You Damage More Than Your Own Personal Brand With Bad Online Behavior

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Branding, Personal Branding, Social Media Leave a Comment

Damaging Your Personal Brand OnlineFresh off of a webinar I co-hosted for the Legal Marketing Association last week titled “Personal Branding In The Age of Social & Digital Media,” where Clayton Dodds and I scratched the surface of how to define your personal brand, I was disappointed when the story broke about Sullivan & Cromwell’s high-profile partner, Francis “Frank” Aquila, who chose to lash out publicly last week on Twitter at White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

This Isn’t About Politics

Just to be clear, the reason I am writing this blog post has nothing to do with politics, although that is likely the impetus behind Frank’s widely-publicized Tweet.

It has everything to do with Mr. Aquila’s personal brand and how he chose to either reinforce it or damage it in order to prove a point. I don’t know him, so I can’t say which one of those is accurate.

That is my point. I don’t know him and neither do thousands of people who witnessed his outburst on Twitter toward Ms. Sanders, or thousands more who have learned about it since it happened.

In Social Media, Context Is A Luxury

Sullivan & Cromwell Partner Lashes Out At White House Press Secretary Personal Branding on Twitter

In the age of social and digital media, we are not always afforded the gift of context when we post. Observers might see one Tweet, post, update, video, or another short snippet of information that is shocking and at odds with what you have worked so hard to communicate to others as your personal brand. People might not know what came before or after that comment, so context is lost.

As a reminder, your personal brand is the way you do business, the way you act when you come in contact with others, and the behavior that is so consistent there is no question in others’ minds what you will be like when they see you online and offline. It is your brand. Whether you are deliberate about its definition and execution or not, you have one.

In this case, even if observers had the context of Mr. Aquila’s Tweet, I am not sure that telling someone to “Rot in Hell you B!tch” is ever appropriate. 

If you are going to step out and represent yourself that way online, you have to be pretty certain the rest of your friends, clients, and other followers are okay with that kind of approach and reaction, particularly when you choose to lash out like that in a space as public as Twitter toward a person with a podium as large as Sarah Sanders.

Innovative Use of Social Media?

ABA Journal Sullivan & Cromwell's Frank Aquila's Personal Branding Lesson

In an interesting bit of irony, the ABA Journal tells us that:

“In 2009, the ABA Journal named Aquila one of its Legal Rebels, for his innovative use of social media in his practice. ‘I’m a very social person,’ Aquila told the ABA Journal in 2009. ‘It’s just another extension of my personality.’”

Keyboards As Virtual Armor

Keyboards and screens have come to be digital shields of protection many users need to act out online.

Many of Frank’s friends and supporters may very well have expressed their support of his actions because they, too, might think the statement she made that caused his reaction was off-base and in need of correction.

He might also have built up enough social capital with the people he cares about online that they will support him no matter what, but I doubt that anyone is so popular they can muster that kind of support from everyone.

No More Twitter For Mr. AquilaShould we delete bad Tweets?

We don’t know that part of the story because his Tweet and his Twitter account are now gone, and we are not privy to all of the conversations that took place after this happened. I would imagine he and Sullivan & Cromwell decided the situation was too toxic to keep that content online.

There are no doubt some who took a screen-shot of it before it was taken down, and many others who have quoted him, which you can see in the screenshots throughout this post. It is also archived here.

Never Forget: Our online behavior is not guaranteed to go away when our accounts or Tweets are deleted.

I didn’t have to search too far for any of these articles you see here. The story first appeared in a few newsletters I received from legal trade publications in my inbox. Each article seemed to link to yet another. That is another danger of an online outburst. We can’t control what happens to the evidence because information is easy to find. The snowball effect is often out of our control. 

Grandstanding On Social Media

We live in an age where many like to use social media to grandstand, and to show off their ability to take others down. When I train lawyers, I suggest that if this behavior represents their personal brand, and their online behavior matches their offline behavior, if it is good for business, AND they are comfortable with the after effects on their firm’s brand, then go for it. If they can’t tick off all of those boxes, then they need to step away from the keyboard. 

The Internal Apology

Sullivan & Cromwell Partner Frank Aquila Lashes Out At Sarah SandersWe are told that Mr. Aquila apologized to his firm, as well as mentioned an apology to Ms. Sanders.

The ABA Journal reported that:

“The publication [the New York Law Journal] later obtained an email apology from Aquila to his firm colleagues on Friday. The email read: ‘Last evening, I responded to a tweet from Sarah Sanders in an inappropriate and hurtful manner. Clearly my emotions got the best of me, but equally clearly neither Ms. Sanders nor any woman should be subjected to such animus. I take full responsibility for my ‎actions and I sincerely apologize to Ms. Sanders.’”

I’m not sure his words about not speaking to Ms. Sanders, nor any woman, in such a manner were expressed directly to her, other than in the copy of the internal email the New York Law Journal obtained.

Had I been counseling him, I would have recommended sending an apology directly to her.

The keyboard isn’t your one-size-fits-all method of communication with other human beings, particularly when you have admitted inappropriate behavior. 

Your Brand Must Be Consistent

From what I can tell of Mr. Aquila’s bio on the firm’s website, he has an amazing career of representing major brands at the highest level, is influential in all the right circles, has been named one of the top 50 lawyers in the world, and is a leader in many ways. It is important that the brand we see in one place be consistent with the brand we see in other places. If not, clients are confused or turned off when observing our actions. Confusion causes people to back away, which I am quite certain was not his intention.

The Potential Damage To Law Firms

The unfortunate consequence of the individual actions of any of the 875 lawyers at Sullivan & Cromwell, or any of the other legal and business professionals at the firm, is that a mishap like this has the potential to damage the entire firm’s reputation.

Just as a strong set of individual lawyer brands can have a positive impact on your firm’s brand and bolster its strength and integrity to those observing, so, too, can words and actions like those in this story damage, and sometimes even take down, the overall brand and integrity of your firm. 

Lawyers And Law Firms Have A Responsibility

If you are going to continue to use the tools and platforms you have at your disposal to communicate, you also have to continue to train those who are using them under the umbrella of your firm, not just once a year or every other year when you can squeeze enough time and money out of the budget to do so, but on a regular basis.

Don’t Be The Next Case Study

I understand everyone isn’t perfect, or that errors will sometimes occur online. I also understand you have a great deal of input in your firm in minimizing this kind of behavior on social media by following the bullet points above. If you don’t have that input, show this to someone who does.

As you can see from all of the screenshots I have posted, Mr. Aquila’s and Sullivan & Cromwell’s name were mentioned in each article I reviewed. His actions were attached to the firm’s name and brand. His actions had the potential to damage the firm’s brand name as well as his own. As much as we would like to think we can lead separate personal and professional digital lives, that is not reality.

Please take the time to make sure everyone in your firm plays his/her part in building a strong, positive firm brand and that the potential to tear down your firm’s good name is minimized. 

Don’t be the next case study about how one of your people blew up in public, tarnishing their name and reputation, as well as your firm’s.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions, or if there is anything I can do to help you.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by understanding and integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers grow their practices by making their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here. She can also be reached via email here.

 

Lawyers, Thinking About Podcasting? I Have An Idea For You.

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Podcasts & Recordings Leave a Comment

Lawyers, Thinking About A Podcast - I Have An Idea For You by Nancy MyrlandIf we’ve spent much time together in the last few years, you know that I am bullish on voice marketing. This can come in a number of ways, but my choices at this time are podcasts and Alexa Flash Briefings. In February, I launched an Alexa Flash Briefing that can be subscribed to on Alexa-enabled devices from Amazon, and I’m enjoying the experience quite a bit. I have 18 episodes that revolve around “short bursts of legal marketing news and advice.” I will likely repurpose these Flash Briefings into a new podcast…more on that at another time.  

Early Days For Legal and Voice

I also understand that these are early days for Alexa Flash Briefings and the legal profession (or any profession or industry), so I am repurposing my audio into videos by creating waveform videos, also called audiograms, then sharing those videos across all of my social platforms.

