Connect with your clients (and referral sources) by using their industries’ jargon in your thought leadership marketing.


When it comes to attorneys’ content marketing and thought leadership marketing efforts, their clients’ industry jargon is their love language.

Conventional wisdom says that when attorneys create content — whether that’s blog posts and bylined articles, videos, or podcasts — they should not talk in jargon. If they do, they will make their writing difficult to read and understand, dissuading readers/viewers/listeners from consuming their content.

This will then drive those readers/viewers/listeners to other attorneys creating more engaging and less jargon-filled content, giving those attorneys an opportunity to impress those readers/viewers/listeners so much that they decide to retain those attorneys to assist with their legal or business problem, or refer them clients with a legal or business problem.

But this conventional wisdom is wrong. Jargon is actually a good thing — strike that, a great thing.

When attorneys’ content includes jargon that is the kind of jargon their clients and referral sources use day-in and day out, that jargon becomes a way for attorneys to endear themselves to clients and referral sources.

Jargon is only a problem for attorneys’ content marketing and thought leadership marketing efforts when it’s legalese. But even there, it can be beneficial. (I’ll cover that more in a moment.)



Jargon is a tool for bonding with an audience

When attorneys use clients’ and referral sources’ jargon in their content, they are building a bond with those audiences. They are endearing themselves to those audiences because as they consume this content, audience members are thinking to themselves, “This person is literally speaking my language. That is exactly how I would describe that issue. If this issue bubbles up again, I’m going to reach out to this attorney because they obviously know my problems/business/industry.”​

When using clients’ and referral sources’ jargon in their thought leadership, attorneys demonstrate a level of knowledge and wisdom that goes beyond providing general legal and/or business knowledge and wisdom. They are demonstrating knowledge and wisdom regarding what a client (or a referral source’s client) is facing day-in and day-out in their personal or professional lives.

No matter the clients, legal practice, or industry served, there will be the potential for jargon

Every attorney, no matter who they serve or what area of law they practice, will have an opportunity to use jargon to connect with their clients and referral sources.

Attorneys who practice business-to-consumer areas of law, such as personal injury and family law, can use jargon their clients might use when describing their personal or legal situation.

A personal injury or workers’ compensation attorney who wants to attract injured construction workers can mention the kinds of dangerous jobs they might do, the kinds of injuries they might suffer, or the equipment they use on those dangerous jobs or that cause those injuries.

A family law attorney targeting business owners can talk about the kinds of issues business owners would face frequently or be concerned about that are unique to business owners.

Attorneys who practice business-to-business law will have even more opportunities to use jargon in their content marketing and thought leadership marketing to endear themselves to clients and referral sources.

Lawyers serving clients, big and small, in industries like manufacturing, shipping, hospitality, HVAC, medicine, and any other could infuse their content with jargon their clients use. The more technical and in-the-weeds the jargon, the better. After all, the deeper the industry knowledge an attorney demonstrates they have, the more likely a client will believe that attorney is the most qualified one to assist them.

There’s even a place for legal jargon

Even “legalese” can find a home in attorneys’ content marketing and thought leadership marketing efforts.

When attorneys employ content marketing and thought leadership marketing as part of their referral marketing program targeting other attorneys, they can include legal jargon in their content to demonstrate to other attorneys that they know how to tackle thorny legal or business issues that those other attorneys’ past, current, or prospective clients need help with and for which those attorneys would need to refer those clients to another attorney.

For example, catastrophic personal injury attorneys who want referrals from other personal injury attorneys who do not — or cannot — handle catastrophic injury cases can publish content targeting those attorneys. The content would show how the catastrophic personal injury attorneys secured a favorable outcome for a client despite causation issues, a tough cross-examination of the client by defense counsel, a strong comparative negligence defense, etc. As with clients, when attorneys get into the weeds with referring attorneys about legal issues and use legal jargon in their content, a referring attorney walks away after consuming that content thinking that the attorney who created it should be an attorney they refer clients to because they’ve demonstrated knowledge and wisdom regarding tough legal issues.

On the business-to-business side, an intellectual property attorney could use legal jargon when writing content aimed at mergers and acquisitions attorneys who the IP attorney wants to receive referred deal-related work from. By discussing, in technical detail, the kinds of legal and business issues that can arise during transactions when IP concerns haven’t been handled properly, the IP attorney is assuring M&A attorneys that they are qualified to help their clients with IP-related issues arising in a deal.

Ignore the conventional wisdom — jargon is good

Attorneys benefit from using jargon in the content they create that speaks to their individual or corporate clients or referral sources.

When attorneys use the industry jargon their clients and referral sources use, they create a bond with them and endear themselves to them. By speaking clients’ and referral sources’ “love language,” attorneys can show them that they are knowledgeable and wise about the specific legal and/or business issues they’re facing (or their clients are facing).

When they do so, they will be well on their way to persuading clients and referral sources that they are the right attorney, and their firm is the right firm, to contact when they or their clients have the kinds of legal and/or business issues covered in detail by the content.

Thinking about bringing on an outside writer to help your law firm strategize and create compelling thought-leadership marketing and business development content? Click here to schedule a 30-minute Content Strategy Audit to learn if collaborating with an outside writer is the right move for you and your firm.

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