ACC: Our Stakeholders Are Beginning To Lose Faith In The Legal Profession [#LMAP3 Recap #2]

Nancy Myrland LMAP3 Conference, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Our Stakeholders Are Beginning To Lose Faith In The Legal Profession Yesterday, I recapped Akin Gump’s Toby Brown’s remarks from the recent #LMAP3 conference I attended in Chicago.

Toby and Amar Sarwal, Vice President and Chief Legal Strategist for the ACC (the Association of Corporate Counsel), shared opening keynote duties. Toby gave the state of the 3 Ps this conference addresses, which are:

  • Pricing
  • Process Improvement, and
  • Project Management

…and Amar Sarwal delivered a bit of direct, sobering commentary and advice from in-house counsel to attendees when he delivered his talk titled The Future of Legal Services: An In-House Perspective.

Imagine A General Counsel Panel Of 40,000 Lawyers 

Amar Sarwal

Amar Sarwal, ACC

Amar began his remarks saying he was encouraged to see such growth in this conference, and looks forward to working with P3  professionals in law firms. He said his nearly 40,000 corporate counsel members are also anxious to work with law firms, to share in the innovation, and to speak the same language.

ACC is deeply involved in the pricing function as it launched The ACC Value Challenge in 2008, which all in the profession are very aware of. As a refresher, it was launched to reduce the reliance on the billable hour, to use “appropriate” fee arrangements (they dropped “alternative” from their lexicon), to increase the use of project management, process improvement, and root cause analysis; all what he calls “basic common sense business principles,” and to incorporate those into the practice of law.

Amar believes we haven’t yet reached the tipping point, but believes it is within reach. ACC held its first conference this month for legal operations professionals, which is a new role within corporate legal departments, and was developed at the behest of the General Counsel to manage budgets, staffing, deal with outside counsel management issues, analytics, and more, not unlike what everyone in the meeting room was dealing with inside their law firms. He said their agenda at the conference was very much like the P3 conference agenda, which is encouraging to me as this means we are seeing all sides study these ever-changing and growing areas of importance; appropriate fee arrangements, process improvement and legal project management.

Amar approached his presentation on the future of legal services using a SWOT analysis. As you know, SWOT is strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. He started with threats and ended with strengths as he wanted to deliver a hopeful message.

Where Were The Lawyers?

Amar started out with a bang by saying the leading threat they hear at ACC is “where were the lawyers?” In an era of Enron, the Penn State debacle, General Motors, and many examples in between, inside counsel are wondering where lawyers were before these issues happened. He said they feel the lawyers didn’t do enough to either detect or remedy misconduct.

He also added his members were frustrated because the lawyers didn’t step up to say “You shouldn’t do this, or act as adequate gatekeepers.”

As a result of this and more, he shared that:

“Our stakeholders are beginning to lose faith in the legal profession as a profession of integrity, a profession of independence, and that’s problematic for all of us in this room and for our members.”

You can and should view Amar’s entire presentation, but the following comments are a few of those I captured and shared on Twitter, which should give you a flavor for the rest of his presentation:

Regarding lawyers, firm structure, and the profession’s governance model, Amar said:

  • The partnership structure in firms makes it hard to do many things effectively, including developing a coherent value proposition and brand.
  • We are becoming bystanders in our own profession. Alternative providers like Novus Law and Elevate (who were in attendance at the conference) are popping up all around us. You can work with them.
  • Law schools produce issue spotters. They do not produce solution finders. Lawyers are not trained for the world that we live in. Until lawyers are trained as solution finders, many ACC members will not pay for first and second year law firm associates.
  • Law school doesn’t deliver training on what it means to be a good lawyer. Clients are using reputation indices, which will help this improve.
  • Our state bars have protected us in a monopolistic way. This has caused lawyers to be more resistant to change than they otherwise would have. ACC is considering challenging this model.
  • If we expect to see an orderly market of providers, it will have to be done by going around state bars, maybe to state legislatures.

Regarding dealing with clients, Amar made these points:

  • Most problems for clients are people problems. Lawyers are equipped to help as rules are at the root of those problems that exist because of organizational design.
  • Lawyers, you have to talk to clients about what’s happening around the corner.
  • ACC member clients are deeply frustrated with all of the rules and regulations they have to comply with today.
  • Our GC members are saying they have to find efficiencies. They will never go back to where it was before.

On A Positive Note…

Amar ended on the positive note he promised by reminding everyone of the strengths lawyers have. He said lawyers are smart and thoughtful. He also said lawyers are strategic in most cases, and are more understanding of change than many other professional services.

He said you have tremendous access to data…from pricing and matter data, to knowing which employees cause clients the most issues, and other low-hanging fruit that, if studied, could help clients avoid many of the issues they are confronted with on a regular basis.

Again, I encourage you to watch the opening videos from Toby and Amar as they will be well worth your while. These are all issues that are not going away. General Counsel have said they are important, and they aren’t going back to the way things used to be, which should be enough inspiration and motivation for you to take the time.