I would love to see you create a podcast and/or Flash Briefing in the next several months. Being in the ears of those who care about your practice area is a coveted position. If you are chosen to be there, you have just accelerated your ability to nurture relationships with your listeners at a rate far greater than you might imagine. 

If this makes you a little nervous, I understand. Trust me, once you get up and running, it will be much easier and the voices of those you have chosen to host your podcast will become much more conversational and will reflect the personality of that person. That obviously means you need to choose someone who has some personality! (We can talk about that.)

I Have An Idea For A New Podcast For You

I just came across an article this morning from eMarketer that gave me an idea about how you can dip your toes into the podcasting world. Even if you already have a podcast, this might also be a good idea for you.

Knowing that recruiting and promoting your firm’s messages are extremely important to your current and future growth, why not let your Summer Associates host a podcast for the Summer? If Summer isn’t the appropriate timeframe, then you can decide the time, but this would allow you to create a “season” of podcasts that you can perfect while they are hosting it, thus allowing you to understand the medium more so that you can launch other podcasts in the future.

You Can Create A Safe, Focused Environment

In the article from eMarketer, they talked about letting their interns take over their podcast for one episode. They asked them specific questions, thus creating a safe, focused environment and episode.

You can do the same.

This whole concept might make you nervous as you can’t imagine what they might say when you set them loose in front of a microphone, but remember that you can do this in a few ways that will help you feel a little better about this.

  • The first is to do it in an interview format where you or someone else who is comfortable behind a microphone interviews them with specific questions on each episode.
  • The second way is to let your interns host it without being interviewed but give them specific topics they can address during that episode.

Remember, you get to edit the final product, so they can’t say anything you might find embarrassing or damaging because you create or approve the final edits.  

What Do You Think?

I think this could not only be educational and valuable in extending your firm’s brand, but it will also be an enjoyable experience for those involved.

Also, think what kind of message this is sending to the rest of the world that might be looking at your firm for the purposes of doing business with you, or coming to work for you, or quoting your lawyers for content they are producing.

It is innovative and sets the tone that you are willing to market and communicate on a regular basis in a creative way. It also gives a fresh perspective from a group of people who have just spent time learning from the best of the best at your firm…your lawyers.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Also, as always, please let me know if you have any questions about podcasting for your firm.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Planning Consultant, and a Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers grow their practices by making their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that hereShe can also be reached via email here.

Don’t Dread It. Do It!

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Motivation Leave a Comment

Don't Dread It. Do It. As I write this, it’s Monday.

By the time you read this, it could be Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. It really doesn’t matter.

What I want to ask you about is today.

Are you going to DREAD it, or are you going to DO it?

*[Note: If you prefer seeing the video format of this post, I will post a link to it at the end of this post.]

I’m Not Looking Forward To Today

I know Mondays are hard for a lot of people. Some of you had a relaxing weekend and you don’t want to give that up. You spent time with family and you’d like to do more of that. Some of you have not had enough of that time, or you had to work over the weekend, and what you’re thinking is, “Gosh, it’s Monday. Do I really have to do this? I’m not looking forward to it.”

You know what? That kind of dread is just going to set us up for even more negative feelings.

I know it’s easy to think that way, and I empathize with you, but I think what we have to decide is that we’re just going to do it. We have to tell ourselves, “It’s Monday, bring it on!” After all, our feelings aren’t going to make it go away. It’s not to suddenly be Tuesday. It’s just going to be a rotten Monday unless we decide it’s going to be otherwise.

Build Moments Into Your Day

Every day, it helps to have something to look forward to. If we don’t have anything to look forward to in our workday, then that’s an issue. We have to create a few moments that we look forward to.

If we know that when we go into the firm there are going to be difficult people to deal with, or there are issues that are difficult to deal with, then we need to think about those in advance and think about how we might choose to react to them.

Is there somebody who gets under your skin? I get that there are people who get under your skin and who really enjoy getting under your skin. You know what? They’re probably not going to change. Maybe they will, but don’t count on it.

So what do you do?

You have to decide in advance how you are going to deal with that person. You know what? Take the wind out of their sails. If they’re going to be nasty to you, how are you going to react today? Are you going to smile at them? Are you going to kill them with kindness and leave them wondering, “what the heck was that all about? I didn’t get under their skin this time. Boy, that really gets under my skin when that happens.”

Try saying “Yes, I understand you’re frustrated. Alright, what are we going to do about it?”

If you don’t have any of these opportunities, then I suggest you schedule a few things into your day that you can actually look forward to and that will break up your day.

For example, I don’t have to travel today, so do you see these guys?

Mike and Nick Myrland

I build them into my day by going outside and spending a few minutes with them every so often, letting them be in the sun, which they absolutely love to do, no matter how hot it is, and just doing a little work out here, talking to you, spending a little time with you. That’s something I can look forward to that is a breath of fresh air.

We’re All Busy

I know that when I go back into my office, I have a lot on my plate. I know you do, too. I’m probably no more busy than you are. You know what? We’re all very busy and sometimes people say:

“Oh, there is no one busier than I am.”

Well, don’t count on it. I’m running my own business. Yes, I have for 16 years. I do my own IT. I do my own marketing. I do my own business development and sales. I do my own fulfillment and implementation of my work product, and much more. That’s my choice.

It’s Our Choice

You know what? We’re all busy, but it’s how we choose to approach this life. It’s how we choose to approach this day.

Are we going to DREAD it, or are we doing to DO it? If we’re going to do it, then just get in there and do it!

Try to do it with a positive attitude, a happy heart, and spread some joy around. Those are the kinds of things that will help break up your day so you don’t dread what lies ahead.

Do something nice for somebody else. Catherine MacDonagh called me a couple of weeks ago and left a message…a sweet, sweet message with some very personal, kind, wonderful thoughts.

Do you know how much that made my day? It did…more than you know.

Find those moments in your day, then create them so you don’t dread your days. Days are too short to spend them in agony over your situation. Decide you are going to do something about making the day ahead better.

I want you to do it alright?

Let me know what you think.

Tell me what you do when you’re dreading something or someone, or when you’re dreading your day.

How do you decide that it’s going to be better before it even happens?

If you find this blog post worthy, I would love it if you would share it with your community. Thank you!

*If you prefer watching this blog post, you can watch it here.

 

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Plan Consultant, and a Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that hereShe can be reached via email here.

 

Survey Says: Lawyers, Your Social and Digital Content Needs To Improve 

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Content Marketing, Research, Social Media Leave a Comment

Greentarget Zeughauser Survey Says Lawyers Your Social and Digital Content Needs To ImproveCongratulations to Greentarget and Zeughauser Group for the release of The 2018 State of Digital and Content Marketing Survey, a refresh on their survey that serves to inform lawyers and legal marketers about the behaviors of in-house legal departments when it comes to their consumption of social, digital, and content marketing.

I like and respect this survey and always reference it when asked to present on these topics.

This survey goes the extra mile by matching strategy to the numbers. Numbers are important, but it’s what we do with them that makes the difference. Much like creating a marketing or business development plan that then collects dust in virtual or actual vaults and is not acted upon, creating a survey that contains numbers but no strategy is not as effective as it could be.

Like in-house counsel, all of you are busy. I have attempted to summarize what Greentarget discovered in this year’s survey.

TL;DR – Look For The Green

There is a lot to consume. I have studied the entire survey and suggest you download and spend time with it, too, as you will find it interesting and valuable.

Note: Throughout this post, you will notice sections or words in green. Those are where I have summarized Greentarget’s suggestions about how to execute based on the survey results.

Note: Also, where I can find the same survey results from prior years, I have included those in parenthesis next to this year’s numbers. Some of the questions and categories have changed, so I was not able to compare all numbers.

