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We invite you to read our weekly Public Reputation tips which integrate various marketing disciplines including media relations, marketing strategy, creative focus and web/technology/2.0.  Please send us your comments or questions and join our conversation.

Public Reputation Tip of the Week

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December 17, 2014
Kevin Aschenbrenner

250-294-8431

As we quickly count down to the longest night of the year, it can be tough to keep the creative juices flowing when all you really want to do is curl up with a hot toddy and your Netflix queue. But legal marketing opportunities don’t take holidays, so here are a few ways to stay inspired during the dark and drearies of winter.

Get Outside

Yes, it’s cold out. Or windy. Or rainy. Or just altogether miserable. But if my Vermont-based colleague Melanie Trudeau can go for an inspiration walk in -9º temperatures to come up with her blog post for this week, none of us have any excuses.

I get my best ideas when I’m walking. In a pinch, driving works, too, but walking is healthier and better for Mother Earth. I read somewhere that when things are moving around us, our brain responds with ideas and creativity. Whether that’s true or not, when I’m stuck for creative inspiration, I get outdoors and moving.

So, bundle up and give your creativity a boost!

Put on Some Tunes

I don’t always play music while I work, but when I’m particularly stuck – or I really don’t want to be at my desk – music keeps my butt in my chair and my brain active. There are some songs I don’t play, such as those with distracting lyrics or tempos that will make me want to get up and shake my booty. But as the tunes flood my office, creative thoughts start to bubble up.

Eliminate Clutter

Clutter is stressful. I don’t keep the most organized desk, but I do try to make my workspace as clear as possible. Otherwise, I get annoyed trying to move my mouse in an ever-tighter spot, fighting with coffee cups and Post-it notes that have sprouted at my side. All of this is very distracting, and will put me off my creative game. In winter, I don’t need anything pulling me out of “the zone,” so I’m extra careful about what gets into my workspace at this time of year.

Get Social

No, I don’t mean spend even more time on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. And if you think taking one more selfie will boost your creativity … just … no. I’m talking actual social activity. You know – with real human beings? Like we did in the olden days of 2005? I’m an introvert, so when winter closes in, my default is to cocoon and tell people I’ll see them come spring. But this is the absolute worst thing for my creativity.

You don’t need to hit every holiday party or spend weeknights at the pub. A coffee or two a week with a good friend or a work colleague should be enough to keep you in the world and your brain open to new ideas.

Go Easy on Yourself

Modern life would have us believe that we exist separately from the rhythms of nature, such as the seasons. Um. Yeah. No. Slowing down this time of year is a natural byproduct of human evolution over millennia. We ignore it at our peril. Pushing when our bodies are screaming at the cellular level for us to pull back just a bit is the quickest way to kill any creativity we might have.

Winter is a time to nurture ourselves, practice what Anne Lamott would call “radical self-care” and tend to the flame of our internal lives. This is how you sustain creativity in the winter so you can leap on those opportunities as they come up, rather than falling over in a stupor. Your body is telling you to recharge. So do it!

I hope these tips will help you stay creative over the winter months to make this season one of success.

Email me, Kevin Aschenbrenner, at kaschenbrenner@jaffepr.com, and tell me how you get through the winter doldrums and sustain your creativity. Or post something to the comments below.

December 3, 2014
Sue Remley

804-304-2894

During a law firm marketing meeting at a client’s office last week, I asked one of the firm’s founding partners to share his insights regarding business development. Without hesitation, he began speaking about the importance of building and maintaining a strong professional network. He discussed the organizations he had joined and remained active in during his long and very successful career, and how he had progressed from simply attending meetings to taking top leadership roles within the organizations.

A couple of senior partners chimed in regarding their commitment to professional networking, noting that the majority of their business came through referrals from the people with whom they had built relationships that way. Many times, these people had become close business associates and personal friends.

This was a legal marketers dream – having some of the firm’s top rainmakers tout the importance of professional networking. I could have assumed my job was complete. Certainly the attorneys in attendance would mark their calendars for all of the right holiday social events – and actually attend! But, alas, I’m not that naïve. It’s one thing to understand and appreciate the importance of dedicated networking, and quite another to actually commit and do it.

