Zen & the Art of Legal Networking

Week of May 16, 2016 on ILNToday – A Roundup!

roundupWe’re in the final stages of getting ready for our Annual Conference, which is in less than two weeks! So let’s jump right into the roundup!

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Fixing the Two Biggest Problems with Legal Writers

photo-1447069387593-a5de0862481eEvery time I want to learn something about content marketing, I look to Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics, and author for the Content Marketing Institute. In one of his latest posts, Patel addresses “How to Fix the 4 Biggest Problems with Content Writers.” Since it’s a Two for Tuesdays post, it actually works out well that I only want to focus on two of his four identified problems, and translate them over for the legal industry. 

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Week of May 9, 2016 on ILNToday – A Roundup!

roundupWe’re less than three weeks away from our Annual Conference, which will be held this year in one of my favorite cities, Boston! We’re looking forward to meeting up with our delegates from all over the world, for an excellent conference, which means that at the moment, we’re deep in the final stages of making sure all of the final details are taken care of!

But I took a short break to bring you this week’s top posts from around the Network from ILNToday:

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Creating a Cohesive Digital Strategy Across Your Firm

bag-and-handsI love bringing guest voices to Zen to share some wisdom with you, and today, I am fortunate to introduce a legal marketer and friend of mine, Jennifer Simpson Carr. Jenn has led business development and communications efforts at national law firms for nearly ten years.  She has a passion for strategic communications and recently earned a Mini-MBA in Digital Marketing from Rutgers Business Schoo

I got to know Jenn when she was working with ILN member firm, Davis & Gilbert, in New York, and we’ve stayed in touch as her career and family have taken her all over the country. This is her first foray into blogging, offering an excellent recap of the roundtable session she led during last week’s Law Firm Marketing & Business Development Forum, with some important takeaways on creating a digital strategy across your firm. Let’s give her a warm welcome! 

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I had the pleasure of attending The American Lawyer’s 7th Annual Law Firm Marketing & Business Development Forum last week in New York.  Throughout the two day program, industry leaders covered topics ranging from industry disrupters, to defining value, to communications.  I also had the privilege of leading a roundtable session on, “Creating a Cohesive Digital Strategy Across Your Firm.”  As the use of digital marketing by the legal industry is growing, we decided to discuss fundamental questions around creating and maintaining a successful digital strategy.  (I reminded attendees that when I started working in law firms, the core of our “digital strategy” was SEO and measuring email campaign metrics.)  It has been exciting to watch as the role of digital has evolved within law firms.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAOGAAAAJGQ2ZDVmNjBiLWEyMjYtNGU3Ni04MzBhLTU3MDZmMTk3MjY0ZAWe had a fantastic group of participants who shared challenges, opportunities and war success stories from the trenches.  In the end, I think the best way to ensure digital success in your organization is to go back to the basics.  Here are my thoughts:

  • Document: Your digital strategy is part of your communications strategy.  While the concept of “digital marketing” may feel rather new at some firms, it is, and should be documented as, part of your overall integrated communications plan.  It should seamlessly support your branding and messaging efforts.
  • Measure: Define your KPIs [Key Performance Indicators] and how you plan to measure success.  A multitude of data points are available, so be clear up front on which matter most to your organization, your campaign and achieving your goals.  Then, use the data to adjust and develop a smarter strategy.
  • Train: Resistance to the use of digital, especially social, can be a hurdle.  Provide training.  Explain the target audience and goals for engaging in each of the various platforms, and the benefits for both the firm and individual users. Help users identify which platform(s) are best suited for their practice and to support individual goals.  Provide guidelines, discuss strategy and answer questions.  The more comfortable users feel, the more inclined they will be to participate (and stick with it).
  • Prepare: Plan ahead for questions, comments and (yes) any potential crisis that could arise.  Prepare an anticipated Q&A sheet around campaigns; provide users with pre-written replies that answer questions or link to relevant information.  Jennifer Connelly, CEO of JConnelly, says that you must have a crisis communications plan in place — even if it isn’t perfect, you are one step ahead.  Crisis planning is critical to the preparedness of any communications team.
  • Content: Melissa Croteau, Principal of M Croteau Consulting, says content should be “client focused and value based.”  Focus on your clients’ needs and add value, rather than simply summarizing an issue. Tell readers how the issue impacts their business.  Interactive and visual content, such as infographics, can make the most impact, most quickly.
  • Confidence: Don’t be afraid to explore new strategies and take risks.  Barbara Tannenbaum, Senior Lecturer at Brown University, says that to build confidence, you must first fail and realize that you will get through it.