Stay tuned for additional blog posts about the conference, which will be published right here on The Myrland Marketing Minute Blog. Feel free to sign up over to the right to receive these posts via email. Just look for the red subscribe button.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Content, Digital & Social Media Strategist, Speaker & Advisor, helping lawyers, law firms and legal marketers grow by strategically integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn and Twitter trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead firms through their online strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. 

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Lawyers Have A Hard Time Dealing With Change [#LMAP3 Recap #1]

Nancy Myrland LMAP3 Conference Leave a Comment

Lawyers Have A Hard Time Dealing With ChangeI just attended the LMA, or Legal Marketing Association’s, 3rd annual P3 Conference in Chicago. It was sponsored by the LMA Client Value SIG, or Shared Interest Group. This year’s co-chairs were Keith Maziarek, Sr. Manager, Strategic Pricing for DLA Piper, & Purvi Sanghvi, Director of Strategic Planning with Paul Hastings.

First, A Little History

Many of us who grew up in sales and marketing studied the 4 Ps of “The Marketing Mix,” which are:

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Place
  4. Promotion

They were invented by Jerome McCarthy in the ‘60s, and made famous by Phillip Cotler in his book, Principles of Marketing, in 1967.

Along the way, some changes were made, and recognition that those who sold services (that’s you), needed a slightly expanded set of Ps occurred. This is when we saw The 7 Ps of Marketing adopted. The first 4 are the same, but the next 3 are:

  1. People
  2. Physical Environment
  3. Process

LMA focuses on many aspects of the marketing mix for law firms, but 3 years ago, we added a focus on 3 Ps that were gaining traction in the legal profession.

Those are:

  • Pricing
  • Process Improvement
  • Project Management

Pricing is, obviously, one of the original 4 Ps of marketing. I suggest we think of process improvement and project management as methods for the effective strategy, development and implementation of all of the other Ps we see above, in addition to just about everything else we do in law firms.

Put another way, you might say that managing projects and improving processes helps us do everything we do better. They also help our clients do everything they do better because these processes attempt to, at a minimum, give focus, structure, efficiency, and the ability to more effectively match what you do with what your clients need and want.

There…your marketing history lesson is finished…for today, that is.

On To This Year’s P3 Conference

Since this conference started 3 years ago, we have seen a rapid increase in the number of people attending. According to the P3 conference blog:

  • Attendees came from four continents and seven countries.
  • Attendance increased by 34% over 2014.
  • More than 60 of the AmLaw 200 firms were in attendance.
  • Over 65 speakers presented 33 sessions over the 2-day conference.
  • 43% of the attendees participated in social media at the event and contributed 872 #LMAP3 Tweets.
  • The #LMAP3 hashtag reached approximately 250,000 users on Twitter.

 Toby Brown, Chief Inspiration Officer

Toby Brown

Toby Brown

This is not Toby’s real title, but a title I am affectionately giving to him because he is the heart and soul behind the LMA Client Value SIG, as well as this conference. He has brought many of his peers along for the ride, but he remains in my mind as our inspiration in this area. He had a vision for this conference several years ago, and is the primary reason it exists today. Rumor has it he is helping to concoct plans for a P3 conference in London.

Officially, Toby is Chief Practice Officer for Akin Gump. He and Amar Sarwal, Vice President and Chief Legal Strategist for the ACC, which is the Association of Corporate Counsel, kicked off the conference with a conversation about the progression of the three Ps, as well as where they are headed, in addition to the legal disruption that is occurring within in-house legal departments that lawyers and pricing directors in law firms need to be aware of.

Change is Happening. We Are The Change.

Toby made it very clear that there is change afoot, and the people at this conference are knee deep in the evolution of pricing in law firms. He believes that:

“Change is happening. We are the change.”

Wake

“What law firms do is because of precedent, or driving the boat by watching the wake.” –Toby Brown

He pointed out the challenge is that most of what law firms do is because of precedent, or “driving the boat by watching the wake.”

Toby suggested we might want to look out over the bow and see what’s coming.

He said:

“As a profession, we have an especially hard time dealing with change.”

He acknowledged that…

“We don’t have cultures of change in law firms….lawyers don’t want to change, but they want change to happen around them.”

I think this is promising because we haven’t always been able to say that lawyers want change to happen around them, have we? There are always exceptions, and I hesitate to generalize, but this is evidence that change is happening. After all, if we accept change around us, we must know that we are next, correct?

Toby talked about reasons people embrace change, mostly when they are forced to change. They are forced for positive reasons such as establishing competitive advantage and an increase in income, but also because of negative reasons, such as competition and a loss of income. Very similar reasons, aren’t they?

One analogy of forced change Toby used was the automotive industry. Where cars used to be long, not lean, and gas hogs, the EPA and other innovations caused automakers to have to change.