Many lawyers say they are uncomfortable with networking because they are not sure how to act or what to do at a function. Now, I could start droning on about Social Etiquette 101, but, instead, let’s have a little fun. Here are a few of “those types” you don’t want to be, along with some networking tips for avoiding these stereotypes.

Which Networker Are You?

The Close Talker: If someone speaking with you goes into a back-bend or stumbles into another group of networkers standing behind them while you speak, you are standing too close. A great example of this faux pas can be viewed in the Seinfeld episode “The Rainmakers,” in which guest star Judge Reinhold discusses a visit to Paris with Jerry’s parents. The tip: Keep an arms-length distance between the person you are speaking with and yourself. By observing this rule, you can eat the garlic-encrusted salmon paté without offending the crowd.

The Stage 3 Clinger: You’ve found someone you know or relate to well, and a feeling of euphoria encompasses you. The natural reaction is to ride out this encounter as long as possible. Please don’t, because if you do, you are in danger of becoming a clinger. Networking functions are an opportunity to briefly connect with many attendees and provide the chance for follow-up and a one-on-one meeting in the future. Go ahead – be a social butterfly for once and save the in-depth conversations for later.

The Wall Flower: Think way back to your first middle or high school mixer. Chances are you stayed out of the limelight and sat back in the bleachers against the wall. This was probably a good strategy, as youngsters haven’t mastered the skills needed to mingle comfortably. Now that you are an adult, mingling with like-minded professionals, it’s OK to introduce yourself to other attendees. I always encourage clients to “act like the host instead of a guest.” Pretend you’re hosting the group in your home and act accordingly.

The Business Card Swapper: Maybe someone has told you that you shouldn’t leave a function until you’ve gotten rid of 10 business cards. The easiest way to do that is to drop the cards in the trash bin on your way out of the event. It will have about the same impact – none. Once you have connected with someone at a function, ask him or her for his or her business card and then offer yours. This gives you control of the follow-up.

The Buffet Buzzard: You’ve been pushing hard to complete a project, knowing you have to leave the office early for the networking event, so you skipped lunch to get in that extra hour and find yourself starving during the commute. If this is the case, you may make a beeline to the buffet and try to polish off a four-course meal’s worth of hors d’oeuvres. Please don’t. You are at a networking event, not an all-you-can-eat buffet. Make sure to have a quick snack before leaving the office or during the commute, and spend your time at the event meeting other attendees.

The Barfly: This can be a real sticky wicket. I’ve heard many opinions regarding imbibing at professional events, from “never do it” to “one drink only” to a “two-drink maximum.” Having been known to imbibe a bit myself, I won’t get preachy. But, please, know your limit, and stay well under it. The last thing you want to do is get tipsy and ruin your opportunity to make a positive impression. The safe bet is to stick to non-alcoholic beverages at events and do what you want on your own time.

Understandably, time constraints of busy professionals can make networking difficult. This challenge can be exacerbated by the feeling of not wanting to mingle with a group of strangers. However, the best rainmakers are those who have the best professional networks – case closed. It’s your choice; if you want to develop business, get out and mingle. If you don’t get out and try, you’ll be left in the dust by those who do.

If you have noted additional “networking stereotypes,” please let us know in the comments. And if you want to work on your own networking skills, contact me, Sue Remley, at 804.304.2894 or sremley@jaffepr.com

November 19, 2014
Lisa Altman

301-943-9948

While the Internet and social media have dramatically changed the world of journalism, some of the fundamentals of working with the media haven’t changed at all. Reporters are still looking for story ideas their readers will care about and sources who can provide insight into complex issues. As we tweet, post to LinkedIn and upload to Instagram, here are some back-to-basic tips to keep in mind when communicating with media:

  • Prepare – anticipate questions and develop key messages before the interview.
  • Be ready to educate – don’t hesitate to set the record straight.
  • There is no such thing as “off the record.” Never tell a reporter anything you are not willing to see published.
  • Never talk about clients or client matters without their permission.
  • Don’t lie – if you don’t know the answer to a question, tell the reporter you don’t know.
  • Be concise and speak slowly.
  • Repeat it, repeat it – this will increase the likelihood that your message will be included.  
  • Track it – ask when the story will appear, or, if broadcasted, ask for a clip of the segment.
  • Let reporters know how to reach you – provide contact information for follow up questions and be prepared for follow up calls. Keep their contact information, and don’t hesitate to email them with news to build on your relationship.
  • If you are pleased with a story, tell them – like most of us, reporters usually only hear the complaints.
  • After the interview, ask if the reporter can include the name of your firm.

