What does your firm do? Personal injury attorneys, for example, help recoup the medical costs of injury. Traffic attorneys help get people back on the road after traffic violations.
It’s easy to break down what your firm does for its clients based on your practice area. But, if you were telling that to someone else, it wouldn’t show that person what makes your firm different from your competitors. But there is a way to make even the basic facts of your business shine brighter.
As an example, take Answering Legal. At the most basic level, we answer the phone for lawyers. But if you shift your perspective, we’re in the business of enabling small firms and solos to compete with the bigger firms in their areas. Add another perspective shift, and our job is to make sure that people who need legal help can get it at any hour of the day.
See what we did there? We took our business’s basic premise and added a bit of perspective to make it more enticing. Reframing what your firm does is just one way of telling your firm’s story in a way other people find interesting and understandable. In this blog, we’ll talk about why this kind of framing matters, and how you can go about telling your firm’s story in other ways.
Why Does Your Firm’s Story Matter?
Michelle Calcote King of PR firm Reputation Ink recently came on Answering Legal’s “Everything Except The Law” podcast to talk about law firm public relations. PR, as King put it, is the other half of lead generation: raising brand awareness. PR puts your name in front of more eyes, which in turn brings more credibility to your firm, which makes your lead generation more effective.
On that podcast, King said that knowing how to tell your law firm’s story is essential for PR management. When you’re looking to get your name in local newspapers, or your clients’ stories on local news, you’re not talking to other attorneys. You’re talking to reporters, who in turn are talking to average citizens, whose familiarity with legal intricacies is nowhere near your own. That’s why it’s important to know how to frame what your firm does in a way that is both interesting and understandable to your average citizen.
These are the things PR professionals are trained to look for, and if you’re handling your own law firm PR, framing your firm’s story should be front and center in your mind. But even if you’re not, it’s just good practice for attorneys. If you find a unique angle for your firm, you could use that to come up with a more effective marketing strategy.
And, you’ll learn how to sell yourself and your services to others without sounding like you’re boasting. If you have a good story, you might be able to make the kinds of connections that lead to referrals at events that have nothing to do with your career.
Identifying The Human Interest
We know that to attorneys, the ins and outs of legal intricacies can be very interesting, or, at the very least, easily understood. But the people who you want to hear about your firm aren’t other attorneys. Typically, you’re trying to get the attention and interest of potential clients.
In order to make sure you’re telling the right story, you have to find the human interest angle. Human interest, in journalism and PR, is the part of the story that speaks to regular people. Usually, it focuses less on the process and more on the people involved, and is less about timeliness than it is about pathos and uniqueness.
Basically, you have to find the reason someone should care about what you do. On the aforementioned episode of “Everything Except the Law”, Michelle Calcote King called it a “so what”. Why should people be interested in this story? What about your firm is compelling or interesting to laypeople?
In order to frame your firm best, focus on what makes your firm different from others in your practice area. Are you a solo practitioner or a small firm in an area dominated by massive law firms? Do you have a unique niche? Most importantly, can you explain those things in a way that makes them interesting? Once you have those questions answered, all you need to do is pair them with a case that makes an impact.
Focus On Exceptional Cases
A great way to frame your firm’s story is to use cases you’ve handled that have stuck with you. While obviously every case has its unique elements, not every case is exceptional. Is there a case that has stuck with you since it concluded? If it stands out to you once time has passed, chances are it will stand out to others, too.
That doesn’t mean you’re necessarily looking for heartwarming stories, akin to firefighters rescuing cats from trees. According to PR firms, human interest stories can just as easily be “negative”, and for attorneys, usually they will be to a point.
You’re looking for unusual circumstances. Exceptional damage amounts, of course, get plenty of attention. Unique or unusual strategies—explained in layman’s terms—can garner interest too. And most of all, any case that has high stakes or a strong human element. A case where you did a lot of good for your client, maybe even more than usual, is a powerful story.
Unusual cases provide your firm’s story with a unique thrust. If you take that and use it to reframe your business, you can change from just an attorney like any other to an expert, or a hero, or some kind of legal whiz. And those accolades can help you stand out from the crowd.
Putting Your Firm’s Story To Use
Once you’ve trained yourself to reframe your firm, you can use those skills to your advantage. Stories like these can be of interest to local media, which can get your name in the eyes and ears of potential clients. If you have a particularly powerful narrative, you may even be able to get your name in national media, building up your reputation as an expert in your field.
In addition, stories like these can help you supercharge your marketing. Nothing says “I can help you with your legal problem” like a client you helped coming forward with their story. Potential clients are looking for attorneys they can trust, and an abundance of former clients satisfied enough with your work to speak out for your firm is a great way to advertise your credibility.
At the end of the day, human beings love narratives. Stories get people talking, and word of mouth is one of the hardest kinds of marketing to grow, as well as one of the most valuable. Standing out from your competitors and building credibility are key to long-term success in the legal world, and knowing how to sell yourself is a great way to do both.
Enhance Your Reputation With Answering Legal
If you’re looking to stand out from your competitors and build your credibility, look no further than Answering Legal. Our highly-trained virtual receptionists act as extensions of the firms they answer for.
Because we only answer for attorneys, our receptionists know exactly what your clients are looking for when they reach out for legal help. With 24/7 availability, we make sure potential clients can always speak to a live person, no matter when they’re calling.
And, when your firm’s bringing in more phone calls than you can handle, our legal intake will have your lead capturing covered. Every firm has a custom legal intake process our virtual receptionists will execute to make new leads feel like they’ve already hired your firm. To learn more about our legal intake specialists, click here.
Then, our detailed message taking service will make sure you’re always on top of all your new leads. We help smaller firms with less time and overhead on their hands keep up with the bigger fish in their ponds. For an in-depth look at our message taking service, click here.
Double down on your firm’s reputation. Click here or call 631-686-9700 to sign up for our free trial. For a limited time, we’re offering firms that sign up for our service their first 400 minutes free.