Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 02.24.12

A digest of social media “how-to” advice and tips for legal marketing.

Content Marketing for Lawyers: A Timeline of Selling Through Storytelling

The long history and distinguished heritage of content marketing is laid out in this informative and entertaining infographic from the Content Marketing Institute. As a current subscriber of the genius LEGO Club Jr., I was particularly interested to see reference to its forebear.

In case Joe Pulizzi comes across this shout out, one milestone I would like to see in a future iteration is the first “whitepaper” used for marketing purposes.


 History of Content Marketing Infographic

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content marketing
information from the
Content Marketing Institute.

Content Marketing for Lawyers: 22 Simple Techniques to Beat Writer’s Block [Infographic]

Not every blog post can be a magnum opus, particularly with the brisk throughput requirements of content marketing.

Practicing what they preach (see tip #22), the Copyblogger team have created an infographic that reminds us how interesting and useful content can arise from simple, repeatable techniques. My personal favorite is #4 — the interview — because it makes for great posts and great networking.

What do you do to conquer blogger’s block?

 

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content - Infographic
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Content Curation for Law Firms: One E-mail a Week Could Transform Your Social Media Training

Before you launched your firm’s social media platforms — blog, LinkedIn, Twitter — you made sure to conduct a training session for the attorneys and staff you’d being relying on to create content and engage in conversations. You might have even brought in an outside speaker to reinforce and expand on your guidance.

A few months later, the early enthusiasm has died off. Authors are struggling with ideas for their next blog post, LinkedIn profiles are complete but networking on the site is dormant, and Twitter just doesn’t make sense to anyone.

So what’s the next step? More training? And how much training will be required going forward?

Maintenance Mode

If reality TV weight loss programs have taught us nothing else, the gains achieved during a period of intensive training can quickly reverse without consistent ongoing support, encouragement and self-help resources. As a hedge against backsliding and “yo-yo” social media participation between training sessions, try a simple content curation technique that reminds, encourages and enables your team: a weekly digest of links to “how to” posts and videos.

  • DIY curation — A robust RSS feed is a curator’s best friend, providing a continual stream of fresh ideas from your favorite content creators. Its downside, of course, is continual vigilance. That RSS mailbox can fill up quickly, and it takes time to sift the wheat from the chaff.
  • Curating the curators — Why add to your workload when plenty of people are already curating the best “how to” tips for you — for free. Just subscribe to a few sites that regularly post lists of links to useful and interesting posts. “Fetching Friday” is a weekly feature on kikolani.com comprised of links to noteworthy posts from around the interwebs on blogging, business, SEO and social media . My own twice-weekly “Endeavor to Be Useful” feature takes a similar approach, but focuses more on law firm marketing. Also worth following is the LexisNexis Best Practices in Lawyer Blogs weekly e-newsletter.
What are your favorite sites for content curation and “how-to” tips?

 

 

 

Websites for Law Firms: A Graphic Argument for Hosting Your Blog on Your Website

For the typical small or solo law firm, it does not make sense to host a standalone blog and a website. Websites that include a blog component typically perform better and require less time and expense.

As Jennifer Bourn succinctly framed it last year:

  • Your blog allows you to easily publish new content your site on a regular basis, it is built to be search engine friendly, and it is simply easier (and cheaper) to manage one site instead of two!
  • It is much easier and less confusing for your prospects and leads to find you, contact you, interact with you, and buy from you when you are directing them to just one website.
  • You typically don’t change the sales content on your main website pages like your about page and your services pages, so by keeping your blog as part of your main website, the static pages of your site benefit from the optimization and fresh content published on your blog.

A new infographic from IMPACT Branding & Design breaks that argument down step by step, and adds an exclamation point:

A blog on your website generates 400 percent more indexed pages (opportunities to be found through SEO) and 55 percent more traffic.

 

The Inbound Marketing Process Infographic

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 02.17.12

A digest of social media “how-to” advice and tips for legal marketing.

Straight Talk from General Counsels on How to Win Their Business

Far too much of corporate law practice marketing is predicated on what the firm wants potential clients to know, rather than what general counsels are actually looking for and how they conduct their searches. I came across a gem of a video on the Corporate Counsel section of Law.com that provides a glimpse of what general counsels actually care about when identifying and vetting outside firms.

  • Strong word-of-mouth is a great equalizer; gets you on the short list.

“Be good at what you do. We tend to interview the people we’ve heard about a lot, and we’ve heard about them a lot because they’ve had success in the past. And it doesn’t mean that we’re the kind of company that defers to the absolutely “blue chip” [or] “name brand” in a certain area because that’s an attorney the board will be comfortable with…If you are good at what you’re doing, whether you’re small, new emerging, well-known, we tend to be able to find you.”

Eric Whitaker, General Counsel, Tesla Motors

 

  • It doesn’t matter how good you are if you’re also an ass.

“Can I get along with this person, will they get along with my [internal] clients? Getting along with me is important, but it’s much more important to get along with the clients, because the clients are going to see you in the long term, every day basis. If the people who have to work with you on a daily basis in that transaction can’t stand you, that’s not going to reflect well on me nor is it going to get you repeat business.”

Robert Shives, Senior Director & Associate General Counsel, Fujitsu

 

  • Forget quirky videos and personal narratives; make website attorney bios more search-friendly.

“I absolutely check out bios, because we are frequently vetting new counsel. I look at representative clients, I look at representative matters. One of the things that makes me crazy is when the sites aren’t easy to maneuver. So how you’ve coded your website to be able to sort. Try and do it yourself, as if you’re an outside counsel trying to get to a person with this expertise in this location.”

