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One of my get-away-from-it-all passions is fishing. To me, there’s nothing like being on the water matching wits with a creature whose brain is infinitesimally smaller than mine, but can still confound all my attempts to catch it.

Fishing is a strategy game. To be successful, you have to know the habits of the species of fish you’re going after very well — where they are likely to be found, what bait will attract them, the time of day or type of weather that influences when they are likely to be feeding, if you have to let them run or can pull them in right away.

Knowing these things makes it more likely you’ll catch something. If you find a body of water and just start casting, you may catch something but it probably won’t be what you’re after.

And in this way, fishing is not all that different from marketing your law firm online. You need to know your target market very well. You need to choose the online marketing channels where they are most likely to be found. You need to have a good idea of what influences them to choose a particular attorney. And you have to know where they are in the sales cycle — beginning research or ready to buy — in order to know if your lead needs nurturing or if they’re ready to be landed.

Your bait is the content you put out on your website, your blog and your social media networks. To develop the right kind of content that will attract the clients you want, you need to answer these four questions:

#1: What is my unique selling proposition (USP)?

How am I different than all the other attorneys in my geographical area who practice the same type of law that I do?

#2: What is my biggest strength?

What is the one thing that I can claim as a strength that will differentiate me in the market? Do I provide a unique service that others do not? Do I offer more choices in how I price my services?

#3: Why do I do what I do?

Did I become a lawyer in order to help people (fill in the blank: navigate a divorce as painlessly as possible? get out of debt? get a second chance? protect their personal wealth?)? What is my “why?”

#4: What kind of client do I serve best?

Do I have a niche practice? What is the profile of my ideal client?

Your answers to these questions should be written down and serve as a guide for your content development. Whatever you write about should align with these answers.

For example, if you’re an estate planning attorney targeting pre-retirement clients, the content you develop to target this group would include topics like Social Security, taxes in retirement, preparing for retirement emotionally and financially, healthcare options in retirement, where to retire, etc.

If you perform this exercise, you will find that topic ideas will come more easily to you and that quality leads from your online marketing efforts will too!