Archives for November 2011

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 11.30.11


What if Shakers Blogged?

Maybe it’s zeitgeist, or maybe I’m just noticing more because it’s on my mind, but I’m finding a lot of fodder lately for my mission to motivate legal marketers to simplify their social media and networking activities to make them both useful and beautiful. How would Shakers design a social media strategy?

The first item was a post on the reliably interesting and and useful Social Media Today blog about focusing your social marketing efforts on one or two platforms/activities that you are most familiar/comfortable with and building organically from there. The post itself was a model of less is more. A few simple ideas, well-framed and concisely delivered.

The next item is brutally simple but a great forcing function for productivity: How to consistently write a blog post in 20 minutes or less.

Consistent with that last point, my time is up.

What to Do When a Reporter Calls

Yes, there are still a few traditional media outlets out there that actually matter, and yes, sometimes reporters call you out of the blue. Are you prepared?

Whether you’re a solo who answers his/her own phone or a small- to mid-sized firm with the good fortune (and good sense) to have a marketing and communications professional on staff, following a few simple steps will help you manage media interactions with less stress and greater effectiveness.

  1. Have a single point of contact for media. Unless the reporter is a personal friend and everyone who answers phones knows that, all media calls should be directed to one or two designated spokespeople for vetting and disposition.
  2. Don’t panic. When an unsolicited media call comes in, don’t automatically treat it as urgent — even if the caller insists he is “on deadline.” Always vet the caller and the request before  deciding whether to respond at all.
  3. Trust, but verify. If they’re asking to speak with a specific person, always make sure to dig deeper about the nature of what they want to discuss, and what their deadline is. This will help you determine whether and how to respond, and will allow you gather background in advance of the return call or e-mail message.
  4. “Let me call you back.” Whether it’s a favorable opportunity or crisis communications, it’s always best to make time to prepare.
  5. Promise nothing. Unless you’re certain that someone in the firm will want to take part in an interview, indicate you’re taking the inquiry seriously but that you’re not committing to anything (e.g. “I don’t have any information on that right now, but I will look into it and get back to you.”
  6. “No comment” is not an option. “I don’t have any information to share with you right now” or “We do not comment on rumors” make the same point with fewer stonewalling overtones.
  7. Put it in writing. Get both phone and e-mail contact info, and confirm name spellings. You can use that information in Google searches to help you prep. Also, e-mailing your responses reduces the risk of being misquoted or misrepresented, and it cuts down on phone tag.

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 11.25.11

New Holiday Tradition: The “One Fruitcake” Theory of Social Media Marketing

I first published this recipe last year, and judging by my long tail traffic numbers, folks seemed to enjoy it.  So I’ve decided to make it an annual holiday tradition.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Even accomplished chefs are always on the lookout for new and exciting dishes. New techniques and novel applications of classics. Interesting ingredients and unexpected combinations. All in the service of surprising and delighting customers, and advancing the profession.

Sadly, social marketing bloggers seem content to warm up the same basic dish over and over again, just seasoned and garnished a bit differently.

It is said that Johnny Carson first posited that there is actually only one fruitcake in the world; it’s just passed around a lot. You see where I’m going with this…

The basic recipe for a blog post on how to be successful in social marketing:


  1. Generalized invocation of social marketing’s importance
  2. Quote by social media and/or marketing “guru” (preferably Chris Brogan or Seth Godin)
  3. Statistics on blog readership and the number of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn subscribers
  4. Authenticity bullet point
  5. Listening bullet point
  6. “Join the conversation” bullet point
  7. “Content is King” bullet point
  8. Thought leadership bullet point
  9. SEO bullet point
  10. ROI bullet point
  11. Reference to parties who “get it” (i.e. enlightened heroes) and/or “don’t get it” (i.e. willfully ignorant objects of pity and derision who need your help and mentorship)
  12. Links to reporters, association execs and conference planners you want to suck up to
  13. Warning about the perils of not embracing social marketing
  14. Local seasoning (e.g. reference to the intended audience’s specific challenges/opportunities)

Cooking instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients
  2. Whip into a froth
  3. Serve — over and over again.

Come on “Top Social Media Chef” wannabes, here’s a “quickfire” challenge for you: Reinterpret this bland staple of social marketing blog posts and make a signature dish.