Renee Lawson, Associate General Counsel, Zynga

 

  • Think rifle, not shotgun.

“One of the things that’s sort of interesting is that a lot of firms describe [themselves] as the everything to everyone. I’m usually looking for something very specific, so if you are an IP/anti-trust/transactional/product liability/labor and employment/estates and trust lawyer – which I have seen – you’re probably not the attorney I’m going to hire. So think about how you’re portraying yourself to the outside world.”

Renee Lawson, Associate General Counsel, Zynga

 

“It’s a credibility issue as well. When one sees that long list of “you’re an expert in every field,” you just pass. You take a pass on that person.”

Megan Pierson, Senior University Counsel, Stanford University

 

  • You’re competing against in-sourcing.

“I hire a lawyer and expect that they’re going to give me 2,000 hours a year for a $200,000 salary — I’m paying them $100 an hour. In reality, if you’re working with me at a high growth company you’re working 3,000 hours a year, so it’s even less [per hour]. My blended rate from law firms for the most part — big law firms — is still $400-$500 an hour.

“It’s simply a situation where, for the most part, law firms have priced themselves out of a whole bunch of work I used to have them do. It’s that simple. When I started in ’99 I would send contracts to law firms, I’d send license agreements to law firms, I’d send some employment issues to law firms. I just don’t do it anymore.”

“If work is going to repeat at all, I’ll bring the expertise  in-house. My in-house teams have simply gotten much bigger, and my outside counsel use has gone down, and it’s a direct result of the economics of it.”

Eric Whitaker, General Counsel, Tesla Motors

  • Billing reviews can be moments of truth.

“I don’t bring everything up with my outside counsel, but I do bring certain things up because we are early in a relationship and I want to set expectations. If I ask you to look at something on a bill, I expect you to look at it, and I expect you to get back to me promptly. And frankly if it even has the slightest appearance of being inflated, wrong, I expect you to say, “I’ve taken care of it,” and I expect you to do it right away.

“If I have to battle for a write-off with you, after I’ve given you the courtesy to bring it to your attention and reviewed your bills that you should have reviewed, you’re not on my list anymore.”

Renee Lawson, Associate General Counsel, Zynga

 

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 02.15.12

A digest of social media “how-to” advice and tips for legal marketing.

Law Students: 3 Reasons Why Journalism and Social Media Are Lousy “Safety” Careers

It’s too late for some grads, but it’s finally dawning on current law school students that there might not be a job as a lawyer for them when they finish.

Pragmatic law students are keeping their eyes on the prize (a career in law), but also identifying alternative career paths where their training will be valued and utilized. Despite what law school placement offices, purveyors of hosted blogging services for lawyers, and the publication that runs the law school ranking cartel say, pursuing a career in journalism or social media after law school would be like doubling down on a bet in order to win back half your money.

  1. Going from bad to worse: There are fewer salaried journalism jobs than there are salaried law jobs, and journalism’s numbers are declining faster. The few remaining journalism jobs are likely to be in niche segments where a legal background is not an advantage.
  2. Stiff competition: An interest in writing, and some desultory blogging and tweeting will not be enough to get you interviewed, let alone get a job. Even graduating journalism and public relations undergrads will have more direct experience with basic skills like writing for daily deadlines, knowledge of website development (HTML, XML, CSS) and social media monitoring platforms like Radian6. You’ll also be competing with unemployed/underemployed mid- and senior-level practitioners who will have even more experience and insights.
  3. Adjust your salary expectations downward: As the infographic below illustrates, salaries for entry-level social media jobs (without relevant work experience you’ll likely only be considered for those) don’t pay well, and salaries don’t ramp up into even the low six figures for several years (and that’s if you’re lucky). With undergrad AND law school debt to service, you might not be able to afford to chase your back-up dream.


One Bright Spot

As content marketing picks up speed in legal marketing, the demand for legal content — and therefore ghostwriters/paid contributors — is growing. Judging by what I’ve heard from former lawyers who are now full-time legal website copywriters, they get to do what they love for better pay than toughing it out as a solo.

 

Social Media for Law Firms: Ignite Internal Collaboration with Yammer

On last Friday’s #LegalChat on Twitter, the topic of using social media for internal collaboration came up. Several of us mentioned Yammer as a platform worth considering for large and multi-location firms.

Although the companies are not affiliated, a simple way to describe Yammer is a private version of Twitter.

“Enterprise social networking empowers employees to be more productive and successful by enabling them to collaborate easily, make smarter, faster decisions, and self-organize into teams to take on any business challenge. This new way of working drives business alignment and agility, reduces cycle times, increases employee engagement and improves relationships with customers and partners.”

If you’re open to a SaaS solution for enhancing organizational effectiveness and improving client service, Yammer offers some powerful capabilities:

  1. Connect subject matter experts and facilitate real-time online conversations across the firm.
  2. Create a dedicated team workspace for a matter, a practice area or a cross-functional group.
  3. Use it with, or as an alternative to, a content management system to share, store, and manage documents, presentations, images and videos.
  4. Create a secure external network to communicate/collaborate with clients and vendors — fewer phone calls.
  5. Stay connected through mobile devices — just like Twitter.
I expect data security paranoids will dump on this idea, but as social media-based solutions for law practice management go, Yammer is pretty slick and worth considering.
I’d love to hear from any law firms currently using or considering Yammer.