Who Answered This Survey?Greentarget Zeughauser Digital and Content Usage Survey

First, let’s acknowledge that not all of your clients are in-house counsel. To get the most accurate snapshot for your target audience’s use of content, social, & digital, it is important to blend this data with data that represents those target audiences.

When presenting, I typically add numbers from CEO surveys, as well as other surveys that speak to lawyers overall. I’m happy that Greentarget is adding a C-suite section to this year’s survey, which will be released in July.

This survey of in-house counsel was answered by the following:

  • 85 corporate counsel, with 51% from companies with 2017 revenue of $10 billion or more
  • 72% work for companies with 5,000 or more employees.
  • 17% work for companies with 1,000-5,000 employees.
  • 6% work for companies with 500-1,000 employees.
  • 4% work for companies with 100-500 employees.
  • 1% work for companies with 0-100 employees.
  • 34% are from companies in the Northeastern United States.
  • 23% from the West
  • 18% from the Midwest
  • 17% from the South
  • 6% indicated their headquarters are not in the U.S.

The Purpose Is To Provide Clarity

Greentarget tells us that:

“…in an era when content is fire and digital publishing technology is gasoline, we delve into what makes effective content stand out from the noise: the formats, attributes, preferences and other variables that in-house counsel find most valuable in the content they consume.”  

Greentarget’s goal is to provide the clarity that is needed to create the digital and content strategy that serves the audiences you care about. Greentarget’s suggestions in this research can help provide that clarity in your strategy.

A few top findings and observations from the survey:

  • One of the first concerns cited is that in-house counsel say the quality of content created by law firms hasn’t improved much, if at all, in recent years. More on that in a bit.
  • Time-constrained in-house counsel are still consuming and finding immense value from many forms of content, including firm-generated content, while placing greater trust and confidence in traditional media as sources of news and information.

Content Characteristics That Broke ThroughGreentarget Zeughauser Survey Blog Post Content That Breaks Through

Much like any of us, in-house counsel hunger for information that will help them do their jobs. The following is how they categorized content characteristics that attract them most frequently:

  1. Utility/Usefulness: 77% of in-house counsel say that utility, above all other attributes, attracts them to the content they consume most frequently.
  2. Timeliness: 68%
  3. Source: 56%
  4. Headline/Subject Line: 51%
  5. Length (short): 31%
  6. Author: 20%
  7. Graphics: 7%
  8. Visual appeal: 7%
  9. Length (long): 5%
  10. A Strong point of view: 4%, although, as Greentarget points out, this characteristic is an important element in utility (#1) and often a key driver of strong headlines and subject lines (#4)
  11. Popularity (likes, shares, social proof): 1%

How To Execute:

  • Create compelling headlines and subject lines.

The survey suggests speaking directly to the audience and telling them how, which promises utility.

The example they gave us is:

“How exporters will be impacted by the US withdrawal from the Iranian Nuclear Deal”

[Who = Exporters | How (which impacts utility) = Understanding the business impact of withdrawal | Point of view = suggesting the content will interpret the withdrawal]

  • Be brief, quick and efficient.

31% indicated they like short length, vs. 5% who value long content.

Greentarget Founding Partner and CEO John Corey suggests that content creators owe it to audiences to quickly and efficiently tell them what happened, why they should care, and what they should do about it.

  • Create and distribute content while the topic is hot.

Speaking to the strength of agile marketing, the survey reminds us that a good piece of content today is better than a fantastic piece three days from now. The ability to execute timely content speaks directly to content creators’ and marketers’ efficiency and, often, to their content strategy. 

What Types of Content Should You Produce?

Even though we don’t know what quality of visual content in-house counsel have been exposed to in order to vote the way they did, they reacted favorably in this order to these formats in the survey:
Greentarget Zeughauser Survey Content & Digital Breaking News

  1. Articles: 77%
  2. Alerts: 70% (87% in 2017, 77% in 2015, 63% in 2014)
  3. Newsletters: 59% (67% in 2017, 76% in 2015, 77% in 2014)
  4. In-person (presentations, conferences, etc): 63%
  5. Research Reports
  6. Interactive Charts
  7. Infographics
  8. Website Content
  9. Podcasts: 27%
  10. Video: 19%

How To Execute: What Is Important For Each Type of Content?

  • The survey suggests:
    • Articles should be educational, timely, and relevant.
    • Alerts should be timely, relevant and brief. When writing about breaking news, as well as all forms of content except for research reports, brevity is valued. If it is breaking, be brief and fast. Alerts have a shorter shelf life and should be published as often and as quickly as possible.
    • When producing newsletters, John Matthew Upton, Greentarget’s Director of Digital Strategy & Analytics, recommends using bulleted lists, or short blurbs with links to longer-form content. He said that data suggests it is better to err on the side of “more curated” versus “more inclusive” when trying to decide how many stories to reference.
    • In-person events, such as presentations and conferences, are opportunities to provide news, messages, and insights before, during and after the events.
    • Research reports should be educational and deep. Use research to drive weighty, meaty conversations around important issues.
    • Podcasts are showing signs of strength. Consider producing them for your most important practice and industry areas as this format speaks to the busy lifestyles and need for consumption of information in an efficient and personal manner that exists today. I agree with Greentarget that quality production value and engaging content are critical for podcasts to be effective. If you want to dip your toes into the medium, I have found producing an Alexa Flash Briefing to be a good way to start.

What Sources of Content Are Most Valued?

Greentarget’s results this year found that in-house counsel continue to use and value traditional media above other content sources.Greentarget Zeughauser Survey Content From Traditional Media

Daily Usage: Here are the numbers:

  1. Traditional Media (e.g. The Wall Street Journal): 54%
  2. Email Notifications: 40%
  3. Social Media: 30%
  4. Industry Association Publications & Websites (e.g. ACC Docket): 23%
  5. Trade Publications (e.g. Corporate Counsel): 18%
  6. Outside Counsel/Vendor Websites: 17%
  7. Industry Thought Leaders’ Websites/Blogs: 7%
  8. Lawyer Listing Services (e.g. Chambers, Super-Lawyers): 2%

Value vs. Usage/Frequency:

Greentarget found interesting dichotomies between usage and perceived value in a few of these sources.

  • Traditional media usage and value remain consistent in that in-house counsel consume it on a daily basis and indicate it is valuable. In other words, value matches perception.
  • Industry association content is highly valued but less than a quarter consume it daily.
  • Trade publications and industry thought leaders’ websites and blogs are also ranked higher in value when compared to frequency consumed.
  • Social media is visited daily by about a third of respondents, but only 11% say they find it “very valuable” as a source for legal, business and industry news and information. [Note: I wouldn’t necessarily take this as a negative statement about social media, but rather as an opportunity to find more effective ways to use it.]

How To Execute:

  • If in-house counsel value traditional media so highly, Greentarget reminds us that earned media remains important to showing up in that space.
  • Firms can do a better job of curating content from many sources via social media. Although “curating” and “many sources” appear to be redundant or overlapping terms, I list both because many firms tend to only share their own content, thus missing an opportunity to be viewed as the source of the most valuable knowledge by curating and sharing content from others in their space.
  • Even when analytics don’t show frequent usage, continue to produce high-value content because creating the perception of value goes a long way toward building that valued position in GC minds, which is important to building and reinforcing your brand.

Social Media

How are they using social media?

Engagement appeared to take a bit of a hit in 2018, but don’t let this cause you to think it is a bad strategy as listening can mean discovery of you and your content.

Greentarget Zeughauser Survey Curate Content

Listen & Engage:

  • 2018: 23%
  • 2017: 27%
  • 2015: 22%
  • 2014: 29%
  • 2013: 26%
  • 2012: 32%


Listen Only:

  • 2018: 77%
  • 2017: 73%
  • 2015: 78%
  • 2014: 71%
  • 2013: 74%
  • 2012: 68%

What Influences In-House Counsel When Hiring Outside Lawyers & Law Firms

In terms of being “very” or “somewhat important” in helping to research outside lawyers and law firms for potential hire, here is how these sources stacked up:

(Note: I’ve added a few 2017 and 2015 numbers for comparison. This year, every category except for recommendations took a significant hit in terms of its influence in vetting and researching outside counsel. Recommendations only noticed a 2% reduction, where others were more drastic.)