Feel free to contact me, Lisa Altman, at laltman@jaffepr.com with any questions or to further discuss best practices when working with the media.

November 5, 2014
Keith Ecker

573-289-3558

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 93 percent of B2B companies are using content marketing. That’s up slightly from 91 percent in 2013. Suffice to say, content marketing is a big deal, and nearly everyone – save for that lagging 7 percent – is finding ways to leverage the time-tested tactics.

But with so many content assets – the digital and print vehicles that can be used to deliver content – legal marketers might feel a little overwhelmed about where to begin. The worst thing you can do is to start on an ad hoc basis, developing and pushing out content without a clear strategy in place. You’ll end up expending excessive resources with results that are not proportional to your investment.

That’s why constructing what content marketing professionals refer to as a “content ecosystem” is so necessary and is one of the first steps any marketer should take when developing a comprehensive law firm content marketing strategy.

The following is a step-by-step process to help you construct your own content marketing program.

Identify Your Assets

First, take inventory of what you already have. Odds are you’ve got a website. You might also have printed brochures, white papers and digital client alerts. Don’t forget about social media and e-newsletters as well. All of this will come into play in your content strategy.

Mind the Gaps

Next, identify what you’re missing. If you have a website but no social media presence, you’re potentially losing a major traffic referral source. If you have social media but no blogs, you might be lacking a significant content development asset.

Understand the Value of Each Asset

You wouldn’t use a hammer to turn a screw, just as you wouldn’t use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail. The same can be said about content marketing assets. After all, a website is not a blog, a blog is not a Twitter account and a Twitter account is not an e-newsletter. 

Each content marketing tool serves a unique purpose and targets unique – though often overlapping – audiences. To effectively implement a content marketing program at your law firm, you need to understand the inherent benefits of each platform.

The following is a quick rundown of the strengths of some of the most common content marketing assets. Note that there is room for variance, depending on your uses and audiences.

  • Websites – The epicenter of your content ecosystem, the website is where the totality of your content exists. It is your prime sales and information portal.
  • Blogs – If your website is a tree, blogs are its branches. They enable your firm to develop niche content that targets a specific audience. For example, a full-service firm with a strong intellectual property practice might develop an IP-centric blog to target a narrower market segment.
  • Social media – Social media networks, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, are your delivery mechanisms. They are usually not where content originates, although LinkedIn’s recent introduction of long-form posts could change that. Rather, they are vehicles for the content that is being produced on your websites and blogs. Think of them as a lure that you use to attract visitors to your site. They also are powerful engagement tools that allow law firms and attorneys to interact directly with individuals and organizations in meaningful ways.
  • E-newsletters – While social media are tools that help you share your content with the world at large, e-newsletters are similar vehicles with one important distinction – they help you narrowly focus your target audience, e.g., specific industries, practice areas, etc. Also, like social media, the goal of an e-newsletter is to use it as a referral source to attract readers to your website. Never post an entire article in the body of a newsletter. Instead, host it on your website or blog and use teaser text with a link that diverts traffic to your main content platform.

Create a Process

Once you have a clear understanding of your current assets, the assets you’re missing and the uses of each asset, you can start tying everything together with a process. This is the heart of the content ecosystem concept, where content is born in one location and then circulated and repurposed through various channels.

For example, let’s say your IP practice wants to publish a new blog post on the America Invent Act. Before they publish, your marketing team will want to work with them not only to time the post, but to strategize and time all related content as well. This includes potentially adding some teaser text and a link to the authoring attorney’s bio page, scheduling LinkedIn and Twitter updates promoting the post, and calendaring the article for distribution in the firm’s monthly IP newsletter.

