Have you ever read an eBook, and thought to yourself, “I could easily write one of these.” Well, why don’t you?
This is a question every lawyer looking to boost their online visibility should be considering. The process of creating an eBook is much less challenging than that of publishing a traditional book, and there are more benefits to doing so than you probably realize.
Below we’ll break down some key things to consider when deciding whether or not to write an eBook for your legal practice, and offer some law firm marketing tips for those who do end up pursuing the project.
What Can Writing An eBook Accomplish?
One thing that has remained consistent throughout the digital marketing age is that great content reigns supreme. If you are able to write a high quality eBook, and deliver it to the appropriate online audience, you could see the publication yield significant results for your firm.
Don’t believe writing an eBook can be a money maker for lawyers? Check out this story attorney Tate Lounsbery recently shared with us.
Lounsbery: “The first thing I did (when launching my new practice) was write an ebook that demonstrated my personality, work ethic, commitment to fighting on my clients’ behalf, and, most importantly, the exact step-by-step process I use to get clients the best results possible. That ebook earned me a $6,000 retainer right from the get go. What had happened was I got a call from a prospective client on a residential burglary case. Near the end of our call, when it seemed he wasn’t persuaded to hire me, I suggested he go to my website and check out my ebook. He did. Soon after, he called me back and said the ebook won him over. He was ready to hire me.”
The first thing you’ll want to do when developing an eBook is set goals. Who are you trying to catch the attention of with this project, new clients or fellow lawyers? What is the end result you hope this eBook brings?
Here are a few examples of benefits that can come from creating an eBook
Showcasing Expertise: You’ve likely accumulated a vast amount of legal knowledge over your practicing years, and an eBook is a great place to show it off. Providing inside information and offering guidance on a particular law related topic can make online consumers more confident in your ability to handle their legal problems. Rather than just telling a potential client that you know what you’re talking about, you can actually prove it to them.
Informing Clients On Your Process: Lawyers often forget that they can be intimidating for the average person to deal with. Even when the attorney is a super nice guy, the decision of hiring the right person to help tackle life-altering legal issues is far from an easy one. You may want to follow Lounsbery’s example, and differentiate yourself from competitors, by writing an eBook that offers an inside look at the experience you provide clients. Tell prospective customers how the process of hiring you as their lawyer will go, from the first phone call all the way to the conclusion of their case. Consumers aren’t looking to be surprised during their time of legal distress, so laying out a step-by-step game plan for them may just be enough to win over their trust and their future business.
Reminding People Why They Need A Lawyer: Use your eBook to explain to consumers the importance of having professional guidance from an attorney right from the start of when their legal problems develop. Remind the average person what can happen to them in certain legal situations if they don’t have a lawyer looking out for their best interest. Use real life examples to make your message more powerful.
Establishing Yourself As A Thought Leader: Looking to build new relationships with legal peers? Hoping to develop new referral sources? Consider writing an eBook for other lawyers. If you’re able to give attorneys great advice on subjects like how to manage their law office, market their firm, or how to navigate a certain sticky situation you’ve gone through before, you’re like develop great admiration from others in the legal community.
Bringing Your Firm Media Attention: Writing an eBook on an unusual or largely unaddressed topic can be a great way to grab the attention of local media outlets. You don’t have to be famous to make it into a community newspaper or a local news website. Write an eBook with an important message behind it, and be ready to share your story.
Things To Consider Before Starting
While many feel that writing an eBook for their firm wouldn’t be that difficult, those overconfident souls usually end up being proven wrong. It’s not that intelligent lawyers are capable of producing high quality writing, but that the process of actually creating the eBook ends up being more demanding than they expect.
You’ll want to have solid answers for the following questions before you do any writing:
Am I Ready For This Time Commitment?: The odds of you being able to bang out an entire eBook over just a few days, are slim to none. Writing, editing, revising, designing, and publishing an eBook you can be proud of should at minimum take you a month, and more than likely will take you a few months. Busy lawyers may have to sacrifice some of their personal time to get this done in a timely fashion.
Will My eBook Be High Quality?: There may be a few people that will just see that you’ve written an eBook on a complicated legal subject, be impressed, and immediately move on to contacting your firm. But, most people will actually take the time to read what’s inside the eBook, and if the content is subpar, those readers won’t come away thinking very highly of you. If you’re going to do this, make sure you do it full-heartedly.
Will This eBook Be Free?: eBooks rarely get read by the masses, and are almost never in high demand. So if you’re looking to charge money for people to read your online content, you better be offering them something really enticing. Most lawyers will be better off providing their eBook as a free online resource, knowing that the real money to be made is from people wanting to do business with their firm after reading the book.
