Perhaps the single biggest marketing challenge facing firms is that their actual knowledge and ability to deliver results is greater than the market perceives. Put simply, clients and prospects don't know what your firm is capable of.
At the heart of solving that are knowledge lawyers, uniquely placed to help reposition the firm.
Many successful thought leadership programs have been able to work together with knowledge lawyers to shape the firm's reputation as the best choice for clients and prospects.
Here's how those programs are leveraging knowledge lawyers effectively.
1. Creating insights for the team to deliver
To be valued by clients and useful in positioning the firm, content needs to combine a deep understanding of a client's business, their legal challenges and the legal best practices that will be the most helpful.
Knowledge lawyers form a critical part of combining these three key factors and delivering client relevant insights. By incorporating knowledge lawyers as authors in a thought leadership program, a steady stream of valuable insights are available for marketers to use in campaigns, for business development to use in approaching strategic accounts, and for other client facing lawyers and partners to use as part of building and maintaining their relationships.
Content created by knowledge lawyers and shared by other lawyers to clients has the additional benefit of slowly bringing sharers into the thought leadership program, demonstrating the value of insights and building a new wave of possible authors.
2. Horizon scanning
Knowledge lawyers are perhaps uniquely placed to understand what is coming up just over the horizon. Whether it be a new legislative development, the outcome of a particular judgment or the establishment of new best practice.
Knowledge lawyers involved in a thought leadership program ensure that the firm is able to communicate quickly and effectively before their competition, when the impact of that knowledge will be greatest.
3. Topic planning
Some thought leadership programs find it helpful to create and follow a content calendar or some other type of pre-planned schedule. This allows for resource allocation, collaboration and accountability.
While some knowledge lawyers may not be directly client facing, their position in responding to queries, providing research, training and problem-solving allow them a macro-level view of the most pressing questions facing their lawyers. Thought leadership programs can leverage this for their pre-planned content, perhaps supplemented by other content to respond quickly to short-term developments.
The place of knowledge lawyers in thought leadership programs
For clients, thought leadership is a compass guiding them through the complexities of legal practice. Marketers and business development professionals have long leveraged the value of thought leadership to open conversations and deepen relationships with clients.
Bringing knowledge lawyers into a thought leadership program has the potential to be transformative not just for the program, but for the knowledge lawyers themselves and the firm as a whole.
Thought leadership programs that can include their knowledge lawyer function are able to add quality, quantity and client impact to their program through the insights of knowledge lawyers, their ability to horizon scan and their contribution to topic planning.
Knowledge lawyers are able to directly contribute to the positioning and perception of the firm in the marketplace, closing some of the eminence gap between what the firm is capable of and how they are perceived by the market.
As a final thought, I'll leave you with this golden nugget of video from Raj Aujla, Head of Communications at Charles Russell Speechlys. See the full video here.