Leveraging Your Reputation: Find your audience

Tom Ciesielka is president of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and is on the Public Affairs Committee of the Chicago Bar Association, where he has spoken at CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

I speak to a lot of people who feel overwhelmed by all the social media, websites and other avenues out there that they feel are “required” for their promotional efforts. I totally understand the frustration and stress because I also find it hard to keep up with what’s new and important for my own work. I’ve talked to people who’ve said they’ve pretty much given up trying to do anything, and instead want to just focus on getting work done. However, now that we’re in the 21st Century, I would suggest that people not give up on promoting themselves, and find at least a couple ways to share their work with clients and colleagues because you really should keep finding ways to help your reputation, even if you don’t have much time.

Here is one way that will really help you focus instead of worrying about how you’re going to get involved in all the apps and websites out there: decide where your audience is.

Some people find much success with a blog on their own website because they get a lot of hits from people who discover their posts through online searches or when the posts are shared on other websites. They also like informing their clients about new developments in the legal system, giving advice or whatever else they think would help. Others find LinkedIn to be effective because they can create a group that addresses certain topics, while others seek out prominent legal websites and publications to get their name out there.

In order to target your audience effectively, you should think about who is really interested in what you have to say. Separating your personal and professional life online would help you zero in on which platform would best communicate your ideas. It might seem like a narrow approach, but you’ll have an audience that is dedicated, and you won’t feel like you’re spinning your wheels.

I recently saw a few examples of this: one of my clients was mentioned in an online article, then got many calls from people who were interested in their latest project. The same client decided to focus on Facebook for another promotional campaign, and they suddenly got several more members in their Facebook group who were very interested in that project, and even told their friends about it as well. Another client noticed that Facebook wasn’t an effective way to share information about some cases, so they posted press releases, blog posts and court filings on their own site, and noticed that they got more attention with their clients that way. I know people who get a lot of work through Twitter, and others who think Twitter is a dead end. I also know professionals who still send out newsletters and think it’s not professional or effective to find an audience on social media.

Basically, you have to choose what works for you and where your clients and readers will interact with you the most. Just focus on a couple effective outlets, and you will do well.

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