Making yourself a credible choice for a potential client means that you must find ways to demonstrate that you’re active and knowledgeable in your field of practice. Today, that’s easier than ever, thanks to the explosion of online publishing. You can start or contribute to a blog, you can submit articles to journals and newsletters (both online and offline), and you can seed and participate in online conversations about your area of practice—just to name a few options. Offline publishing opportunities abound as well.
Generating written content in one or more of these channels allows you to reach your target clients and referral sources, but there’s one common challenge that may stop you in your tracks: writer’s block. The dreaded blinking cursor. You feel the pressure, you know there’s plenty you could write about, but you find only fragmented thoughts and incomplete ideas that you discard as quickly as they bubble up. Ugh. The blank wall becomes the brick wall, and before you know it, you’ve set your writing aside again.
Here’s how you can beat writer’s block, with just a few steps you can integrate into your day-to-day life so you’ll never have to wonder what to write about again. (These same ideas will help you to find good topics for speaking, as well.)
- Read a daily news source or blog (Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review blog, your local business journal) and find ways to relate your business/offerings/message/purpose to at least one story daily. How does the current news about the costs of medical care or changing home values or political unrest in various parts of the world bear on your practice? The connection may not be substantive: the disappearance of Flight 370 could be a springing point for articles on air disasters, travel insurance, labor law, domestic relations, and more. You may not choose to use what you come up with on any given day, but the exercise will get your brain moving.
- Maintain a list of client questions and case studies. Questions and situations that come up repeatedly are great grist for writing. Or tell a story about something that’s happened to you or a client or contact and relate it to your practice. Watch for interesting stories that lead to teachable moments.
- Read blogs in your area of practice (legal and business) and watch for ideas that make you want to respond. Explain why you disagree or add another point of view as a comment on the blog or through your own post or article.
- Watch Twitter and LinkedIn discussion to see what social media conversations are relevant to your practice. Expand the topics and offer your perspective.
- Use your crystal ball to identify trends or offer predictions that will affect your clients. Look for patterns and progressions, and connect the dots for your audience. Be sure to recommend ways readers can take advantage of changes or avoid upcoming problems.
Keep a list of the topics and ideas that you generate with these steps and turn to that list every time you sit down to write. Some of your zanier ideas may never get used, but the list will make it easier for you to generate great content that connects with your ideals clients and referral sources.
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