No Firm is an Island of Expertise

Jeremy Hessing-Lewis

You have experts in core practice areas and want to use their expertise for marketing purposes. Your  strategy is to become the go-to source for legal information relating to these areas. For each legal development, your firm will have the scoop. Accordingly, you build a branded iPhone app, a series of practice area blogs and issue a monthly newsletter to your network of contacts. Your firm is an island of expertise. Your strategy will bring about legal marketing nirvana as your lawyers realize their objective of being “trusted advisers” to their clients.

The problem is that increasingly, this strategy is not consistent with how your client base reviews legal information. If your potential clients are in-house counsel or executives, they are most likely far too busy to browse from one island to the next. If they work for a larger organization, they won’t be reviewing publications from experts at each of the law firms they retain. If you don’t build bridges, your island may be a very lonely place. Its possible that not even Google can find you.

Bridging your Marketing Efforts:

The following options will allow you to get your content read:

  1. Make sure that anything you publish can by syndicated. This means enabling RSS feed options so that visitors can subscribe with a news reading tool rather than having to visit your site every time. Similarly, your content may be incorporated into various legal news apps rather than your own proprietary versions. Most people will prefer to have one iPhone app for legal news rather than one for each firm.
  2. Consider subscribing to Lexology or JDSupra and cross-posting content on a regular basis. These multi-party platforms deliver relevant content via email or customized home pages to other lawyers and executives. Contributing relevant content means that your expertise in a given domain will become clear to readers. All content is linked back to the original article on your own site.
  3. Consider licensing your content under a Creative Commons License. This option allows you to pre-emptively agree to have your content re-used under customizable license conditions. In most cases, the more your content appears online, the better. Attribution of the content is always a minimum license condition, meaning that readers will always be able to follow the trail of expertise back to your professionals.
  4. Distribute your content via social media. This is like writing a message in a bottle from your island. In particular, you may want to ensure that snippets of your new content appears in your lawyers’ LinkedIn profiles and on their Company Page. Social media allows users to quickly review content from multiple parties in a single stream. The content is also being curated by your connections and is generally more relevant as a result.

While its nice to imagine your island as a destination resort that caters to all of your clients’ needs, the truth is that marketing efforts are much closer to a crowded bazaar. Making relevant services  available within close proximity of your competitors will earn you their business. You need to start by ensuring that you booth remains visible and up to date.

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