By taking the time upfront to build a comprehensive content marketing ecosystem, you will expend significantly less time actually running your content marketing initiative. So don’t be one of those 7 percent of B2B marketers who are missing the boat – start developing your content strategy today.

Have a comment? Leave one below or contact me, Keith Ecker, at kecker@jaffepr.com.  

October 22, 2014
Carlos Arcos

713-826-5195

A non-profit organization that I do volunteer work for asked me to review its “elevator pitch” – a short summary used to quickly and simply define what a person, product, service or organization does and briefly outline its vision or mission. It’s so named because the pitch should last no longer than the average elevator ride.

The organization wanted to share this statement with its volunteers so the volunteers could quickly and effectively communicate what the organization does and why its work is important to the community. In the case of this organization, my contact provided me with a full page of bullet points, all of which were important but any one of which was too lengthy to serve as an effective elevator pitch. 

This is not unusual. Crafting a clear, concise and effective elevator pitch is a challenge for many businesses and organizations. The following are some tips to help you craft an elevator pitch for your law firm, a practice group or an individual attorney.

Keep it short: It’s no surprise that, in today’s business environment, everyone is busy, so an elevator pitch should be no more than three or four short sentences or take under 60 seconds to say. Don’t edit yourself at first. It’s usually much easier to include everything you want to say in the first draft and then go back and pare it down.

Explain what you offer: Explain the benefits you, your firm or practice group can offer and what sets you apart from the competition. Remember to include why your experience and knowledge makes you the most qualified to address the need and deliver the solution. This might include your law firm’s record for successfully defending clients or a technical background that better enables you to understand a client’s business.

Avoid legal jargon: Speak simply and avoid using industry terminology or acronyms. Not everyone may be familiar with your area of practice or industry.

Be natural: Get comfortable with your pitch so it doesn’t sound stiff or rehearsed. Show enthusiasm and excitement. If you’re not excited, no one else will be.

Leave them wanting more: The purpose of the elevator pitch is to get you a meeting or, perhaps, a referral. Don’t put everything in the pitch; just pique interest enough to get a prompt response.

Update accordingly: Finally, remember to keep your elevator pitch fresh. Every business – and law firms are no exception – grows and changes, and your pitch has to grow and change with it.

Do you have tips on how to write the perfect elevator pitch? Leave a comment or contact me, Carlos Arcos, at carcos@jaffepr.com

October 8, 2014
Kathy O'Brien

203-268-1315

According to PEW research, several trends are shaping how we consume news and information. The research puts the rapidly shifting landscape into perspective and notes that “More Americans get news online than ever before … 50 percent of the public now cites the Internet as a main source for national and international news, still below television, but far above newspapers and radio.”

This new paradigm has brought about a major change in how news and information is shared, consumed and distributed. It’s clear that, as winds change, there are real benefits to publishing original content and sharing it with your key audiences on a regular basis.

That change is a relatively new phenomenon called “content marketing,” and it really is not new at all. It harnesses the power of tried and true marketing practices and puts them to work in the digital environment in which we now all operate. Just as with old-school marketing, certain principles will help to ensure your success.

At a recent LMA Houston marketing event, I moderated a panel that discussed a few sure-fire techniques for law firms to develop and effectively launch a content marketing campaign. The following are some tips from this panel.

Best Laid Plans

Like any law firm marketing effort, the first step to success with content marketing is outlining the strategy. Put pen to paper, and map out specific goals and expected challenges. Take stock of the resources you have, and determine who will be responsible for each component of the effort. Do you need to hire an outside consultant to write content or enhance your law firm website with new social media functions? You will also need to take a current online content inventory of materials you already have available (articles, PowerPoint presentations, videos, podcasts, infographics, blogs, white papers, planned webinars, e-books, etc.). 

You want to be sure you have a strategic mix of content. Creating that content shouldn’t be an overwhelming exercise. Existing materials take on a new life when they are repurposed into other forms. For instance, after a speaking engagement, create a slide deck on Slideshare.net or turn the same presentation into a blog post on the firm website. You can even go one step further and convert that blog post into a video, or turn a series of blog postings into an e-book.

