Janet Ellen Raasch

Janet Ellen Raasch

Janet Ellen Raasch is an experienced writer and ghostwriter who works closely with professional services providers – especially lawyers, law firms and consultants to the legal industry. She helps these professionals enhance their online reputations and achieve new business through publication of keyword-rich content for the Internet as well as copy for traditional print media. Continue Reading

Success coaching for lawyers: Who can be coached?

Posted in Coaching, Content, Ghostwriter, Legal

This is part five of a five-part article.  For the entire article, see the link below.

“Not all lawyers can be successfully coached,” said Tarlton.  “Before starting this process ask a few select questions to screen the good candidates from those who will only waste your time and talent. Work only with lawyers who take personal responsibility for their own success.   Reject any lawyer who is not willing to partake in the process outlined above.”

Questions to screen potential coaching candidates include:

  • Will you commit to a certain amount of time to spend on this effort? (Most lawyers spend long hours at work and already feel that they are shortchanging their families.  Nonetheless, a good candidate will be willing to set aside a specific amount of time each week.)
  • Are you willing to acknowledge that, although you know a lot about your area of the law, you do not

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Successful coaching for lawyers: Steps six and seven

Posted in Coaching, Content, Ghostwriter, Legal

This is part four of a five-part article.  For the entire article, see the link below.

Step six entails creation of a method to track and measure success, using specific deadlines.  How does the lawyer being coached define success?  Is it three new clients in a particular industry?  Is it five additional matters for an existing client? Is it strengthening his or her reputation in an area by writing three articles for a well-read industry publication?   Lawyers carefully track progress on their matters and cases; tracking business development activities will feel natural to them and can help drive results.

Finally, a good business development coach will help a lawyer to focus on the pipeline that will delivery work to his or her desk in the future – not just today.  What are the emerging issues that will threaten your clients?  Create lists of clients and potential clients who

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Successful coaging for lawyers: Steps four and five

Posted in Coaching, Content, Ghostwriter, Legal

This is part three of a five-part article.  For the entire article, see the link below.

In the fourth step of the business development coaching process, a good coach will help the lawyer come up with useful ideas and resources.   “Never say ‘this is what you need to do’,” said Tarlton.  “There is no magic pill.

“Do some research and contribute this knowledge and these resources to the lawyer,” said Tarlton.  “Provide examples of tactics used successfully by similar lawyers.  Ask the lawyer to name colleagues who are successful at business development – and to analyze these lawyers’ approaches.   Encourage the lawyer to generate individualized business development ideas based on these resources.

“Lawyers are naturally curious and process-driven,” said Tarlton.  “Get them interested intellectually in business development and they will likely buy into the process.”

The fifth step of the process involves supporting and

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Successful coaching for lawyers: Step two and three

Posted in Coaching, Content, Ghostwriter, Legal

This is part two of a five-part article.  For entire article, see link below.

The second step in the business development coaching process is to carefully assess the lawyer’s position within his or her career – in terms of both age and accomplishment.  “All of these steps involve asking useful questions and carefully listening to the answers,” said Tarlton.

Why did you go to law school?  Why did you choose to focus on environmental rather than personal injury law?  Why did you choose this particular firm?  Where do you see your career in five or ten years?  Which are your favorite and least-favorite clients –and why?  Where did your best clients come from?  Which business development tactics have you tried that worked — or did not work?  How do you feel about using these tactics?

“A good coach’s questions and answers will be based on a lawyer’s

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Successful coaching for lawyers is a process

Posted in Coaching, Content, Ghostwriter, Legal

More than ever before, lawyers are expected to develop new business for themselves and their law firms.  Some lawyers are naturals at business development.  Many others, however, have no idea how to start.  Business development was not part of the traditional law-school curriculum.  As a result, law firm marketers increasingly are being asked to coach their lawyers in business development skills.

“Business development coaches need to know two things,” said Merrilyn Astin Tarlton.  “They need to know how to coach and they need to know which lawyers will most benefit from coaching.

“Before you can coach a lawyer, or anyone else for that matter, you need to build a relationship with that person,” said Tarlton.  “We’ve all had the experience of being ‘told what to do’ by someone we do not know or someone we dislike.  It’s excruciating.

