The premise: “if you are not online, you do not exist”, is today more than ever, true. And it covers everyone, also lawyers.
The Internet is no longer limited to a demographic group, to a type of industry, or to just some activities … it has infiltrated all aspects of our business, and we all, practically, without exception, turn to the Internet to solve problems … also to search lawyers.
Lawyers have a weak, or even non-existent, presence, implying a significant disadvantage for the niche in general.
Consumers search the web for information on lawyers, and if you don’t have a personal brand on the Internet… you’re missing out on a good number of potential clients online.
This article focuses on personal branding for lawyers, not branding for law firms. If you work for an office or firm, it has its own, which must work in its own way and very differently, and that unless you are the boss or owner, you cannot control.
Table of Contents
Personal branding for lawyers
This article focuses on personal branding for lawyers, not branding for law firms or law firms. If you work for an office or firm, it has its own, which must work in its own way and very differently, and that unless you are the boss or owner, you cannot control.
But you can control and create your personal brand.
Personal branding requires a thoughtful, active, and strategic effort to describe, position, and promote how your skills and knowledge are relevant, and that only you have them as a lawyer.
It’s not just about your reputation speaking for itself. It’s about purposely injecting unique and authentic value into the marketplace. Reputation is something you get based on your work, not something you do on purpose.
Think of the times when they ask you what you live on, and you are speechless, because you don’t really know how to explain your work, and you reduce it to ‘I’m a lawyer. With a personal brand, you will save that work: you will promote your skills and specialties, and, the clients will not look for you, but they will look for you.
A well-defined and developed personal brand allows you to show who you are and what you are good at. Potential clients will see your strengths, the value you add to their causes, and the types of situations in which they will need you. That is why I say before, that they will come to you at the right time.
On the other hand, a personal brand for lawyers, or for any field, poorly made or non-existent, will leave questions about who you are, what you do, why choose you and not the firm or lawyer of all your life.
Why is personal branding important for lawyers?
Recent studies affirm that 1 person in 7 in the world uses Google to search for things on the Internet. I say that 1 billion people use the Internet to search for information.
The study has only taken Google into account: it has not added other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, or others to the study.
As a lawyer, you know perfectly well how competitive the law niche is, no matter any of its aspects, and that a lawyer needs to take advantage of practically any element that helps him to position himself, differentiate himself and logically, make himself known.
In other words, people use Google to find what they are looking for. Google is everywhere, and we all use it to get relevant information. That is why a key factor in personal branding for lawyers and for any professional is the content they promote on the Internet.
The more and better content you offer, Google will value you and customers will find you more easily and repeatedly.
Key elements to create a personal brand for lawyers
You must be clear that, although I use the term ‘create’, a personal brand really develops. It requires a long-term process, I would say perpetual, in which you must take care of, pamper and strengthen your personal brand … just like any commercial brand.
There are no methods or formulas to create compelling personal brands, so I won’t give you any here, that’s personal too.
The development of your personal brand requires thinking big, being original, constant, authentic and why not also being bold and breaking molds and paradigms.
What I can tell you are the key elements for your personal brand to be fruitful and, obviously, good.
People value and seek authenticity and transparency … and nothing better than being yourself, with all that this implies, to be authentic and transparent. Be as you are, sooner or later people will notice that you are pretending and that can definitely ruin your personal brand … even your business.
One of the best ways to be authentic is to tell your own story, instead of attaching a boring resume on your website. Attaching anecdotes with clients, narrating stories on your social profiles, and more will help you build a story around your personal brand.
People connect more and better with stories, because they are easy to remember, and they excite … as a lawyer you will know how useful it is in many trials, to build a story in the allegations.
Let’s suppose that a person arrives at your office or website and is not entirely sure if you are their best option to represent them legally. Then he asks you to tell him about yourself.
Now, imagine that you are that customer and you find these two responses:
- Lawyer A : “Well, I graduated from the Harvard University, and I have specialized in bankruptcy law”
- Lawyer B : “When I was a journalism student, I realized how little recent graduates earn, so when I finished, I decided to study law. They accepted me to the University of Oxford. After graduating, I started as an intern at the office “xxx” on September 17, 2012. Since then I have worked with journalists’ unions and related associations in defense of better conditions for them.