  1. Recommendations from sources you trust: 94% (96% in 2017, 98% in 2015)
  2. Bios on the firm’s website: 69% (90% in 2017, 89% in 2015)
  3. Articles and speeches lawyers have authored: 57% (91% in 2017, 83% in 2015)
  4. Blogs published by lawyers on topics relevant to your business: 58% (77% in 2017, 66% in 2015)
  5. LinkedIn profile: 52% (71% in 2017, 74% in 2015)
  6. Peer-driven ranking and directories (Chamber, US News-Best Lawyers, etc.): 41% (67% in 2017, 59% in 2015)
  7. Connections/endorsements on LinkedIn: 37% (58% in 2017, 52% in 2015)
  8. Sharing of a lawyer’s content on social platforms, such as blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook: 28% (53% in 2017, 51% in 2015)
  9. Quotes by lawyers in relevant media outlets: 18% (44% in 2017, 34% in 2015)
  10. Twitter feeds from lawyers: 10% (16% in 2017, 13% in 2015)
  11. Wikipedia: 9% (29% in 2017, 32% in 2015)

Additional Findings & Suggestions From the Survey About General Counsel Use of Content, Social and Digital MediaGreentarget Zeughauser Survey Blog Post - Additional Findings

Content: 

Although in-house counsel haven’t changed their perception of the quality of law firm content in the past year (52% said good to excellent in 2018 and 2017, vs. 43% in 2015), similar percentages in both surveys (3% in 2018, 7% in 2017, 4% in 2015)  rated law firm content as less than satisfactory.

Suggestion: Greentarget suggests that, because these numbers have not improved significantly over the past four years, law firms have an opportunity to stand out by doing a better job with their content.

Suggestion: Brandon Copple, former journalist, and Director of Content & Editorial Strategy for Greentarget, recommends that, as with the basic rule of business journalism, law firms should not write about companies, but about the people connected to those companies. He asks, “Would you rather read about a big, faceless organization, or about an actual person?” This goes for what you write about your firm as well as what you write about other firms and companies.  

Social Media:

46% of respondents indicated they use social media once a week. The same percentage said they never use it. (For comparison, the survey results in prior years were not shown as a category (social media) but broken out by social network. Looking at “past 24 hours” and “past week” in those surveys, LinkedIn was the highest in each, with percentages of 73% in 2017, 68% in 2015, and 62% in 2014.)

Suggestion: Find out what platforms your clients and prospects are using. Use client interviews and platform research to find out what social networks they use.

LinkedIn and blogs continue to be used more than Facebook and Twitter.

Suggestion: Continue to focus on these platforms. Don’t forget that media, influencers, and potential recruits might use networks that in-house counsel indicate they do not.

Email:

(Consistent with that is found outside of legal) Greentarget reminds us that email is valued by in-house counsel and provides the purest transaction available as there is no algorithm or intermediary standing between the publisher and reader.

Suggestion: Create subject lines and headlines that resonate with the recipient. Greentarget suggests that putting energy into this medium and its value easily justifies the investment.

Storytelling:

Greentarget suggests that omission of storytelling in legal content is the norm and that this reduces that content’s chance for success.

Suggestion: Write about people more than you write about policies, industries, or businesses. Greentarget suggests we should write content by first thinking about who is impacted, not what.

Headlines:

Busy people need to be told why they should read what you are publishing.

Suggestion: Don’t just create titles that tell readers what the news is. Create titles that tell your readers why it matters to them. Use short, active words. Test different headlines to see what resonates with your target audiences. Use analytics and data to make sure your headlines and other content are working. Start your headline or titles by addressing a person, such as this title suggested in the survey, which originates from JD Supra: “Insurers of Directors and Officers of Delaware Corporations Must Take Heed of The Superior Court’s Recent Murdock Decision,” rather than “Superior Court Releases Murdock Decision” or “Companies Must Take Heed….” Brendon Copple recommends giving your readers something to care about by giving them something useful in the headline, as well as throughout the copy.

Help With Content Creation

If you haven’t downloaded this before today, or if you have and can’t find it (I know because I do this all the time), here is a free resource I have prepared for lawyers that will help you significantly improve your content in order to reach the right people on the right topics at the right time. By the time you finish, you will have enough content ideas for the next 3 months.

Content Creation for Lawyers - Free Worksheet From Nancy Myrland

Again, I encourage you to download the Greentarget Zeughauser survey for all the details and charts for this survey, as well as to study other bodies of research to uncover trends and tendencies from clients and prospects who are not in-house counsel. Armed with well-rounded, informed research, we can all improve our content marketing efforts.

If you find this blog post worthy, I would love it if you would share it with your community. Thank you!

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Plan Consultant, and a Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here. She can be reached via email here.

RBG: A Movie About Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

After Seeing The Movie RBG: Do We Need New Role Models?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Business of Law Leave a Comment

This post isn’t about politics as I rarely do that in public spaces, but rather about our choices of role models, and who I wish adults and children would point to more often as heroes.

I swelled with pride for the legal profession I choose to serve, as well as all kinds of other emotions last night as I watched RBG, a movie about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and one of the legal giants of our time.

While watching this 1 hour and 37-minute movie, I laughed, I cried, I was irritated, I was happy, I was sad, and I was proud.

As written in the New York Times,

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the second woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, but she’s probably the first justice to become a full-fledged pop-cultural phenomenon.”

That became evident as the movie unfolded, as well as when I left the theater (more about that in a moment).

A Little Background

For those who are too busy to have studied her life before now, let me help you a little bit.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born Joan Ruth Bader in Brooklyn in 1933. Her family and close friends knew her as “Kiki,” which I researched and discovered this morning was given to her by her older sister, Marylin, who died from meningitis at the age of six. Marylin said that she was “a kicky baby,” which helps explain her nickname.

When starting school, her mother asked her teacher to call her “Ruth” to help avoid confusion as there were several other girls named Joan in her class.

She earned her bachelor’s degree at Cornell, which she told us during the movie was the dream of every parent who had a daughter at that time as the ratio of males to females was 4 to 1. She told us she never had a second date at Cornell until she met Martin Ginsburg, who would later become her husband and one of the most noted tax lawyers of the time.

When talking about Martin, she said:

“He was the first boy I ever knew who cared that I had a brain.”

After graduating as the highest-ranking female in her graduating class, she and Martin married soon after in 1954. Their daughter, Jane, was born in 1955, followed by James in 1965. The movie depicted their 63-year marriage as strong and wonderful, with each complementing the other’s opposite personality and disposition.

Law School: How Dare You?

In 1956, Ruth Bader Ginsburg enrolled at Harvard Law School. As one of only 9 women in a class of approximately 500 men, the Dean of Harvard Law asked Ruth and the other 8 women:

“How do you justify taking a spot from a qualified man?”

As Justice Ginsberg said during the movie:

“I became a lawyer when women were not wanted by the legal profession.”

If those comments surprise or irritate you, remember that this was not a rare approach or opinion at that time. Women and men today stand on the shoulders of giants of those who endured this antiquated and unreasonable notion.

I Remembered My Mom At This Moment In The Movie

The producers of this documentary, Betsy West and Julie Cohen, told us that, as Ruth Bader Ginsburg studied at Harvard Law School, she also had the honor of being on the Harvard Law Review. While her husband battled testicular cancer and related therapies, she helped him continue his studies as she typed notes and papers for him, all while continuing her studies and taking care of their daughter, Ruth.

I suddenly remembered my mom typing my dad’s handwritten notes from classes he was taking to earn advanced certifications in his profession. He was working full-time, and so was she as she was the amazing mother of 5 children. To this day, I wonder how she did all of that.