Urgency, and something immediate and (unfortunately) negative are ways Toby suggested we can spur change in law firms. Toby and Akin Gump are serious about causing this change by tying pricing to profitability. Toby has begun to give his lawyers FICO-like profitability scores that are easy for them to understand, and that result in an overall grade.

Toby reminded us that traditional FICO scores are given to say that…based on these factors, you are a certain kind of risk for repaying your debt. Even though Toby stressed there are many tools that can be used to automate this type of profitability in law firms, the one Toby uses to create this type of score is Umbria from Prosperoware. They use data to determine that, based on history, this is how profitable attorneys will be in the future. Partners see their dashboards on a daily basis, and have been quick to accept this because it is something much more tangible, as well as easy to understand, than anything they have seen before.

Personal aside…if this scares you, I understand that, and it probably should. This is the way many of your clients have been graded, judged and reviewed for many years. This doesn’t have to have doomsday implications because it is a way to see how you are doing now so you can fix what needs to be fixed, if anything.

Toby said there are signs of progress. In terms of pricing, a recent ALM study showed that 70% of firms have someone in a pricing role, and 50% expect their pricing teams to grow this year. The study also shows that firms are putting leaner teams together, vs. the large teams firms used to throw together to staff a matter.

The ALM study also showed that firms are preparing matter budgets more than before, and that there are small pockets of progress related to LPM, or Legal Project Management.

One of Toby’s predictions and suggestions:

“Let’s not let Axiom have all the fun. Axiom’s business model is they hire all our castaways after we have spent millions of dollars training them, and they’re making lots and lots of money off of our castaways….so why are we casting them away? Even if they aren’t partner material, they might still be good lawyers.”

I suggest you watch the opening session video to see Toby talk about how the computer we all know as IBM’s Watson is having an impact on the legal profession, as well as additional suggestions Toby made for you to see improvement in your firms.

Stay tuned for my next post as I recap opening session comments from Amar Sarwal, ACC’s Vice President and Chief Legal Strategist, as he cautions lawyers not to become bystanders in the legal profession.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Content, Digital & Social Media Strategist, Speaker & Advisor, helping lawyers, law firms and legal marketers grow by strategically integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn and Twitter trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead firms through their online strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. 

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#LetsAskNancy 005: Lawyers, Should You Start A Practice Area Twitter Account?

Nancy Myrland #LetsAskNancy, #LetsAskNancy, Podcasts & Recordings, Social Media, Twitter Leave a Comment

#LetsAskNancy where Nancy Myrland answers questions about legal and lawyer marketing & business development, including content, social and digital marketing.

#LetsAskNancy is where I answer questions others have about legal and lawyer marketing and business development, including content, social and digital marketing. 

You have a choice…either listen to this post in the podcast player by clicking the arrow, read it below, or both!

 

Today’s question was posted in a legal marketing group I am a part of on Facebook. A well-known legal marketer asked if anyone had practice area Twitter accounts, and, if so, who posted the updates?

Here is my advice:

I think practice or industry group Twitter accounts can be very effective. There are so many developments in, for example, Life Sciences that attorneys are aware of, and that your clients are a part of, or that industry publications publish, that you should have more than enough knowledge to share, or people with whom to communicate, that care about this topic.

Setting up permanent searches with appropriate industry terms on Twitter should uncover quite a bit that would be interesting to share with followers. You then use this Twitter feed as a newsfeed, or news source, then share or comment on what you read that you think your clients and potential clients might find interesting. That is very quick and easy because you’re reading these articles already. You’re simply taking a few seconds to share them with others.

Regarding who posts the updates…it depends on your resources. I’d like to see designated attorneys and practice area managers and business development folks contribute. I would also limit it to just a few to avoid it getting messy or redundant if too many are posting. They are then able to then watch followers, commenters, ReTweeters, and those who favorite what you publish to decide if you should engage them in conversation.

You might also embed this Twitter account’s feed on your practice area blog, as well as practice area pages on your website, and maybe even test it on a few of your team’s attorneys’ bios to further reinforce the firm’s involvement in this area.

If you have questions about any of this, please feel free to ask. I’m happy to elaborate.

Bottom Line: Yes, it makes a great deal of sense to start practice area Twitter accounts, just as it does to establish blogs in specific practice areas.

If you have a question you’d like to be considered for #LetsAskNancy, feel free to leave it in the comments below, on Twitter using the hashtag #LetsAskNancy, or via my email….thanks!

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Content, Digital & Social Media Strategist, Speaker & Advisor, helping lawyers, law firms and legal marketers grow by strategically integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn and Twitter trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead firms through their online strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. 

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Lawyers, It’s Time. It’s Been Time For A While.

Nancy Myrland Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Lawyers, It's Time. It's Been Time For A While.

I am finishing three days of attending legal marketing and business development conferences in Chicago.

The first was the Legal Marketing Association’s LMA P3 conference. These 3 Ps of this conference are pricing, project management and process improvement. Short story there: these 3 Ps help you do what you’ve been doing much better.

