Many lawyers and law firms today engage in socially responsible practices and make an effort to give back to their communities. These efforts not only benefit society at large but also are helpful in a business development sense given that 86% of consumers today believe companies should make a commitment to address social issues. That said, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has an important role in content marketing – integrating CSR into your law firm’s blog is a great way to show your audience why and how you engage in this type of social responsibility. We discuss below tips to keep in mind when tying your firm’s CSR strategy to its content marketing.
Choose Meaningful Causes
The causes you choose to support will be front and center once you start building content from your CSR efforts, so it is important that your firm and its employees are passionate about them. Choosing causes that are related to your firm’s area of expertise or practice groups can be a great way to engage employees who are already interested in and passionate about the topic. For example, if your firm has a dedicated clean energy practice group, it may make sense to prioritize environmental sustainability as a firm.
When deciding what causes to stand for, your firm can also look to its employees and the causes they support in their personal lives. For example, Winston & Strawn has contributed to organizations its employees champion personally such as cancer research foundations and local community service organizations. The firm shares these stories through employee spotlights on their Careers @ Winston blog.
Don’t Be Afraid To Toot Your Own Horn
Just be careful how much. Law firms can easily be criticized for engaging in social responsibility efforts only as a marketing tactic or to boost their reputation. To avoid this, make sure your firm is not overdoing it with CSR content in terms of sharing too often or being overtly promotional. Keeping this in mind, when your firm is doing something good, you should share these efforts in company updates and blog posts as well as on social media. Social media, especially Facebook, is a great way to show your firm really getting involved in CSR through photos and videos of volunteer outings and employee engagement programs.
Being honest and authentic when discussing your firm’s CSR efforts will also help to avoid the risk of looking like you are giving back just for the sake of it. Be clear in why the causes your firm supports are important to your firm’s overall mission, its employees, and the community at large. Setting actionable goals and objectives for addressing social issues and frequently updating your audience on your progress will help show them you really want to make a positive impact. The wording you use also affects your perceived level of authenticity. Making a “promise” or “commitment” to social responsibility efforts is common in many companies’ CSR statements, but again, your firm must be genuine in its efforts if it chooses to use such wording.
While sharing your firm’s CSR efforts in blogs, social media posts, and other firm updates is a great way to engage your audience and build a meaningful legal practice, some firms go further by making social consciousness the main tenant of their firm’s overall objective. Nixon Peabody’s Legally Green initiative is one example: taking a “holistic approach to sustainability,” environmental matters are not only part of the firm’s legal expertise and CSR efforts but also have become ingrained in the firm’s culture. The firm has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for four of its “green” office buildings, participates in many sustainability organizations and programs, and has received several awards and recognition for its leadership in this field. Your firm may at some point choose to take its own CSR efforts down this path, positioning it as a leading organization for social change.
With any CSR strategy, it’s important to remember that the goal of making a difference should always come first – marketing benefits are secondary. In today’s rapidly changing social and political climate, now is the time your law firm should get involved in CSR efforts and make a positive impact on society. If your law firm needs help taking its CSR strategy digital, contact us to get started.