This week, attorneys from Texas and across the U.S. received notices about their upcoming listings in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, which represents a prime marketing opportunity that can go far beyond what many lawyers realize.
Attorneys who effectively communicate their Best Lawyers selections and other professional honors stand to reap many more benefits than those who wrongly believe that simply being included represents the finish line.
One key is ensuring that your clients and other important audiences know about the good news without making it all about you. Yes, being selected is no small feat, but no one wants to be perceived as tooting their own horn too loudly. Just as important is getting your message in front of as many people as possible, and a multi-tiered approach is the best way to make it happen.
For the purposes of this article, I’m focusing on things you can do in addition to the promotional vehicles provided by the companies that publish these professional honors. For example, Best Lawyers offers a full suite of products designed to help promote their honorees, from online badges to expanded website profiles and more. Here, I’m talking about other ways to amplify and prolong the good news.
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Step 1: First-level Marketing
Best Lawyers and most other reputable top lawyer listings establish an embargo date for announcing attorneys’ selections. Honoring the embargo is important because publishers of such listings want to avoid being “scooped” before their lists are made public. Some even threaten to rescind selections if an attorney or their law firm jumps the gun.
Once the embargo is lifted, the easiest way to get the promotional ball rolling is to focus on the simple ways to spread the word. Most attorneys will include a mention in their website bio, which is smart, but that should be the starting point and not the end.
Information about your selection also should be included in all the other places where you have an online presence, including bios on such websites as Martindale-Hubbell, Super Lawyers, Avvo, and others.
You also should consider adding the same information to your business cards or firm letterhead, which are just two more ways to make sure your recognition is “findable” by those who you work with or who may consider hiring you in the future.
Step 2: Notify Your Clients
Being included in Best Lawyers or other professional listings is a great way to let your clients know why you are being honored and how that translates to the work you do for them. This can be as simple as an email sent to the firm’s client list, a mention in the firm newsletter, a mailed piece that includes a photo, etc.
I advise attorneys to tell their clients about such honors before issuing a press release or other public notice for a couple of reasons. First, it will make a good impression if clients hear the news directly from you or your firm before the rest of the world finds out. Second, it allows you to prolong the news before making a broader public announcement.
Not every client will see your initial communication, so using another vehicle such as a press release is a great way to get another bite at the apple.
Step 3: Alert Industry Publications
Another good way to help spread the news about a significant professional honor before issuing a press release is to notify publications and websites that cover the industry or industries where you do most of your work.
Giving industry reporters a heads up before issuing a press release on PR Newswire or other wire service may lead to reporters and editors asking you to be an expert source for future stories even if they decide not to publicize your recent recognition.
Step 4: Issue a Press Release
As noted above, issuing a press release on your firm website and posting the release on a wire service is a great way to spread the word after you have alerted your clients and industry-specific media.
Doing so also will make your release appear on many online news outlets and search engines so it can be found by clients and others going forward.
The goal of your release should not be to list every accomplishment or professional honor you have accumulated over the years. Instead, it should convey to readers why and how you were selected, and how your selection translates to your current and future clients.
One way to illustrate the uniqueness of being included in Best Lawyers without coming off as a braggart is to note the rarity of your selection. For example, “Mr. Jones is one of only 14 of the 90,000 attorneys in Texas to be recognized in the 2019 edition of Best Lawyers for expertise in water law.”
In the end, whatever press release or other public announcement you make should include evidence of why you’re being honored and why people should consider hiring you down the road.
Step 5: Get Social
Once you have updated your bio, alerted your clients and industry publications, and issued a press release, there are ample opportunities to further spread the word using social media.
Although many law firms have yet to embrace social media as a marketing tool, those that do are realizing the incredible speed and reach associated with an effective social media strategy.
When issuing posts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media channels, be sure to include links to your press release to help drive traffic to your website. A clever social post can be shared and sometimes “go viral,” which will cause more and more people to visit your website.
Step 6: Everything Else
In addition to the tactics mentioned above, there are numerous other ways to extend the good news when you earn a professional such as being recognized in Best Lawyers. From professional email announcements to paid advertising to hosted receptions, the possibilities are many.
The key is letting the right people know about why others have singled you out for praise in a way that focuses more on your abilities than your accumulation of awards.
Bruce Vincent is a writer and editor who is spending much of July helping attorneys promote their selections to Best Lawyers. Contact him at email@example.com for more information on how he can help when you have good news to share.