June 19, 2015 nº 1,639 - Vol. 13
 

"So wise so young, they say, do never live long."

 William Shakespeare

In today's Law Firm Marketing, 9 secrets to super-charge your writing

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  • Top News

Emergency summit called over Greece

An emergency summit of leaders from eurozone nations will be held on Monday, after the latest attempt to resolve the Greek debt crisis failed. A meeting of finance ministers on Thursday made no breakthrough. "Too little progress had been made and no agreement as yet is in sight". Greece has less than two weeks to strike a deal with its creditors or face defaulting on an existing loan. Reports say that the European Central Bank (ECB) will hold an emergency meeting of its governing council on Friday to discuss the deteriorating situation for Greek banks. It is thought that the ECB may have to extend further emergency funding for Greek banks which have suffered high rates of withdrawals by customers worried that Greece could be forced out of the eurozone.

FCC moves to prevent robocalls and spam texts

The Federal Communications Commission adopted a rule giving telephone companies wider latitude in preventing robocalls and spam text messages to consumers on both landline and wireless phones. Automated calls and spam texts remain a major annoyance for consumers, despite the creation of a national "Do Not Call List" by the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission. The FCC received more complaints about robocalls than about any other issue, fielding more than 215,000 such complaints in 2014. Under the new rule, phone carriers can block robocalls and automated text messages if requested by consumers. The move clarifies the agency's interpretation of a 1991 consumer protection law that banned telemarketers from making cold calls to consumers. Companies have skirted that ban by using automated dialing machines, prerecorded calls and text messages. The new rule makes it clear that texts are the same as phone calls, and that phone carriers may block robocalls to consumers if asked.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Hong Kong lawmakers reject Beijing poll plan

Legislators in Hong Kong have rejected a controversial Beijing-backed election reform package that sparked mass protests last year. The reforms would have given Hong Kong voters the right to choose their leader for the first time in 2017. But candidates would be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee and pro-democracy activists said the reforms only offered "fake democracy".

Chinese shares hit by IPO wave

Mainland Chinese shares saw sharp falls as a huge wave of initial public offerings on Thursday put pressure on the market. Eleven companies, including brokerage giant Guotai Junan Securities, started taking investor subscriptions and another nine will follow on Friday, tying up more liquidity. The Shanghai Composite dropped 3.7% to close at 4,785.36.

  • Law Firm Marketing

9 secrets to super-charge your writing
By Trey Ryder

Nearly everything you do involves writing. And, not surprisingly, marketing writing is different from legal writing. Here are nine rules for writing powerful, persuasive words that motivate people to action:

SECRET #1: Write to one person, you. Compare these three statements: (1) How to improve marketing results. (2) How lawyers can improve their marketing results. (3) How you can improve your marketing results.

In sentence 3, when I use "you," you immediately see that you are the focus of my writing. When you use "you," your prospect sees immediately that he is the focus.

In school, we were taught to write in third person, but in marketing, we write in second person, always addressing "you" the reader.

SECRET #2: Translate features into benefits. A feature is a fact about you or your firm. A benefit is what your client gains when he takes advantage of the feature. You connect the feature and the benefit with the words "this means."

For example: We have six lawyers in our firm. (So what's the benefit to your client?) This means... we can satisfy all your legal needs in one firm without your having to go to another law firm for other types of services. Or... this means if your primary attorney is out of the office, another lawyer is always here to help you. Or... (whatever it means to your clients).

List every competitive advantage and every feature you offer clients. Then translate those features into benefits your clients enjoy from working with you. Every time you write something in a marketing document, state and restate the benefits you offer your clients.

When you translate features to benefits, you uncover the reasons people hire your services. Spell out your benefits in terms of what your prospects want, do, feel and like. How your service works to your prospect's advantage.

Remember, your prospect won't hire your services until he knows how he will benefit. So it's a good idea to list the features, then explain how each feature translates into benefits your prospect wants.

