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The (Jackson) Friday Five

Law Firm Marketing Advice from Famous Jacksons

By Jared Correia

What do five famous Jacksons (and a bonus Jackson) have to say about your law firm marketing? Glad you asked:

1. Michael Jackson: Michael the original dancing machine knew a few things, like when to go solo. He was the master of developing personal trademarks: the white glove, the moonwalk, the zombie dance from “Thriller” … whenever you think of those things, you immediately think of Michael Jackson. Part of effectively marketing yourself is finding calling cards, things that you become known for … and that may not relate in perfect symmetry to what you do for a living. Example: I make song lists at most of my blog posts; and some people just read me for those recommendations. (Seriously, I’ve been sent numerous CDs.) The more unique things you can become known for, the more drivers of traffic you’ve developed.

2. Andrew Jackson: Old Hickory shut down the Bank of the United States and left office with a balanced federal budget. The man was thrifty, and so should you be. Of the attorneys who create budgets for their firms, few include a line item for marketing. But marketing costs can get out of control, fast—if you’re not monitoring them, or checking for return on investment. Understand where your marketing spend goes, and what kind of value you get back. Managing a marketing budget will help you to do that.

3. Reggie Jackson: Reggie famously referred to himself as “the straw that stirs the drink.” Even if you haven’t won five World Series titles, this is a useful mantra for your social media marketing. In the beginning, everybody was being urged to get on social media to market their businesses—because that’s where everybody was. Now that trend is apparent, and the conversation has moved to how to market on social media. It’s clear that just “being” on social media is not enough. You’re as likely to get business that way as you are “hanging a shingle” and doing nothing else. So, be the straw that stirs the drink: Post regularly (your stuff and others) and engage in conversation (those you generate, and those generated by others), if you want to gain the traction you’re looking for.

4. Joshua Jackson: In an iconic episode of “Dawson’s Creek,” Jackson’s character Pacey walks in on his surprise 18th birthday celebration, to disastrous results. The whole event is a travesty, as everybody piles on, until he walks back out. (This is the only episode I’ve ever seen, because my wife made me watch it. I can’t imagine, if this is the high point of the show, that any of the episodes are any good. And what kind of a name is “Pacey” anyway? I feel silly writing it.) Maybe it won’t be as bad for you, as it was for, um, Pacey on his birthday—but as soon as you gain notoriety marketing yourself as an expert, you’re bound to attract haters, looking to make their reputation off of tearing down yours. Whether people are trolling you or offering what they believe is legitimate criticism, it’s hard to hear someone disagreeing with you. The way you react affects your reputation as well. Take some time to decompress before you respond, if you decide to. If you do respond, stick to the argument and not the ad hominem attacks. Don’t stoop. Being the bigger person makes you look better in the long run; though, there is nothing wrong with spirited debate, so long as the parties are playing fair.

5. Ms. Jackson: If you’re for real, Ms. Jackson would know. No one likes a bot … or, what appears to be a bot. Whether you’re a large or small firm, you need to locate the people who can drive your marketing. You’ve got to create a genuine social presence. The best way to do that is to allow your skilled marketers to be themselves. Everybody can tell when you’re faking it. Marketing is personal, or should be. Would you let someone on your staff write a post covering marketing advice from famous Jacksons?

Bonus Jackson! Alan Jackson has produced a number of tremendous original songs, and he’d have a fine career even if he never covered anyone else’s songs. But, he does cover others’ songs; and, many of them become big hits (“Tall, Tall Trees,” “Summertime Blues,” “Freight Train,” “Pop a Top“)—he even did a whole album of covers. He has furthered his reputation because, in addition to producing his own content, he reframes others, and credits them for the originals. You can achieve similar notoriety in your law firm marketing by producing and disseminating your own content, while reframing and referencing others’ content. There is a certain skill involved in picking the right songs to cover, just as there is a certain skill involved in sourcing useful articles. Both activities help measure the selector’s expertise and acumen.

Super Marketing Conference, Online

For more marketing tips, attend the Third Annual Super Marketing Conference: Accelerate Your Marketing, on May 16, 2013, at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, or online. The conference features a keynote address by Mark Britton, Founder and CEO of Avvo. For a full program agenda, and to RSVP, visit Tweet with #LHLM.

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Jared Correia Jared Correia

Jared D. Correia is CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law firm business management consulting services, and works with legal vendors to develop programming and content. Jared is also COO of Gideon Software, Inc., which offers intelligent messaging and predictive analytics software built exclusively for law firms. A former practicing attorney, Jared is the host of the Legal Toolkit podcast and speaks frequently at industry events. In addition to his Attorney at Work column, Managing, he writes an advice column for Lawyerist and on tech startups for Above the Law. Follow him @JaredCorreia.

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