But, where a lot of firms fail is in execution. In a mobile-driven culture do we really have time to read that 20 page article? Do busy associates have time to also be marketing experts? Do clients care about anything other than effective legal advice?
Take a look at these top tips on producing content that clients (and potential clients) want to see and which makes your team proud.
Consider alternative formats
We are bombarded with content every day. And, it is not always the topic that attracts and retains our attention but often the presentation that draws our eyes and makes us click and read more.
In my experience, lawyers stand above other purveyors of professional services in the quality of their drafted thoughts. Perhaps it’s their drafting and advocacy skills shining through or perhaps it is the need to broadcast an opinion. Where such thoughts fall flat, however, (usually) is in the same dreary presentation. A submitted chapter here, a case opinion there… all presented in stark black typeface, using far more words than necessary and in far too much detail is enough to make any online browser move on.
The trick is to embrace a more conversational tone and include pictures and graphics. For data-driven pieces, use an infographic format. Video offers a great way to deliver a message in an engaging and personal manner. Your personality will shine more through the vibrancy of sound and moving picture far more than three pages in Times New Roman.
Embrace your personal interests
The law is not boring. Lawyers are not boring. Heavy-duty analysis of insolvency regulation across 64 pages is boring. The old adage ‘people buy people’ stands true in the delivery of legal services. These days directories such as Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 are as much filled with platitudes around ‘charm’, ‘presence’ and ‘gravitas’ as they are the celebration of a brilliant technical legal mind. Lawyers who wish to stand out have a superb opportunity to do so through their articles and blog posts.I have seen how well read blogs by renowned lawyers on topics as diverse as food to fly-fishing and the sharing of their personal passions, written in a casual and friendly tone, has increased their standing in their markets. Occasionally putting pen to paper on a topic of personal interest can do wonders for the mental wellbeing of the legal author themselves, as much as it brings their humanity and personality into the minds of clients and potential clients.
You speak. Now write. Then share!
The opportunity to speak and present at conferences, seminars and workshops is ever increasing. It’s a good thing. I love events. I love networking and I love to hear from eminent practitioners in their fields. But, a great missed opportunity presents itself far too often. Those making the effort to attend and speak at a conference also need to share it online! The conference organisers will thank you, and in my experience promote it. The audience will thank you and, those who couldn’t attend but want to benefit from your insight, will thank you. A word of advice, please, please no transcripts of panel discussions or verbatim scripts of a pre-prepared speech. Make the extra effort to produce something engaging for the online audience - it will be appreciated and well received.
Involve your clients
Most lawyers want to be seen as client-centred. To actively educate an audience on an important topic, in partnership with a client, is a fantastic way to draw attention to both your insights while establishing your brand as client-centred.
Objections around conflicts and confidentiality do abound but a sensible approach as to topic, hosting location and promotion will overcome these. Do not be afraid to approach clients with the idea of co-authored content. Many General Counsel will not admit it but they know it’s in their interests, as much as yours, to do a little profile-raising now and again.
Where to host
LinkedIn is an impressive tech-enabled platform designed for posting, promoting and easy sharing of content to potentially millions of interested readers. Most law firm websites are not.
Embrace social and professional networking channels and external websites as the main conduits for your authored content. So long as you include contact details or a link to a (well presented) content library on the firm’s website, you will enhance the readership and distribution of your content not limit it. The instant messaging, comment and ‘like’ functionality on social media offers the chance to capitalise on your content. Be proud of defending your opinion in the comments section, track your most ‘liked’ and shared content to gauge audience appetite and be open to messages from engaged readers and, potentially, interested future clients! If you are sharing your content on more than one website, amend it for each audience base; Google will be much kinder and push you up their SEO rankings for your efforts.
To work with Africa Legal on the production and hosting of your content contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
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