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How to Remain Authentic in Your Practice

Credibility (Words)  

Credibility means never being dishonest. Regardless of how experienced you are, where you went to law school, or where you have worked-if you make a mistake with credibility in the legal profession your career can, without a doubt, suffer. When it comes to being credible, the words we speak have an everlasting impact. How knowledgeable are you in the content that you are delivering, and can you follow through with what you say?   Do what you say you are going to do and do not cut corners. This will only result in credibility lapses while building a bad reputation for yourself.

Reliability (Actions)

The key is to remember that being dependable and consistent are major factors in building your customer clientele and making a reputable brand for you.  Show up, be punctual, and be readily available to serve your clients.  Being punctual will show others that you are a person of your word. Keep your word and allow your actions to rise above your excuses.  It all boils down to whether or not you can be taken seriously.

Understanding (Emotions)

Become an engaged listener. Instead of focusing on what you should say, listen to what your client is saying. When it comes to listening to the needs of others, it is important to understand the emotions in which they are also trying to convey. Sympathize with your clients.  Allow them to feel secure and reassure them that they can put their trust in you.

Self-Orientation (Motives)

Are you focused on your self- interest or the best interest of your client? Making your client the focal point and working to become “client-centric” is of the utmost importance.  Their concerns should be your first priority. Pay close attention to the needs of your client and give a strong consideration to whatever is going to help them and their case succeed.  Fill them with constant positive reinforcement- show them that they made a good choice when selecting you as their lawyer.

How to Integrate Brand Journalism into Your PR Firm

Be a storyteller and think like a journalist.

Marketers today must think like journalists and work toward becoming strategic storytellers. Ditch the old marketing techniques and focus on creating content that will benefit your audience’s lives. Most people type something in their search bar with the intent on finding beneficial information, not immediately purchasing a product. Before throwing products and prices in their faces, focus on building trust and relationships with potential consumers by offering solutions to their problems.

Think people, not products.

What was the last video you watched online that really held your attention? It was probably one that pulled at your emotional heartstrings. Think about how you want your audience to feel when they watch or read your content online. Include interviews that will give the audience a sense of who you are and what you have done in the past. Most consumers can instantly tell if an interview is staged or scripted versus one that is authentic and natural. Be transparent with content and include testimonials from past success stories.

Hold editorial meetings.

Every day, journalists at newsrooms across the country hold meetings and brainstorm on which stories to focus on. This involves knowing who your audience is and what they value and working off what you know will be important to them. This tactic can be integrated into your PR firm. Know your audience and collaborate on what stories and ideas will be extensively covered and benefit some aspect of your audience’s lives.

Know the difference between brand journalism and brand promotion.

Don’t intertwine brand journalism tactics with brand promotion. Brand promotion includes unrealistic and exaggerated products, the kind of advertisements and infomercials that make you want to change the channel or exit your browser. It can easily come off as inauthentic and distasteful when your audience thinks you simply view them as customers first and people second. Remember, brand journalism focuses on people’s needs and the stories that they want to hear.

How to Build Trust in Your Law Firm’s Online Brand

Be specific with your values.

Many times, potential clients can’t tell exactly what your firm values or specializes in solely by the main page of your site. Be specific with the wording on your website and keep it consistent with your legal brand’s image. Emphasize what you stand for!

Use visuals and videos.

In this visual era, online consumers often glaze over large bulks of text. Add multimedia elements and content to break up large areas of text that will entice viewers to continue searching your website. This could include images, videos, or infographics.

Put a face to the name.

Clients want to talk to people, not computers. Give your online viewers a personal sense of who you are by adding photos or videos of yourself, your employees, and what you do. Using professional photography of you and your team is a great way to elevate your website, and increase your credibility. Be transparent about your work environment to gain trust of clients and potential ones.

Be responsive and receptive online.

Online consumers are impatient and approach online brands with skepticism. If your consumers don’t trust your brand, they will swiftly move on to one that they can trust. Treat each potential client how you would your current clients. Oftentimes, potential clients will choose the attorney that contacts them the quickest. Respond with swiftness and purpose to ensure they know they are cared about and appreciated.

