Wonder Woman in Business, Susan Kostal


Susan Kostal

Stet Consulting

About Susan:

Editor, writer, and business development strategist with over 25 years experience on the beat and in the C-Suite. Expertise includes legal industry trends, public relations and marketing, and pithy commentary on the state of affairs in law and tech. Based in San Francisco, with work published in San Francisco Magazine, San Francisco Attorney, The ABA Journal, Forbes ASAP, California Lawyer, and the Daily Journal. My monthly column on Attorney at Work is Content Under Pressure; with additional content on JD Supra. Private clients range from individual professionals to domestic and international law firms with 2 - 1,000+ employees. Susan also provides limited pro bono counsel and marketing consulting to women returning to the practice of law.

I asked Susan to name three things that potential clients misunderstand about her services and to set the record straight:

1. Some clients are convinced that no one can write about their practice area as astutely as they can. That may be true if we are talking about a law review article, but it’s generally never true when we’re talking about content designed for clients. They are people, and busy ones at that, and want information is the most useful, digestible form. A professional writer studies that, studies your “content competition,” and delivers content that sets you apart. No successful (read: busy) lawyer has the time to do that. And given their utilization goals, it’s not a good use of their time and financial resources to do so. It’s almost always more efficient and affordable to hire that out.           

2. “I have plenty of work. I don’t need to write.” These days, everyone is a legal publisher, and if you don’t have a body of work, even a modest one, you look suspect, disengaged and less desirable. Clients want to see you interact with their issues, and the best way to show you are engaged is through content—writing about what means the most to them, in a way they find meaningful, on their own time and their own terms. So while speaking engagements are terrific, and nothing beats one-to-one interaction, it’s not always possible. Content works for you while you sleep. It works for you while you are on vacation or in trial. Your firm’s social media and BD teams will have something they can work with to promote you. It’s amazing in an RFP, where you can show, not tell, that you have already been obsessing about your client’s issue long before it arrived on their desk.      

3. “Writers aren’t really ‘value-adds.’ They are just scribes.” If that were true, the market for talented writers would look very different. The market for average writers continues to find its lowest common denominator. But a writer with whom you have a longterm relationship studies your field, and reads the news and professional publications with you in the back of their mind. They bookmark articles with important ideas, and tag conversations you should be a part of. A talented content strategist and ghostwriter reserves a portion of their brain for you. And when they take in the world of ideas, they filter it based on your needs. Then, they bring that intellectual capital back to you in the form of suggested post topics, context, currency and a keen understanding of the marketplace of ideas and where you fit in that.       

Susan’s webinars & presentations include the following:

  • June 13, 2019, LMA Bay Area Chapter, "Data-Driven or EQ: What's Best for your Content"

  • Feb. 2018, LMA Tech West panel, "By the Numbers: Using Data Analytics to Build Smarter Content Strategies"

  • Dec. 2017, LMA Webinar, "The Clout of Content and the Power of PR"

  • Sept. 2017, Association of Intellectual Property Firms (AIPF), "Social Media & Personal Branding Essentials"

  • Sept. 2017, LMA SF Chapter, "Create and Convey Content That Clients Count On"

  • March 2017, LMA National Conference, "Breakthroughs in PR, Content & Communications"

  • July 2016, Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) Pathways Conference, "Leveraging Social Media Platforms to Get Noticed, Published, and Get the Next Job Opportunity"

  • May 2016, LMA Webinar, "Creative Juices: Overcoming Obstacles in Getting the Content You Want"

  • Oct. 2015, Silicon Valley Association of General Counsel (SVAGC) All Hands Meeting, Keynote Q&A with David Anderman

Susan Kostal

Contact Susan:

Twitter: @skostal

Website: www.susankostal.com

Susan’s monthly newsletter: http://bit.ly/2rdBIJa