A Law Firm Marketing Blog Series: Edition #10
Welcome back to our blog series, in which we talk legal marketing with real law professionals. In this edition, we continue our conversation with Ruth Carter, a licensed Arizona lawyer, who has been highly successful in reaching new clients through content creation.
We hope hearing the thoughts and ideas shared by the people in these blog posts, will inspire you to make positive changes to your marketing strategies. We also know that marketing legal services these days is more complex and challenging now than ever before, and hope that some of our readers may identify with some of the marketing struggles presented here, and perhaps be able to offer solutions.
The biggest goal of this blog series is to get the conversation going, so let’s dive in.
Continuing Our Marketing Conversation With Ruth Carter
In our below chat with Ruth Carter, we discuss how much personality lawyers should showcase in their content, how camera-shy lawyers can approach creating original content and why content marketing requires a serious commitment.
Answering Legal: We would surmise that online content (particularly videos) when done right can go a long way in humanizing a lawyer. Have you found that to be the case? Does having a client get a sense of your personality before they even meet you, make the early stages of the legal process at all easier?
Ruth: Definitely. One thing I’ve learned from owning a business is “People hire people.” When someone hires a lawyer, they want to know who they’re hiring. Hiring a lawyer is an investment, and people want to choose someone who is knowledgeable, effective, and someone they can trust. Creating content is an effective way to show the audience what you know and who you are as an individual.
There are times when meet someone for the first time and they act like they already know me. It makes it easier to develop a rapport with a prospective client. Sometimes it’s a little disconcerting too because they’ll act like we’re friends and they’re a stranger to me.
Answering Legal: How much personality should lawyers being showing off in their marketing? Can lawyers showing too much of their silly side or unusual traits make them seem unprofessional?
Ruth: That’s a question each person will have to answer for themselves. You have to decide what parts of your personality you show online and how much. My rule of thumb is “Don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t put on the front page of the newspaper.”
There may be people who see your marketing who decide not to hire you. I know that’s happened to me. And that’s ok. If I’m a mismatch for someone personality-wise, they shouldn’t hire me. There are lawyers who are a better fit. On the flip side someone referred their father to me for legal advice, saying, “You’ll like her. She swears.”
Answering Legal: A lot of lawyers just aren’t comfortable doing things like speaking on camera, or have personalities that are a bit more subdued. How should these lawyer approach content creation in your opinion?
Ruth: You have to find the right platform and presentation style for you. There’s no one way to do content marketing for a law firm.
Also, if you work in a firm with multiple lawyers, you can use a team approach. At Venjuris, we solely blog. As the non-patent attorney in the firm, I edit all the posts to make sure they’re readable for Joe Average persons. There are also times when I’ll ask my co-workers to contribute a quote or answer a question, so I can incorporate their knowledge into our blog without them having to be the main creator.
Answering Legal: Some lawyers are hesitant to dive into things like blogging, vlogging, and social media posting, because of the potential legal risks that may come with doing so. How do lawyers go about being active online, without putting themselves at risk?
Ruth: It’s actually not that hard. Many times, we’re merely providing general information about a legal topic. There are no ethical issues with that. Additionally, each post or the website should have a disclaimer that reminds readers that information should not be mistaken for legal advice. If they need legal advice, they should hire a lawyer.
Answering Legal: What content creation advice would you give to an attorney just starting out in 2018?
Ruth: Content creation requires a commitment. If you are going to do content marketing, you have to make it a priority. Robert Rose, leading authority on content marketing, suggests that you create six months’ worth of content before you release any of it.
When I started my personal blog, The Undeniable RuthⓇ in 2010, my friend who helped me set it up told me he wouldn’t help me until I committed to blogging at least once a week for at least 2 years, no matter what. That got me in the habit of writing every week and to keep my antenna up for new ideas for posts. This same friend told me I could stop posting weekly and only post when I had something to say, and I’ve barely posted since. I’m considering changing my blogging from creating weekly posts to being more like my YouTube channel and create 3-4 months’ worth of posts at a time.