SECRET #3: Write with enthusiasm. Keep your reader awake with words that move. High impact words not dull, routine ones. Active verbs, not passive verbs. Change: "If you are interested in hiring me" (passive) to "If you want to hire me" (active). Change: "The lawsuit will be filed today" (passive) to "I will file the lawsuit today" (active). Choose active voice to keep your reader alert and actively involved with your message.

SECRET #4: Choose short, simple words. Write your marketing documents at the sixth grade level because short words are powerful. Even the best educated people don't resent simple words. But simple words are the only words many people understand. Even if you have to substitute three or four short words for one long word, you're usually wise to do so.

Consider any word over two syllables a bad word. Try to find a shorter version of it either one or two short words. But make sure the short word or phrase is as meaningful as the long one it replaces. For example, change "information" to "news" or "facts". Replace "indicate" with "show". Convert "utilize" to "use". What you say is more important than how you say it. You don't need fancy language to convey a straight forward message. Choose short, simple words.

SECRET #5: Keep sentences short. Short sentences are easier to read and understand than long sentences. When you're writing to an upscale audience, keep your sentences between 15 and 20 words. For average readers, shorten your sentences to 10 to 15 words.

Nothing turns people off faster than long, awkward sentences. When you find a long sentence, try to break it into two or three shorter ones because the first time your prospect doesn't understand what you're saying, he's apt to mumble, "Well, I'll read this later." And you know what that means.

Another word of caution: Be careful not to end up with only short sentences. This makes your copy seem unnatural. The number of words per sentence are averages. Some sentences will be longer, some will be shorter.

SECRET #6: Keep paragraphs short. Try to keep them no longer than five lines of type. Not five sentences, but five lines. No reader likes to pick up a letter or other document and see a huge block of print staring him in the face. If a paragraph is longer than five lines, try to break it into two shorter paragraphs. Also, vary your paragraph length. Follow a two or three line paragraph with a four or five line paragraph, and so on.

SECRET #7: Don't skimp on facts. If you want your prospect to hire you, you need to answer every question he might ask. This means you'll be lengthy, but don't worry. Long copy works. Not because it's long, but because it's complete. If you reach an interested prospect, chances are good that he'll read every word. You can't expect your prospect to hire you if he doesn't have the information he needs to make a decision. So don't skimp on facts.

SECRET #8: Treat your reader with respect. Always talk up to your prospects, not down. When flattered, people usually rise to the occasion. But when insulted, they quit reading and you're history. Treat your prospect as if he drives a Rolls Royce and attends the opera.

SECRET #9: Don't waste words. Examine each word in your document. Is it necessary? Does it help get your prospect to respond now? If it doesn't help, it hurts because it distracts your prospect from the important parts of your message.

No, that doesn't mean you should write in chopped sentences or stingy phrases. Instead, start by writing twice as many words as you need. Then edit your copy down to the bare bones. Cut it 'til it bleeds. If you don't need a word, get rid of it. Lean writing looks better, reads better, and it's easier to understand. It moves your prospect to action. So don't waste words.

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© Trey Ryder
FREE LAWYER MARKETING ALERT: If you'd like to receive Trey Ryder's weekly Lawyer Marketing Alert, send an e-mail to Trey@TreyRyder.com. Write "Subscribe LMA" in the subject line and write your name and e-mail address in the body of the message.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Refinería

Exxon Mobil y Petróleos de Venezuela acordaron vender su refinería Chalmette, en Estados Unidos, a PBF Energy por unos US$ 322 mlls, lo que coincide con un plan de la estatal venezolana para salir de activos no estratégicos. La transacción incluye la refinería en Luisiana y otros activos asociados como instalaciones para la producción de químicos y oleoductos. (Presione aquí)

Etanol

La petrolera estatal brasileña Petrobras está considerando la venta de algunos de sus activos en biocombustibles en su intento de recaudar dinero para cubrir inversiones para nuevos yacimientos costa afuera y pagar sus deudas. La compañía planea vender hasta US$13.700 mlls de activos a fines de 2016. (Presione aquí)

Negocios

El conglomerado mexicano Alfa, uno de los mayores del país, transfirió a su unidad de alimentos procesados Sigma el 37% de las acciones de la española Campofrío, que compró recientemente a la china WH Group en US$ 354 mlls. A principio de junio, Alfa, con operaciones de alimentos, autopartes, energía, petroquímica y telecomunicaciones, informó que había logrado el control directo o indirecto del 100% de Campofrío.

