For any lawyer, thought leadership is an effective way to build your profile online that accurately demonstrates your knowledge and showcases that you are on top of timely matters within the industries you serve. By being present online, you stay front of mind with the people who count - your clients, your prospects, your colleagues, and your boss.
In this post we will focus specifically on the advantages of Associates in law firms creating timely, client-relevant, digestible content - and how doing so will help Associates build reputation and their own book of business.
Below we have summarized the key benefits of creating and sharing thought leadership early on in your career.
1. Drive Business Development
Your digital presence extends your ability to build and nurture your key relationships. There has been a shift from physical presence to digital over the last couple of years in particular. Showing what you know is a great way to 'interact' with your audience when you are not seeing them in person.
Lunches, golf outings, in-person meetings and client events - which still have their place - have been replaced by digital interactions. If you are not present online your clients and prospects do not think 'you are a brilliant lawyer but too busy' there is a risk that they simply do not think about you. Worse - someone else (your competitor possibly) is out there shaping the conversation.
Creating insightful content is a valuable way to stay front of mind with your key clients, prospects and intermediaries. Your content can be used to open doors with new clients, nurture your relationships with existing contacts and help differentiate you from your peers. Adopting this habit earlier in your career will build your reputation as a trusted advisor and a key component of your practice group.
2. Establish / Maintain your Professional Brand
As you create/curate insights you can start to see these as your professional portfolio. Developed over time, these insights will demonstrate the knowledge and niche expertise you are acquiring through your career development. Talking about aspects of business & the law that you are particularly interested in and passionate about will also display a flavor of your personality.
By putting pen to paper (or rather finger to keyboard) you can share your fresh insights and knowledge with a wide audience, and importantly establish your legal reputation in specific topics.
3. Cultivate Referrals and Recommendations
Your bio page is where you will be checked out by existing and potential new clients. When someone who trusts you recommends you, the one thing you can guarantee is that prospect is going to go and look at your bio page. By creating content regularly, your bio page will accurately showcase what you know and it will differentiate your bio page to all the other lawyers' pages which frankly look identical.
Of course, the other side to this is to enable those who do trust you to recommend and refer you. By creating a useful piece of content you are giving those people a 'digital vehicle' to easily share with those they know.
4. Ensure Internal Recognition
Whether you're creating content or sharing content that's been produced by your colleagues, you're helping to create visibility for your team. You don't always have to be the one coming up with a fresh/new perspective. Look to work as a team. This will make you more productive and your output as a collective will be greater.
Not only will this help you move the needle commercially, you can also start to attract greater recognition internally - as a thought leader and ambassador for your firm.
We have plenty of clients who encourage Associates and those on Partner-track to highlight how they are growing their eminence within their markets when it comes to internal reviews. If you build a habit of sharing thought leadership, you will be able to point to key clients engaging with and commenting on your insights AND also start creating opportunities for generating client work.
5. Become the Center of Influence at Events
Early in your career, it is a good idea to say 'Yes' to opportunities to interact with clients and colleagues - especially attending events. Our recommendation is to go a step further than being just another 'body' in the crowd of an event. Start documenting the knowledge you gain from speaking with interesting people, listening to keynote speakers and sharing these insights in a brief post to show what you've learned.
Event posts are an easy way to differentiate yourself, start building a community of contacts with mutual interests, and highlight that you're serious about your professional development. You're taking notes at these events anyway, so why not share them? Be the record of note.
Keep in Mind...
Your Perspective is Unique. No one person has a monopoly on good ideas. Sharing your fresh perspective will highlight alternative viewpoints. With many firms considering their approach to neurodiversity, a great way to showcase this externally is to empower all individuals with a voice. Content provides an excellent platform for this, driving more attention to the new and innovative ways you're looking to improve your industry area in your firm.
A superb way to build a name for yourself as a reputable source is to bring external viewpoints into your content. This could be recording a podcast episode with a client, running a Q&A with an influential member of your industry, or piggybacking off of an industry publication with your comments. All of these are a lot easier to do than most professionals originally think. To create a podcast episode for example, all you need to do is record a Zoom/Teams conversation with a client/colleague. Prepare a few questions ahead of time and delve into these in a quick 10-minute conversation. You end up with an incredibly authentic piece of content that you can share online.
Content Marketing is a Marathon NOT a Sprint What makes a thought leadership strategy successful is feedback. If you are shooting from the hip with no plan/goals, then you will likely fail to have the impact you were hoping for. Regularly creating and sharing thought leadership is the majority of the work, but the final piece of the puzzle is understanding who's engaging with your insights. By monitoring who's engaging with and commenting on your posts, you can follow up with these individuals to see if they have any questions. Think about sharing content you've developed 1-2-1 with key clients with a personalized note. Or invite your contacts to subscribe to your team's content on a periodic basis. Passle makes each of these components incredibly easy.
Finally, if you're finding success from any particular strategy, SHARE this with your team so that you can replicate these results at scale. All of these elements will help set you up for long-term success and establish your reputation as a leading trusted advisor.
PS. Passle makes it quick and easy for lawyers to create client-relevant and timely content online. Adopted by many of the leading global law firms, Passle is used by 1000's of lawyers including Equity & Managing Partners through to Trainees and Junior Associates. If your firm has Passle make sure you are making the most of their investment in you.