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 11.23.11

Visual Storytelling: What Other Professional Services Firms Can Teach Lawyers About Video

As much as lawyers fret about the rules of professional conduct as they relate to social media, those limitations don’t hold a candle to the strictures financial services marketers have to navigate.

And yet, they manage splendidly.

Ivy Funds and Henderson Global Investors worked with visual storytellers at About Face Media to build a library of mini-documentaries that tell their stories authentically and in context. Not scripted; not sugar-coated. People telling stories about how they think and work. Authentic.


What professional services categories do you watch for inspiration? What firms have you “borrowed” ideas from?

Visual Storytelling: 3 Powerful Attorney Bios

Most  attorney bio videos have a long way to go before they start resonating with potential clients on an intellectual and emotional level only possible through visual storytelling.

While the current vogue in legal marketing is the “good enough quality in high volume” approach, some professional firms are investing in powerful visual narratives that make memorable, durable connections with viewers.

About Face Media, creators and producers of short-form documentaries for online and social media marketing, developed a series of biographical vignettes for San Francisco law firm Howard Rice. Without expounding a bulleted list of talking points, each video conveys the firm’s values, as well as the individual subject’s capabilities and character.

Do you think a documentary-style attorney bios would elevate your brand and generate inquiries, or is a consistent output of basic, topical videos more important for your business development model? Do you use both?

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 11.18.11

  • 7 ideas to turn PowerPoint slides into social media marketing gold | {grow} 
  • 5 Ways to Improve Local Search Results for Business | Duct Tape Marketing
  • Hubspot’s Greatest Hits: Top 10 Hits From The Superstars of Web Marketing Research | Orbit Media Studios
  • 5 Productivity Tools by @liveurlove | Spin Sucks 
  • 5 Tips for Using the New LinkedIn Company Pages | Social Media Examiner
  • 1 Important Thing to Know About Getting Clients Through Your Blog | For Bloggers by Bloggers
  • Internal Branding for Professional Services Firms: 10 Key Success Strategies | Hinge

Rethinking the Attorney Bio, Part 1: Song of Myself

The pivotal role of attorney bios on law firm websites is well-established and much-discussed. It seems, though, that bios are still mired in a “bolt on” strategy — keeping the basic narrative framework and visual presentation the same, just adding features like videos.

To fully unlock the persuasive power of attorney bios, it’s necessary to craft them like a modern storyteller or bard would. That’s why I was captivated by Kate Battle’s recent post “Creating a One-Sheet for Your Law Firm.” Battle writes:

“In the music industry (as well as other industries), there is something called a one-sheet that bands use for marketing. Back in my college days, I spent a lot of time creating these for record labels and bands. As the name implies, a one-sheet is a one-page document that quickly gives people an introduction to the band, what it sounds like and how to contact the right people for shows, interviews or albums.”

“A few weeks ago, a musician friend of mine asked me if I could send him my one-sheet so he can share it with other musicians who might be interested in my legal services. That made me think: Just because I can’t carry a tune doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have a quick and simple way to share information about my business.”


Rather than asking people to effectively read your resume, the “one-sheet” approach gives busy people with a lot of options enough information to develop an active interest and contact you directly.

Battle provides a format to create a simple and effective one-sheet for a law firm, but the same principles and techniques will work for attorney bios:

  • Start with a simple header, listing the name of your law firm, attorneys, practice areas, pricing system and contact info.
  • In paragraph one, give basic information about your firm history and list a few things that make it unique. In other words, what makes your law firm different from others?
  • In paragraph two, expand on your firm’s bio by including more information about your attorneys, recent accomplishments and past successes.
  • As with a band’s one-page, use the next paragraph to share a bit of buzz about your firm. Was your firm recently covered in a news story? Are clients saying great things about your firm? Use this part of your one-page to share a few news bites and testimonials.
  • Close out with information on where consumers can find out more about your firm, such as links to articles, a list of your recent publications, and information on upcoming speaking engagements or law firm events.
  • Finally, hit save and print a few copies. Anytime you discover a new referral source, be sure to send a copy so they can easily tell others why your firm is the right firm for their referrals.
How do you tell your own story in your website bio?