Her Mother’s Influence

I watched as Justice Ginsburg, thinking back on losing her mother at the age of 17, said she wished she had her longer. After learning how strict her mother was, and how she insisted that she spend a great deal of time on her studies, I think Justice Ginsburg’s career is partially what it is today because of the influence of a mother she didn’t have long enough but who was known to be her strongest advocate.

During her remarks during the hearings upon her nomination to the Supreme Court, she talked about her mother and referred to her as:

“…the bravest and strongest person I have known, who was taken from me much too soon. I pray that I may be all that she would have been had she lived in an age when women could aspire and achieve and daughters are cherished as much as sons.”

You’re A Woman? We Don’t Hire Women In Our Law Firm.

I ached as I listened to the stories Justice Ginsburg’s friends and colleagues told us about her not being able to find a job at a New York law firm because there weren’t many managing partners at that time who would hire a woman.

We sat by as we listened to the story about her closest male classmates going to the managing partner of their new firm to talk about someone they thought should be hired. The moment the word “she” was used, they were shut down immediately by a managing partner who made it very clear women weren’t hired by that firm.

As written in Bloomberg Law’s Big Law Business:

“…the fact that she was smart as a whip did not guarantee her success. Upon graduation from Columbia Law School with top honors in 1959, she received no job offer from any law firm in New York City, presumably because white shoe law firms were aghast that a woman, a mother and a Jew would dare think she was qualified for the job.”

A Modern Day Cultural Icon

She is affectionately known in some circles as “Notorious RBG,” after the late rapper, Notorious B.I.G., because of her powerful and notorious dissents from the bench.

Notorious RBG began as a Tumblr blog by Shana Knizhnik, then became the title of the book, Notorious RBG, The Life And Times Of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A children’s edition was recently published.

RGB Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Parodied On SNL Saturday Night Live

During the movie, I had a “front row seat” as I watched her watch for the first time a hilarious portrayal of herself on Saturday Night Live with characteristics not necessarily matched to her real-life persona, yet large enough to fit the icon she has become. She was amused as she asked “Is that Saturday Night Live?”

Heroes & Role Models

It isn’t important that we choose to look up to cultural icons as famous as Justice Ginsburg. In the age of reality TV, what IS important is that we expose ourselves and our children to those who have and continue to shape who we are as human beings, what we have the right to do as human beings, how we communicate as human beings, and how we live as human beings. The Supreme Court Justices have that privilege and that power.

That is reality TV worth studying, reading, watching, and listening to on a regular basis. The reality of what the nine Supreme Court Justices do for a living is far more meaningful, and is infinitely more profound, than what can be gained by watching the dysfunctional reality that we so often choose to fill our spare time.

Sure, some like and need to escape by doing that from time-to-time, but why not mix in a magnificent dose of reality to our lives by exposing our eyes, ears, and minds to what happens in the highest court in the United States?

Trust me, this is not boring nor as mundane as you might think. The movie sure wasn’t. My opportunity to meet Chief Justice Roberts definitely was not, as I wrote about in this post.

Is It Time?

Is it time to become a little more familiar with those who are, either individually or collectively, real-life heroes and role models?

Is it time to help our friends, children, and ourselves pay more attention to those who understand and acknowledge that they owe their lives to others who paved the way, just as Justice Ginsburg stated during her nomination hearings:

“I surely would not be in this room today without the determined efforts of men and women who kept dreams alive.”

I think it’s time.

Those I observed standing outside the theater thought so, too.

I saw one woman who came to the movie dressed as Justice Ginsburg, complete with her black robe and characteristic white collar. I saw two other women who were standing together as their friend took a picture of them in their RBG t-shirts.

Justice Ginsburg recently celebrated her 85th birthday and her 25th year on the bench. She fought for and experienced a career that will have a profound impact on the history and the future of this country as she has been a tireless advocate for gender equality, not just for women, but also for men.

Again, no politics here in this discussion. We don’t even have to agree with these people to study and observe them. This is simply a reminder that this beautiful life we have been given is full of people who deserve our attention as we try to figure out how we got to where we are today and to make sense of where we are going tomorrow.

My legal marketing friends have posted about events their firms have hosted where they invited their clients to a special screening of RBG. It is logical to assume that lawyers and those close to the profession would be interested in a movie about a Supreme Court Justice, but you can be, too.

Take the time. Take a friend. Take a child. Set the example.

Be the one.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Plan Consultant, and a Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here. She can be reached via email here.

Photo Credit for Justice Ginsburg’s portrait: By Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States (Ruth Bader Ginsburg – The Oyez Project) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lawyers: General Counsel Beg For Billing Changes

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Alternative Fee Arrangements, Client Service and Retention Leave a Comment

Lawyers General Counsel Beg For Billing Changes

I just finished reading an article by Kristen Rasmussen on Law.com’s Daily Report about Peter Carter, Delta’s Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Corporate Secretary who, along with other top lawyers from Fortune 500 companies, made a plea for lawyers to figure out project-based billing.

Peter, a former partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, was on a panel at the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Southeast Regional Conference in Atlanta. His plea to lawyers to figure out project-based billing was based on his need to know that he is going to make his budget every year. He was making the point that when he gets bills that are unpredictable, and when he doesn’t know what’s going to be on them, that it doesn’t do anyone any favors.

Eye-Popping Bills Are A Disservice To You As A Lawyer

Lucy Fato, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of AIG, also on the panel, made similar comments. She said:

“Firms do a disservice to themselves when they send ‘eye-popping’ bills that include rates of up to $1,400 per hour.”

Her next comment is disturbing to me. She said:

“They would be well served to examine their rates and bills before sending them out.”

The fact that the general counsel from a company, any company, is surprised by a rate of $1,400 is disturbing. It’s not disturbing that the rate is $1,400. What’s disturbing is the fact that this was a surprise to her, which tells me the hourly rate conversation never took place.

I could be wrong in interpreting her comment to mean rates had never been discussed with her. If she truly had no idea that anyone on her legal team was going to be doing work for her at a rate of $1,400 per hour, that isn’t right, nor is it good business.

Shock Them Now or Shock Them Later?

If you’re worried about quoting that rate and shocking people, wouldn’t you rather shock them at the beginning and have them get over it, than shocking them at the end when the bills come, or shocking them mid-project or early on in your project when they discover a rate they hadn’t heard before?

She’s right. Firms do a disservice to themselves when they send eye-popping bills that include those rates because it shouldn’t be a surprise. It should never be a surprise. She also said there are some matters where fixed fees are appropriate because they’re low-dollar, high-volume.

What If You Undercharge or Overcharge?

I know this is scary to some lawyers and some law firms because the questions become:

  • How do I do that?
  • What if I charge too little?
  • What if I charge too much?

Maybe you charge too little or you charge too much, but you know what? That won’t happen very many times before you figure it out. Sometimes you’re going to be high, sometimes you’re going to be low, but you’ll learn a lesson from it. But what’s important is that your client knows it’s predictable and that there is no surprise when that bill comes.

If you are feeling claustrophobic and stuck by being committed to pricing that isn’t what it should be, and if you are thinking:

  • What if I mess up?
  • What if that doesn’t represent what we’re doing?

What Is The Best Way To Get Started?

This is where your intellect comes in. Your project management skills will help you look at previous matters that are similar so you will understand what to work into project pricing in your agreement.

Before you start, show your client what the project entails. Show them that you have priced this project based on what they’ve requested, saying:

“You’ve asked me to do X, Y, and Z. This is how I plan to staff and accomplish this. Based on what we have discussed, this is the timeframe I will target. For that, the project fee will be $500,000 (or $2,000, or whatever you have come up with).”

Then, what you can also do is to set the parameters that go outside of that project. This is where you can protect yourself and your client. This is where you can go through the learning curve with your client and say:

“Just so you know, if we happen to get into these additional areas, this is what we’ll charge for that, but let’s take the first two months to see how everything is going. If we then both find we are going outside of the scope we are discussing for this project, then we can go with my hourly rate of $950 an hour, or our associates’ rates of $350 an hour.”

