Becoming a Visible Enthusiastic Expert One Blog at a Time

How do you become known as an expert in your field? You don’t have to win a groundbreaking case or give a big lecture to a room full of your peers, though both would help. Sometimes, you just need to start writing a blog. Continue reading

What is Your Unique Business Offering?

No matter what your industry, there are likely thousands of people who do what you do. So how do you stand out? How can you make referral partners remember you and potential clients find you among a sea of competition? Continue reading

SEO 201: Beyond Keywords

Congratulations! You have taken the time to identify some top keywords and are using them in your business’s web content. Unfortunately, keywords are only Step 1 to understanding high quality SEO. Step 2 is all about going further into natural language. Continue reading

Myth: They Don’t Teach Social Media Marketing in Law School

When I talk to lawyers about their web marketing strategies, one of the first arguments they raise in defense is “Yeah, but, it’s not like they teach social media marketing in law school!” Guess what, now they do! Continue reading

Is Your LinkedIn Profile Working for You?

You probably still have a LinkedIn profile active from the last time you did a job search. Maybe you even get friend requests from time to time. But are you actually using your LinkedIn profile to build your business?

A LinkedIn profile is almost part of the college curriculum these days. Job seekers build one to give them access to the platform’s jobs database and the endless recruiters trolling (badly) for new blood. But what happens after they get the job or, better yet, start their own business? How can job-havers use LinkedIn to build their reputation and their following?

Update Your LinkedIn Profile

If the last time you logged in to LinkedIn was just before you interviewed for your current job, then you have some work to do. Your business connections will want to know where you ended up and what you are doing now. Make sure to keep your profile up to date by adding job responsibilities, big wins, and memberships and associations as they come along.

Update Your Headshot

None of us look like we did in college. Hairstyles change, clothing goes out of style, and faces age over time. Rather than ignoring your maturity, embrace it. Take a new professional headshot at least once every few years, and add it to your LinkedIn profile page. That way the people you met at last week’s networking event who are looking for a woman with short brown hair and glasses won’t skip over you because in college your hair was long and dyed blonde. Don’t be ashamed of your age! An up to date profile photo will make it easier for connections to find you and will express your experience in your field.

Add New Connections

When you get back from that networking event, you will probably have a stack of new business cards. Rather than throwing them in a drawer, run the names through LinkedIn. By connecting with people you have met you will remind them of what you do (in far more detail than on a business card). Not only that, the list of experience and accomplishments that you’ve kept updated is sure to impress them and increase the chance they refer to you in the future.

Publish Content

How do you keep a connection coming back to you once you have made the connection? Set up your blog to push regular updates to LinkedIn. Re-using your web content this way will help build your reputation as an expert in your field, and will keep bringing your connections back to see what you are doing now.

LinkedIn can be a great source for professional referrals. Because the people there are already looking to do business, your connections will see you as a colleague first, rather than a friend. The people who browse Linked In are often looking for someone who provides services. By keeping an updated profile you can make the right first impression and get more calls leading to more closed business.

Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist. She helps attorneys and small businesses create a robust online marketing strategy that focuses on recruiting referral partners and hooking potential clients. If you need someone to give your web content new life, contact Legal Linguist today to arrange a meeting.

What Do All Those Web Companies Do?

When you hired your web designer you probably didn’t realize you would also be hiring two to four other companies to manage and maintain your site. If you aren’t particularly web-savvy you likely agreed with whatever the designer said and signed the checks. But now years later you may be wondering what do all those web companies do? Do you even need them? Continue reading

Draw Me A Picture: Who Is Your Ideal Client?

I recently had a conversation with a real estate agent where I asked him, “Who is your ideal client?” His response “I don’t know, anyone looking to buy or sell a house.” Here’s why that just won’t work. Continue reading

Dear Writers: A Note From Your Lawyer

This week I went to a writer’s meet-up and, as often happens, as soon as people found out I was a lawyer, the questions started rolling. While I’m not one to give out free legal advice (it is how I make a living, after all), a couple of things became very clear. So here are my two cents.

Yes, You Need a Contract

Ghostwriting for a friend? Negotiating with an agent or a publisher? Cooperating with other writers on an anthology? You need a written contract. If you are working with friends you trust, a contract makes explicit what each person is assuming is true and can avoid “but I thought…” issues later on. If your friends turn out to be frenemies, that written contract will protect you and your hard work.

Consider this: even if you and your friends agree 100 percent on who gets what, will your friend’s creditor? If one of your co-writers owes child support or a medical debt, the collections agencies will try to garnish any money he or she earns. You need a contract to show the courts what part of that money belongs to you and get your money back.

Get Your Contract Signed

It’s not enough to present your collaborator with a draft of a contract. Be persistent and get it signed. Stand up for yourself and your rights – don’t start writing until the contract is done! If there’s a dispute later, the fact that you jumped into the project could be used to show you gave up on your terms.

Stop Taking Legal Advice from CPAs

Several writers reported that they had been advised by accountants not to incorporate because it is a red flag for the IRS. Avoiding an audit is one thing, but there are lots of reasons why you may want to incorporate that have nothing to do with tax. Before discarding the LLC concept entirely, sit down with a competent business lawyer and discuss your risks and your options. CPAs know a lot about tax, but they aren’t trained to recognize the possibility of lawsuits and liability the way lawyers are.

Nothing says being a freelance writer is an easy job, but there’s no reason to make it harder by avoiding the legal protections available. Paying for a bit of a lawyer’s time could help you appear more professional, earn more from your writing, and protect you from future lawsuits.

Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist and a lawyer for Schmidt Law Services in Ferndale, Michigan. She prepares professional web content for lawyers and other professionals seeking to improve their online visibility. If you or someone you know is looking for a new marketing strategy, contact Legal Linguist today.