Create custom landing pages.

Viewers may end up leaving your site if they don’t find immediately what they are searching for. Your website should have custom tags and keywords for each area of expertise that your firm specializes in. Lay your website out in a way that is user-friendly and easy to navigate.

6 Steps to Growing Your Social Media Presence

Encourage digital word-of-mouth

In today’s digital era, there are infinite reviews of various products and services available at people’s fingertips. Seventy percent of people review products before buying them, and 30 percent of those people go on to review the product themselves. Word-of-mouth is the number one source of insight into whether a product will be bought and consumed. Encourage your loyal consumers to spread the word about your business online and share your content across digital platforms.

Be an active social media listener

In order to identify potential brand opportunities and weaknesses, businesses should be actively listening and monitoring online conversations about its company, brand, and services. Effective social media listening involves following the online voices between clientele and future consumers, the good and the bad, and building a media strategy based on what you hear.

Focus on relationships, not technologies

People trust other people, and businesses must rely on the fact that people want to communicate with other human beings, not computers. Show consumers you value them and care about their opinions by avoiding generic responses to questions and concerns.

Know your objectives before your strategies

Before you start the race, you need to know where you’re headed. Decide what your business goals are before strategizing your social media presence. Each objective should invite a two-way conversation and move forward your overreaching business goals.

Content is king

Your social media content should be positively congruent with your brand and align with your business’s goals, beliefs, and values. Give people content they will find valuable and look for ways to create online engagement through non-marketing opportunities. Brands should adhere to the 80/20 rule, meaning 80 percent of content should be beneficial to viewers while 20 percent should be used for social marketing opportunities.

Build a brand community

Consumers are just regular people with an emotional need to connect and feel a part of something bigger than themselves.  Allow a place for consumers to talk about your brand. Don’t try to be an online mediator. Instead, give consumers an open platform to converse and share ideas with each other. This will show that your business is transparent in its online communication with and between its consumers.

5 Tips to Prepare for a Media Interview

Media interviews are a great opportunity to showcase your knowledge and skills in order to build your public reputation. One of the most important steps to nailing that interview is preparation, so here are five tips to help you prepare for your next media interview.

Know Your Audience.

Take the time to get to know the media outlet’s demographic before your interview. Most trade and business publications include this information in the media kit on their websites, but if it’s not there, ask the reporter to share that information with you prior to the interview. Understanding the audience will help you tailor your message in an effective way that sufficiently delivers key points.

Know the Reporter.

Similar to how reporters do research on attorneys before the interview, you want to spend time getting to know the person asking you questions. Read some of the articles the reporter recently wrote so you get an understanding of his/her writing style and issues that are most important to them. This will also help to build rapport with the reporter if you’re able to reference an article he/she wrote. The better you know the reporter, the smoother your interview can go and could potentially create an opportunity where they want to interview you again in the future.

Know the Topic of Discussion.

Often reporters will share a few questions or a broad outline of what the interview will cover so you can prepare. If not, take the time to do some research on the topic so you know your facts and can feel confident for the interview.

Have a Sense of What You’re Going to Say

Once you’ve done your research about the topic of discussion, then begin to have an idea about your responses. Write down your key messages that you want to portray and refer to those notes throughout the interview to ensure that you are staying on topic. If you get asked a question during the interview that you cannot answer, try to gracefully steer the discussion back towards the messages that you want to communicate.

Think Before You Speak.

Once you say something, the words cannot be unsaid. If you are speaking about a particularly sensitive topic, be careful about the wording you choose. You do not want to say something that could negatively impact your business or self-image.

Mastering the Art of the Follow-Up Phone Call

While a mass email is the easiest and quickest way to get a story out to journalists, it may not be the most effective. Phone calls that follow your initial outreach will allow for real-time feedback and give you a personal touch.

Make the most of your next story with these 5 tips.

Be aware of your surroundings.

Sending a polished, follow-up email can be done from any environment. Phone pitching does not share that same luxury, but has the advantage of adding that personal touch. When you are ready to make your calls, be aware of your surroundings. Make sure you’re in a quiet room with little chance of any interruptions, and in a location that ensures a good phone connection.

