Here’s the situation: You need new clients, and these days 38 percent of legal consumers are looking to find an attorney online. So it’s no secret that if you want to win over many of today’s legal clients, you’ll need a strong online presence. You want people in need of legal representation to go online, comes across your practice, realize the attorneys from your firm know what they’re talking about, and want your firm’s representation.
Now here’s the problem. Even if you create a website, an online blog, and company social media pages, you’ll still be just one of many firms looking to win over law consumers online. You need to find a way to grab potential clients’ attention, and get them to choose your legal services over the services of all those other guys.
So what can you do to gain attention within your legal field online? It’s time to establish yourself as a thought leader.
What Is A Thought Leader?
A thought leader is a person that demonstrates acquired knowledge in a focused and useful way. You can think of them as a “established expert”. Someone who you’ve heard from before, got something of value from, and want to hear from again.
Why should you want to be a thought leader in your field?:
- You’ll attract new clients who are searching for an attorney with a higher level of expertise.
- You’ll improve your firm’s brand, and give people online reason to trust you. Your online reputation means a great deal these days.
- You’ll get the chance to build relationships with other thought leaders in your industry, and make valuable connections with other law professionals.
So what will you need to do to in order to become an online legal influencer?
Content Is King
The best way to establish yourself as a thought leader is by producing great content. This can mean writing blog posts, making informative videos, producing a podcast, or simply delivering in-depth native posts to your social media pages.
There are a number of ways to distribute content online, but your firm website and social media pages will be the main two.
The concept here is pretty basic, and is probably something you’re already doing in some form. You create an engaging piece of content, a person online comes across it and likes what they see (or hear), and that person is influenced enough to keep on coming back to your online platforms for more. Ideally you’ll influence a person with your content enough, that they can keep on coming back for more, and eventually decide to take further action with your firm. Like we said, the idea is fairly simple. Creating content that builds you up as an authority figure worth following is the challenge.
Establishing Yourself As An Expert
Cementing yourself as a thought leader in your industry will take a lot of hard work. You can’t just claim your an expert, and expect people to care. You’ll need to build up an audience by consistently publishing worthwhile content. But, before doing any of that, you’ll need to have a clear idea of what kind of thought leader you want to be.
Become An Authority On What You Know Best
When it comes to your legal field, you probably have a lot of great insight to share, whether it be from personal experiences, or an in-depth understanding of a certain subject of the law. With this being the case, there is no need to try and do too much with your content and cover a wide variety of topics. If you want to become a relevant thought leader, turn yourself into an authority figure on the area of the law you know best. Find your niche, and make it clear to your audience from the start that “I’m an expert on this”.
The best legal influencers will use their actual experiences dealing with a certain subject to help make their points. When creating content, remind the audience that you know what you’re talking about is true, because you’ve experienced it or seen it happen before. Tell stories from your past if you need to, to let the audience know that you’re a person that’s worth taking the time to listen to.
Introduce Yourself To Your Audience
People are much more likely to care about your content if they can attach a person they feel like they know to it. Be transparent as possible and let the audience know as much as possible about you and your story.
Your social media pages are a great avenue you can use to show off your personality. Let your followers get a taste for who you are, by posting your thoughts on ongoing issues and news stories in your legal field. Twitter in particular is a great platform for getting out quick thoughts to a large number of people in a hurry. By the time online users get to viewing your content, they will already have an idea of what to expect from you as an influencer.
Using content is another way to introduce yourself to an audience. Consider making a blog post or video that tells your story as a law professional in an engaging way. Have that post or video prominently featured on your blog site and social pages, so people can easily come across it.
Creating High Level Content
Once it’s clear what you’re bringing to the table, it’s time to get cracking on making premium content. If you’re not ready to commit to consistently producing high level content, you’re going to have trouble influencing anyone. So how do you go about creating content you audience will find valuable?
Find Out What Is Important To Your Audience
In order to become a thought leader people hold in high esteem, you’ll need to produce content regarding topics your online target audience actually cares about. And in order to know what your target audience cares about, you’ll need to perform a little online and offline research.
Learn more about your audience by:
- Looking through social media posts and discussions related to your field of law. Comment sections too. Not all of it will be valuable, but you may be able to identify a few common problems or questions that your audience is looking to have answered.
- Surveying your existing customers either in person or over the phone. There’s no better way to find out what issues are important to your target audience, than asking an actual client.
You should also look at content created by other legal influencers and even competitors in your field. Identify what pieces seem to be connecting with people and what topics just aren’t. Allow the work of others to inspire your content creation. Give guidance on similar topics, or try and provide a fresh take of your own to an already discussed issue.
Provide Real Value
Another key to creating relevant content for your audience is staying updated on the latest news, info, and developments occurring in your legal field. Often recent developments related to section of the law you specialize in will be a great source of new content ideas. Break down complicated ongoing legal issues and make them easier to understand. Tell your audience what a new piece of new legislation could mean for their life.
You can also provide value by having your content:
- Answer any frequent questions your followers might have.
- Tell your audience what they can expect from a certain legal situation.
- Give your take on an emerging new trend in your field.
Whatever you end up discussing in your content, there is one question you should always keep in mind while producing it. What is the person viewing this getting out of it? Before sharing any of your content with the world, really sit back and think about that question. Is my content going teach my audience something, inform them on something, tell them an interesting story, strike an emotional connection with them. If you don’t have a solid answer, it may be time to head back to the drawing board.
Keeping Your Audience’s Trust
Once you get in the routine of giving your audience actionable advice on a regular basis, and start finding people to consistently engage with the content you share, you should begin to reap some of the rewards that come from being an online influencer. But, remember you’ll need to consistent with the expertise your provide in order to hold your audience’s trust.
Share Work From Other Influencers
Want to build up the trust of your audience? Share with them quality content and helpful information as much as possible. On days when you have nothing new of your own to share, try sharing the content of other influencers in your field. Sharing the work of other experts will make your own pages seem more legitimate, and build good will towards your followers to leading them to valuable content.
Bonus Benefit: Sharing the work of others can open the door for conversations with other influencers and peers in your industry. If you share a post or two from a well-respected thought leader, reach out to them and let them know. Ask them to consider sharing one of your pieces, or if making a guest appearance on their website is a possibility. The more people you can reach, the better.
Don’t Get Sloppy!
There are a lot of people creating content these days, and if you are fortunate enough to gain a high number of loyal followers, you’ll need to be careful not to steer them wrong. Remember, you want people to view you as an expert figure, so keeping mistakes to a minimal is a must. Take the time to make sure every piece of content you create is the best you can make it, even if that means taking a little longer before publishing it.