The latest Legal Marketing 2.0 episode covers ten essential elements to become a thought leader. It stemmed from many conversations we’ve had with lawyers and professionals in the legal space about how to build their personal brand, switching careers and how to go about getting a foot in the door, or establishing expertise to attract clients and referral sources.
The lessons can be applied to lawyers, law firm marketers, and anyone willing to put in the time and effort.
Here’s a summary of the episode:
Why do you want to become a thought leader? To generate more business? To help others with the lessons you’ve learned to become better lawyers or legal professionals? Answer this question to determine your PURPOSE before proceeding.
Who is your AUDIENCE? Clients? Prospects? Other influencers? Choose your audience. You can identify more than one. Know their characteristics and more importably, figure out what your target audience NEEDS – the things that keep them up at night, what they want to learn to enhance their knowledge.
“The more specialized or niche you become, the better your odds of becoming a thought leader.”
What’s your special sauce? Your unique THEME. We reference Seth Godin’s Purple Cow in a discussion of how to go about honing your message and spreading the word to stand out and create buzz.
We get to the meat and potatoes of a thought leadership platform: CONTENT. The first thing people think about when they hear “content” is the written word. But it can be whichever medium you feel most comfortable in: Audio (podcast), video, or visual (infographics, etc).
Next comes the PLATFORM. Where does your audience like to consume content? Do they prefer reading blogs? Listening to podcasts? Watching videos? When you repurpose your content, make sure it’s in a way your audience is accustomed to receiving it. Regarding platforms:
“Don’t build where you rent.”
When you use a third party like LinkedIn Pulse or Medium, you’re tied to their whims. It’s good to post there, but better to house your original content on your own website or blog then repurpose to other platforms.
Gotta have a PLAN. An editorial calendar is essential. It keeps you consistent, focused, and accountable. Without a plan it’s very easy to lose track of your goals and objects.
CONNECT with your community. Figure out who the influencers are that can help you spread your message and genuinely engage with them whether on LinkedIn, Twitter, or at an event. It’s a give and take. Become a giver. Establish trust.
Keep LEARNING. It’s important to keep learning. Read. Books. But if books aren’t your thing, there are lots of great opportunities to learn by listening to podcasts, watching videos, reading blogs, and so on. You can’t be a thought leader if you’re not staying on top of what’s happing in your area of expertise.
Finally, EXECUTE. Thought leadership is not something you buy or take shortcuts with.
“You have to be consistent and persistent in executing.”
Referenced and Related Links:
Thought Leadership for Lawyers: 10 Tips on How to Build Your Personal Brand
Purple Cow,Seth Godin
Legal Mosaic, Mark Cohen.