I am very grateful to the attendees who chose to participate in our roundtable session, share ideas and learn together.

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Week of May 2, 2016 on ILNToday – A Roundup!

roundupIt’s hard to believe the first week in May is over, particularly when it feels so much like the first week in April with all of this rain! But that’s also the perfect time to be checking in with your marketing & business development plans to see how things are shaping up as we begin a new month, to ensure that you’re continuing to move towards your goals!

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Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: Ask!

Today’s rainmaking recommendation from rainmaking expert and trainer, Jaimie Field, seems like it would be a no-brainer, but it’s probably one of the hardest ones – to get more referrals, have you tried asking for them? Read on! 

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Week of April 25, 2016 on ILNToday – A Roundup!

roundupIt’s a bit hard to believe that we’re already at the end of April, but it’s true! May is here on Sunday, and with it comes (hopefully) some sunnier weather after the grey week we’ve had and also our annual meeting of our Intellectual Property Group at the International Trademark Association’s Annual Conference, which I look forward to every year. Before we get to that, though, look for our IP bloggers right here in the roundup, along with other legal content from around the Network (see what I did there?):

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Video Isn’t Just for Hollywood…It’s for Lawyers Too!

photo-1459184070881-58235578f004These days, everyone is talking about video – whether you’re livestreaming or pre-recording, it’s something the legal industry can no longer ignore. And those law firms doing it well are ahead of the curve, and getting attention! So I didn’t want to miss the LMA’s session on “Video Isn’t Just for Hollywood,” with Lane Powell’s Jennifer Castleberry, ReelLawyers’ Bill White, and Sutherland’s Stephen DiGennaro.

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Two Ways to Make Social Media Work for You

photo-1416453072034-c8dbfa2856b5Although social media has been around for a while (and isn’t going anywhere), there’s still this idea in the legal industry and even among many legal marketers that it’s a game, or a waste of time.

But social media, when used strategically and correctly, can actually be about relationship-building and business development.

I could go into a long diatribe about why this is true, what the statistics say to support it, or even start a series about the various tips and tricks you could be using in your own practices for better use of social media – but I won’t.

I will say that, like any other marketing tactic, it’s not for everyone. It’s a tool to be considered and used as part of your overall arsenal, if and when it meets with the goals that you’ve set out and the strategy that you’ve developed. Just as importantly though, don’t discount it as being “for kids” simply because it’s something that you’ve seen your own children using, or you think it’s only big with celebrities, or you’ve heard that it’s somewhere that people can waste hours.

No one embraced the telephone right away either, and now you keep one in your pocket.

(And if people are determined to waste time somewhere, they’ll find a way to do it, whether it’s on Facebook, or on personal calls, or playing games on a non-internet connected device).

All of that being said, this week, I’d like to talk about two concrete ways that social media can work for you – specifically and successfully.

Tip One: Blogging as a Relationship Builder

Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog has long espoused blogging as more than just a platform for putting your thoughts down on paper, so to speak. If used strategically, it’s actually a way to meet the people that you want to meet. Let’s look at an example – in January, I blogged about Two Tools to Turn Trends into Topics, which was based off of a blog post written by Ann Smarty over at the Content Marketing Institute. I often look to CMI for inspiration when I’m blogging, and it’s the second time I’ve referenced Ann in a post that I’ve written for Zen – she writes good stuff.

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Legal Marketing with Science!

photo-1453847668862-487637052f8aLegal marketing is more than an art; it’s a science.

Or so says Tom Shapiro of Stratabeat, Inc, who presented one of the four TED Talks during an LMA16 breakout session at the recent Annual Conference in Austin, Texas. According to the session description:

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