Let the written word speak for you.
It’s the most convincing marketing tool you have.
Many attorneys only hire private investigators who have college degrees. Why? Because at some point, they’ve most likely received error-ridden investigative reports from PIs they hired. Perhaps they were embarrassed to share the report, rife with poor grammar and typos, with their clients. And they’ve concluded that a college graduate probably has better writing skills than a non-graduate.
Private investigators and their clients come from all walks of life. Although a college degree isn’t a necessary prerequisite for being a good investigator, one thing is certain—if you can’t present a well-written case report, you won’t win and retain clients in the professional and legal fields.
Investigative report writing isn’t just a communications skill. It’s a marketing skill. And you can master it.
Private Investigators and Marketing
What sets you apart from other private investigators? Are you just a blind pick from the phone book, or someone who comes highly recommended by past clients? As a professional, you’ll want to become the latter. And you’ll want to spread the word that you’re a cut above the yellow pages.
Marketing isn’t just about getting your name out there. It’s about setting yourself apart, establishing a reputation. You want clients to see you and know who you are…and what you stand for.
You might not think that writing has anything to do with promoting your business, but it does. Writing translates your skills into a useable form for your client. It satisfies his/her need for answers, validates your experience and knowledge, and highlights your talents as a communicator and analytical thinker.
In order to compose a high-quality investigative report, here are some skills you need to master:
1. Use perfect grammar.
Yes, we said “perfect.” Use spell check. Go through each word with a fine-toothed comb before releasing the report to your client. This also includes avoiding absolute words like never and always. Don’t use self-serving words like painstaking and exhaustive. You know that you worked hard, and your client will know it too, when he/she reads your report.
2. Present the facts.
It’s tempting to slip in an opinion or two, but that won’t help in court. The client should be able to draw his/her own conclusions from the information you’ve presented. Give it to your client straight and in understandable language. Use active verbs, and avoid jargon.
Letting your work speak for itself through a well-written case report can garner testimonials from all those who encounter your writing. This is good marketing for your business. One “private investigator of the year” winner put it to me this way: “You’re only as good as your report.”
Ultimately, the report is the final product, the only one your client sees. You should devote the same energy and focus to it that you devote to the investigation itself.
3. Choose a user-friendly format.
This applies to written report documents and also to those that are uploaded as PDFs or online. We’ve often seen documents that are ill-formatted for the Internet, or that publish with odd spacing or words with strange characters appearing in the middle. Preview everything in any format before presenting it as your final work.
About the Author:
Paul Beauchemin is the Founder of SherlockDocs, a report creation tool designed exclusively for private investigators. Learn how to transform mountains of images, video and written evidence into the report your client needs. To receive a free report “Definitive Guide to Report Writing for PI’s” and a 30 day free trial of SherlockDocs visit http://sherlockdocs.com