Hi Mike -
In my former life, I often hired expert witnesses for various types of legal matters. So when I saw your post, the wheels in my brain started turning.
I just did a quick BI for some keywords that might work for you. I was shocked by how low the demand was and how high the supply was for most keywords.
Then it dawned on me ... when i was in need of an expert witness on a case, I rarely looked online for one. I had a "roster" of experts for the kind of cases I routinely handled. And on the off chance I needed an expert witness on subject matter I hadn't dealt with before, I'd ask other lawyers in my area for referrals to the experts they had used in similar cases. If nobody I knew could point me to a qualified expert on that topic, I'd then turn to one of the major expert-locating services.
In your situation, I'd imagine that good old-fashioned networking - in person and online - will probably be your best bet for attracting new clients.
That said, you should still promote your books and expert services online, IMHO. Just because the BrainstormIt numbers aren't perfect, that doesn't mean you can't make it work. "Low hanging fruit" keywords have the potential to bring many more visitors to a website than the demand/supply numbers might suggest.
Michael from Mc Causland wrote:How is the demand metric computed? Is this a measure of daily word searches, weekly, monthly?
The simple answer is, "Beats me!" As I understand it, the demand/supply numbers shown in BrainstormIt! are not exact numbers. They're the result of a variety of different numbers and factors, calculated into one result that represents the relative demand and supply for particular keywords/phrases. (Hopefully someone else can explain it for you much better than that!)
Anyway, back to my point about using keywords with less-than-spectacular demand/supply numbers ...
On my site, I've written a bunch of pages where the keyword numbers look lousy (e.g., 23 demand / 3 supply); yet, those pages bring me a significant amount of traffic each month - much, much more traffic than the "23 demand" would suggest.
If you haven't done it already, I'd suggest you run a BrainstormIt! for every word and synonym you can think of that describes what you do. First, run each word alone, then with the word "expert" attached, then with the word "witness" attached.
Have a look at your competitors' websites (the sites that rank in the top 10 in the SERPS) to see what keywords they're using on their pages. Then run those keywords through BI.
Don't give up until you've BI'ed every word and phrase that you can think of.
If, in the end, you can't find keywords that meet the recommended demand and supply numbers, then you can still go with the best demand/supply ratio
keywords you can find, and do what you can with those.
Michael from Mc Causland wrote:I am thinking perhaps that I have to invest in paid ads on various high volume sites in order to generate traffic e.g., family law web sites, business for sale sites etc.
Maybe not. If you can find some of those nice "low-hanging fruit keywords", and you write excellent pre-selling content, you might be able to make a go of it without spending your hard-earned $$ on ads.
As you said, you have some high-dollar monetization models planned for your site. Unlike those of us who need 1000s of "buying customers" every month to make our living, you don't need that many. One expert gig might pay you
as much as I earn from my site in 6 months.
Plus, as a practical matter, you're only one person. The number of new clients and speaking engagements you can realistically take on in a year is limited.
So, that's my round-about way of saying: with the monetization methods you have planned, plus the networking you'll be doing online and offline - you don't necessarily need to drive enormous volumes of SE traffic to your site. A small niche could work out very nicely for you. And if all else fails (which it won't, I predict!), you still have the paid advertising route available.
I hope this helps!