Crédito

Ecuador recibió US$ 500 mlls que fueron desembolsados por China y que serán utilizados como financiamiento para cumplir con las actividades del Plan Anual de Inversiones de 2015, según confirmó el gobierno. El desembolso concretado esta semana es parte de los US$ 7.000 mlls que recibió como crédito por parte de la República China en enero pasado cuando el presidente Correa visitó el país asiático.

  • Brief News

Obama's 'hopeless' push for gun control

Another shooting, another somber statement by Obama and another call for gun control. But this time was different - and so was much of the response from conservatives. "At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries," Obama. He continued: "I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point it's going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively." At some point - as in not today, not tomorrow and probably not anytime soon.

Sweden to open first rape clinic for men

A hospital in Stockholm is to open Sweden's first emergency clinic for male rape victims. The South General hospital already has a walk-in center which provides urgent care for women who have been raped or sexually assaulted. But it announced on Wednesday that it would be admitting men and boys from October. Some 370 cases of sexual assault on men or boys were reported in Sweden last year. "The general perception is that men cannot be raped. The subject of male rape was still "extremely taboo" but that it is much more common than most people realize. It is important for men to have equal access to emergency care.”

Deadline looms as Brazil Congress delays tax vote again

Brazil's lower house postponed voting to raise taxes on corporations, a setback for Finance Minister Joaquim Levy's goal to push the bill through Congress this month. The decision to boost taxes on corporate sales may come next week. Rather than vote Thursday as planned, lawmakers spent the session approving a motion to repudiate Venezuelan authorities after Brazilian senators were prevented from visiting political prisoners in Caracas. The lower house has postponed the decision several times after planning a vote in May. While some lawmakers are reluctant to raise taxes during an economic recession, Levy says the measure is a key part of his package to shrink the deficit and avert a sovereign-credit downgrade.

Obama's 'fast track' trade plan approved by lawmakers

The House of Representatives has approved a controversial trade bill backed by President Obama, just a week after Democrats voted it down. It gives the president the right to negotiate global trade deals, with Congress only able to approve or reject a deal but not change it. The 'fast-track' trade bill must now go the Senate for approval, which is by no means assured. Democrats and unions believe it will lead to the loss of US jobs. It takes Obama a step closer to passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - a deal between the US and 11 other nations to remove or reduce barriers to trade and foreign investment.

Uber dealt blow in California over 'employee' driver

An Uber driver in California has been deemed an employee, not a contractor, in a ruling that could mean higher costs for the app-based taxi service. The decision by the California Labor Commission means the driver must be awarded more than $4,00 of expenses for the period she worked. If applied more widely it could mean extra costs such as social security and unemployment insurance. But Uber emphasized the ruling only applied to this one driver. In a statement, it said a previous ruling in California and other rulings in five other US states came to the opposite view, that drivers are contractors. "It's important to remember that the number one reason drivers choose to use Uber is because they have complete flexibility and control.”

Uber braces for face-off in France over its labor practices

Uber Technologies Inc. is bracing for a political storm in France. The country's taxi unions have called for a nationwide, unlimited strike starting June 25, demanding that the French government crack down on the app-based ride service's use of unlicensed chauffeurs. Companies like Uber "continue to sell applications that promote undeclared labor," the unions said in a statement, adding that they "support all targeted actions, organized from this day on against Uber." French Interior Minister asked the country's police and the tax fraud office to step up monitoring UberPop chauffeurs. The special police unit, dubbed "Les Boers," has already made 420 legal filings against what they say are clandestine taxis using UberPop and similar services. The latest twist in France further complicates Uber's operations, which have faced issues in practically every European country where it is present.