Once you have a good handle on what you’ve got, you can set up an editorial calendar of evergreen stories to fill in the gaps. When you have a solid plan in place, your audience will have at their fingertips relevant, substantive, entertaining, and useful content, each of which should have a call to action that encourages two-way conversation with your target audience.

If I Build It, Will They Come?

A major goal of any law firm content marketing strategy is to boost visibility and strengthen your brand. To do that, you need to provide your target audience with enough quality content on a regular basis. The big question becomes: Now that I’m creating or repurposing all of this great content, how do I make sure people will see it?

A few simple techniques make it easy for your audience to receive your content. First, be sure that all the firm’s blogs are equipped with RSS feeds and opt-in buttons so visitors can sign up to receive email updates. When new content is posted, be sure to share it across all the firm’s social media channels to amp up exposure.

Build a strong opt-in email following, and distribute that content on a regular basis. For example, Jaffe distributes its Newsstand newsletter every other Wednesday, and it’s also available online. We tweet and post the articles to LinkedIn and Twitter so they can be “liked,” shared and commented upon by a wider audience. Jaffe also sends the newsletter to every employee so that, if a particular article is relevant to a client, the lead client manager can share it as an FYI. This is a great way to leverage a potential cross-selling opportunity.

Measure Success

There are many indicators you can use to gauge the success of your content marketing efforts at your law firm. You can note whether firm news is gaining traction in the marketplace by tracking mentions and reposts by industry bloggers and you can track the rates of engagement across social media, inquiries from reporters and your firm’s search engine rankings for select keywords. There also are other more specific barometers you can use to measure success. These include monitoring “click-throughs,” which can give you a conversion rate on each piece/type of content and helps you evaluate ROI. From there, you can tweak your strategy so you’re only spending time/energy/budget where you know it’s working and have a solid understanding of what the effort will produce.

Some good measurement tools include Google Analytics, which is a free website tracking platform. And every social media platform has site analytics. In fact, Twitter just launched one: https://analytics.twitter.com.

Once you have the measurement tools in place, you can track demographics, geography, engagement, reach and interests related to your content.

Like any legal marketing effort, creating a content strategy could be an intimidating task to tackle. If you have questions or need help, contact Kathy O'Brien at kobrien@jaffepr.com

September 24, 2014
Sue Remley

804-304-2894

Most lawyers understand that building and maintaining a professional network, both in-person and via social media, is imperative to garnering referrals and cultivating their law firm business development efforts. Unfortunately, after expending a lot of effort, some personal and social networking relationships languish even while others “stick” and grow. Therefore, we are constantly repeating and reenergizing the business development process.

In the interest of time and sanity, I have started encouraging attorneys to “mine the weaker links.” This means reviewing your current network contacts and circling back to those whom you haven’t engaged with in the past few years. This works equally well in-person and via social media.

Here are some tips for mining your weaker links that will make the networking process easier.

In-person networking:

  • Reengage with your alumni networks – Attend a local alumni activity or annual event. Be sure to reach out to your contacts before the event and encourage them to attend. Even if they do not attend, you have reconnected via a call, email or social media engagement.
  • Attend a local bar association meeting – As your law practice and career develop, it’s often difficult to stay engaged locally. Take an opportunity to renew relationships with local professional contacts throughout the year.
  • Visit a trade or community organization event – Most good networkers have been actively engaged in various organizations throughout their careers. Make time to revisit organizations that you formerly served or belong to.
  • Mentor and introduce – The best way to engage and grow a professional network is to assist others. Take the time to help people newer to the business development process by introducing them to your contacts. You will reconnect with old acquaintances and meet new people in the process.

Social networking:

  • Review your LinkedIn connections and Facebook friends – Select three or four people each month whom you haven’t engaged with for a while. Send a personal reengagement message. Ask for an update, and emphasize your interest in helping them as opposed to asking them for assistance.
  • Use social media technology to engage and reengage – Consider using web services, such as enterprisejungle.com and trendr.com, that cull your contacts and introduce and/or reintroduce you to professionals in your area with similar characteristics.
  • Post information of broader interest – Instead of posting only the type of information that caters to your closest social media contacts, try adding posts with your larger network in mind.
  • Try a new social media platform – Invite a few of your existing social media connections to join you on a new platform. New platforms are emerging on an ongoing basis, so try them out and determine whether they work for you and your network.