The second conference is The LSSO Raindance Conference, hosted by LSSO, or the Legal Sales and Service Organization. As the name implies, this conference is for those of us who care about business development and sales in the legal profession.

The Way We Do Business Has Changed.

There have been a few themes this week that continue to surface. The one I will tackle now is that the way you do business has changed.

I know, you’ve heard this a thousand times before. What strikes me as another way to think about this is the way your clients are doing business has changed, and this is something you must pay attention to because it has changed how they do business with you.

We have moved to an era where our buyers of legal services are much more sophisticated than ever before. They have digital access to information about us, our competitors, the topics they are concerned about, and the topics that they will need to begin worrying about.

As lawyers, legal markers, and law firm personnel, you used to have more control over what information your clients and potential clients received from and about you.

  • You would decide what speaking engagements you would accept.
  • You would call reporters to try and place stories with the talking points that were important to you
  • You would call a potential client to schedule a meeting.
  • You would sponsor an event that complements what you do in your practice.
  • You would create the materials you wanted to take to a client meeting.
  • You would buy an ad in your child’s program to get your name out, and show your support.

Just in case you were standing by, hoping this new way your clients are doing business would go away, or that it would eventually fall out of favor, you need to know it will not. The toothpaste is out of the tube. Now you just need to figure out how you are going to function, operate, communicate and excel in this informed, connected world.

So What Are You Supposed To Do About This?

Let’s assume you’ve taken my advice from the last paragraph, and that you’ve accepted that your world has changed, and that your clients are operating with more advanced tools than ever before. Hopefully you accepted this long before reading this blog post, but just in case, I’ll finish my thoughts.

Knowing the majority of your potential and current clients are researching and communicating with a device that is never more than an arm’s length away, you need to make sure your information is “out there” where they can find it.

Seriously, You Need To Stop It

If you’re still worried about putting your thoughts in writing, sharing what you know with the world via website, blog, social media, podcasts, video, live-streaming, etc., because your competitors will steal it, you need to stop it. Seriously, you need to stop it.

I’m not being direct because I don’t like you. I’m being direct because I DO like you, and my job is for you to succeed at what you do.

The reality is that if you don’t put your information out there, your competitors will. If I was your competitor, and I saw that you had little or no information strategically placed where your current and potential clients could find it, you can bet I’d place mine there soon…and often. When you finally get up the nerve to start communicating digitally, your competitors will already be dominating search results. The longer you wait, the more challenging it will be to make an impact.

Let Them Know

Let them know what you think, how you think, what you look and sound like, what approach you have to working with people, how you answer questions, how approachable you are when giving advice, how simple or complex you tend to think, how passionate you are about your work, how up-to-date you are in the business they are passionate about, and how good you are at thinking ahead about what will end up challenging them if they aren’t aware.

If you don’t know where to start, ask for help. Some of you have strategic marketing and business development people on staff. Work with them. They want to help you. Those of you who don’t only need to reach out to one of many who exist to make your lives easier.

Remember…It’s time. It’s been time for a while.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Content, Digital & Social Media Strategist, Speaker & Advisor, helping lawyers, law firms and legal marketers grow by strategically integrating all marketing disciplines. She helps lawyers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead firms through their online strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. 

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#LetsAskNancy 004 – Lawyers, How Can You Be More Sticky?

Nancy Myrland #LetsAskNancy, #LetsAskNancy, Blogging, Business Development/Sales, Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Uncategorized 1 Comment

#LetsAskNancy where Nancy Myrland answers questions about legal and lawyer marketing & business development, including content, social and digital marketing.

#LetsAskNancy is where I answer questions others have about legal and lawyer marketing and business development, including content, social and digital marketing. 

You have a choice…either listen to this post in the podcast player below, read it below that, or both!

 

Sticky…hmm, what is that? We’ll get to that in a minute, but let’s talk about the real question behind this, and that is:

“How do I go from people visiting my bio or blog posts on my website, to actually developing client relationships with them?”

It gets down to this: How do you make your relationship with your visitors to your website more sticky?

What Does Sticky Mean?

Let’s first look at the definition of sticky as it relates to your website.

BusinessDictionary.com tells us that a sticky site is a website so rich in content and features, and so well organized, the visitors feel compelled to stick around for quite a long time and come back often.

You know…sticky!

This is also about being more efficient with your time and resources as you are providing ways to close the gap between clients and potential clients finding you, and that point in time when you have been able to build a relationship with them. Instead of it being a completely manual process, this adds digital components to the mix that help to facilitate those relationships, or at least the awareness of you to them that can help this happen.

Nancy, How Do We Do That?

There are many ways, but let’s discuss 3 today.

