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Writing Advice

Media Strategy, Writing Advice

Does Your Complaint Tell the Whole Story?

One of my favorite PR assignments is to promote a complaint that a lawyer has just filed in court on behalf of a client. A complaint is the way that most litigation is kicked off in both federal and state courts and a major point of interest for the media. In the law, a civil complaint is a written document that contains the allegations against the defendants, the specific laws allegedly violated, the facts that led to the dispute, and any demands made by the plaintiff. Any lawyer’s first obligation is to the client, so a complaint needs to present the client’s case in as effective a way as possible. But too often I read complaints that put me to sleep. Ones that leave me confused. They can be repetitive and full of legalese, avoiding any possibility of selling a compelling story that would have a strong impact on the audience, including a reporter who has no background in the…

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Writing, Writing Advice

Storytelling for Impactful Communication

Back in 2016, I wrote a post hereabout the importance of storytelling. “Facts are boring. Stories are compelling,” I said. I explained briefly that public relations professionals succeed when they can develop a compelling story with a clear beginning, middle and end. Stories are ultimately about people, and reporters know that the human angle engages readers and brings them in. A few days ago, my friend John Buchanan, senior communications manager at the law firm Sheppard Mullin, published an article in Marketing the Law Firm magazine that starts with these points and develops them further and more deeply. John goes beyond PR and press releases, emphasizing that all types of law firm content, all types of marketing materials, should depend on storytelling to capture an audience. Drawing on psychological and anthropological research, John wrote, “Storytelling is as old as humankind itself. Since the beginning of time, people have told stories and it seems…

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Facts are boring. Stories are Compelling.
February 22, 2016
Content, Content Marketing, Writing, Writing Advice

Writing is Not a Content Strategy

If “content is king,” content marketing is the king’s highway. Content marketing has been defined as a strategic marketing approach that is focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a targeted audience and ultimately to drive new and renewed business. Typical formats for content marketing include blogs, newsletters, webinars, client alerts, videos, and many others. Although in a law firm these materials will usually appear under the byline of an attorney, the firm’s PR team will normally have a role in planning the firm’s content strategy. And although content marketing started in the corporate world, law firms have been adopting content strategies in the past few years – and they have quickly become an important part of the law firm communicator’s toolbox. As a Huffington Post article reported in 2016, Which industry is absolutely crushing content marketing? Bet you’ll be surprised to learn…

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Developing Law Firm Content like a Hollywood Script
June 25, 2018
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April 10, 2017
Social Media, Writing, Writing Advice

When to Choose Vanilla Ice Cream over Rainbow Sherbet

I had lunch yesterday with Katie Wagner who owns Katie Wagner Social Media in Orange County, California. Our lively conversation over veggie burgers about posting content on social media turned to how creativity in writing can often get in the way of communicating a client’s message. We agreed that there are times when creativity works and other times when it’s better to just be straightforward – even when vanilla does not seem as exciting option. To understand the advantages of straightforward writing, look no further than The Elements of Style, the “writer’s bible” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White that was originally published nearly 100 years ago. Strunk and White say: Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not…

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