“Coaching is based on trust,” said Tarlton, “and

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To satisfy new search algorithms: Use analytics to measure success

Posted in Content, Ghostwriter, Internet and social media, Legal

Part five of a five-part article:

“Take advantage of Google Analytics to collect data that can be used to improve the quality of your webpages – adding more of what works and eliminating what does not,” said Robinson.  “In Google Analytics, which is currently free, law firms can set up specific goals to study how users are entering and interacting with your website.”

Google Analytics lets a law firm know which content is most-viewed and acted upon, so that similar content can be added.  It lets the firm know which content is ignored, so that it can be eliminated or improves.  It lets a firm know the exact path users take through its site, so that adjustments can be made to create a better user experience.

If observation and analytics show that a law firm website is not getting the results it wants, an audit can help

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To satisfy new search algorithms: Create relevant content

Posted in Content, Ghostwriter, Internet and social media, Legal

Part four of a five-part article:

Law firms that want to prevent or correct loss of search engine result page rankings and traffic should publish meaningful, original content on a regular basis.  The goal is content that will establish a firm, practice group or lawyer as a though leader in an area relevant to a user persona.

“Take the time to discover the common questions your clients have, and provide the answers to these questions,” said Davis.  “Relevant content can be written, but it also can and should be visual.  Video content posted on YouTube (which is owned by Google) is particularly powerful as ‘Google juice.’”

Instead of using keywords like “car accident,” use more specific terms like “car accident lawsuit” or “car accident insurance”, or better yet natural language terms like “What should I do if I am sued for a DUI car accident?” or “What

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To satisfy new search algorithms: ID client personas and clarify their needs

Posted in Content, Ghostwriter, Internet and social media, Legal

Part three of a five-part article:

Before a law firm can create relevant content, it needs to know with whom it is communicating.  In marketing talk, this is called the “user persona” – or target market. 

“In user-centered design and marketing, personas are user types that might use a legal service in a similar way,” said Davis.  “A small law firm might target one user persona.  A large law firm will target numerous user personas.”

One law-firm user persona might be high-income individuals going through divorce.  Another might be small businesses in need of venture capital.  Another might be large medical equipment manufacturers facing product liability lawsuits.  The more specific the persona, the more specific a law firm’s content can be.  Relevant content will answer the questions these users are asking, using natural language.

A user personal is a representation of the goals and

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To satisfy new search algorithms: Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird

Posted in Content, Ghostwriter, Internet and social media, Legal

Part two of a five-part article:

Panda and Penguin are two major changes to the existing Google algorithm made in 2011 and 2012, respectively.   In 2013, Google released a totally new algorithm called Hummingbird (which incorporates and enhances the updates made by Panda and Penguin).  These three developments have completely changed the way law firms must look at search.

“Law-firm sites that regularly showed up on page one now find themselves on page 20,” said Robinson.  “Since searchers rarely go beyond the second page of results in an online search, this is a real problem.”

Google Panda focuses on keywords.  Sites with keyword “stuffing” are demoted or flagged as spam.  Panda also penalizes low-quality content, thin content, duplicate content and the amount of advertising compared with the amount of useful content on a site.

Google Penguin focuses on links.  It focuses on “black hat” tactics

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To satisfy new search algorithms, legal websites need quality content

Posted in Content, Ghostwriter, Internet and social media, Legal

The success of a law-firm website is determined by how many clients and potential clients visit the site, spend time there and take action based on what they discover.

Over the years, law-firm marketers focused on keyword and link strategies to enhance search engine results and increase traffic to their websites.  While these are still valuable tools, recent developments in the search universe have shifted the emphasis to content strategy.

Quality content includes well-written articles, blog posts, videos, webcasts, presentation slide decks, infographics, eBooks and white papers.  Quality content addresses client needs.

Sixty-seven percent of the time, online searchers use Google to find what they are looking for.  To provide the best results, Google is constantly tweaking its search algorithm. (An algorithm is a process or set of rules to be used by a computer in calculations or other problem-solving operations.)  These algorithms are designed to

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