“People don’t want to hire at the bottom or middle of the barrel, they want to hire at the top of the barrel.” At the Third Annual Super Marketing Conference, Boston lawyer David White pointed out that, “We’re all experts, we all have our law degree.” The question is, how do you rise to the top? White joined a host of excellent speakers this past June at Suffolk School of Law to deliver some super marketing tips for lawyers.
The theme? “Accelerate Your Marketing.” Here are five take-aways for doing just that.
1. Use content to build your credibility — just like always. Content marketing has been around for a long time, says Beth Marie Cuzzone, Director of Client Services and Business Development at Goulston & Storrs. “It’s just a new term for something most of us do intuitively — a technique where you are either constantly pulling or pushing marketing content to a particular target market.” She spoke along with David White and solo Cynthia MacCausland on the topic “Content Is Still King.” What is new, Cuzzone explained, is all the ways we now push out information—our new “distribution channels.” Where we once used newsletters, websites and seminars, now it’s search listings, blogs, ebooks, video, infographics, video and social media. You want to fill all those channels, and more, with credible, consistent content that helps you rise to the top of searches.
“You have to stay in front of your audience and remind them why they love you,” White says. And don’t be shy, he adds. ”Actual knowledge and expertise plus tasteful self-promotion equals recognition, fun and fortune.” As for what to write about? All the best advice on differentiation and thought leadership still applies.
2. Recycle your writings. Developing good, targeted content is hard work. So, to get the most leverage from all those hours you put into it, be smart and develop a content plan that maps out all the different ways you can repurpose what you write. “If you’ve written something one time,” says Cuzzone, “you can reuse it at least nine times. A newsletter can turn into a few tweets, or a blog post, a checklist and a link on your website bio.” How does that work? Sometimes you’ll write a speech from a 30,000-feet perspective, explains MacCausland. To repurpose it, you can focus in and expand on the brief bullet points you made to write a different article, posts or even a press release. She adds that if you write for local business or bar publications, be sure to link to those articles on your website, blog and social media sites: “Cross-posting exposes your work to a broader audience and increases the chances that others will share it, too.”
One word of caution: Repurposing doesn’t mean publishing the exact same content in different places. Excerpt, rewrite, expand, condense — but don’t copy. For one thing, it can be obnoxious. But also, White notes, Google doesn’t like to see duplicate content spread around the web and could punish your search rankings.
3. Go get some reviews. We all check the web for reviews of products, restaurants, hotels and all kinds of other things. “Ratings sites are exploding,” says Avvo’s Mark Britton. “Everybody’s doing it … thinking that lawyers will escape this is ridiculous.” Why? Lawyers are important to commerce, he explains, and the more important you are to commerce, the more likely you are to be rated. Britton further points out that Google Local is transforming into Google’s answer to Yelp, complete with “Google reviews.” Now, when people search for a lawyer, your Local Google directory listing will link to public reviews of your practice. (Go on and look.) This isn’t a “fad” you want to wait out. What to do? First make sure you’ve set up your Google+ and Local listing. Then, he says:
- Set up Google Alerts to keep on top of what people are saying about you.
- Engage with reviewers. Say “thank you,” and learn to handle bad reviews.
- Pick one or two review platforms or websites to send clients and prospects to, and then make it easy for clients to leave a good review. As part of your matter-closing process, ask clients to write a recommendation, and lead them to the links. Put the direct links and instructions in your closing letter, emails and on your website.
“It’s not unseemly, it’s real,” says Britton. Of course, be sure that in the process of using such sites, you are conforming to your jurisdiction’s marketing ethics rules.
Todd Curlett, Senior Business Development Consultant at FindLaw, adds that it’s wise to make sure your listings in the top legal and business directories across the web are accurate and complete, too, because Google is “scraping” all of these directories for information. At minimum, check your listings on Avvo, Best Lawyers, FindLaw, Justia, Lawyers.com, Legal Match, LexisNexis Martindale Hubbell and Nolo.
4. Social media take-aways. To add to the wealth of other online marketing tips, social media strategist Lesley Ridge gave these three tips for immediately boosting your online presence:
- Update your LinkedIn profile so that the headline uses terms that tell what you do. (Hint: The default headline is your job title—change it!)
- Schedule social media time. Each month, look at your calendar and plan ahead for posts about upcoming speaking engagements and special events. (Hint: Use tools like HootSuite to schedule ahead.) Be sure to schedule time for responding to social media messages and requests, too.
- Add links to your social media profiles in your email signature. (“Follow me on Twitter.” “Connect with me on LinkedIn.”) Ridge says this is a small change, but a significant opportunity to send people to your sites.
5. It’s better to do one thing well than to do nothing. Filling up marketing channels, updating directory listings, scheduling social media. Great advice. But a little overwhelming, yes? The voice of reason, business development coach Stephen Seckler says you don’t have to do it all at once. And you probably shouldn’t. Instead, pick one thing to learn, and do it really well. Then, when you are comfortable, go ahead and add on the next new thing.
Which one thing will you do to accelerate your marketing?
The Super Lawyer Marketing Conference was presented by the Law Office Management Assistance Program (LOMAP) together with the Massachusetts Bar Association, Suffolk University Law School’s Center for Advanced Legal Studies and Avvo.
Joan Feldman is Partner/Editorial at Attorney at Work, and a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. Follow her on Twitter @joanhfeldman.
Adapted from a post that appeared in June 2013.