EU in legal challenge against German road toll plan

Germany has postponed the introduction of a controversial road toll scheme after the European Commission took legal action against it. The Commission argues that the new road charge discriminates against foreign drivers. It has sent Germany a warning, which can be escalated to a court case. Germany planned to introduce the scheme in 2016, but it has now been postponed. The new scheme - called "Pkw-Maut" - would make drivers pay to use the famous Autobahn network and other major highways.

Supreme Court rules states can restrict license plate messages

The US Supreme Court on Thursday ruled 5-4 in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans that state governments can restrict the kinds of messages printed on specialty licence plates. The Sons of Confederate Veterans had argued that the Texas government's refusal to issue specialty licence plates including an image of the confederate flag violated First Amendment free speech protections. Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen Breyer rejected the argument, saying that because they are issued by the state, specialty license plates constitute government speech and are not held to the same level of scrutiny as other forms of speech.

German judge's texting leads to retrials

Germany's highest civil court has ordered two retrials after a judge was discovered arranging childcare via text message during court hearings. It said mobile phones had no place in the courtroom, and banned judges from using them while hearing a case. At the time, the judge was presiding over the trial of two men on stabbing charges at a court in Frankfurt. Lawyers for the accused lodged a motion of bias against the defense after the judge was seen using a mobile phone.

FCC fines AT&T for false advertising of Internet speeds

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on Wednesday that it plans to fine AT&T Mobile 100 million dollars for their actions in slowing internet speeds after "unlimited data" users reached a certain limit. The FCC claims that AT&T slowed down internet speeds for unlimited users and failed to notify them that they would receive slower speeds than advertised. AT&T is believed to be in violation of the 2010 Open Internet Transparency Rule by advertising unlimited policies without information on slowing access after a data limit is reached.

European Court of Justice rules in favor of central bank bond buying program

The European Court of Justice handed down a ruling Tuesday that strengthened the role of the European Central Bank (ECB) in mediating financial markets. The Court upheld the ECB's 2012 offer to purchase the bonds of countries whose governments that would otherwise face high borrowing costs. The Court disagreed with a German group's challenge that the ECB overstepped its legal powers by using its monetary powers to provide financial aid to governments. ECB official Yves Mersch said that the bank was satisfied with the Court's decision here in "erring on the side of prudence" with its powers.

  • Daily Press Review

New flotilla to Gaza set to sail
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

U.S. court invalidates Teva's Copaxone patent
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

PM warns of 'quietly condoning' IS
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Hate-filled shooting claims pastor and prayer group
CNN International, London, England

Kim Kardashian's photo of her and Kanye West's daughter North after Disneyland birthday
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

David Cameron's reforms driven by lies and hate, EU Parliament President says
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

No deal on Greek debt eurozone leaders schedule crisis summit for Monday
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

Greek debt talks end in failure
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Turkey searches for British sisters and 9 children feared Syria-bound
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

CIA did not know Yemen drone strike would kill al-Qaeda leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi
Independent The, London, England

Dylann Storm Roof: a boyish face but hate in his heart
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Glastonbury 'could go in a wink', says Michael Eavis
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Wang 'must run' for Legislature return
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

New PM Confirmed
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

China cargo ship capsizes on Yangtze, casualties unknown
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Heavy rain lashes Mumbai, high tide alert sounded
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Document shows Tepco was aware of need for tsunami measures in 2008: lawyers
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Haitians booted from Dominican Republic uncertain of future
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Ukraine President cancels trip over protests in eastern Ukraine
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

Beat the post holiday blues
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Bank of Japan keeps upbeat view of economy, maintains asset purchases
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Charleston church shooting: Hate crime, gun crime? Does it matter?
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

The church: A history of racial tension
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Liberty Reserve Brought Down By 'Joe Bogus': How The Feds Arrested Arthur Budovsky
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

Industrial Fisheries Crowd out Artisanal Fisherpersons in South America
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Asian shares edge higher after Fed vote, China, Greece eyed
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

South Korea MERS outbreak has 'levelled off'; one new case
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Secrecy surrounds death of troubled man in immigration detention
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Liberia's Bility to make Fifa bid
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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