Who do you write your blog for? For most lawyers, past clients and referral partners make up a large portion of their subscribers. So use that as a tool for follow-up contact with those who know your business best.

This week’s blog continues a review of the book, Reinventing Professional Services; Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace, by Ari Kaplan. In Chapter 14, Kaplan emphasizes the importance of follow up:

“Many professionals believe that the initial contact is the most valuable, but often, the first meeting is not nearly as fruitful as the second and third. Most relationships begin with that primary interaction, but they are built on subsequent communication. For that reason, follow-u tends to challenge the creativity of even experienced experts.”

Putting together creative, and sufficiently personalized follow-up strategies can be tough, but if you are a blogging lawyer, with a clear target audience, you are off to a good start. A blog gives you a treasure trove of content to interact with contacts wherever they are. Kaplan says:

“When one set that target and understands how the market communicates, one can leverage that with the communication, follow-up and social networking tool preferred. But, one must first make that initial commitment, which is a decision rather than an action. ‘Identify a community that already exists and bring them a derivation of a community,’ recommends [Michael Port, New York Times bestselling author of Book Yourself Solid].

Using Follow-Up as Inspiration to Blog

Part of making your contacts feel like a community is making sure they feel heard. Kaplan recommends joining groups online to listen, as much as speak. Consider hosting polls or asking questions on your favorite social media outlet. Then listen to the responses. Kaplan says:

“Creative marketing is about engagement, and written products that allow organizations to tell a story by enlisting ideas from their target audience are more likely to find success.”

So find out what your followers need to know, and then start writing. Whether it is a short Q&A style blog, or a thoroughly researched white paper, it will show your target audience that you are responsive to their needs.

Whitepapers Provide Expertise and Ongoing Content

A whitepaper may be particularly useful in the professional context of the law. As lawyers, we often find that a single blog is not enough to explain all the nuances of a particular legal issue. Because whitepapers can be as short as 1000 words and as long as necessary, it will give you the space to go deep and fully inform those who need to know.

The time you spend researching that white paper will also be well spent. Once the paper is complete you can submit it for publication on guest blogs and legal journals. You can break it up into a series of blog posts. You could even host a webinar or conference call reviewing your findings with others in your field. All of this will establish you as the niche expert, and send business your way.

Kaplan closes by offering this encouraging word:

“Getting published is more about motivation than mechanics. Professionals do not write just to see their name in a byline or send their article to others. They write to inspire. Ironically, in the process, they are the ones who become inspired.”

So find your audience, choose your topic, and start writing. You could find yourself inspired to do something greater which takes your business to the next level.

Lisa Schmidt is the writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She ghostwrites blogs, webpages, and other online content for lawyers and small businesses. If you would like a whitepaper to use in your online marketing, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.