  1. Let’s make sure there is related content for them to click on, both within your post or bio, after they finish reading it, or even in the sidebars, which are the margins of the page. Suggest related blog posts, articles, news releases, event invitations, or even important articles where you’ve been quoted.
  2. Provide an opt-in box for them to sign-up to receive another piece you’ve written. Perhaps this is a white paper, a video series that summarizes recent developments in legislation your clients might care about, or an audio recording of a recent presentation you made (even if it was 10 minutes ago sitting in your office). The ideas are endless if we use our imagination.
  3. Facebook conversion tracking. This one might be new to many of you. I won’t go completely into detail about how this is done because we could spend a lot of time discussing this, but I want you to have a sense for what this means, and how it might play into what you do on a daily basis to reach those people who have already expressed an interest in you…again, making you more sticky.

Conversion tracking allows you to reach those who have visited your website or blog with advertising that you place on Facebook. Please don’t be a naysayer just yet when it comes to Facebook. With almost 1.5 billion users, you can be pretty certain that many of your clients and potential clients are there. Remember that many people join it to keep up on what their children and grandchildren are doing, so why not meet them where they are?

Anyhow, conversion tracking helps you to find the exact people who have visited your website. You then create ads offering some type of knowledge, much as we discussed in Number 1 above, that is targeted to the exact people who have already expressed interest in you by visiting your site.

Bottom Line

Again, this is all about building relationships by creating moments of contact between you and your potential clients. Giving them reasons to interact with your content is smart marketing. It’s efficient. It’s helping them learn more about you by absorbing what you have to say. It’s helping you by strategically placing your knowledge, intelligence and wisdom around your website to lengthen the digital moments you have together. It’s making you…you know what I’m going to say…more sticky!

If you have a question you’d like to be considered for #LetsAskNancy, feel free to leave it in the comments below, on Twitter using the hashtag #LetsAskNancy, or via my email….thanks!

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Content, Digital & Social Media Strategist, Speaker & Advisor, helping lawyers, law firms and legal marketers grow by strategically integrating all marketing disciplines. She helps lawyers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead firms through their online strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. 

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#LetsAskNancy 003 – Lawyers, Why Should You Publish Your Content On Other Sites?

Nancy Myrland #LetsAskNancy, #LetsAskNancy, Blogging, Business Development/Sales, Content Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

#LetsAskNancy where Nancy Myrland answers questions about legal and lawyer marketing & business development, including content, social and digital marketing.

#LetsAskNancy is where I answer questions others have about legal and lawyer marketing and business development, including content, social and digital marketing. 

You have a choice…either listen to this post in the podcast player below, read it below that, or both!

 

My short answer? Why would you not?

The news this week about Facebook adding a new feature called Instant Articles, where major publications and sites, such as The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed and others, will be able to post articles directly on Facebook has generated a great deal of conversation that shows excitement, fear, anxiety, concern and curiosity. It depends who you are as to which of those emotions you are feeling about this deal.

Why Should Lawyers Post Content On Other Sites?

I’m not sure you have any choice if you, like these major publications mentioned above, want to stay alive, relevant and noticed. We live in a world where two developments are occurring simultaneously.

  1. We are inundated with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of messages every day.
  2. We have more channels, or sites, available to us than ever before.

What Does This Mean?

This means that when we publish our words, whether written or spoken, we have enormous competition for eyes and ears. Remember when it used to be so easy when all we had was radio, TV, newspaper and a few other platforms to get our entertainment and education from? I know, some of you don’t remember, so you’re just going to have to trust me. It really wasn’t that long ago in the grand scheme of things. I was alive and I barely remember it because changes have happened so rapidly.

Anyhow, back to why you want to publish your content elsewhere…

  • Gone are the days when our target audiences came to our websites to learn everything about us. [Did they ever?]
  • Gone are the days when competition was friendly, and there was an unwritten agreement between some attorneys and firms they wouldn’t try to poach clients from one another.
  • Gone are the days when your reputation is what brought business back to you again and again. [It still happens, but earning and keeping loyalty is changing.]
  • Gone are the days when your clients and target audiences had enough time in their workdays to research and read everything they needed to in order to decide you were the chosen one.
  • For that matter, gone are the days when your clients had a standard workday, and weren’t tied to their smart devices every waking hour, which means their brains are likely on overload.

What Are You Supposed To Do?

To begin with, if you aren’t already committing your wisdom and intelligence in your practice area to paper, keyboard, video or microphone, otherwise known as your content, then you need to begin doing so strategically. That means you do so in a way that supports your marketing and business development goals, and the needs for information your target audiences have in order to do their jobs better.

Next, you need to distribute what you’ve produced. It doesn’t do you any good to spend your valuable time creating this content if you don’t share it. Do you need to publish:

  • On your website?
  • On your target audiences’ websites?
  • On sites that curate content from many lawyers, such as JD Supra?
  • On social media in small doses, such as on Twitter where you are limited to only a few characters [yes, it is possible to distill what you’ve created in only a few characters, trust me]?
  • On LinkedIn Pulse and Publisher, where LinkedIn helps you get the attention of those for whom you are writing because they know how to match your content with the keywords others are searching?
  • On Facebook, whether that be sharing your content in your personal newsfeed, on your business page, or in certain groups that allow for that to be done?

