How to market yourself and build a personal brand as a solicitor

How to market yourself and build a personal brand as a solicitor

Much opportunity awaits solicitors seeking to market themselves and build a personal brand. This can be done effectively by developing a strategy which is focused on communicating value to their ideal potential clients, referral sources and even legal media.  Since marketing of legal services has only been permitted by the Law Society since 1986, the legal profession in the UK remains in the early years of lawyer and law firm marketing.  But with that said, many UK solicitors have developed sophisticated marketing presences.  Here is an overview of why and how solicitors can effectively navigate the online marketing world.

 

The importance of being online

 

As LexisNexis explains: “Just being a good solicitor is no longer enough, going that extra mile can really help distinguish you and your firm from the crowds.”  To that end, as the Law Society has detailed: “Leading law firms have dramatically upped their game when it comes to sharing content online and engaging with social media, research has found. According to marketing platform Passle, the top 200 firms generated nearly 34,000 pieces of online insight in 2018. That was nearly twice as much as the last time Passle assessed firms’ output in 2014. 

Researchers ranked firms across eight categories, totting up knowledge pieces created per lawyer per year, as well as overall insight pieces created, LinkedIn followers, Twitter followers and Twitter activity.  As in 2014, Irwin Mitchell was the best performer, followed by Bird & Bird, Wiggin, Taylor Wessing, Kingsley Napley, CMS, Withers, DAC Beachcroft, Capsticks and Stephens Scown, which is the only other firm that also made the top 10 in 2014.”

 

The basics of content marketing

 

Lawyers are also now using content marketing as a means by which to communicate key messages, which includes written blog or long-form articles, video and social media content. 

If you are looking to attract the attention of senior corporate counsel, it is important to consider focusing your content development on key business objectives of clients. Take the time to think about what might be top of their agenda, write articles on these key topics and consider who you might be able to interview to give the latest on these areas of interest. For example, see: The future of the legal sector: Interview with Kate Gaskell, LexisNexis’ Director of Transformation and Hiring in legal: What will a ‘star’ trainee look like in 2021? How can you make you and your firm a window of opportunity for your clients, rather than a supplier?

An article by Jennifer Smith in the Wall Street Journal Law Blog outlines advice for law firms from Gregory B. Jordan, former global managing partner of Reed Smith LLP and now general counsel of PNC Financial Services Group Inc – on how best to go about attracting the attention of the General Counsel.  Among Jordan’s recommendations for content creation by lawyers is:

  • “Quick, timely updates on regulatory shifts…are useful…Reams of glossy marketing material, not so much.”
  • “Bone up on your client’s industry, and make sure your partners do too, so you can advise them on what hurdles are lurking around the corner.
  • “Anticipate needs [clients] may not know they have yet.”

 

LinkedIn is a key platform for lawyers

 

“In today’s social-focused world, a strong LinkedIn presence is one of the most powerful tools available for British lawyers—thanks to the platform’s unique concentration of professionals prepared for networking”, as legal technology company Clio’s blog details. They note in particular that “with more and more colleagues and potential clients turning to LinkedIn as a source of information on lawyers and firms—according to a recent four-country study, 90% of British lawyers use LinkedIn—it’s crucial to create the most flattering professional profile possible.”

Other platforms include:

  • Blogs are designed to help publish custom content focused on building a strong online audience via a variety of built-in SEO options.  While not the only publishing platform around, blogs are one of the best publishing mediums as they permit solicitors to control the publishing platform they use.
  • Twitter is also essential to the promotion of content – as it brings content into a mix of lawyers and legal journalists globally – many of whom may have an interest in your content.
  • Facebook and LinkedIn – both platforms are important for different reasons – Facebook being the more personal while LinkedIn more professionals.  Both maintain numerous large groups dedicated to lawyer networking.
  • YouTube is essential for distribution of video content, and the platform is widely used for subject-matter specific search.
  • Other platforms like Instagram can help build a brand image – but are not necessarily geared toward the general counsel client.

 

Promoting content on social media

 

Consumers today want to participate in a dialogue with content producers and companies they work with. A sound social media strategy can help even the dreariest of companies to stand out from the crowd. As a starter for ten, consider:

  • Whether your company LinkedIn and Twitter profiles are up to date? Does the image and description match what your company is really about?
  • Are you sharing content at least three times a day? Consider researching hashtags and the number of followers they have by searching for them in the site
  • When you post content, always ‘tag’ companies and colleagues if they are mentioned using the @ button. This prompts people to like and comment on the post, encouraging engagement and making the platform more likely to show your content to audiences. If you also ask them to ‘tag’ you in posts, you can re-share them directly to your profile meaning that you have content created quickly, as well as encouraging a dialogue

    Through this method, solicitors can create a community of listeners or readers – all eager to hear your content and share it – thereby amplifying your message to an even wider audience. 

 

Keys to productive online interaction

 

As Tino Triste details in Lawyer Monthly, the how of online interaction is vital.  He recommends that solicitors:

  • Remain active
  • Engage productively
  • Keep all content relevant, engaging, user-friendly and varied
  • Use a consistent and clear tone of voice
  • Share links to your site and contact information regularly
  • Keep profile information up to date and clearly linked to your site

Solicitors should seek to communicate key messages to their key audiences via online mediums where they look for news and information, in a consistent and positive fashion.  With this effort in place – it is also important to continually work to create better and better client-centric contact, build a larger audience, and be ready with call-to-action on each platform you utilise, for the inevitable demand that your content has helped generate.

 

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About the author:

Cynthia Quarcoo (formerly Jumu) is the Founder and Managing Partner of CQ Legal & Consulting, a boutique law firm based in Accra, Ghana.

Cynthia is a Barrister of England and Wales. Prior to setting up her firm, worked as a Senior Associate in the Banking and Finance Practice of Fasken Martineau LLP in London and as a Consultant Senior Lawyer in the International Finance and Corporate department of Radix Legal & Consulting (Now Asafo & Co, London).

Cynthia is an experienced corporate commercial lawyer with finance experience with specialization in the energy, financial and infrastructure sectors. Her representative experience includes the provision of project finance structuring advice on a $1.5 million joint venture coal to power infrastructure deal, advising the borrower on a $85 million syndicated loan facility and advising the lead arranger on a $400 million syndicated loan for an energy project and acting as Co-counsel for the Ministry of Finance on the successful 2019 and 2020 $3 billion Government of Ghana Sovereign Bond.