Which of the two answers do you like the most? I’m sure that of the second lawyer: it is an authentic story, easy to remember, and manages to connect with the interlocutor.
Creating a personal brand has a lot to do with being a storyteller: it allows you to frame your uniqueness and connect your story with the needs of the client, and the value that you provide to him. In addition, it helps to create bonds and even friendships with your potential clients. A story, which is yours, without more or less, helps to build an authentic brand around it.
2. A goal
Your personal story is not enough: it should be much more than a biography or personal story.
In other words, your story should describe not only part of your personal life, your personal career, but also the direction you want it to take in the future. It should be a manifesto of goals.
The goal is a crucial element that should be the axis of your entire story: that the client knows who you are, where you come from, but above all, where you are going.
3. It must be unique
Large “full service” law firms, with a great structure, budget, and history, have a consolidated brand that they only have to support and grow, while small brands, such as your personal brand, have the difficulty of developing a brand that convinces and have a meaning.
It does not mean that it is impossible, just that some do it wrong, and it is just difficult.
A brand must be unique and unrepeatable, that is why it must revolve around you: you are unique and unrepeatable.
Lawyers are conservative, they have limited activity on the Internet, so you have a great opportunity to stand out from the rest and create a unique brand based on the experiences you have, your relationships with clients, and what they all say about yourself.
How to build a personal brand for lawyers
Now that you know the key elements, it’s time to talk about how to create and promote this personal brand on the Internet. There are many ways, but the key to a successful personal brand is consistency.
1. Register in directories and related groups
A great way to start is by creating profiles on specific attorney directories, which are frequently consulted by potential clients.
These sites have excellent authority and reputations, and potential customers know that appearing there is synonymous with trust: the best ones add a method of control and not authorize just anyone on them.
To get the most out of the directories, you should fill out the profiles completely, add appropriate descriptions, links, and images.
In parallel, search Facebook and Google+ for groups related to your niche, join and live with people.
2. Create a legal blog focused on your market niche
Nothing helps build a personal brand more than being attentive to the needs of your target audience. Lawyers can build their credibility by being active in forums, Facebook groups, answering questions on social media, as well as providing useful and valuable content.
But the best site, and which is the cornerstone of any personal branding strategy, is the legal blog.
By creating weekly articles of around 1,000 words on a regular basis on your blog, they will help create a useful narrative for your readers and build your brand with each article published on social media and on the blog.
In addition, people already see them as an accessory in the communities they trust, and they take it for granted that each has their own.
Your legal blog will help you show what you know, provide useful content, show that you are a person with reputation, authority … and also Google will reward you in the long run by placing you in the first search results.
More appearances on Google implies more potential customers.
3. Create the pillar pages of your blog
Even if you only create a blog, you must create yes or yes, some pages and tell them in the most profound, creative, and visible way possible.
There are three pages you must-have for your personal brand to be reinforced.
I briefly mention what they are:
- The page about you: The famous “About” page is the most sought after in many blogs, and if yours is a personal and professional one, it is even more so. Remember that it is not your resume (which you can add separately), but an account of who you are, your worth, and your goals.
- Contact page: If you are looking for clients, you must make life easier for them when they want to contact you. The contact page must contain: address (if you have an office), mobile phone and / or WhatsApp or some messaging service, email, business hours, contact form, you can even add a map and frequently asked questions.
- Services page: If you offer services, it is important to have a space to show them, whether or not you put their price to the public. Add a method to request it, and above all, testimonials from previous, real clients who have been satisfied with your services.
- The cover: On the cover, in addition to the most recent articles on your blog, it is worth adding a brief introduction to who is speaking to them, about what, and for what purpose with a photograph of you and / or your office.
Have you seen how American schools have a display case with all the awards they have achieved in their history? Do the same with your website. These are the prizes you should place:
- Logos of your best clients, especially if they are companies or relevant people
- Appearances in press or blogs
- Results of complicated or well-known cases in your niche/community
- Featured rankings in lawyer forums or directories
Everything you have obtained and reinforce your authority figure as a lawyer , is grounds for presumption.