A lot of people think personal branding is only useful for celebrities. But anyone can benefit from it to articulate their strengths, differentiate their unique value and leave a lasting impression that wins clients and new business (if you’re new, start with the personal branding worksheet). Today we’ll take a look at some tactics attorneys can use to build their brand.
Not just for the famous
1. Create a portfolio of successes. Whether a website or print portfolio, showcase the work you’ve done in the past. Ask past clients for testimonials and get permission to use one of them as a case study. This builds trust in a world where trust is hard to come by, and helps convince potential clients of your ability to accomplish the same results for them.
2. Create a LinkedIn profile. This combination resume, cover letter, references document and database of your network makes it easier to sell your services and make yourself accessible to potential clients. Especially for attorneys, what others say about your brand is more important than what you say about yourself. If people rave about your work ethic, get them to write a public LinkedIn recommendation. (For help building your LinkedIn profile, read my LinkedIn audit).
3. Attend events. Legal conventions and conferences are a great way to build local contacts and spread your message. Know your specialty and how to talk about what you do. What type of legal services can you provide? What separates you from other lawyers here?
4. Speak at events. This is much more effective than just attending events, and allows you to showcase your expertise to a large group, many of whom will likely approach you afterward with questions, contacts or opportunities. Speaking at events can be a powerful advertising tool if you don’t sell your services, but genuinely sell your expertise.
5. Write articles. This is a great marketing tactic. Depending on your writing portfolio and the strength of your brand, you can write for a variety of content sources. Magazines, online sites, blogs and article directories are a great place to contribute and spread your brand to. If you have time, start your own blog, or use a blogging service like Lexblog specifically tailored to lawyers.
6. Keep touchpoints of your brand up to date. As your name and personal brand spreads, make sure your relevant information grows as well. Regularly update your LinkedIn profile to include your latest contacts, experience information, and summary. If information about your brand is not current, it reflects poorly on you.
7. Stay in the loop. Do a Google search for other legal bloggers in your nichie and see what they’re doing to market themselves. For example, check out Brent Britton’s blog http://www.brentbritton.com/ – Brent is an intellectual property attorney who specializes in utilizing social media to educate, enlighten and entertain his followers.
8. Don’t go nuts with social media and become one-dimensional. LinkedIn, blogging, etc.might seem like a lot of work. Don’t get too sucked into social media to the point that it distracts from your work tasks at hand. Experiment with different tactics and see what works. If speaking gigs get you on average two new clients, and a month of blogging does the same, drop whatever takes more time and focus on the biggest wins.
In the end, it is on you to spread your expertise and grow your reputation. How do you do it now? Has the web changed any of your tactics? Do you plan to use the web more moving forward?
Pete Kistler is a leading Online Reputation Management expert for Generation Y, a top 5 finalist for Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2009, one of the Top 30 Definitive Personal Branding Experts on Twitter, a widely read career development blogger, and a Judge for the 2009 Personal Brand Awards. Pete manages strategic vision for Brand‐Yourself.com, the first online reputation management platform for job applicants, named one of the Top 100 Most Innovative College Startups in the U.S.