Remember the good ol' days of being an attorney? When you could count on word-of-mouth marketing and a presence on Martindale-Hubbell to provide a long line of clients who are clamoring to hire you?
Those days are history. Today, the legal marketplace is flooded with lawyers who are offering the same types of services that you are. As a result, you're battling for a smaller pool of clients and are having to rely on different forms of marketing. You're constantly walking the line between effective advertising and overbearing or unethical self-promotion.
How is any attorney expected to survive in this modern climate? By developing a successful lawyer personal brand.
What Makes Up An Attorney's Personal Brand?
Though the concept of a lawyer's personal brand can be challenging to fully define, a good description is the set of unique characteristics that others remember about you. These branding components may include not only your competency, but also your style, values, personal philosophy, and backstory. In other words, your legal personal brand is what enables you to stand out from the crowd of lawyers who share your legal specialty.
A substantial portion of your attorney's personal brand is developed via the Internet and is known as your online reputation. Put simply, your online reputation is what people can learn about you by only browsing the web. This set of information is defined by your firm website, your listing on Martindale-Hubbell and other professional sites, and other mentions on online review sites, news portals, and legal publications. And here's the important thing to keep in mind: your online reputation may or may not accurately reflect your personal reputation (or the reputation portrayed on television or in other traditional media).
Therefore, it is essential that you manage your lawyer branding online in order to secure a successful legal practice, because most people these days turn to the Internet to research attorneys before they engage their services.
Three Steps To An Effective Lawyer Branding
- Do your research. Start by Googling your name and/or the name of your firm. What do you see on the first two pages of the search engine? (Most computer users don't go beyond the second page when researching topics.) If they aren't accurate depictions of you and your brand, then you may have a problem. And if they're negative comments or descriptions of you or your work, then you could be losing potential business.
- Make "branding" repairs. If you do come across disparaging or inaccurate information on the web, you must address the it immediately. Even if it's a disgruntled former client who did not receive a favorable outcome to his or her case, it's important to provide your side of the story (on the same review site, if possible). Otherwise, these comments may cause attorney-seeking consumers to choose a competitor.
- Be proactive. Fostering and nurturing a personal brand is an ongoing process. The best way to accomplish this online is to post blog articles, comment on newsworthy topics and trends (via Twitter, perhaps), and get your name into legal journals and onto other trade sites. These entries will show up on the first two search engine pages, and may help push negative comments onto lower pages.
ReputationDefender has been creating and improving online reputations for attorneys, and building personal brands for lawyers, for several years. The pros at ReputationDefender can provide invaluable assistance for any lawyer who is trying to build his or her personal brand. So why not contact ReputationDefender today for a free consultation? Your personal branding could depend on it.
Chris Martin is a freelance writer about topics ranging from online reputation management to legal issues to business finance solutions.