As we’re all coming to terms with COVID-19, we’ve had to adapt to a new way of working and socializing (i.e. at a distance). For those lawyers whose primary form of business development is face-to-face lunches, networking events, CLE presentations, and the like, it’s time to develop a Plan B.
Content marketing is tailor-made for these times. Content marketing covers things like blogging, social media, email newsletters, podcasts, e-books, videos, webinars, and other marketing efforts aimed at informing rather than selling.
Content marketing is a great way to bridge the gap between personal networking efforts. When personal networking isn’t in the cards because we’re trying to contain a deadly virus, however, it may be the one of the only things you can do to stay on your network’s radar for the next few weeks or, heaven forbid, months.
At the risk of sounding overly lofty, though, this isn’t just about business development. Lawyers hold a special place in our society. You’re the ones we call when we’re in trouble; when we want to stay out of trouble; or when we want to right a wrong.
So, trust me, there are people out there waiting to hear from you.
What Should Lawyers be Writing and Speaking About Right Now?
Chances are, you’ve already received multiple anxious emails and phone calls from clients, so you can start there. In general, however, anticipate your clients’ questions and seek to answer them. Better yet, answer the questions they don’t even know to ask yet.
Employment lawyers: What are employers’ obligation under the law (something that’s in flux right now because of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act [FFCRA]). What about work-from-home considerations?
Insurance lawyers: Dig into what policies do and don’t provide to businesses facing massive business interruption.
Real estate and construction lawyers: What could the coronavirus do to your clients’ projects and what rights and responsibilities do builders, developers, financial institutions, etc., have in the event of pandemic-caused work slowdowns?
Bankruptcy lawyers: For personal bankruptcy lawyers, what do current bankruptcy laws say about whether debt due to medical bills or income losses caused by the pandemic can be discharged? For those who represent corporate debtors or creditors, what do they need to know about bankruptcy laws as we head into uncertain times?
You get the picture. There is bound to be a pandemic angle for almost every practice area.
Remember: You’re not writing a sales pitch. You’re sharing real information based on your decades of experience and top-notch legal brain. The only sales pitch should be the implicit “Why, yes, I do know what I’m talking about.”
By sharing your wisdom and expertise with anxious businesses and individuals, you will become a source of genuine value. Will that immediately turn into business? Maybe not immediately, but your efforts to inform and illuminate will pay dividends well into the future.
What Do I Do with My Informative Article?
If your firm has a blog, publish it there. If it doesn’t, publish it as an article on your LinkedIn profile. Before you publish, consider submitting it to a legal or industry publication first. Then, once it publishes there, you can re-publish it on your blog or LinkedIn profile (assuming the publication gives you permission, which most do). The Lawyer’s Guide to Publishing LinkedIn Articles can walk you through publishing on LinkedIn, and Legal Blogging for Business Development is a deep dive on creating and maintaining your blog.
Promote it on your social media: Share it to your LinkedIn profile and, if you have one, your Twitter feed. If you’re on other social media channels, feel free to share it there, if appropriate. For guidance, check out Social Media for Lawyers: Looking Good, Doing It Right.
Don’t forget email: If you don’t already have a regular email newsletter (and you should), this is a good excuse to make one. Here’s How to Build a Top-Flight Law Firm Newsletter.
Those are the three most obvious and cost-effective ways to promote your article, but there are multiple ways to recycle and upcycle that content:
- Pitch yourself as a podcast guest
- Create a webinar or YouTube video
- Import it to a PowerPoint and upload it to LinkedIn SlideShare
- Write a more comprehensive how-to and offer it as a downloadable PDF
- Condense it into an infographic
Can I Write About Anything Other Than the Coronavirus Right Now?
Yes. Your firm’s blog and social media feed does not have to be all coronavirus all the time. After all, your clients are dealing with issues other than coronavirus, so you should be speaking to those other concerns as well.
But, use discretion. Read the room. If you have some “fun” firm news or a more light-hearted idea for a blog post, err on the side of caution and don’t publish anything that could come across as tone deaf or insensitive.
Unfortunately, if public health experts are right, we’re in for several weeks of bad news, maybe more. However, lawyers should use this time to share their knowledge, which both helps inform their network and aids their ultimate business development efforts.
Amy Boardman Hunt is all about helping lawyers find their voice and showcase their expertise. When she’s not doing that, she’s trying to find great hiking spots in Dallas. If you know of any – or you need a legal marketing muse – drop her a line at email@example.com.