J. Nick Augustine J.D., “The Law Publicist,” is the principal of Law Publicist Communications, an ALR/PRA, Incorporated agency. Nick advises and assists attorneys in transition in public relations, marketing and practice management. Nick shares recruiting and staffing experience and tips for legal job seekers.
Attorneys in transition spend significant time grooming their online profiles. Websites, social networking sites, professional listings and the like are important tools in your legal marketing and public relations strategy. There are things you can do on your own. There are plenty of resources available online. They keep changing so you have to keep up.
Here are 7 tips and resources:
Mashable.com is a great resource for all things social media. From news, blogging tips, website and social network information, Mashable is the current industry standard. If you spend some time reviewing the articles, you will find something that peaks your interest. This publication focuses on industry professionals and users alike, so if you find a good idea, save it then find someone to help you execute.
2. SEO practitioners
Rule #1: You cannot be an expert at something beyond your control that is constantly changing. Even the people who work at Google do not know the secret to page rank. What you can learn from SEO practitioners is the current themes and objectives to appearing in search results. If Mary is looking for a traffic lawyer, there’s a good chance she’s looking to hire one. The SEO practitioners publish frequent content suggesting you can attract Mary to you. Remember, SEO practices change. What is thought to work today might not be true tomorrow, so check back for updates and tips.
3. Copywriter resources
Copywriting and legal writing come from different planets; in practice, not as much as in theory. Yes we were all taught in law school to write in “plain English” yet we are often verbose. The biggest challenge in shifting to copywriting (for your marketing and public relations activities) is learning succinct writing. Just like the SEO practitioners, there are copywriters who publish online resources instructing on some tips of the trade. One of the keys to good copywriting is learning to create a simple message that people will like and remember.
4. Linking exercises
Remember the SEO practitioners? They used to preach keyword optimization. The game has changed. Today, while keywords are very important, links are just as crucial. The search engine “spiders” crawl your content, read, and continue on by following links from your page to other pages. Choose your links carefully. You want to link to, and be linked by pages and sites with valuable content and good page rank. The “spiders” don’t know you but they can determine if you have quality links. Again, the SEO practitioners have information on point.
5. Profile updating
If you update your online profiles, you will attract the “spiders.” I have no proof for this statement but I do have experience noting that sites I frequently update appear more frequently when I search myself or my agency in Google and other search engines. Adding photos and videos to your search engine listings is a good way to generate activity. Sharing links with happy clients who leave positive reviews is also a great way to update your online profiles.
6. Survey your prospects
Say it with me, “It’s not about me, it’s about them.” If you are a family law attorney writing about the new civil union law, you should make a “why do they care?” list. Your content has a better chance of being rated well when it provides real answers to your audience’s questions. What do they want to know? Instead of guessing, search online for frequently asked question sites. You might be surprised that the information in demand might be some of the real basics.
7. Start again
This is sure a long list including several assignments. The only way to keep up is to start over, from scratch, from time to time, and you just might learn some permanent skills. Legal marketing and public relations skills are key. If you learn these skills now you can take initiative on your own. You will also know what you’re talking about when someday you hire a firm to take the reigns.