It's the most common complaint I hear about people actually developing an effective marketing strategy in their own practice.
It Sounds Like This
Me: “Your strategy might include doing 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 – or you know, just pick any of them and do that”.
Other Person: “That's great Chris, but I don't have the time. My practice is too busy. I have too much work to do. I've got to go to court. I have lots of admin. My staff keep quitting. I am simply too busy”.
Let's deal with that now.
Everyone is Busy
I'm busy, you're busy – everyone's busy. In fact, I think we all know that no lawyer has ever admitted to NOT being busy. We (stupidly) wear it as a badge of honour.
But let's put the brakes on there – because you're not actually saying you're too busy. You're saying something else.
I reckon it's one (or more) of these five things that you're most likely saying when you are honest about it. Once you accept that – everything becomes easier.
#1 – You're a Slave to the Urgent
It's possible that in “being too busy” you are in fact just a slave to the urgent.
You have become this participant in a swirling dance from urgent task to urgent task to urgent task. As a result, you're not getting to other things.
That is often what “I'm too busy” means.
It means that you have so many things to do that are urgent, that you won't make time for things that are important. So even if you accept the importance of developing a digital marketing strategy or embarking on a content marketing program, you don't ever get around to it. As a consequence, what happens is you actually take no action at all.
So you might appreciate that it's important but it's never urgent enough, because marketing never is.
Marketing is never urgent enough for people to go “oh my goodness, if I don't actually get out and do some marketing, then I'm going to die”.
There's one exception, and that is those people who have gone into practice by themselves and their marketing efforts quite literally put food on their table.
So many of us have this comfort zone where you're okay without doing any marketing. Unfortunately over time, if you end up in your own practice or if you get fired or you hang out your own shingle, you're going to need to know how to market. At that point it's urgent. And often too late.
If you're a slave to the tyranny of the urgent, what I want to encourage you to do is to look at the bigger picture. Treat this as urgent.
Aside from that, the best and simplest way to deal with the tyranny of the urgent is this – find the important thing (in this case it's digital marketing and content marketing) and put it first in the day.
The reason you do that is because the urgent things will always get done… because they're urgent so you really don't have any choice.
Whereas the important things simply stay on the to-do list forever.
If you're building out a content marketing strategy, even if it's five or ten minutes a day, that is better than going “oh, I don't have five hours to spend on that right now so I'm going to put it to one side until never” (which is when you're going to get back to it).
Don't be a slave to tyranny of the urgent.
#2 – You Haven't “Bought In” Yet
Next up might be that you don't actually believe that it works.
A lot of people put content marketing and digital marketing strategies into the category of “I guess I should do it because everyone else is”.
Firstly, if “everyone” was doing it properly, then I wouldn't even be bothering making this lesson or any of the lessons that I'm about to do.
But you see it, you know it's “a thing” and you think you should get into it.
That's a sign that you haven't actually decided for yourself. You haven't internally accepted and bought in to the proposition that a content marketing strategy could be good for your business, or your legal practice or for your personal brand.
If you haven't bought into it, it falls lower and lower down the urgency and importance list.
So even if what I said at the start was right and it's somewhere on the list, it might still not be high enough on the importance list for you to do. You might have other things that you consider to be more important.
What I will show you over time here is that with a dedicated, systematic effort, you can make dramatic differences in your practice. That you can actually have a profound impact upon how successful you are.
So, if you haven't bought in yet, keep paying attention here and I hope to convince you soon.
If you have bought in, make that obvious in your own plan, in your own system, in your own day.
Make it obvious that you have in fact bought in to the possibilities that are involved in content marketing and digital marketing.
#3 – Your Actions Don't Reflect your Priorities
Maybe you are prioritising things badly. This is connected with, but different from, the tyranny of the urgent up at number 1.
It might be that in fact there are some things on your action sheet that you ought not be doing.
I'm not someone to tell people to stop serving their clients or to stop working hard. But if you tell me that you don't have time to market yourself as a lawyer, then what you're really saying is not that you're too busy, what you're saying is there are too many things that are higher priorities for you to do. You can see the difference.
Because if content marketing got high enough up your priority list it would get done.
So maybe you need to evaluate what you're currently doing and see whether some of that stuff that you have accumulated, might not be stuff that should be high on your priority list.