Remember, all of this is marketing, and part of the business development process, and you need to become comfortable marketing your marketing. If not, who will? You can’t leave this to chance, hoping others will find your words of wisdom. We can’t go back there, just as The New York Times and Huffington Post can’t rely on people going out of their way to go to their websites to read everything they have created.

You need to spread your content out to those sites that have demonstrated they have the traffic you care about, which means where your target audiences are spending time. Think about this deal this week between Facebook and major publications. These publications are in the process of realizing that they need to go where their audience is if they want their content to be read. With almost 1.5 billion people on Facebook, I suspect many of your clients and potential clients are spending some time on Facebook.

The same goes for you. You have to go where your clients and potential clients are already spending time. You also need to go where you suspect they will be spending time in the future so that you have a body of your wisdom waiting there for them when they arrive. I think that’s exciting!

Yes, this takes time and effort, but it is definitely possible to create and distribute your intelligence broadly so that it benefits your practice. What is even more important is that you are taking the time to offer this content in ways that benefit your clients, and that you are making it easier for them to find the help they need…from you!

[If you have a question you’d like to be considered for #LetsAskNancy, feel free to leave it in the comments below, on Twitter using the hashtag #LetsAskNancy, or via my email….thanks!]

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Content, Digital & Social Media Strategist, Speaker & Advisor, helping lawyers, law firms and legal marketers grow by strategically integrating all marketing disciplines. She helps lawyers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead firms through their online strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. 

 

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Hey, Where Did All My Online Friends & Connections Go?

Nancy Myrland Business Development/Sales, Content Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Hey, Where Did All My Online Friends & Connections Go?!Remember that passionate follower of yours on Twitter that shared everything you wrote?

Remember that new connection you made on LinkedIn that seemed interested in what you had to post?

Remember that friend that went out of his way to like everything you wrote on Facebook?

Remember that energetic commenter that used to support you on your blog?

What in the world happened to those people you used to be so connected to?

The Reality

We all enter this online world at different times, at different speeds, with different levels of passion, and with various approaches to connecting to others. It is often the case that we happen upon someone we like, or someone we find interesting, or who is willing to really connect by replying and conversing with us and, before we know it, we’ve made a true connection, even a friend.

Then one day, it could be a week, 6 months, or 2 years, we see that person float by in our newsfeed, or on Twitter, or commenting in one of our shared LinkedIn groups, or because someone else mentioned them, and we think:

“What happened to her? We don’t connect any more. She used to share everything of mine, and I shared everything of hers.”

The reality is that, just as in our face-to-face relationships, some people will move in and out of our virtual lives in what seems to be a flash. Perhaps that is bothersome because you miss that advocate, that friendship, that connection, and, yes, sometimes that fan, that you thought you had.

What Do You Do?

First, you realize that maybe that’s okay. Maybe that person was a bright spot in your professional or personal life for a brief period of time when you happened to connect because you traveled in the same online circles for a certain period of time.

Second, you realize that you now have more connections, and more relationships, and it is likely that this person does, too. You have discovered more people, and so has your friend. This causes all of us to have to work to keep those connections we have.

Third, you need to decide if it is important to have that contact in your life. Perhaps you forgot about him for a while because you got busy or distracted, so you might need to take the responsibility for renewing that relationship.

Fourth, think about the relationship you had with her. Was it lopsided? Was she sharing more of your content than you were sharing of hers? Perhaps you needed to share more of her content? Some find it can get old extending the courtesy of promoting others when they don’t seem interested in your professional well being by giving them a boost now and then, too. Some feel invisible in online spaces when their courtesy isn’t reciprocated.

Fifth, do what you can, when you can. If you feel you are truly approaching social networking with focus, and with the mindset that you are there to help others, and not just to promote yourself, then don’t beat yourself up. As my friend, Tony Crecco, told me when we were going through Mari Smith’s social media training in San Diego back in 2009:

“Nancy, if you’re going to beat yourself up, do it with a feather.” Anthony Crecco: If You're Going To Beat Yourself Up, Do It With A Feather

Bottom Line

Think about the 5 questions above, then decide what, if anything, you need to do about it. If it isn’t important to where you are in your professional and personal life at this time, then let it go. Get that feather out, and use it…but only for a second, then move on, okay?

If it is important, then, just as with face-to-face relationships, back up a bit and renew those relationships you want or need to have in your life. By the way, this goes for online and offline relationships.

  • Start out by giving.
  • Be kind.
  • Be gracious.
  • Renew that relationship.
  • Start with a simple hello, how have you been?

So I Ask…

“Hello. How have you been?”

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers

Nancy Myrland is a Marketing, Content, Digital & Social Media Consultant, Speaker and Trainer, helping lawyers, law firms and legal marketers grow by intelligently integrating all marketing disciplines. She helps lawyers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead firms through their online strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. 

