To use LinkedIn effectively you don’t need to use the whole platform all at once. Start slowly. Get comfortable. Gain confidence. Aim for sequential growth that eases you into the site’s many tools. All you really need to know are the fundamentals.
There is a danger in conflating sales with marketing, or considering them the same function, when really they are distinct activities and requisite skill sets. But there is an equal danger in keeping the functions entirely separate, which is often where both programs (sales and marketing) come up short, with departments at large companies pointing figures and making excuses.
You’ve read the articles. You’ve heard the marketing strategists. And, yes, you’ve undoubtedly seen the videos extolling the virtues of video marketing. Add our voice to the chorus: Video should definitely be part of your professional services’ firm’s marketing mix. Why? Here are a few compelling reasons why video is critical to reaching your audience and growing your firm’s brand.
This post originally appeared on Attorney at Work.
If you are an established lawyer looking to grow your practice, or a young lawyer hoping to build a book of business for the long term, you should give serious consideration to writing a book. Why? There are few, if any, better marketing assets than a book with your name on the cover.
As a lawyer, there are two steps to business development. First, you need to generate opportunities, then you need to capitalize on them. Writing a book helps with both. Here’s how.
At the leading edge of each of each new technology—from the Internet, to blockchain, to artificial intelligence—a pattern repeats itself. Every “next big thing” is over-hyped and oversold. A wave of momentum builds, companies and capital plunge in, the wave crashes, and a few participants emerge to define the market moving forward. Many technologies eventually become “big things,” but often not in ways we originally envision.
One thing we can say for certain—because we’re witnessing it before our eyes—is that the aggregate effect of technological advancements over the last twenty years is the leveling of the playing field when it comes to availability of information. We have moved from a world of information asymmetry to one of information parity due to the digitization of data accessible at the click of a button. In this word, yesterday’s “experts,” defined as those who held troves of data in their heads, are less valuable. Whatever information they possess about a particular topic is dwarfed by what’s freely available online.
Ever wonder why some writers get all the attention online? Their posts get shared, their personal brands grow, their email lists swell, and their fortunes rise as their content receives an outsized share of eyeballs.
It’s easy to dismiss their success as luck, by concluding that it resulted from a post going viral (as if hitting “Publish” is the same as pulling the lever on a slot machine), or connections with influencers that others don’t have. Meanwhile, we keep publishing but never gain traction. We preach to the choir of a stagnant email list and collect a few random likes and shares on LinkedIn. As our progress stalls so does our output. Before long, we conclude this “content thing” isn’t worth the time and we go back to billing hours and researching the next marketing trend to chase.
There’s no great dictionary definition of what a personal brand is. One of the most often cited colloquial definitions is from Jeff Bezos. The point Bezos is making is that a personal brand is a story.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
In other words, your personal brand is impacted and shaped by everything you do – and don’t do – to put your best foot forward. If clients are going to buy from you, they need to understand who you are, what you stand for and the value you bring to the table.
Sure, some clients buy sight unseen, but in most lawyers’ experiences those are not the best type of clients. The most meaningful, satisfying, and profitable engagements typically come from situations where clients come to you for a very specific reason. They know who you are, have done their due diligence, and oftentimes have received a referral from someone they trust.
There’s strong alignment between what they need and what you offer.
You can scale a business. We see it all of the time in the tech world, where startups work furiously to scale up and build infrastructure to manage and absorb growth when the time comes.
But can people scale? It’s an issue that many lawyers and other professional service providers struggle with. You’re one person, with tremendous demands on your time due to the needs of your clients, colleagues and firm (not to mention your personal life).
And business development in professional services is still an intensely personal endeavor. You need to be out there, meeting people, developing and spreading your reputation among potential clients and referral sources. It takes time and energy – both resources in short supply for most lawyers.
You can’t clone yourself, so your ability to scale yourself is limited. You can’t be everywhere, focused on everything, all at once.
Or can you?
Your legal career comes down to a choice between two paths. One feels safe, the other fraught with risk. One lies within the comfort zone, the other outside of it. One requires conformity, the other originality. One leads away from fear, the other straight toward it.
Author Steven Pressfield refers to the fear we all feel as the “resistance.” The resistance is what leads us to make decisions based not on what we desire, but rather what we think others desire of us. Pressfield decries this mindset as it robs us of our authentic self: “Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”
The first thing that a lawyer who aspires to build a strong personal brand needs to come to grips with is this: To make an impact you need to start caring more about what potential clients think, than you do worrying about what your colleagues may think. That’s because the pressure to conform in the legal industry is strong.
But to grow you need to change. And to change you need to grow.