I had the pleasure of attending a very interesting session at the LMA 2023 last week. The talk covered exactly as the title suggested which was one of the main points made by the entertaining and engaging collection of panelists. (Lynn Tellefsen Stehle- Partner at Structura Strategy, Steve Cohen- Partner at Pollock Cohen, Lindsay Griffiths- Executive Director at International Lawyers Network, Adrian Lurssen- Co-Founder JD Supra)
I have summarised most of the key points below but there were overarching themes and pieces of advice that all the panelists touched upon. Lindsay stressed the importance of communicating with key audiences in a way that tells their story. Clients need to trust their lawyers and the best way to do this is with personal stories but in a business light. Adrian complimented this statement by suggesting that lawyers should either play the character or at least recognise the character in the story. Even better if the story told is directly about a client or a prospective client as this is far more valuable content than a lot of the generic content that law firms produce. Steve had the unique position of being the only lawyer on the panel and his main advice to his peers was to deliver short sentences that clients can interpret easily- don't make it difficult. He also advised lawyers to visualise the audience they are writing for or the publication/website they would like your insight to be published on or in.
All three panellists also stressed the importance of the title when lawyers are writing. Don't bury the lead, don't get stuck in your field, call out the reader in the title and look at what news outlets are doing, all very firm advice.
Lindsay stressed the importance of finding a champion to bring with you when engaging with lawyers to write content and the importance of giving ownership and stepping back from full credit. Adrian also added that trying different ways of writing and telling a story is important- after all the internet is one big experiment going on every day! Steve highlighted the importance of encouraging everyone within a firm to write- it is their job to market the firm but it can also lead to collaboration and a real multiplier effect.
Lynne helpfully summarised everything at the end with the key takeaways being:
- Know your audience- use research and data
- Call out to your target audience in the title/headline
- Translate what is happening outside of the legal space and bring it back in
- Focus on what the reader needs to know- the problem and then the solution
- Consider the use of op-eds for public awareness
- Motivate your lawyers to use storytelling tactics in their writing
- Adopt a process that uses the data to measure the effectiveness and integrate the learning into future communications