This is the way you can deal with “scope creep.” If your client’s requests or your work creep outside of the original project you established, you have first dealt with that by discussing it during the initial contract discussion. It is also good to state that in writing in the agreement.

Don’t Worry

Don’t worry. This is probably going to take a little practice if you haven’t done it before. But trust me, clients are much happier. With my clients, when there is a defined project with a beginning and an end, I will quote a project fee. If there is not, and it is an ongoing project, I usually give them the choice.

If clients want to work together on an ongoing basis, I provide two choices. The first is hourly. What I usually tell my clients is that hourly is my least favorite because it can be a disincentive to them to pick up the phone and call or text, or send an email and ask me a question. I want them to use me, and I want to be their resource, and I never want that to happen.

That is what can happen with hourly billing with you, too. Some clients can think:

“Oh, I’m not going to email him with that question because that’s going to cost me money.”

I don’t ever want you to be associated with just pure dollars, vs. by the value you provide to your clients.

That is your purpose. To provide important, valuable advice to your clients that help them anticipate or solve problems.

The second choice in an ongoing relationship that doesn’t have a beginning or an end at the onset is a retainer. What you can propose to your clients is:

“If you would like to work together on an ongoing basis, then what I would suggest is a retainer. For what I’m hearing you say, this arrangement would include A, B, and C every month and that would tend to look like [this.] What we’ll do is in two or three month (pick one and document it because they will remember), we’ll review and evaluate that to see if that’s working. If the amount of work that we’re discussing today for that retainer is really what’s been happening, or if you’ve needed me more or if you’ve needed me less, than I will adjust at that point.”

As you can see, this is a learning curve. You don’t have to be perfect right off the bat. I wasn’t perfect right off the bat, and I still won’t be, when it comes to quoting project fees. Trust me, it gets easier and much more accurate each time. I might go low on one project, and I might go high on another, but you know what? That’s a lesson for me to then also add what I mentioned a moment ago by defining the scope inside and outside of our agreement.

Your Clients Will Be Much Happier

Trust me, your clients are going to be so appreciative of your honesty and your willingness to work on their guidelines and within their budget so there are no surprises. I encourage you to begin to move into this realm, this world, so that you’re making your clients happier. You will be helping your clients who have pressure put on them to make budget by helping them solve problems, to anticipate problems, and to have someone who has their back and that is representing them all the time.

#BeTheOne

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Plan Consultant, and a Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here. She can be reached via email here.

Lawyers, Schedule Consulting Time With Nancy Myrland

An Important Message To Law Firm Management – #LMA18

Nancy Myrland #LMA18, Career Development & Education Leave a Comment

A Message To Law Firm Management - #LMA18I am writing this as I begin my evening flight home from New Orleans to Indianapolis. The Legal Marketing Association (LMA) Annual Conference just ended yesterday, which is always a bittersweet time for me as I am filled with an immense amount of inspiration, knowledge, additional perspective, and affection for the growing number of colleagues I call friends.  

I Am Conflicted 

I am conflicted because I can’t wait to get home to see John Myrland and our furry boys, Mike and Nick (4.5-year old Yellow Labs), as I haven’t seen them since last Saturday, but also sad to leave so many amazing and wonderful friends and colleagues I care for very much.   

We Share A Common Goal 

We share much in common, not the least of which is a love of all things marketing, strategy, business, the legal profession that we serve and strive to make better via the knowledge we brought to the conference, combined with the knowledge gained while we were here, and the sincere desire to become the best version of ourselves we can be in order to help you become the best you can be.  

Never Underestimate The Importance 

That is what we need to talk about today…legal marketing professionals becoming the best and the smartest they can be. I was happy to be invited to speak about Social & Digital Media Ethics for Lawyers and Legal Marketers at the Quick Start pre-conference program on Monday. As my slides were being loaded by our LMA program liaison, I took a moment to share this thought with the legal marketers in the room: 

“Thank you so much for being here. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of your presence at this conference. The fact that you are sitting here in this room for 8 hours before the conference officially begins is amazing because that means you are here to become better at what you do…and when you become better at what you do, legal marketing as an industry becomes better, and when legal marketing becomes better, those we serve, our lawyers and law firms, then become better.” 

The Ripple Effect Is Profound 

Think about my last sentence. What your marketing and communications professionals do at these and other conferences has the ultimate effect of making your lawyers and law firms better. They don’t come just because it’s a chance to get out of the office. They come to make themselves better so they can help you serve your clients better.   

When all of us attend these conferences, we become better at what we do, which helps lawyers by: 

  • Strengthening our understanding of how lawyers can best deliver services to clients 
  • Helping lawyers find the best way to communicate with every type of client s/he has a need to connect with 
  • Understanding how to think strategically so we can contribute to critical discussions at your firms 
  • Understanding law firm economic and business models so we can help firm management make better decisions 
  • Being able to strategically and intuitively help our lawyers discern when opportunities that are presented are worth pursuing 
  • Taking these opportunities to earn business and turning them into strategic, polished, responsive answers your clients and prospects are looking for 
  • Coaching lawyers to present themselves in the best possible light in every situation 
  • Helping to define the most sensible pricing models for firm services 
  • Learning how to best package the individual and collective intellect of your lawyers 
  • Helping lawyers and all business professionals at the firm understand the guidelines that must be followed every second of every day to comply with one of the strictest sets of ethical and communication standards that exist in the world 
  • Guiding the firm when crisis and controversy present themselves 
  • Staying ahead of the curve in digital technology so your firm stands out in the midst of a great deal of noise out there 
  • Helping manage local, regional, national, and international projects your lawyers and firms are undertaking in order to make the best and most efficient business decisions possible 
  • Gathering, organizing, coordinating, and choreographing all marketing and business development activity into an integrated marketing and communications effort for the purpose of helping to create profitable practices at your law firms 
  • …and so much more 

Embrace This Opportunity 

I could go on, but my message to you is to embrace the opportunity that lies in front of you with these conferences. Encourage your people to attend LMA and other legal marketing, business development, marketing technology, and related conferences because you are not only making an investment in their knowledge and skills, you are helping them help your lawyers and law firm become better and more profitable. 

Not A Perk 

Sure, I understand that conference attendance can be a gift that is delivered to those who have been on the job a while, or to rotate so everyone gets a chance to go once every few years or so, but I challenge you to begin thinking much broader than that. Provide the budget and encouragement so there is a groundswell of knowledge that regularly builds upon itself, vs. once every few years.  

Help provide access to a forum: 

  • Where interaction and mentoring exists 
  • Where there is an environment where tough questions can be asked and answered 
  • Where high-level discussions can take place 
  • Where early-career marketers and advanced hall-of-fame professionals and past presidents can meet and network with one another, and  
  • Where knowledge is shared in a deliberate and focused fashion 

This should not be considered a perk to the marketer, but rather a benefit to the firm. 

The Firm Is The Beneficiary 

It is a benefit to the firm because the firm is the beneficiary of a smarter, more informed and intelligent business professional that can continue to grow, mature, and advance on the knowledge continuum. 

This should be considered mission-critical in order to help push your law firm to the next level. All professionals at your firm, from business to legal professionals, need to excel in order to help you excel.  

If you’re not already, I encourage you to make your firms stronger and more profitable by helping your marketing and communications professionals understand you support and expect their growth and involvement with the continuing forms of education that are there for them to take advantage of on a regular basis.  

Make This A Priority 

Let this be a priority, vs. making them wait until the last minute to see if you can squeeze a few dollars out of the firm budget for them to attend these conferences.  I wrote about this here, too. 

Make it a priority.  

The firm wins in the long run. 

This is important.  

Be the one. 

Note: Don’t miss my blog post over here where I am curating content that has been written or produced for the #LMA18 conference. If you see new content for me to add, please let me know…thanks!

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Plan Consultant, and a Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here. She can be reached via email here.

