Occasionally, an attorney who has been in practice for more than a decade will say to me, "Joanna, I'm not social media savvy or good at marketing, like the younger folks are. So I can't really exploit today's digital marketing like lawyers who are ten years my junior."
My response? I point out that they aren't entirely wrong (yes, perhaps they aren't as social media savvy) but they aren't entirely right (they can exploit digital marketing). If one accepts that social media - or any kind of marketing and communications - is about the story, then I posit this:
More experienced attorneys are actually in an ideal place for marketing. You just need to get your firm's stories out there.
Attorney with years of experience have a broader and deeper library of interesting cases. The sheer variety and complexity of the human experience that percolate within their client files make not only for interesting reading, but reflect one key reality: if you're good at what you do as an attorney, and you've been doing it for a while, you have content that potential clients want to read.
And we all know that "Content is King", to quote the highly prescient Mr Bill Gates (who first used the phrase in 1996).
Think about it: how many times have family and friends gaped, laughed or teared over one of your work stories? Certainly, you you don't divulge client names or details, but you leave the human core of your stories intact. That core is about how you serve your clients, and protect their interests and in some cases, their loved ones and even themselves. And as all lawyers (and former lawyer know), fact can often be stranger than fiction.
Which can make for some compelling story-telling.
But it's not really story-telling, in the sense that it's not fiction. It's about who you are - your brand - and what you do - your professional expertise.
Articles or blogs about how you handled cases, as well as client testimonials, all help to form a positive impression -- that you are a trustworthy and highly-skilled attorney.
So many people have a strange ambivalence about attorneys - they fear that we are aggressive, and intellectual snobs, and yet they desperately need help. Little wonder that there is a wall that often separates lawyers from those who did not have the advantage of our legal education.
That walls comes down, and any hesitation to reach out to you dissipates, when the content about you is credible and enjoyable to read. Good content reassures and educates your potential client about your skills and your approachability. It does so clearly and convincingly. If you have good stories to tell about your track record, they are your ammunition for today's marketing tools and triggers. Whether it's a social media post, an advertorial, a presentation, a blog, a video, an interview in the local press, you have all you need to exploit today's tools. It's substance, not form (as my law professors used to say). Marketing tools such as social media, Facebook advertising and SEO are just that - tools. They are tools to get your tales of triumph out before a potential client.
As for where you should start, try starting with one case win, and add another to your site every fortnight:. The following are pointers on what each write-up should contain:
- Paint the basic scenario (without divulging client details). Bring out the human element of the story and how you understood the client's anxieties and the reassurance you provided
- Include key difficulties and challenges that made it a tricky case
- Set out the broad strategy you employed to help your client and explain its significance to the case
- Detail the outcome and lessons learned
- Keep it all under 1,000 words, but more than a couple of hundred
- Avoid legalese and use lay language
. . . . .