Content Creation

Two Essential Elements of a Successful Law Firm Event

Two Essential Elements of a Successful Law Firm Event

Spare Your Clients another Evening of Cheese Squares and Chardonnay

Hosting networking, educational and social events is one of the best tactics to strengthen relationships with existing clients and establish connections with new ones. Events offer opportunities to engage on a deeper, more personal level, which is key to forming trust and laying the foundation for business development.

Since these benefits are relatively obvious, almost every law firm invests in some form of event planning. This means current and prospective clients get bombarded with invitations to law firm events that sound pretty similar. Despite making significant investments, many firms don’t get the ROI they’re hoping for because clients simply can’t stomach another evening of cheese squares and chardonnay.

The moniker of thought leadership cannot be bought, it must earned through hard work. The work primarily involved in becoming a thought leader is the sharing of compelling, interesting, and opinion-shifting insights in the marketplace of ideas. Some thought leaders write. Others speak. Most do both.

Thought leaders come in all shapes and sizes—from bombastic, colorful extroverts most comfortable on stage, to the introverts among us who prefer the quiet solitude of a keyboard and a cup of coffee.

Want to Become a Thought Leader? You Need to Build a Platform

Want to Become a Thought Leader? You Need to Build a Platform

Most sophisticated professional services providers, such as lawyers, consultants, and accountants, aspire to be thought of as thought leaders. Thought leaders grab attention. They shape the narrative. Their ideas drive action. And their reputations lead to business opportunities. They’re trusted, admired, and sought after.

The moniker of thought leadership cannot be bought, it must earned through hard work. The work primarily involved in becoming a thought leader is the sharing of compelling, interesting, and opinion-shifting insights in the marketplace of ideas. Some thought leaders write. Others speak. Most do both.

Thought leaders come in all shapes and sizes—from bombastic, colorful extroverts most comfortable on stage, to the introverts among us who prefer the quiet solitude of a keyboard and a cup of coffee.

Build Your Network…But Also Build a “Scene”

Build Your Network…But Also Build a “Scene”

While accepting the Nobel Prize for literature, Ernest Hemingway said, “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.” But did Hemingway really do his best work in isolation? It depends on how you look at it. Surely he spent considerable time alone behind the typewriter. But away from his manuscripts, Hemingway intentionally immersed himself among peers from whom he drew inspiration.

For example, in the 1920s he moved to Paris to join a scene of expatriate writers and artists, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, who had taken up residence in the Left Bank. Members of this “Lost Generation” hung out at cafes, argued about politics, caroused late into the night on the streets of Paris, and produced some of the greatest works of literature of the 20th century.

The Best Form of Legal Marketing: Building Influence and Authority Online by Demonstrating Thought Leadership

The Best Form of Legal Marketing: Building Influence and Authority Online by Demonstrating Thought Leadership

In his classic book, Influence, psychologist Robert Cialdini identifies “authority” as one of the primary principles of persuasion. From a police officer in uniform, to a doctor in a lab coat, to a professor at a lectern, Cialdini explains that we tend to listen to and respect those who possess the titles and trappings of authority.

But things have changed in the nearly 35 years since Influence was first published. Thanks to the Internet, we now have much more to go on to determine if someone is an expert. For example, 30 years ago a Rolex watch, Brooks Brothers suit, and framed diploma hanging on the wall may have been enough to convince a prospective client that a lawyer was an expert in his or her field. Today, these trappings are far less likely to influence behavior and lead to new business.

Why? Because lawyers rarely have an opportunity to display these symbols of authority in-person unless they’ve already demonstrated expertise online. A prospective client’s first touch-point with a lawyer is not in his office—it’s on Google, on LinkedIn, or on his website bio. A prospective client wants to learn what a lawyer has to say online, and what others have to say about her, before sitting down face-to-face.

Associates, Don’t Let Salary Hikes Become Your Faustian Bargain

Associates, Don’t Let Salary Hikes Become Your Faustian Bargain

In 1978, rock star Alice Cooper appeared in a bizarre episode of “The Muppets” in which he plays the role of agent of the devil. He offers Kermit, Miss Piggy and the other Muppets “fabulous riches and worldwide fame” in exchange for signing a contract relinquishing their souls. (Only Gonzo expresses interest, but he can’t find a pen.)

This “deal with the devil” cultural motif is common in books, movies and TV shows in which temptation is dangled before protagonists, and plot lines explore the human capacity to resist the allure of Faustian bargains.

