The Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference is where lawyers and legal marketers go to get up to date on the latest techniques, trends and tools. Here are content-related takeaways from last week’s confab in Las Vegas.
Takeaways from the 2017 LMA Annual Conference
1. Reporters see and want your content. Adrian Lurssen of JD Supra shared several examples of reporters reading attorneys’ content and reaching out to them for a quote, or quoting directly from their posts. Reporters are coming to law firm thought leadership through Google News and Twitter (including Twitter search), and by relying on publishers and aggregators that curate niche content that makes sense of legal and regulatory matters. Reporters and outlets with topical blogs will also link to that content, instantly raising the firm’s profile. This is just one more reason to keep your content current. Firms without content will likely be left behind.
2. Internal communications matter. Often, the key to getting your firm on board with a new initiative, say, increasing the production of targeted content or cross-selling, is to promote internal communication. Whether you use a platform like Slack, a firm intranet, a weekly newsletter or create an internal news site, people are more likely to cooperate if you can create community around the initiative. And community starts with communication.
3. Blow up the silos and create an integrated content strategy. Too often, a law firm’s PR, marketing and business development functions are siloed. This means the left-hand people producing content at your firm don’t always know what the right-hand people are writing. Only a third of respondents to a quick poll of PR professionals at one session said they always coordinate strategically with the other units. And a whopping 91 percent said they always or sometimes feel that their knowledge is not fully tapped or utilized. With limited resources to produce content, integration and coordination are key. Blowing up those silos will help strategic campaigns advance quicker and farther.
4. Technology is your friend. There are tools like Passle that help you quickly comment on news articles (for example, a looming tax proposal or pending elimination of regulations) and post that to the firm’s news pages and social media accounts. Designed for teams, Passle helps lawyers quickly engage in conversations that matter, while giving a content manager the chance to review the offering before it is published. Eversheds and Freshfields, two large London-based law firms, are already using it.
5. VR is coming. Infinite Global, a leading PR agency, had a fascinating virtual reality demonstration that was a compelling recruiting tool. The piece told the story of the agency’s history, diversity and breath of its practice — who its employees and clients are, and what the agency is capable of delivering. The goal was to show that anything that law firms do in a brochure, an RFP or on a website can be done in virtual reality. Though VR has not developed as quickly as some had expected, I posit that we will see tech-forward firms like Skadden adopt some kind of virtual reality content within three years.
One Final Note
If you’re a lawyer in a firm and don’t have a PR, BD, marketing or content team, it is worth the investment to attend LMA’s annual conference. Attendees are very open about what worked at their firms and with their clients — and what didn’t.
“Whether you are an attorney or a marketer, if you are in the legal profession and produce substantive content, there is no better place to learn how that content is used, accessed and acted upon than LMA,” says Steve Boutwell, Client Services Director/Communications and Media for Kean Miller in Baton Rouge, La. “LMA provides information and advice to help you make the most of your marketing efforts.”
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