Maybe you need to give up watching every single episode of Game of Thrones or Suits for ten minutes to half an hour a day. Maybe you need to switch out some of your other activities. Maybe you need to switch out some Facebook time, maybe you need to switch out some novel reading, maybe you need to switch out some other things.
So take a good look at your priority system. It's easy to tell what you prioritise – it's the things that you do. The things that you do are the things that you are prioritising.
I'm not saying you need to work 25 hours a day in order to get this done – I'm saying you need to prioritise effectively. If your actions don't match what you say your priorities are – then change them.
#4 – You Don't Have a Proper Strategy
If you don't have an effective content marketing strategy or any kind of digital marketing strategy to operate from, then you're absolutely not going to have time to do it properly.
Why? Well, the biggest problem that people mostly have is coming up with ideas.
That's why everyone defaults to the “update strategy”, which of course isn't a strategy. It's wait for something to happen, and then hopefully, after 55 people talk about writing an article about it, someone might write an article and it might go through your marketing team and it might get put on social media at some point, eventually.
The reason you are struggling to find things to write about is because you haven't clearly defined your strategy.
If you have a well-defined digital marketing strategy then you will know, in advance, precisely what it is you're going to do and therefore you won't have to waste two and a half hours hunting through the latest cases on LexisNexis in order to actually figure out what it is you ought to be writing about.
Instead, you will already have made that decision. So, if you have that decision in advance, then you know what you need to do and you can plan out your day.
You don't need to hunt stuff down and have never-ending brainstorming meetings and workshops.
If you know what you're producing, then half the battle is won. You will spend a lot less time producing the content than you will if you have to sit down at your desk and go “okay, what am I going to produce today?”
You'll already know the answer and that is a huge bonus.
You're Inefficient in your Execution
Last but not least – perhaps you're just not working efficiently.
If you're not leveraging your content well enough, then it's going to take longer to produce a meaningful quantity of content.
With a clearly defined content strategy and an efficient production process you can take a piece of content and it can feed your audience and keep things coming out for the next week or two or three or four or five.
Let's take a couple of examples of what I mean here.
Many lawyers aren't producing or using their evergreen content.
Because “updates” have a predetermined lifespan – and it's not very long – once you've written it and shared it, it's usefulness is over.
But if you're producing content that is useful in all seasons, called evergreen content, you can re-share that content at appropriate intervals. Won't that annoy everyone? Not necessarily. Because as you build your brand, as you build your network, there are people who won't have seen it before. There are also people who just missed it the first time around, would like to re-read it, or had it in their “to do” list.
So why wouldn't you re-use these articles?
I consistently see law firms with 500 or more articles on their website that never get dug up from their archives… ever.
Partly that's because no-one has ever gone through and identified what's the evergreen content, which is fair enough because that job's terrible. It's terrible because no-one did it in the first place though, so the excuses aren't too good.
Identifying and systematically re-sharing evergreen content (whether it's social, by email, or otherwise) is an obvious place to start, but off hand I can't think of a single firm that does it reliably.
The next thing we simply lack is in the area of repurposing.
Not in a spammy way (just share the same thing 27 times a day with different headlines) but in a seriously useful way.
You can take one piece of content and share it on multiple platforms, in multiple different ways that are appropriate to that platform, and see new results on each occasion.
Why? Because different people are in different places at different times for different reasons. If you're going to invest 5 hours into writing a reasonable article then why not invest another 30 minutes to turn it into 12 other things?
You can then start producing huge amounts of content with far less effort.
This article started as a video. It then got edited and became a podcast too. It's now an article. As I've edited the article there seem some good quotes that I can put on Instagram or Twitter.
If I can find quotes to put up, then I can also probably find video snippets to put up.
Then I might embed something in a LinkedIn post.
And the list goes on.
That's from one video that took 20 minutes to record and another 10 minutes to edit. I knew what it was going to be about already, because I planned that as part of my strategy – so there wasn't much time lost in preparations either.
I also know that down the track we're going to deal in more detail with your strategic decisions, platforms to share on, social media and repurposing content.
So… Are you Still “Too Busy” to Market your Practice – Or Did one of These Sound like your Real Problem?
If you are one of the people who has convinced yourself that you don't have the time to do an effective digital marketing strategy then I really want you to take stock of some of these things.
Maybe some of them sounded a lot like how you experience your day. Maybe you need to think about how you're going to make some changes that are going to allow you to make more time.
Let me know your thoughts – what does “I'm too busy” really mean?