You can quickly invigorate your personal network without building new relationships from the ground up by setting aside a few hours to reconnect. Take advantage of the time and effort you expended years or months ago, and remember to freely offer introductions. Take advantage of new applications and aggregators to stay or get back in touch more quickly and efficiently.

You do not have to try everything or try it all at once. Just take some time each month or quarter to investigate what is available.

If you have any questions or insights regarding these tips, please post a comment or contact Sue Remley at sremley@jaffepr.com or 804.304.2894. 

September 10, 2014
Lisa Altman

301-943-9948

Summer ended last week, and my kids went back to school. A new school year means a fresh start. Along with it comes the excitement of a new routine, new teachers, new friends, new extracurricular activities and even new shoes. How does this correlate to the legal market, and how can law firms take advantage of the back-to-school spirit?

The following are a few back-to-school-inspired tips for lawyers and legal marketers.

Get Organized

As my daughter and I labeled her school supplies and loaded up her new backpack, I was reminded to revisit my own to-do list, clear out my inbox, and follow up with colleagues and clients I’ve been unable to connect with this summer. For law firms, now is a great time to review marketing and business development plans that were put in place at the beginning of the year to ensure strategies and goals are on track for the fourth quarter

Check In with Old Friends

With camp and summer vacations, sometimes it is hard to stay in touch with friends and clients throughout the summer months. As school started, I encouraged my daughter to connect and re-establish friendships by scheduling playdates. As clients return from summer vacations, invite them for coffee or lunch to reconnect and check on current and future matters. Have any priorities shifted? What are they working on that you can assist with? Can you offer guidance on any issues?

Join a Club

Back to school means a myriad of extracurricular activities to choose from. As the kids join the soccer team and sign up for art classes, consider joining a legal organization like LMA or the ABA, or a trade association like PRSA or IABC. Back to school is also a great time to further explore hobbies and personal goals. Depending on your interests, consider signing up for a local photography class or joining a Road Runners Club in your neighborhood. By joining a group outside your law firm that reflects your personal interests, you will learn while expanding your network and making new contacts.

Get to Know Your Teacher

We all know the teacher can make or break the school year. I take every opportunity to get to know my kids’ teachers by volunteering, attending back-to-school night and checking in from time to time to see how I can lend a hand. Now is a great time to schedule a meeting with firm management to discuss the firm’s overall marketing strategy and its end-of-year goals. 

Do Extra Credit

I always encourage my kids to go the extra mile with their studies, and you can do the same with your client relationships. For example, take time to follow your colleagues and clients on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. This will ensure you stay informed of their professional and personal interests, allowing you to relate to them better.

Feel free to contact Lisa Altman at laltman@jaffepr.com or call me at 301.943.9948 to further discuss your back-to-school strategies.

August 20, 2014
Stephanie Holtzman

240-381-5382

It’s August and, while many are squeezing out the last moments of summertime fun, the calendar is filling up with law firm rankings and awards deadlines for the coming months. With so many opportunities, how do you select the right candidates to nominate? Here are five tips to ensure you are putting your best attorneys forward to benefit your law firm’s public reputation.

  1. Study the questions and know the publication: Before you get started, carefully review the ranking submission process and make sure that you understand what is required and when. Scheduling a timeline is helpful to keep you on track. If possible, review the list of winners from previous years. See if you can identify any trends in whom they selected. It may vary from year to year, but this will give you a sense and help you identify the best candidates in your law firm. It will also help you figure out how steep the competition is.
     
  2. Select an attorney who fits the requirements: Make sure you select an attorney who has a story to tell that fits what the publication wants to know. If the attorney’s experience is not relevant to the specific award, find someone else. You also want to ensure that you are representing attorneys and/or practice groups that fit the strategic goals of the firm. Attorney rankings are time-consuming, and not making the proper decisions early on can lead to a lot of wasted time, frustration and disappointment.
     