Remember, their time is valuable too.

Many journalists hold your calls in the same light that we do telemarketers’. Thanks to years and years of negative impressions, you are already working against that negative connotation. How do you beat it? By altering your original outreach to a 30 second (at most) pitch. Remember, their time is valuable too. By including only the highlights and any new information in your phone pitch, you become more compelling.

Know who you’re pitching.

While this one may seem tedious and unreasonable, but you owe it to the reporter you’re about to call. At a minimum, browse their recent coverage and Twitter profile.  Who knows? You may uncover something that makes your outreach particularly serendipitous.

Keep your ears open for new intel.

Even if your phone call follow-up doesn’t result in a story, it might not necessarily be time wasted. If you keep your ears open, you can learn new information, like a “mystery” editor not on your list. Or you may discover that your contact is no longer working there. Whatever it may be, every piece of information you can gather can be helpful.

Adapt your message to the medium you choose.

The beauty of a phone call, is that you are able to receive real-time feedback. While an email can quickly be opened, closed, and forgotten about, a phone call provides an opportunity to obtain feedback that can be applied to your next call. It can help you to tailor a more enticing message that will resonate more with the reporter on the receiving end. With each call, you have the opportunity to perfect your pitch and make the next one more effective.

3 Things Your Law Firm Should Be Doing to Stay Competitive

Embrace Technology.

There is no doubt that technology has changed most of how we communicate with one another. This stands true for how we conduct our businesses as well. We are living in the digital age and it’s time to embrace it. This can include things like using virtual assistants, cloud computing, and using collaborative software like SharePoint to increase your efficiency and productivity. Giving your website a facelift by adding a blog or client testimonials will keep your content up-to-date and gear more traffic your way. In today’s market, you want technology on your side.

Respond Promptly.

When it comes to potential clients, most aren’t leisurely looking through attorneys for fun. They are searching for a reason! This means that often-times, the first attorney to reply is the one they will choose. While quick responses are necessary to keep current clients happy and informed, it is important to remain diligent to interested, potential clients. If you get an inquiry, respond to it! While it may seem tedious and somewhat annoying, it is the easiest way to quickly snag them away from your competition.

Reevaluate the Basics.

Reevaluating the basics means rethinking some of the firm’s basic organizational, pricing, and delivery models. Look at your firm’s core clientele and evaluate the strengths your firm offers to them. Then, consider that there may be weaknesses that have potential to improve. The world around us is evolving and changing all the time, so don’t be afraid to switch things up! You might be surprised at the results.

4 TIPS ON ADVERTISING BASICS

1.Consistency is key.

Credibility comes with consistency. Make sure that you are consistent in your ad message, style, and tone. This includes on business cards, letterhead, envelopes, invoices, signs, banners, and websites. When you find a style you like, stick with it.

2. Be expansive in your outreach platforms.

We all know advertising isn’t a one-man (or woman) show. While word-of-mouth advertising is useful, it is limiting in the amount of people it can reach in a quick duration of time. If you want to attract a larger audience in order to make your brand or business more successful, then you should also reach out to newspapers, radio and TV stations.

3. Promote benefits rather than features.

If you’re in a competitive industry, it’s hard to set yourself apart from the rest. Instead of focusing on the features that make your brand different, focus on the benefits that your customers experience while using your products or services. A benefit is the emotional satisfaction your products or services provide. By engaging with the emotional appeal, you’re more likely to pull on the heart-strings of future customers which will make them more likely to engage with your brand or business versus the rest.

4. Know your competitors.

While it is very important to focus on your own business, it is equally important to know everything about your competitors. The better you know what they have to offer, the easier it will be to set yourself a part from them and make your audience realize that they would prefer your service over anyone else’s.

7 Must-Have’s for Your Law Firm’s Website

Whether or not you’re in the office, your website is always on the clock. In many scenarios, your site acts as a potential client’s first impression and introduction to your firm and is often the thing that persuades them to call, or not. You must be able to capture your visitors’ attention and maintain it. Your website is your stage to display your firm’s overall image, goals, and message. While each law firm’s website will be unique, here are seven changes that can take your law firm’s website to the next level.

