There has been a lot of talk about personal branding—building it, raising its visibility, taking it to the bank, etc.
There was a time where a lawyer’s brand was only experienced in person, or in hard copy. Today, your personal brand can be traced via your digital footprint. It is therefore, better to be proactive to build your personal brand. Whether you like it or not, you are going to need a solid PR strategy to succeed in the legal market.
Here are the three most important steps you should implement:
Being present online can make you or break you. Solo and small firm practices will need to find a way to interact with online users on social media; and all firms can benefit from an engaged online audience. The proper digital steps are required to both credibility and authority. For attorneys that are looking to transition, you need a compelling LinkedIn profile (you can begin by making sure you uploaded the appropriate photograph).
Social media is literally free marketing and advertising. But so many accounts (on LinkedIn from job seekers in particular) have a non-customized URL. Many of these accounts are sloppily or hastily put together. Browsing over LinkedIn, for example, you can see that most profiles have fewer than 100 connections, an empty space where their summary belongs, and little information in their experience section. Business owners overlook the opportunity to self-publish articles or to take advantage of blogging platforms.
You want to communicate to potential employers and clients that you are distinct in your industry from everyone else, why you are THE trusted source. Let social media and a strong online presence serve as the channel that advocates you.
Your resume is not only there when you are seeking a job. It serves as more than just a professional summary—it is a marketing document that serves to highlight and accentuate your personal brand. In one-page, it displays your career highlights, leadership achievements, and impressive career trajectory. If you are gainfully employed, prepare a networking-resume. The aim is no longer to land you the interview, but to advertise to prospective clients and contacts. Think about how it pairs with your bio and how it might complement your online presence, particularly for speaking engagements and publications.
A solid PR strategy is important. Lawyers are so often focused on landing clients and generating revenue that they forget to build their brand as approachable and trustworthy. Managing the reputation of your brand is a key area of focus that requires diligence, vision, and tactical planning.
A great first step is to become a thought leader in your industry through publications, blogs, and solid online visibility. Producing a high quality blog and sharing content is a great way to start marketing content. The next best step is to connect with more lines of communication so that you will be reached out to as a resource. Don’t forget about CLE opportunities, conferences, and panels.
Another great tip: every interaction that you have is free PR. When a prospective client, waiter, opposing counsel, colleague, law student, or receptionist interacts with you, remember that they are going to share what that experience was like. Don’t damage your free PR.