  3. Select an attorney who has cases that can be discussed on the record: Many rankings submissions require that candidates list representative experience, often within a certain timeframe. Make sure that the candidate has casework that can be listed on the record. A couple of confidential matters are OK, but the majority should be publishable. Otherwise, it is hard for the publication to get a true sense of the candidate—and nearly impossible to profile a candidate who wins. Also, many attorney rankings require that candidates list references. While this can be tricky, it is important to select clients who are comfortable being on the record on the firm’s behalf. If you aren’t sure, call and find out ahead of time or find someone else. Never list someone if you aren’t confident that they will come through.
     
  4. Look to previous submissions for material: As my colleague Susan Holmes outlined in a recent blog post, there is a silver lining to consistently submitting nominations on the firm’s behalf. An archive of previous submissions gives you a deeper understanding of the attorneys and practice groups in your firm, a sense of the matters they are working on, and whether they can be listed on the record. It is often helpful to have approved language that can be repurposed in other submissions.
     
  5. Pro bono never hurts. Nominations frequently ask for the attorney’s pro bono or charity work. While it is not always relevant to the actual topic of the nomination, a candidate who has a strong record of pro bono work, or is dedicated to volunteering, can often stand apart from the crowd. Even if the question isn’t asked directly, weaving this information into the summary portion of the nomination is usually a good idea.

Thinking through these steps before you select an attorney to nominate will help ensure your best chance for selection. But even if your attorney is not chosen, the exercise will still give you deeper insight into the firm and perhaps uncover more opportunities to market it.

To discuss attorney rankings submissions and other issues related to law firm media relations, email Stephanie Holtzman at sholtzman@jaffepr.com.

August 6, 2014
Michelle Samuels

917-975-1280

Summer is a fickle friend. You wait for its arrival all year (at least I do), but once it’s here, it’s fleeting. A brief vacation, some time at the pool and then, before you know it, it is September, and summer is over.

In between vacation, pool time and your workload, what can you do to maximize your summer so your practice will benefit come September? The answer: Use some quick and easy summer law firm marketing tactics! After all, August tends to be the slowest summer month for attorneys and their clients, so use this time wisely to make marketing inroads that will benefit your practice once the weather turns cooler and things get busier.

Read the news with an agenda While you scan the news to see how a new regulation will affect your practice area or where things stand with that litigation you are tracking, think about which clients also would care about the news you come across. Take the time to share a relevant article with key clients, along with a personalized note about why you are flagging the article, what they may be concerned about and an offer to discuss those issues at their convenience. This technique is like a shortcut to drafting your own client alert, but can still yield good results. And, most importantly, it shows clients they are always on your mind.

Teach yourself some social media skills – You may have joined LinkedIn or Twitter, but let’s face it, you haven’t been taking full advantage of all that social networks have to offer. Dedicate some time to getting a better handle on how to maximize your social media presence by joining relevant industry groups on LinkedIn, publishing a LinkedIn article or following relevant Twitter handles. It can only help your legal marketing efforts (as long as you follow your law firm’s social media policy rules) and make it easier to maintain your social media efforts year-round.

Plan ahead for your fall marketing efforts – Remember the famous fable of the ant and the grasshopper? Be the ant, not the grasshopper! If your marketing plans for September onward are sketchy – or, worse, non-existent – then it’s time to gear up. Things will get busy in the fall, and it is best to prepare now. Schedule time to write an article or client alert based on an upcoming regulation/litigation/transactional matter coming down in the fall (and give yourself due dates). Make sure you have plans to attend or speak at a relevant industry event. Speaking engagements book up around six-plus months in advance, so submit a proposal to speak for yourself or at least one of your attorney clients in the spring now if you are just getting started. If you prefer to just attend an event, challenge yourself to meet and exchange contact information with other attendees to obtain the best return on your investment of time and money.

Like the ant in our story, if you spend some time in August thinking about legal marketing in between pool time and vacation, you will be prepared come September.

Any suggestions of marketing tactics you like to employ over the summer? Share them below, or email Michelle Samuels at msamuels@jaffepr.com.

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