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#LetsAskNancy 002 – Lawyers: What Tone Should You Use In Social Media?

Nancy Myrland #LetsAskNancy, Blogging, Content Marketing, Podcasts & Recordings, Social Media, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

#LetsAskNancy where Nancy Myrland answers questions about legal and lawyer marketing & business development, including content, social and digital marketing.

#LetsAskNancy is where I answer questions others have about legal and lawyer marketing and business development, including content, social and digital marketing. 

You have a choice…either listen to this post in the podcast player below, read it below that, or both!

 

One of the questions I am often asked is:

“What tone should I use when I post in social media, or when I blog?”

Good Question

I understand why this is perplexing to many as nobody wants to look bad, or stupid, or awkward, or silly, or you name the word that has you the most concerned. All of these words have fear of failure as their foundation, and who wants to fail? As attorneys, you are particularly programmed to avoid failure as your job is to win or succeed on some level. Looking or sounding bad is definitely not a part of that equation.

What you might find interesting is that those outside the profession share this fear of failure, so you’re not alone. Who in heaven’s name wants to look bad?

So You Move Forward

Knowing you might have this concern, let’s just hit it head-on, shall we? What kind of tone or personality should you use when:

  • Writing a blog post
  • Posting on LinkedIn Publisher
  • Tweeting
  • Posting on Facebook
  • Updating LinkedIn
  • Sharing in a Google+ Community
  • Recording a podcast
  • Producing a video
  • Writing an article for your newsletter
  • …and on and on

The Answer Is Simple

The answer is right in front of you, or rather, inside of you.

You already have this answer. You use YOUR tone or personality!

  • You don’t use mine.
  • You don’t use your competitor’s.
  • You don’t use your practice group chair’s.
  • You don’t use the President’s.
  • You don’t use your favorite talk show host’s.
  • You don’t use your favorite author’s.

Using social and digital media, and producing all of this content I keep talking to you about producing is, as I discussed in What Is Content Marketing?, nothing more than spilling intelligence and perspective out in various media. Don’t try to make it something it’s not. Don’t try to sound like someone you aren’t.

  • If you have a fun and casual personality, and that’s how you typically talk to your clients, then do that.
  • If you’re kind of a jerk, and that serves your purpose, then I guess you can be a jerk in digital spaces, too.
  • If you are very serious, and never crack a joke, or show any emotion, then do that.

Whatever you are, that’s how I want you to be when you publish or produce you. It helps others form a consistent impression of you, and what you might be like to be connected to, to talk to, to learn from, and possibly to even do business with. If they see or hear you one way in-person, but a completely different way online, you have helped confuse them, and that’s not good.

Don’t Overthink This

If you do, you will suffer from a massive case of inertia that is enabled by your fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. Then you suddenly watch others around you making progress, publishing content, saying what you know you could have easily said, and you realize you have then made no progress in getting you and your message out to the world.

Bottom Line

Stop worrying, and just be yourself. Don’t look back one year from now, and be upset that you didn’t take any steps toward producing any content that could help you position yourself as a leader in your area of expertise. Don’t let others take that position when you could be earning it for yourself. There are people out there looking for the answers you have to give. If there weren’t, why would you be doing what you’re doing? Go…do it, okay?

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social MediaNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Content, Digital & Social Media Strategist, Speaker & Advisor, helping lawyers, law firms and legal marketers grow by strategically integrating all marketing disciplines. She helps lawyers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead firms through their online strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. 

If you have a question you’d like to be considered for #LetsAskNancy, feel free to leave it in the comments below, on Twitter using the hashtag #LetsAskNancy, or via email….thanks!

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Lawyers, Are You Guilty of Committing Random Acts of Content?

Nancy Myrland Business Development/Sales, Content Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Lawyers, Are You Committing Random Acts of Content?There is more to content marketing than meets the keyboard. Content marketing, which includes strategy, creation and distribution, is part of carefully thought out marketing and business development strategy. You need to take the time to decide who all of your target audiences are, including all of the people, positions and roles within each targeted client organization, or you will have no idea what to write, when to write it, whom to write it for, and where to distribute it when you sit down at the keyboard, in front of a camera, or turn on your microphone. It simply becomes random acts of content, and that can be a colossal waste of time.

RELEVANT CONTENT

Content means nothing, but relevant content means everything. It becomes relevant when there is deliberate thought and planning behind it.

  • Content that addresses the client’s thought process become more relevant.
  • Content that answers questions about how the client decides which firm to choose becomes more relevant.
  • Content that answers questions that clients have about how to protect their business becomes more relevant.
  • Content that takes clients through the thought process they use on a daily basis to do their job becomes more relevant.
  • Content that is addressed to each person involved in the decision to buy legal or business services becomes more relevant.

WHERE DO WE START?

