I’ve received some phenomenal drafts and works from stenographers around the country. This burst of activity and people creating stuff to get each other talking and educate attorneys is great. Let’s all keep it up — and for those who haven’t yet jumped in, definitely do, there is a spot for you.
Dozens of stenographers are creating blog posts and informational flyers for attorneys, and now is the time to help each other with that.
Some common writing tips that I’ve used in my most popular posts, and what I hope will make everything you all write popular:
- Narrow the scope. Too many topics at once gives the reader mental overload.
- KISS your work. Keep it simple, silly. Big or sophisticated words are great, but if your piece reads like a technical textbook or manual, it will only attract readers who like that.
- Organize. By far my own weakest point. Try to make information easy to access and process. The order you do things can make your piece look professional or chaotic.
- Think of the audience. A lot of us are writing informational pieces for lawyers or law firms. These are highly intelligent people and we can expect them to understand what we have to say. But they’re also very busy people, meaning we can expect them to crumple up and throw away anything that doesn’t get to the point pretty fast.
- The less you write in one piece, the more people remember and/or misremember! We don’t really get to talk much on the job so when we sit down to write we can get verbose. Verbosity isn’t inherently bad but can turn audiences off.
- With the above in mind, writing different pieces targeted at different audiences can increase your impressions and impact the spread of your message.
- Sales and Persuasion. A lot of what we put out is trying to convince people stenography is better. It boils down to a sales pitch with some facts and/or law thrown in. Just bear in mind that anything you state as fact ought to be fact, and anything you state as opinion ought to be opinion, or you may find your enemies discrediting you with your own words.
- What you write can be as important as what you don’t.
- Opinions shape markets. The best thing you can sell is an experience. If you make reviewing your writing a pleasant experience, people will come back. Same for steno. Sell it as a positive experience to use a stenographer — because it is!
- The cheap v. good argument. We are throwing ourselves under the bus if we reinforce the notion that audio recording is cheaper than stenography. Stenographers in certain places around the country have worked for 3.65 a page or less. That boils down to close to 140 an hour. Even the most boastful transcription companies like Rev have said a dollar a minute, sometimes with upcharges for multiple speakers or terminology easily doubling the price. That 120 v 140 doesn’t impress me, and probably doesn’t impress you either. Let’s face facts, we’re better quality, same price, and any alleged savings are not going to the lawyers that purchase our time and talent. Succinctly, take note of people like Milestone, who talk about how inexpensive they are, but as of writing, don’t bother to put their price up. They’re not cheaper. They’re playing the same middleman game of hiding the price to cut the most profit from the middle.
Now we run through a few quick examples. If you are designing a class for lawyers or stenographers to take, then that is a time when you want to expound and get in depth. You’ll have, more or less, a captive audience, and it’s okay to get to the details in. If you are designing a flyer or brochure, you want it to be pretty short and sweet, relevant law and how it impacts a business or individual.
A last and final note: What you write is going to get out there. You will likely have fans and haters. What you have to remember is that if your work is receiving this attention, it is making an impact. Even if it is not yet receiving this attention, content creation takes time and energy. If you feel yourself burning out, it’s good to take a break. Feel free to jot some notes about what you’d like to write on or improve during your break, but don’t feel forced to continue a strenuous campaign of information dispersal while your energy is low.
All that’s left is to say get out there and show the world what you’ve got. Whatever your project, good writing can give it the boost it needs.
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