Responsive Design.

In the digital age we live in, most people do their searches from mobile devices. Whether it is a smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop, users expect a good experience on every screen. A responsively designed website adjusts fluidly to fit the screen width of any user’s device.   With responsive design, you do not have to try to anticipate every screen size and program pages accordingly. Instead, your website will adapt to whatever the screen size may be, and offer your users a consistent and hassle-free experience.

In-Depth Bio Pages.

Attorney bio pages are some of the most-visited pages on a firm’s website. People want to feel comfortable in their choice for legal help and one way to nudge them in the right direction, is by incorporating great bio pages. People care about the type of experience and personality of the person, or people, that they will be working with. Sprinkle bios with details about interests, passions, and legal background. Also, don’t be afraid to include personal information. Do not just publish a resume style list. Lists are not memorable and resumes do not make an emotional connection.

Easy-to-Find Contact Information.

If someone is visiting your website, it is to either find information on your firm, and/or to hire a lawyer. It may sound trivial, but if a potential client must work to find your contact information, they may just move onto the next. Make that transaction easy, and reap the benefits.

Simplicity.

Too much visual stimulation is stressful. To keep your website from looking cluttered, stick too two fonts (maximum) and don’t underestimate the importance of breaks in text. Breaking up long paragraphs with sub-headings or bullets, can make your website easier to navigate and easier to read. Same rules apply to color. Too many colors will make your site look sloppy and unprofessional. Choose one dominant color and create a palette based on that.

Distinct Calls to Action.

To have this, you must identify the primary function you want your website to have. Do you want users to contact you, or is your website more of a tool to confirm experience and credentials? Whatever the goal, make it clear and make it easy do.

Reviews.

Social proof is a powerful influencer. If a potential client is not so sure who to hire, their decision may lie with whoever offers a more positive overall experience. What better way to do that than with reviews that potential clients can reference. If you have client testimonials, post them on relevant practice area and bio pages and encourage previous clients to post Google reviews.

Professional Photography.

Use photography to give users an authentic sense of your firm. Professional photography helps your website look polished and professional. It’s time to toss the generic empty courtrooms and showcase your firm’s personality.

Why Knowing Your Customers Can Improve Your Brand’s Success

Relationships are a two-way street; we both want to be heard and acknowledged as the individual we are. Business is no different as many PR professionals are in long-term relationships with their customers.

As important as it is for your customers to understand your brand’s values, it is as equally beneficial if you spend the time getting to know theirs. The more time and energy you put into getting to know your audience, the more successful you will be.

Research shows that repeat customers can be your greatest ally.

  • The longer the relationship with a company, the more money the customer will spend. On their 5th purchase, customers will spend 40% more than the 1st and on their 10th purchase they will spend 80% more than the 1st.
  • Repeat customers will refer more people than one-time buyers. After their first purchase, customers are liking to refer 3-4 people. After 10 purchases with your company, they are likely to refer 7-13 people.
  • Majority of consumers are loyal to their special brand. 64% of Millennials are as brand-loyal or more brand-loyal than their parents.

So if you have repeat customers that seem brand-loyal, why would they end the relationship and move on to another brand? Here are the top 4 reasons a consumer would “break up” with your brand:

  1. A negative review remains unaddressed while similar products continue to be offered (57%)
  2. Data leak or breach (53%)
  3. No live or real-time customer service support (42%)
  4. No timely sales and promotions offers (38%)

At the end of the day, customers want to feel important to you and crave personalized experiences. 79% of consumers want brands that understand and care about “me” and 56% are loyal to brands that deeply understand their priorities and preferences. It’s no longer about what product you can provide them, but also what kind of personalized experience you give them with the product.

Find a Master Database Management tool to help you better understand your audience then customize their experience in a way that keeps them coming back for more. Similar to nurturing your relationships at home, you need to invest the time into your customers in order to become a successful brand.