With marketing and business development goals as your guide, you need to sit down with your clients on a regular basis, and certainly as part of the initial practice of developing content marketing strategy, and ask your clients carefully thought out questions about what led them to choose your firm. Once you know all of the answers to the questions above, and more, then you can then begin writing relevant content. 

You will then be able to distribute that content strategically so that current and potential clients will find or receive the content that is meaningful to them at that moment. Think about this. It’s no different than when you and I choose to absorb content. When we do so, we have decided that, for whatever reason, it is interesting to us at that moment. This could be purely for entertainment value, or it could be relevant to us because of a decision-making process we are going through. That doesn’t mean we are ready to buy, but it could mean that we are becoming more equipped to do our jobs. It might not seem like it, and we might not even realize it, but we might be entering the buying cycle for services we will need in the future.

IT’S THE SAME FOR YOUR CLIENTS

When your potential clients choose to absorb specific content, they are self-selecting what is relevant at that time. Your potential clients could be entering the decision-making process, the buying cycle if you will. If you have done your job, and prepared as discussed above, then you and your firm will have placed content in their path that will match the stages of their decision-making process. You have studied, planned and published content that speaks to each question and each stage of that buying cycle because you took the time to get to know that before you started.

If what we hear is true, which is that buyers are 60% – 90% of the way through the decision-making process by the time they ever contact their service provider, then having relevant content in place is crucial to helping clients and prospects make the decision to use your firm, or to at least include you in their thought process when deciding with whom they want to work.

BOTTOM LINE

If you’re going to work this hard to bring your intelligence to life (that is what producing content is, you know), then wouldn’t you rather it be relevant, vs. unfocused and simply another random act of content? Anyone can do that, but not everyone can be relevant.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social MediaNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Content, Digital & Social Media Strategist, Speaker & Advisor, helping lawyers, law firms and legal marketers grow by strategically integrating all marketing disciplines. She helps lawyers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients.  

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#LetsAskNancy 001- Lawyers: Client Names In Pitches…To List or Not To List?

Nancy Myrland #LetsAskNancy, #LetsAskNancy, Business Development/Sales, Social Media Ethics & Regulations Leave a Comment

#LetsAskNancy where Nancy Myrland answers questions about lawyer and legal marketing
#LetsAskNancy is where I answer questions others have about legal and lawyer marketing and business development, including content, social and digital marketing. 

You have a choice…either listen to this post in the player below, read it below that, or both!

 

It is a natural tendency to want to show your past work when pitching new clients. As you know, this is dicey in some jurisdictions. Some don’t allow you to use past results as a predictor of future success, so the way you position prior work should always adhere to the strictest ethical boundaries in all of the markets in which you practice.

Always

Assuming it is okay in all of your jurisdictions to use past results in your communication, then my advice to you is to always contact your clients to ask if it is okay if they are used as a representative client. When I was in-house as a law firm marketing director, we had a service provider list us in their marketing materials, which wasn’t good as we weren’t happy with their services. We had to politely ask them to remove us from the list…awkward, right?

I always advise lawyers to find non-billable reasons to stay in touch with their contacts, and to let them know you value the work you do together, so let’s use this as a touch point between you and your client. Your marketer can do this, but I want  you to do it.

Don’t leave anything to chance. Script the appropriate language to use in each of these conversations.

To Make It Easy, Here Is The Language You Can Use 

  • Thanks for the opportunity to work together,
  • We’d love to list you as a representative client for the xyz work we did together.
  • Your name would be used in proposals, letters to potential clients, on our website (whatever is correct for your situation).
  • Whenever possible, we are using client logos as this looks much nicer than a list of names.

Follow-Up Immediately

If your client agrees, then you should send a follow-up document, or tell your client that Leslie Jameson, your marketing director, will follow up with him/her in writing with a summary of your discussion. Note: If your marketing professional isn’t named Leslie Jameson, then I’d suggest changing that. 

In this follow-up email, send:

  • A thank you for allowing your firm to use their name and logo,
  • A summary of the conversation,
  • Those bullet points I listed above [of course this will be customized to your situation]
  • Ask who you can contact at their company to get their logo
  • One more brief thank you before signing off.

If you want to be extra cautious, you can send it with a confirmation of receipt, although that can get irritating to the recipient, or you can ask the client to reply with a nod so you can make sure she or he received it okay. Hopefully, the client will follow up with a contact name for you to get the logo, which will be digital acknowledgement of the agreement to be listed.

Send Examples

When you use it in more public spaces, vs. a confidential proposal, such as on your website, newsletters, or other places, then you should forward a link to that client to say “Just thought I’d show you an example of how we are listing you…thanks so much for letting us do that. It means a lot to me and our firm.”

Again, another touch point with the client that has nothing to do with billing, which is always nice!

Bottom line advice: Don’t list any clients without their approval.

If you have a question you’d like to be considered for #LetsAskNancy, feel free to leave it in the comments below, on Twitter using the hashtag #LetsAskNancy, or via email….thanks!

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