This summer, a blockbuster drama is playing out across websites and around water coolers in the legal industry. Milbank moved first to raise first-year associate salaries. Cravath upped the ante by surpassing Milbank’s bump and sweetening the pot with increases for senior associates. Simpson Thacher threw special summer bonuses into the mix. Milbank then matched Cravath’s pay scale and announced its own bonuses for associates in good standing.

Video Marketing Strategy: What Law Firms Need to Know (Part 1)

Video Marketing Strategy: What Law Firms Need to Know (Part 1)

This post originally appeared on JD Supra.

For many law firm marketers, video is a topic they would rather not discuss.

It is often regarded as a high-cost, uncertain-ROI endeavor that is difficult to master and integrate into a firm’s broader marketing strategy. 

But understanding why and how video can and should be embraced by law firms to increase brand awareness, generate website traffic, burnish thought leadership, and support business development efforts is an important discussion that every law firm marketing department should be engaging in. Why? Because video, unlike many other fickle marketing trends, is not going away. In fact, video is only increasing in importance.

Five Best Practices for Law Firm Content Marketing

Five Best Practices for Law Firm Content Marketing

This post originally appeared on Attorney at Work.

Blockbuster became dominant in the video rental business by offering convenience and selection — more stores and more titles than its competitors. Then Netflix came along offering even more convenience — more selection delivered right to your doorstep — as well as cheaper prices. It became even more dominant by streaming content straight into living rooms.

What has allowed Netflix to avoid becoming “Netflixed” by its competition is not convenience or pricing, though. It’s content, as Netflix invests billions into original programming.

When it comes to capturing consumers’ limited, closely guarded attention, content remains king. The same principle applies for law firm websites.

Five Ways to Build Your Personal Brand in Today’s Digital World

Five Ways to Build Your Personal Brand in Today’s Digital World

In 2010, 24-year-old violinist Lindsey Stirling appeared on America’s Got Talent. She was eliminated in the quarter finals. According to Wikipedia, judge Piers Morgan told her: “You’re not untalented, but you’re not good enough to get away with flying through the air and trying to play the violin at the same time.”

Stirling later wrote on her blog: “I was devastated at the results … It was painful, and a bit humiliating; however, I had to relearn where it was that I drew my strength.”

Never heard of Lindsey Stirling? Perhaps choreographed violin performances aren’t your thing, but she’s crafted a big and profitable niche in the ensuing years since America’s Got Talent judge Sharon Osbourne told her: “What you're doing is not enough to fill a theater in Vegas.”

Content Marketing: An Essential Tool for Legal Business Development

Content Marketing: An Essential Tool for Legal Business Development

One of the challenges that most lawyers face is the sales and marketing rollercoaster. Business slows down and business development picks up. Then new work comes rolling in, and work product takes precedence over business development. And so on.

There’s no getting around the fact that selling is required to sustain and expand existing relationships, and to develop new ones. The problem is that—let’s face it—hardly anyone (especially most lawyers) enjoys selling. But rest easy because there’s a way to sell that doesn’t involve cold calling, glad handing and small talk. At least not in the traditional sense. One of the most important tools that lawyers can use to achieve business development success is content marketing.

Consumers of legal services desire, above all else, expertise. Unless expertise can be conveyed and validated through referral or reputation, it must be demonstrated through thought leadership expressed in the marketplace of ideas (i.e., content marketing). Generating and disseminating compelling content builds trust and awareness, and positions the content creator as an expert. It’s the “long game” with a focus on relationship building, not the hard sell.

The Power of a Personal Brand—Free Chapter Preview from "The Essential Associate"

The Power of a Personal Brand—Free Chapter Preview from "The Essential Associate"

For those who haven’t had a chance to check out my new book, The Essential Associate, I’m sharing the full text of Chapter 8—The Power of a Personal Brand. While the book is geared towards associates, I believe the lessons discussed in this chapter across experience levels. Enjoy! And don’t forget, if you are interested in purchasing the book for yourself or your colleagues, it’s available on my site, www.theessentialassociate.com, and on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats.

Chapter 8 – The Power of a Personal Brand

The problem with most business development advice is that it’s tactical and not strategic. Do this. Don’t do that. Try this software. Dabble in that social media platform. Tactics are important but only in the context of a larger strategy. And the ultimate strategy for a young lawyer hoping to build a sustainable business development pipeline is to build a strong personal brand.