#LMA18 GC Panel: Lawyers, Slow Down & Stick Around – Lesson #1

Nancy Myrland #LMA18, All Posts Leave a Comment

#LMA18 Lawyers, Slow Down and Stick AroundAs always, the general counsel panel at the Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference is one of the most popular. Because of that, it holds a spot as a general session so everyone can attend.

This year, the session is titled: Pushing Through the Noise – What Gets The Attention of General Counsel and Business Executives

Moderator Heather Nevitt, Editor-in-Chief, Corporate Counsel, Inside Counsel and Texas Lawyer is interviewing:

  • Kristen Albertson, Vice President Global Ethics and Compliance Administration, Walmart Stores, Inc.
  • Maria Feeley, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, University of Hartford
  • Ezgi Kaya, Corporate Counsel, Amazon
  • Mark N. Klein, General Counsel, Burford Capital
  • Alison Wisniewski, Chief Legal Officer, Epiq

This Is Important

Lawyers, when you go to conferences to speak, whether that be on a panel or by yourself, don’t be in such a rush to leave the room after you speak. Mark N. Klein, General Counsel, Burford Capital, just told a story about approaching a lawyer after attending a panel. He had business to discuss with that lawyer based on what he talked about. He said that lawyer wasn’t interested in talking and was only interested in getting back to his room.

Slow Down

If you spend the time and money to put together a presentation, and if your clients and potential clients and referral sources are in the room, don’t be in such a rush to get out of the room. If you’ve scheduled your flight too close, then don’t do that next time.

Think of the upside to sticking around to get to know people in attendance. If these people didn’t matter to your practice, then you wouldn’t have agreed to speak, right? If they aren’t important to your practice, then stop accepting those invitations to speak.

Every person on this panel indicated speakers and presentations at conferences are important to them in looking at outside counsel, so don’t underestimate your attendance, involvement, and participation in them. Don’t waste your time and resources, and, even more important, don’t waste theirs.

Kristen Albertson, WalMart shared: “If you are putting your lawyers on panels at things like ABA conferences, they can get my attention. We are there to make contacts, so it is beneficial.”

Maria Feeley, University of Hartford agreed: “When I go to conferences, I am going to find outside counsel.”

Bottom Line

Commit to being there. Slow down and stick around. Be the one.

Note: Don’t miss my blog post over here where I am curating content that has been written or produced for the #LMA18 conference. If you see new content for me to add, please let me know…thanks!

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Plan Consultant, and a Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here. She can be reached via email here.

The Day Happiness Came To #LMA18 [Opening Session]

Nancy Myrland #LMA18, All Posts Leave a Comment

 

We officially kicked off the LMA Annual Conference today in New Orleans talking about happiness with Catherine A. Sanderson, Ph. D. Catherine’s keynote, which she prefers to call a “talk” (because “who calls someone to have a keynote with them” when they care about them?) was titled The Science of Happiness.

What Does This Have To Do With Legal Marketing Professionals and Lawyers?

Before I summarize Catherine’s talk, I am sure you will agree that, when we spend the amount of time that we do in high-stress, demanding roles, we have to deal with the happiness and balance equation in order to experience the longevity, loyalty, and pleasure we would like to derive from our careers.

The Role of Personality

Catherine broke down the scientific keys to happiness with us. Catherine tells us that happy people are generally different than the rest of the world.

  • They experience better health.
  • They live longer.
  • They fight off colds better.
  • They recover faster from surgery.
  • Happy people are less hostile and more productive.

Studies also show that money, climate, and life events do not make us happy. Catherine’s point was that we can have the biggest and the best of all of these things, but they do not guarantee happiness.

Life Conditions

When discussing how life, in general, contributes to happiness, Catherine said that married men are happier than single men (especially John Myrland ;-)…whether it’s a happy marriage or not. It doesn’t matter who they marry…just as long as they marry somebody.

Some similarities exist with women in that happily married women are healthier and happier than single women. However, there is one major difference when it comes to the health of a marriage and the point above about just being married.

For women, good marriage is good for them. Bad marriage is very bad for them.

Do Children Make Us Happier? 

When it comes to having children, Catherine said that parents do experience joy more than non-parents. Their peaks of joy are bigger than the peaks of joy that non-parents have.

Parents also have more highs and lows. Non-parents have more of an even existence, meaning their highs and lows are not as severe.

What Else Makes Us Happy?

Catherine said that lots of things make us happy. The small behaviors we engage in during our daily lives can make us happy.

For example:

#LMA18 Conference: The Happiness Keynote from Nancy Myrland

  • Eating makes us happy, but not all foods. Cake, chocolate, and sweets are the most common foods that make us happy. Laughter and support erupted when Catherine said there is no evidence that celery makes us happy!
  • Exercise makes us happier. The endorphins are the cause for that. (I agree!)
  • The feeling of happiness over finding the perfect gift for someone else is much higher than when we find someone for ourselves.
  • Nature makes us happy. Spending time in nature is profoundly important for physical health. One study showed that people who had the same surgery who were then placed in rooms that oversaw a park, vs. a parking lot showed they got out of bed faster, needed less pain medication, and were released faster.

How Personality Affects Happiness

There are 3 personality traits that impact happiness:

  1. Extroversion
  2. High self-esteem
  3. Optimism

High self-esteem and optimism help us see the silver lining. People with these traits tend to always find the silver lining. They think positively and optimistically. This comes easier for extroverts.

The Impact of Age On Our Happiness

I found this happiness breakdown very interesting. Catherine shared that:

  • Happiness is highest between ages 18-21.
  • It starts to decrease from 26-29.
  • It goes up briefly from 34-47.
  • It decreases steadily through the age of 53.
  • Then happiness begins an upturn from 54 through 85.
  • At 70, you are about as happy as you were at 18-21.

Do Digital Devices Impact Happiness?

#LMA18 Conference by Nancy MyrlandWhen people have their phones out when they are with others, they have less meaningful conversations. Prioritizing quality of relationships over quantity of relationships not only brings happiness to people, but it is a major factor in true happiness.

Conclusions About The Science of Happiness

There are 3 distinct components:

  1. Pleasure (for example, having a great glass of wine, great piece of cheesecake, beautiful music), but this feeling of happiness is fleeting.
  2. Engagement and anticipation of that engagement make us much happier because the anticipation helps us milk more of that happiness out of the situation. For example, planning for trips makes us happier.
  3. Doing things you find meaningful is an extraordinarily important predictor of happiness.

Do We Inherit The Happiness Gene?

Catherine might have surprised some when she said that the power of genetics explains only about 50% of our happiness. The remaining 50% of our happiness is under own control. So, those of you who like to blame your parents for all of your unhappiness…stop it.

So How Do We Control That 50%?

Our ability to adapt has a great deal to do with the happiness we will ultimately feel. We have to decide we are going to be happy. We have to decide we are going to structure our life, our time, and our happiness to find the life and the happiness we deserve.

Catherine quoted Elizabeth Gilbert, who tells us that we have to fight for this happiness. We have to make time for it.

Top 10 Strategies for Increasing Happiness

  1. Change your behavior.
    • Get enough sleep.
    • Exercise
    • Spend time outside.
    • Meditate
  2. Find Your Match
    • Personally and professionally
  3. Read a book you love.
  4. Keep a gratitude journal.
    • Don’t go to sleep pouring over your agenda. These stress you.
    • Focus on what you’re grateful for right now.
  5. Make a “gratitude visit.”
    • Identify someone who has changed your life in a profound way.
    • Don’t wait for the eulogy to do this!
    • Write that person a letter.
    • Then travel to that person and read that letter to them in-person.
      • Wow! how would you feel if someone did that for you?
  6. Smile (even when you aren’t happy)
    • Research shows that smiling can change how you feel.
    • Sometimes your joy can be the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
    • The mere act of smiling changes how our body physiologically respond to pain.
  7. Perform random acts of kindness.
    • Volunteer
    • Donate to charity
    • Give a gift to anyone.
  8. Spend money on the right things.
    • Spend money on experiences…things you can anticipate, experience, then reflect on that experience.
    • Spend less on belongings: Noone ever says on their death bed “I wish I would have bought more crap.”
  9. Avoid comparisons
    • “Comparison is the thief of joy” – Teddy Roosevelt
    • We have the power to choose the comparisons that make us feel better or those that make us feel worse.
    • There are people all over that are having worse experiences than we do.
    • It’s up to us to choose the nature of comparisons we make.
  10. Build and maintain close relationships
    • Relationships are the single best predictor of our happiness.
    • It takes time, though.
    • It doesn’t happen by magic.
    • It takes lots of work to make it work.

