other content. One such link could be to the biography of the article's author. Another link could be to the practice description relating to the article's topic. As a result, a website visitor has additional ways to reach attorney biographies and practice descriptions. The visitors who dig deeper after reading an article they find interesting may be great prospects.

The point of a website is to generate interest and business. Think in three dimensions and make it easy for visitors to reach the information they need to become clients and referral sources. When people mention how much they enjoyed visiting your site and reading the information you worked hard to produce, you will see that the effort was worthwhile.

Russ Korins, Esq., Nimbus Law Firm Marketing (formerly known as Russ Korins Consulting LLC) advises law firms on marketing. Graham Murray, Lookit Design, assists businesses with website design and development.

October 20, 2011

Yes, You Can Move Your Office Into Your Home!

Yes, you can move your office into your home!

Downsizing your office due to our changing economy is happening everyday. What happens when YOU decide to cut down on overhead and how do you redefine your business at home? How can you find a space to work and maintain your professionalism?

We will focus on how to find space for your office in your house or apartment while maintaining a positive working atmosphere and giving yourself a real place to be productive.

• Using screens to conceal a small private office in a living room or family room.
• Finishing raw space such as a garage or building an addition to meet your needs.
• Tucking an office in a closet or niche.
• Using a bookcase for camouflage in almost any room.
• How a dining room can do double duty as an office.
• How to turn a wide hallway into a viable area to set up your office.
• Blending your new office with the existing space by using the right furniture & decor.
• The importance of capturing natural light, general & task lighting.

Rona Brand
RTB Interiors

Register for the upcoming Lawyers in Transition webcast on November 9, 2011 at www.nysba.org/November9thWebcast

October 21, 2011

Law Firm Marketing: Recap and Further Thoughts

Law Firm Marketing: Recap and Further Thoughts
by Russ Korins, Esq. and Graham Murray

Thank you to everyone who attended our seminar on law firm marketing. We also want to thank Fried Frank for hosting the event, and the New York State Bar Association for all of its work in publicizing it and making sure it ran smoothly.

We enjoyed sharing our thoughts on how lawyers can make sure all of their marketing, from websites to print to social media, is tailored to their specific practice. We also thought the questions from the audience, both in physical attendance and watching online, were terrific. Below we address a few other questions that we did not have the chance to answer at the presentation.

Identities and logos: One person asked whether a firm should have a visual identity and logo. This is a good question. Many other kinds of businesses have logos to communicate a message quickly. In legal services, a logo can be helpful, too, especially if you want to convey a certain message. During our presentation, we showed an example of a personal injury firm with a bulldog logo, to convey the message that they fight for their clients. Given their practice area, this seems to work well. You do not have to have a graphical logo, however. Even just selecting the font for your firm name, or for your own name if you are a solo attorney, can be a way of establishing an identity. Like with every other aspect of marketing, think about your clients and practice area and what is most appropriate for them. And whatever you decide on, use it consistently throughout all your print and online media: business cards, letterhead, brochures, websites, email signatures, bills you send to clients, and anything else.

Choosing a content management system: A few webcast attendees asked more questions about content management systems. As you may remember, these are the elements of a website that make it easy for non-technical people to edit and add content. The content management system, or CMS, Graham mentioned is called WordPress. There are others available as well. We suggest choosing one after you have established your requirements: how often will you update the site and what will you want to update? How technical are you? Then, you can select a CMS that will make things easier. Many web hosting companies offer WordPress or other CMS solutions as an option. Your web designer or developer can also guide you in the right direction.

Choosing someone local to assist: A couple of webcast attendees asked whether it is necessary to work with someone local on your website. There is no one right answer to this question. We would say it depends on how you like to work with people. Many terrific websites have been designed and developed with people hundreds or even thousands of miles apart. However, some people are more comfortable knowing they can meet in person and address any issues or developments at the same table. A good consultant will provide a clear explanation of the process and keep you informed about deadlines and requirements. Establishing the strategy for a website, and then designing and developing it, is a team effort. Take the time to find the right teammate or teammates for yourself, and the process will be more successful.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact either of us. Thank you again and we both wish you success with your practice.

Russ Korins, Esq., Nimbus Law Firm Marketing (formerly known as Russ Korins Consulting LLC) advises law firms on marketing. Graham Murray, Lookit Design, assists businesses with website design and development.

October 27, 2011

Say Goodbye to Business Card Clutter

Say Goodbye to Business Card Clutter

Whether you work in an office or from your home, paper clutter is inevitable. One of the culprits adding to this daily distraction are often business cards. You collect them as you are networking, meeting new clients and even as you leave dinner at a newly discovered favorite restaurant.

Lucky for you there are many solutions to help solve this dilemma - from business card scanners that hook up to your computer to various applications for your smartphone. A simple Google search will reveal apps such as CamCard and CardMunch, as well as sites reviewing many other products. The apps are easy to use and allow you to verify the info to ensure it is all correct - some apps even save a picture of the card for future reference.

By using a business card app you will not only help yourself eliminate clutter, but you will also save time when initially entering a person's contact info and when looking for it in the future. Plus, many apps allow you to connect immediately with your new contact via LinkedIn, or a personal message, in order to stay connected more easily.

Jeffrey Calandra
Designer & Professional Organizer
ocd4life, LLC
E: jeffrey@ocd4life.com
W: www.ocd4life.com

"It's not just about organization. It's about a lifestyle. TM"

About October 2011

This page contains all entries posted to Lawyers in Transition in October 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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