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Think laterally to write compelling content. SEO marketing and rich content must be concise and compelling to attract readers and clients. Feature will go over how to think laterally when it comes to content ideas, pick up on hot trends for storylines, and how rich content can help resolve marketing & business development challenges.

At the core of every successful marketing campaign is rich content. The tricky part is making time to truly create interesting content and do so consistently. With the expansion of content online, you are vying for a person’s precious time and attention. Generating poor quality content through your blog, e-mail blasts, or even e-newsletters will turn off the reader and have them throw it into the trash pile. They will click away, never to return or mention your firm. Not spending enough time to create rich content will mean that you are ignored.

Rehashed content, self serving or pushy writing, or advertorials can mean losing clients and being blacklisted or sent down in rankings by Google. This will lead potential clients to take their needs elsewhere – sometimes even outside the region to find legal advice from someone who they feel connected too the instant they start researching about them. The content on their blogs, press releases, articles, and website resonates with them instantly.

People do not want to read irrelevant content that does not resolve their issue. But they will keep reading if it contains useful information that adds value to their life or business and helps them confront an issue. Since publishing content does not cost much online, the major investment is time. To get noticed and make an impact on your target audiences, you must generate content regularly.

For many, developing a well crafted piece of content is difficult. The blank word document stares back at you, the emails and calls keep coming through, and your stomach starts to rumble. You scoff and claim that all the good ideas have already been written about. But all these notions are wrong. The key to writing rich content is thinking laterally.

When you can think laterally, you can connect with today’s hottest topics, create content that your clients need, and actually enjoy writing. Laterally thinking involves looking at topics from different angles. It is rearranging how you write to gain insight on a new, fresh way to explain a topic. The quality and focus of your content can mean all the difference between a person reading, connecting, and taking action with the subject.

“Lateral thinking is closely related to insight, creativity, and humour. All four processes have the same basis. But whereas insight, creativity, and humour can only be prayed for, lateral thinking is a more deliberate process. It is as definite a way of using the mind as logical thinking – but a very different way.”
- Edward De Bono, Lateral Thinking

The best way to start finding your topic is to study your website’s analytics and do some keyword research. This is how you can find the most popular topics that people are craving more information about. You can also look to your caseload to see if people are filing more lawsuits or transactional deals in one area. And even the office secretary can help give insight into what most people are calling about.

As you develop a way to unlock the lateral thinking skills in your brain, rich content will be easier to produce. The skill can also be used when the firm is in need of fresh ideas for offline advertising, such as billboards and TV ads, and even going after business development goals. To think and write rich content that helps your online marketing efforts, and thus your search engine ranking and client conversion, you must know that lateral thinking – also known as creative thinking – can help with almost any writing task. From a 200 word blog, to 400 word article and 1,000-plus word column, lateral thinking can help bring inspiration into writing where the words just flow and ideas become better connected.

“In order to be able to use creativity one must rid it of this aura of mystique and regard it as a way of using the mind – a way of handling information.”
- Edward De Bono, Lateral Thinking

Laterally thinking is very similar to putting together a puzzle. The first piece you pick up is the topic from what you analyzed previously. From here, flesh out all the creative angles you could take on the topic. Write down all the unique perspectives you could take to explain the topic. Get every idea onto paper and do not judge yet. Make a bullet list of five to ten angles, no matter how random or divergent they might seem at first. The angles might involve an emotion, a person’s point of view, a newsworthy event, and so on. Do not get carried away and spend hours on this step, or else you will find yourself forever going down the rabbit hole of ideas.

With numerous angles in front of you, you can pick the most engaging, original, and relevant idea that will help you write rich content. Sometimes the angle will be entertaining, at other times gripping or vital, but the most coveted of all are the simplest ideas that make the most impact. The angle you choose will guide the next pieces that involve research and fact finding. Tying in the facts to what your audience needs to solve a problem or be proactive involves thinking of what the audience needs to remember and what they should know from the latest cases, journals, and regulatory agencies.

Keeping the bullet list nearby can oftentimes help you write rich subtopic paragraphs. Visually seeing this creative list can also help generate ideas as you are thinking about examples and ways to connect back to the premise of your story. This way each sentence and developed paragraph has been analyzed and evaluated for its effectiveness and authenticity.

If you come to a standstill, think about your clients’ needs. Each sentence should be leading them to judge you as someone who is knowledgeable, provides encouragement, and offers a sense of community. But what does this really mean? Knowledge is demonstrated through your words that show you have efficiently resolved cases just like this. Other people have trusted you with these matters and the judiciary and opposition respect your prowess. Encouragement is conveyed by championing a client’s concerns and describing how your firm will be there to help them through every stage of the process. A sense of community is conveyed by communicating that your staff and you have a commitment to taking their calls, answering their questions, and helping them get to the better chapter of their life they are looking for by enlisting your expertise.

If you can take these three tenets and infuse your content with them in direct ways or through examples, you can hook the person more with each paragraph and make them take action. Laterally thinking as each paragraph weaves into the next can help provoke the reader to learn more. It helps to unlock the power of your first paragraph into the broader discussion of the topic and the underlying factors that make it a must-read. Quotes from experts or your insight from years of practicing law can help the reader to trust you as an authority on the subject. As you infuse your writing with reasons why they should bookmark the piece, send it to a friend or colleague, or call you, you will have gained their trust. This is also when you can connect rich content with videos, checklists, podcasts, and webinars to engage your audience even more.

Writing from the lateral thinking perspective will increase the probability of your content being authentic, read by viewers, and the media calling on you to provide more insight. Writing rich content that resonates with an audience for free will lead them to becoming paying clients. Free knowledge that is accessible through your blogs, online content, and website hooks the person. Encouragement to come in for a free consultation, attend a seminar, or have a virtual consultation gets them on the next path to working with you. And once they understand how you have solved many problems and how your firm fits into their particular issue, they will end up a client that positively affects your bottom line.

Once you are in the habit of laterally thinking before you write, your mind will start to work better at creating a pattern from the disparate puzzle pieces. It will be able to decide on a topic and pull random ideas to create a well-connected collection of words, paragraphs and media. It will be able to weave newsworthy items and key, quoteworthy persons into the content. And it will leave the reader thinking and in an active state to contact the firm, refer you, or link to you on social media for their network to see.

Lateral thinking always dovetails back into logical thinking, so do not be worried that you are stepping into a creative, topsy-turvy world. But as you retool the brain to think in these new ways, you will be able to switch back and forth to create content that is bold, thorough, and understandable to the reader. Writing rich content is just one big step, and having this as a key component to your marketing campaigns will elevate the written word to another level.

About Author

Krystina Steffen is a former contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine.

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