Choosing A Topic
If you do commit to writing an eBook for your law firm, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is deciding what to write about. Keep in mind that eBooks are much longer than your typical blog post, so you’ll need to pick a subject that you can confidently write a lot about. Picking a topic you’re actually passionate about usually makes the writing process go a lot smoother. If you’re bored writing the book, people will likely be bored reading it.
Some things to think about when selecting an eBook topic
What Am I An Expert On?: If you’re generally struggling to find a topic for your eBook, try writing out a list of things you consider yourself to be an expert on. From their, consider which of the topics you’ve listed will be most cared about by the audience you’re trying to reach, and what questions within that topic you might be able to provide interesting insight on.
Don’t try to fake your way through an entire eBook on a subject you don’t consider yourself to be an expert on. Unless you’re prepared to do a heavy amount of time consuming research, you’re going to have a hard time convincing anyone you know what you’re talking about.
Who Is My Target Audience?: Are you writing for the average person or fellow lawyers? Depending on you answer, the language and amount of legalize you use in your eBook will be a lot different. If you’re writing for consumers, you’ll want to be wary of confusing your audience with high concept legal information, make sure you’re taking the time to carefully explain things that might cause the average person to tune out.
You’ll also want to identify who exactly your target audience is, so that you can do research on what they actually care about. Being an expert on a certain subject is great, but if it’s not something relevant to the people you’re trying to connect with, than what’s the point? You’ll need to find a topic for your eBook that you are an expert on and is cared about by your target reader, and that’s much easier said than done. Surveying former clients and other lawyers can be a helpful exercise, in finding the best problems and issues to address in your eBook.
What Will People Gain From Reading My eBook?: Offering your readers something of value is a must. Just overloading them with facts and information isn’t enough. You’ll need to teach them something they didn’t know before, something that they can then use to benefit their own lives, and you’ll need to make the value you’re offering clear right from the start of your eBook.
If you’re trying to reach consumers, you’ll want to give them insight on how the legal process works and how to best navigate certain legal situations (advice which will involve them hiring you as their lawyer). If you’re trying to establish relationships with other lawyers, give them actionable advice that can help them improve their firm’s bottom line.
Creating Your eBook
Once you’ve settled on a topic, the eBook creation process can get underway. You may want to consider checking out eBooks written by your peers for inspiration on layout and design. Making a chapter-by-chapter outline of your eBook is also a smart idea, even if you end up adapting your outline as time goes on.
Here are some more eBook creation tips
Establish A Writing Schedule And Stick To It: A lawyer’s life is all too busy, and it can become easy for your eBook to become that thing you forgot about and never got around to finishing. Before writing your eBook, set goals for how much you want to get done each week. And set realistic goals that you’ll actually be able to reach, even it that means just committing to writing a chapter or two a week.
Aim For Quality Over Quantity: What do we mean by this. Listen to Ruth Carter’s advice, in an Attorney At Work piece on eBooks. “Forget everything you’ve heard about how long a book should be,” Carter said. “In e-publishing, a book doesn’t have to be massive to deliver value. Some are only 10,000 words. My book is just under 27,000 words, which Amazon says is the equivalent of 89 pages. Cover the scope of the chapter topic and move on.”
Don’t Ignore Your Past Work: If you’ve blogged about a certain topic before, don’t be afraid to review it again for inspiration. While you should never copy a blog post word-for-word into your eBook, it is more than okay to bring up certain key takeaways from your past blogs.
Let Others Review Your Work: This is a must! Even the best writers out there can benefit from a second or third set of eyes on their books. Ask fellow lawyers to read over your work to see if additional points can be made, or if certain legal concepts are being explained in the best possible way. Include non-lawyers on the reviewing process as well, especially if the piece is intended for a consumer audience.
Get Help From A Professional Writer: If long-form writing is just not in your wheelhouse, or you simply don’t have enough time to commit to writing an entire eBook yourself, hire a professional to help you along with the process. See if your peers have a writer they know and trust, or look around for freelance writers on websites like Upwork and Fiverr.
Showcasing Your eBook
Once the content for your eBook is finished, you’ll want to turn to a professional web designer to help bring your words to life through a fancy layout. You can then choose to have your eBook exist on a webpage, or through a downloadable PDF document.
How to get your eBook out to the public
Make It Available On Your Website: Make your eBook one of the first things a consumer sees when visiting your website home page. You can even make it so that the consumer has to provide their name and email to gain access to the email, allowing you to re-market your services to that person again in the future. For example, you can send them a “thank you for downloading my eBook” email after their download.
Utilize Email and Social Media Campaigns: eBooks are great pieces of content to share with your existing mailing lists and social followers. Doing so might help you reconnect with former clients or old contacts, and help you win over new potential clients that are on the fence about hiring you.