A new year means new opportunities for your law firm. New clients, growth and expansion are just a few of the goals you may have, but how can you position your firm to achieve them? In-house counsel have countless options to choose from when seeking legal counsel. This means your efforts should be focused on getting in front of your clients and prospects as much as possible so that you are the first firm that comes to mind each time a need arises. Achieving this status may seem like a fruitless practice if you’re starting from scratch, but it’s actually more attainable than you think. If improving lead generation and building better brand awareness is top of mind for you in the new year, take a look at our list of 10 ways to differentiate your law firm in 2020.
1. Start a Podcast
When done correctly, a podcast can be one of the most effective ways for your team of attorneys to establish themselves as thought leaders in your industry. As you venture into the ever-growing world of podcasting, it’s important to remember that the goal of this practice is to provide a valuable resource for your target audience. Your team of attorneys knows their business better than anyone, so use that knowledge to provide answers to the most common questions you see rather than just discussing random legal topics. Whether you record a short episode of 10-20 minutes or longer than an hour, having your attorneys consistently sharing their knowledge and experience is the key.
2. Record Live Videos
Much like a podcast, live videos are a great way for your firm to communicate to its target audience while also encouraging engagement. While there are different streaming software available that would allow you to broadcast your video directly on your website, the easiest way to record live video is through Facebook. Assuming you already have an established following on Facebook, the use of live streaming allows you to discuss a topic of interest for your target audience. With comments available on every Facebook Live segment, your firm will also be able to answer any comments or questions to engage with your followers during the recording.
3. Reinvest in Your Clients
Obviously every firm welcomes the opportunity for new business, but it should not come at the expense of your current clients. Maintaining and continuing to grow those relationships you already have is equally as important. As they engage with others in their area, your clients can become a valuable tool for generating new business. There’s no better source to provide a recommendation for your firm than those you have already represented. Kick-off the new year with a hand-written note or a face-to-face interaction with your clients to reinforce your commitment and promote a continued relationship.
4. Hold an Educational Seminar
It’s safe for your target audience to assume that an attorney at your firm is an expert in their field, but a seminar or other speaking engagement is your opportunity to prove it. You know your prospective clients and the questions that they are asking, and an educational seminar allows your attorneys to showcase that authority and differentiate themselves in an uninterrupted setting. Also, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll find anyone in attendance that doesn’t want to be there, so they’ll be delivering the message to an ideal audience eagerly awaiting to hear it.
5. Start a Blog
Content marketing is your firm’s tool to build your brand, generate leads and separate yourself from the ever-expanding pool of other firms, and no content marketing strategy is complete without a well-published blog. When it comes to utilizing a blog to differentiate your firm, search engine optimization, or SEO, is your most effective tool. By including distinct keywords and phrases in all of your blog posts, your firm will ultimately achieve a higher ranking on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. With proper planning, a blog can be one of your firm’s most rewarding practices in 2020.
6. Identify and Share Your Stories
Showcasing your attorney expertise in the legal field is obviously important for your firm, but storytelling should not be overlooked in the process. Identifying and telling your firm’s stories allows you to share important information like how your firm came to be, what motivates and drives your attorneys and how they are making a difference in their local community. This practice is less about selling your services and more about building rapport and trust with your target audience with the use of engaging content. Storytelling is more casual and conversational, lest it be interpreted as just another sales pitch.
7. Update Attorney Bios
In preparation for a meeting, it’s likely that you’ve searched for someone online or via Facebook that you were getting ready to meet for the first time. The same is true for your attorneys and their clients, which means a strong bio identifying your attorney’s practice expertise is much more likely to gain the business. Storytelling definitely comes into play here, as you’ll want to balance your education and practice area focuses alongside other content of interest that showcases your level of expertise such as published blogs, news articles, media releases, etc.
8. Conduct an SEO Audit
An SEO audit is arguably the most influential way to differentiate your law firm this year. All of the content that you have produced or will produce is useless if it doesn’t reach your target audience. An SEO audit is essentially a report card for your website, grading it based on its ability to show up in search engine results. An extensive SEO audit will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your firm’s website, allowing you to compare yourself to your competitors, determine any changes that need to be made and adjust your data accordingly.
Giving back to a nonprofit or local organization is a rewarding experience for your entire law firm and it’s a great way to show investment in your community. Is your firm actively involved in any volunteering or pro bono services? If so, why are you doing it? Every law firm can choose to give money or volunteer hours, but the real differentiating factor is identifying the why behind what you are doing. If you plan to initiate philanthropic efforts as a part of your 2020 goals, make sure you’re backing it up with a clear vision. Being more purposeful about your giving will not only prove to be more impactful to your clients and peers, but it will encourage your attorneys to become leaders in the firm’s mission.
10. Social Media Strategy
As we all know, social media has completely engulfed our personal and professional lives. If your firm doesn’t have a social media strategy that is engaging, consistent and planned, there’s no better time than the top of a new year to get started. Whether your firm is active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social media platform, review what you’re doing and how you’re engaging with your target audience. Analyzing what worked and what didn’t work in 2019 will bring to light any changes you need to make in the new year, as well as any practices that should be repeated. Key factors you should note during your content audit should include the tone, overall message and whether or not it’s leading clients or prospects to action. Once you’ve gathered all the information you’ll be more equipped to start building a successful content marketing plan.