Catherine shared a quote by Leo Tolstoy:

“He was happy, but not at all in the way he had expected to be. At every step he found his former dreams disappointed, and new, unexpected surprises of happiness. He was happy; but on entering upon family life he saw at every step that it was utterly different from what he had imagined. At every step he experienced what a man would experience who, after admiring the smooth, happy course of a little boat on a lake, should get himself into that little boat. He saw that it was not all sitting still, floating smoothly; that one had to think too, not for an instant to forget where one was floating; and that there was water under one, and that one must row; and that his unaccustomed hands would be sore; and that it was only to look at it that was easy; but that doing it, though very delightful, was very difficult.”

Catherine’s last photo was of her pet. They provide unconditional love. She teasingly said that she and her husband have an agreement that, if they ever split, one of them takes the 3 kids, and the other gets the dog. 😊

Thanks, Catherine, for kicking off our conference in such a meaningful, positive, deliberate, and happy way!

Note: Don’t miss my blog post over here where I am curating content that has been written or produced for the #LMA18 conference.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Plan Consultant, and a Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here. She can be reached via email here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Maximize Your #LMA18 Annual Conference Experience

Nancy Myrland #LMA18, All Posts, Career Development & Education, Productivity Leave a Comment

How To Maximize Your LMA18 Conference Experience

From left: Alycia Sutor, Jim Durham, Mark Greene, Adam Stock [I love these people]

Some of you may know I recently attended #SMMW18, the 2018 Social Media Marketing World conference, which I really enjoyed because it was full of over 4,000 people who share my passion for all things social and digital media, and marketing strategy.

At #SMMW18 with Jen Lehner

This year, I spent some time with my mostly online (now offline, too) friend, Jen Lehner, of Jen Lehner Media, LLC. I love Jen. I appreciate her energy, her sense of humor, her down-to-earth Midwest presence, her knowledge, and her focus on being in the front row with everything she does, both literally and figuratively. She and I shared a few front row seats together during the conference, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Jen has a newly-launched podcast called The Front Row Entrepreneur. She recently interviewed a new friend she made at #SMMW18, Niyaz Pirani, owner of Knife & Spork Public Relations (great name as his clients are restaurants) in Orange County, CA.

While Jen and I sat in the front row during Mark Schaefer’s impressive session on the 10 ideas driving the future of social media marketing, on the other side of Jen sat Niyaz. I am now just a little bit jealous because I soon learned they were in the midst of forming an incredible bond during that one session that will now continue for years to come. (I’m just kidding about the jealous part as I’m sure Niyaz is preparing to write a blog post all about that amazing woman sitting on the other side of Jen, right?) 😊

Anyhow, I enjoyed listening to Jen’s podcast episode with Niyaz because he talked about his approach to conferences; before, during and after. Jen was so impressed because he sent her an amazing follow-up email that showed how much he enjoyed meeting her. He went into detail about things they had discussed. He was definitely paying attention to his new friend when they met.

Niyaz’s Approach To Creating An Amazing Conference Experience

Niyaz shared many great ideas during the interview about how he maximizes his conference experience. I will summarize those here as I think they might be interesting to those attending #LMA18, the Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference.

Before The Conference

Create A Schedule

Plan ahead so you will be focused on what you want to accomplish during the conference, but be malleable.

  • Who are the people you want to see?
  • Know where you need to be and what time.
  • Once you get there and meet people you didn’t anticipate, don’t be in a rush.
  • If you get the opportunity to have genuine conversations with people, let those conversations happen.

Be Prepared To Pivot

To Niyaz’s point above, take advantage of the generosity of those you want to learn from. There are people who charge a lot for what is inside their brains. If they offer to spend some time with you talking about your question or situation, let it happen. This happens frequently at conferences. After the conference, take time to thank that person. This is a great way to stay in touch and make a more meaningful connection.

Create Your Plan On The Spot

Niyaz believes in creating your action plan while the information is fresh and when you are most inspired.

How to do this?

Take short-form versions of notes. Find your favorite way to do this and become comfortable taking notes that way. Make sure you will be able to read them later, though. You might be able to swiftly write words without using any vowels, but can you read them later? If you are inspired to write a short plan of action, do so right away. Remember (this is Nancy speaking here), plans don’t have to be long and can sometimes be effective with only a few bullet points.

Your Cell Phone Is Your Friend

Use Your Cell Phone To Maximize Conference Attendance

Cell phones make the difference for Niyaz.

He started out as a journalist, so his brain is conditioned for efficiency and speed. He uses the notes function on his phone extensively during conferences. Using the notes function on his iPhone, he takes a picture of important slides, which is something many of us do these days.

He shared that because you have taken a photo of that slide, you are then able to really listen and absorb what the presenter is saying and thinking about how that might fit into your workflow, vs. worrying about typing or writing every point down in your notes.

Also, while he is listening to the presenters, he does 3 things:

  • If they say something that is critical, he jots it down.
  • If they mention a resource that would be useful to him, he puts 2 asterisks next to that so he can find it fast when he goes back through his notes. This could be a person, software, process, or something that he can go back to and utilize later.
  • Then, he uses 3 asterisks when he hears an idea from someone that really makes his brain start churning because he suspects that might work in his situation.

After The Conference

Get It Out Of Your Head

Niyaz said his head was full of too much information, so he finally decided he had to get it all out of his head so he could think more clearly about it. He organized all of his information on pink sticky notes all over his office walls. (Catherine MacDonagh, are you smiling right about now? My friend Catherine teaches process improvement and project management and is a big believer in this practice.)

On the left side of his office, he broke down the processes that he thought were relevant to his work with his market, which is restaurants. To all of us, our market is lawyers, legal marketers, service providers, and other business professionals.

On the right side, he took those new tools and processes from the left and assigned them to individual sticky notes for each of his clients. He wrote down how those tools and processes on the left applied to each of his clients. You probably need larger sticky notes for that part.

Pause For a Few Days

He then took a step back and left it for a while. A few days later, he came back and started writing customized plans for each of his clients that showed how he would suggest using these new tools and processes he learned for each client he showed on the right side of his office. He went back through his notes to make sure he covered everything.

Follow Up With Your New Contacts

Niyaz’s plan is to now go back through all of his notes and take out all of the most important points and notes and share those with all of those people whose business cards he collected, along with a thank you for taking the time to meet with him. He will send a personal note along with them saying “Here are my notes in case they would be of any help to you.”

Some of the ideas will be pertinent, but some won’t. Regardless, the gesture is amazing. As Jen said during the interview, if someone took the time to share their highlights of a conference with me, I would love it!

I agree with Jen that this would be a huge gift.

How To Maximize Your #LMA18 Conference Experience

Jen Lehner & Nancy Myrland Take The Stage at #SMMW18

Jen and Niyaz, thank you very much for taking the time to discuss this important topic. Jen, thank you for taking the time to have a little fun together at the conference, too!

Those are the highlights of Jen’s conversation with Niyaz. What do you think? Would any of these work for you? What suggestions do you have to maximize your conference experience? Please share below!

Also, I am curating content from the annual conference over here on this post so let me know when you write or see something for me to add.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Plan Consultant, and a Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here. She can be reached via email here.

Lawyers, Schedule Consulting Time With Nancy Myrland