How do you make your brand connect with readers on an individual level? Personal stories have the power to cut through the “salesy” feeling of marketing and make your firm and your content feel authentic.

The other day I was at the eye doctor. A technician and the optometrist were chatting as I picked out frames. The technician was singing the praises of a historical reality show on television. She said, “I love those shows, but I never got into history in school. I don’t know why.”

The difference between a textbook on the civil war and a long-forgotten heirloom from the 1800s is the personal story. The artifacts found on American Pickers or PBS’s Antiques Roadshow have a story that comes along with them and connects with the viewers. History, as a class in high school, may be boring, but the history behind that rocking chair or flint-lock pistol can be captivating and engaging, if it is told well.

Law is a lot like history in that sense. Lawyers and law firms often struggle to connect with their clients, contacts, and readers when they simply relate the law. Let’s face it, learning statutes is about as much fun as memorizing the names and dates involved in the Civil War. Interesting to some, but tedious for most people.

So how do you get through to potential clients who don’t care what the says as long as it helps their case? The use of personal stories can help them relate to the law in the same way a toy train can help viewers connect with an era long past.

Hypotheticals: The Personal Stories of Law Firms

Many lawyers worry that client confidentiality prevents them from sharing their clients’ stories. They know that a personal story will make the point, but they don’t want to give away their clients’ private information.

On solution is to strip out the identifying information and simply relate the story. By removing names, brands, and particular details, you can create a hypothetical that helps readers understand what you do, without betraying your clients’ confidence. If you want to give even more protection, blend two or three similar cases, pulling details from each, to create one hypothetical that gives your law firm the personal story it needs to connect with potential clients.

Testimonials: Putting a Face on the Stories

Attorney-client confidentiality is important, but it only goes one way. If you have done a good job for your clients, they may choose to waive confidentiality and give you a testimonial. This is a personal story of success that will help future readers see that you know what you are doing, and have done it before.

When you receive a client testimonial, make use of it. Ask the client if you can feature it in a blog post, along with a generalized description of the legal problem you helped solve. Let them feel like they are helping you. Give them a draft to read before the post goes live, and invite them to share their 15 minutes of fame with friends and family.

Attorney Bios: Your Personal Story

Why is it you do what you do? There are lots of ways to earn money with a J.D. You must have chosen your practice areas for a reason. Use your attorney bio page to tell your personal story. Let people know what you love about your work, and why you started doing it. Let them connect to you as a person, not just as a person in a suit. By showing your passion, and giving them a glimpse behind the tie, you will help your readers connect with you, and make them want to collaborate and cooperate with you, rather than simply hiring you to get the job done.

Personal stories make everything better. From history class, to your website, and even any given blog post, giving readers something they can connect to and empathize with will increase their ability to remember you when it is time to get work done.

Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She writes blogs and web content for lawyers and small businesses. If you need help telling your law firm’s story, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.