A few weeks ago, my colleague Bruce Vincent wrote a great post in which he extolled the virtues of thinking like a reporter if you want to promote your legal case.
Here’s my corollary: if you want to promote your legal practice, think like an editor and publisher. By this, I mean think about your business objective (as a publisher would do) and then come up with a concrete schedule of content that helps you meet those objectives.
And then, most importantly, follow that schedule.
Here’s How We Do It at Muse Communications
When we started our blog, we didn’t say, “We’ll write a blog post whenever we have something worth saying.” Waiting for blog inspiration is like waiting to feel like going to the gym; if you wait for inspiration, you may be waiting forever.
Instead, we said, “We need to provide useful, relevant information on a regular basis to the people we work for and hope to work for. That means, every two weeks, we’re going to write a blog post that offers actionable advice for lawyers looking to build their practices.”
So, every two weeks, we write a blog post and we promote it on social media and in our newsletter. We also make it a habit to promote previously written, evergreen content on social media, and occasionally update an old post and re-publish it.
And we do it every two weeks, dammit.
Your schedule can be more frequent or less frequent, but pick a schedule and stick with it, at least for a while. (If you’re having a hard time keeping up with it, cut back a bit or, better yet, if it’s yielding results, get some help from folks like us.)
Knowing that we have to produce a blog post every two weeks makes us put our heads together and ask ourselves what value can we provide, what haven’t we talked about in a while, and what do our subscribers need to know right now?
This is what newspaper editors do every day. Your morning paper isn’t just filled with breaking news about fires and car chases. It’s filled with analysis, untold stories, trend pieces, and intimidating household maintenance checklists.
Lawyers and law firms should take a similar approach in their marketing efforts. Your blog should, for example:
- Analyze recent court rulings or edicts from regulatory bodies;
- Discuss the overlooked elements of the day’s headlines that might have a big impact on your clients’ businesses;
- Uncover concerning or interesting trends; and/or
- Provide checklists for running a business, getting a divorce, negotiating a severance agreement, or whatever your clients need to know.
Make a schedule, brainstorm some topics, and get to work.
Our Legal Blogging for Business Development post is a soup-to-nuts guide to starting and maintaining your legal blog.
Beyond the Blog
Obviously, promoting your legal practice doesn’t begin and end with blogging. Two effective, inexpensive ways to raise your firm’s profile are through social media and your firm’s newsletter.
When you publish a blog post, promoting it on social media should be built into the process. But your social media feed should be more than just promoting your most recent blog posts. You can also build these kinds of posts into your social media content calendar:
- Promoting an individual practice area
- Publicizing a win on behalf of a client
- General branding
- Links to subscribe to your firm’s newsletter
- Get to know the firm’s lawyers and staff
- Promotion of events the firm is sponsoring
Remember: social media is highly ephemeral. Just because you posted something to LinkedIn or your Facebook page six months ago doesn’t mean anybody is still seeing it. Your social media calendar should include promotion of not-so-new (but still relevant) content. Our rule of thumb is that you can re-post every 60 days on LinkedIn and Facebook, and every 30 days on Twitter.
Make sure your social media feeds are current by keeping fresh content on your social media pages, even if that fresh content is a recycled version of what you posted six months ago.
If your most recent post on your firm’s LinkedIn page is a year old (I’m looking at you, most law firms), I recommend you do one of two things: 1) embark on a plan to post something valuable at least once a month (see above ideas) or 2) take down your firm’s LinkedIn page. It’s almost worse having a wildly out-of-date page than it is to not have one at all.
An online social media manager can help you schedule posts well ahead of time. We use Buffer to schedule posts for ourselves and our clients, and we find it user-friendly and affordable, but there are others, including Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Edgar. Most offer free or low-cost versions or, at the very least, a free trial.
Looking for more social media inspiration? Check out Social Media for Lawyers: Looking Good, Doing It Right.
We’re big fans of law firm newsletters. They’re a great way to stay in touch with your network, and they force you to go through the “how can we be of value” exercise on a regular basis, whether that’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly (or some other interval that works for you). Your blog can be the main source of your content, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you include.
We recommend creating a template that gives you some content consistency, e.g. the top item goes to blog post, the second is about firm news (lawyer accolades, new attorneys, etc.), and third promotes a practice area.
In our newsletter, we start off with our most recent blog post. Our second spot is usually reserved for news about our clients, and the third one is devoted to our “Stuff We’re Reading” column, in which we share articles we think our subscribers would find interesting.
Populating the newsletter is a worthwhile exercise for many reasons, not the least of which is that it requires us to stay abreast of what’s going on with our clients. And our “Stuff We’re Reading” column ensures that we’re always on the hunt for news we think our clients and subscribers would appreciate, and informing us in the process.
We give ourselves flexibility to step outside those guidelines when inspiration hits, but having a template gives us something to fall back on so that we’re not reinventing the wheel with every newsletter.
Need more newsletter ideas? We’ve got ‘em right here in our definitive round-up of great content ideas for your law firm newsletter.
Blogs, newsletters, and social media are just three ways to keep your law firm visible. Advertising, event sponsorships, and speaking engagements are other good (though more resource-intensive) vehicles to help you stay in the public eye. There are doubtless many more.
We like blogs, newsletters, and social media (which all fit under the content marketing umbrella) because they’re budget-friendly and, when done consistently, quite effective.
Whatever you do, have a plan, make a schedule, and stick with it.
And, of course, let us know if we can help.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.