By David Brooks
The attorneys in your practice are more than knowledgeable; they are thought leaders in the legal field. So why not share their expertise, and market the practice in the process?
People actively seek legal information. Indeed, legal websites are highly popular, books offering legal advice sell well, and television shows like “Law & Order” have found new viewers in repeat syndication.
There is an audience of would-be clients waiting for information and insight from your experts.
As important, there is a community of fellow attorneys interested in exchanging ideas and sharing opportunities. This community serves as a potential audience for your experts, and a source of new clients.
Taking advantage of opportunities
There are numerous ways to connect with others.
Issue press releases. Each time something significant happens at the practice, issue a press release. “While there are no hard and fast rules, the most important factor is that you’ve got to make sure it’s newsworthy and useful to the reader,” says Scott Lorenz, president of Westwind Communications, a firm specializing in law practice public relations and marketing.
Reasons for a press release include a new attorney or legal professional joining the practice, awards or accolades an attorney has received, new practice offerings, new office location, and more. Assuming the news has value, spread the word.
And while you’re at it, make sure you distribute the press release widely. Use an online distribution network, like PRWeb or PRNewswire, but also send your news directly to local newspapers and information outlets. Doing so may result in an article about your practice.
Contribute an article to the local newspaper. A press release may get others to write your story, but don’t overlook offering one of your practice’s legal experts as an author. Choose a hot legal topic, one that an attorney from your practice has knowledge of and can provide commentary on, and approach the local newspaper about contributing an article on the topic. In lieu of payment for the article, ask that a photo of the author and his or her short bio appear with the piece.
Create a blog. A blog at your practice’s website that speaks to client legal concerns can serve as a valuable resource, while generating traffic to the site. It can be written by one or more of the practice’s legal experts.
Contribute to a website. Legal websites and general interest websites that cover legal topics are often seeking credentialed experts to share information. Conduct a search using Google and explore sites that might be a fit for the experts at your practice.
Become active on social media. By joining LinkedIn groups and participating in group discussions, attorneys can showcase their expertise. Encourage them to leverage LinkedIn to share information and ideas, build professional community, and, as a result, promote the practice.
Twitter also offers opportunities for sharing and image-building. Although the practice may already be tweeting, creating separate accounts for attorneys will call attention to these experts as individuals and help to position them as thought leaders.
Present at a webinar. Publishers, media companies, professional associations, and other organizations offer webinars to their members. Webinar presenters generally choose the topic, or at least have a say in the direction it will take. Because webinars tend to get heavily promoted, a presenter gets a lot of publicity. And of course the webinar itself provides exposure.
Speak at conferences. Sure, professional conferences allow for networking. But speaking at a conference provides the ultimate opportunity to be seen—and heard. Like webinars, conferences are heavily promoted, which means your legal expert’s name, photo, and bio will appear in marketing material. This, along with the presentation itself, can generate a great deal of interest.
“Conference speakers enjoy many benefits, including introductions to new colleagues which often result in new business,” says Anna Brekka, principal of Brekka Consulting, a B2B marketing and events planning firm.
Contribute to law journals and legal publications. It’s important to stay connected to the legal community, as colleagues are an excellent source of client referrals. When attorneys from your practice contribute to law journals and legal publications it brings notoriety to the practice, and keeps these experts top of mind in the legal community.
If one of your practice’s attorneys publishes in a prestigious journal or publication, you can build on this recognition by‑you guessed it‑issuing a press release.
Which raises an important point: None of these activities should take place in a vacuum. Issue a press release to announce an upcoming webinar or conference presentation. After the event, use social media to link to the archived presentation. Similarly, link to a published article within a blog post.
Find ways to use as many available outlets as possible to create buzz with attention to the main message: Your practice has dynamic legal experts who are thought leaders. Make people take notice and watch the practice grow.