In this episode of the Legal Marketing 2.0 podcast, Good2bSocial’s founder Guy Alvarez chats with K&L Gates Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Berardi about their top thought leadership position in the 2017 Social Law Firm Index. Jeff shares insights on marketing, business development and client development, how to get lawyers at the firm involved in initiatives, how to use analytics to make decisions, and his philosophy on generating client-centric thought-leadership content.
How did you make the transformation to client centricity?
It’s always been a part the K&L Gates’ identity to be be client focused, but over the past decade the company has shifted focus from traditional brand building to more strategic client development activities. It’s important to anticipate client needs in order to deliver the services they want. K&L Gates has continuously worked harder to generate new clients and retain current clients. In order to harness this strong dedication to the client, the company develops content.
By thinking about the issues a client faces, you can determine what types of information will best serve them.
In the past, K&L Gates would push out content in the form of email blasts, but this didn’t prove to be effective. Now they have created a digital destination to house their content beyond their website, on the K&L Gates Hub, a microsite for their thought leadership content.
Another shift in thinking was to change the way content was presented and organized based on how clients look for it. Clients don’t view the world in practice groups, they usually look toward industries. Law firms typically see the world in a very narrow way, but it’s important to create content in the context of the world, not just the internal structure of the firm. K&L Gates has continually educated partners and lawyers about the need to think more broadly about the issues beyond just their specialized practice group.
The process of content creation
For K&L Gates it takes a team of 90 people globally, across marketing/communications, business development, and client development functions to create client-centric, consistent content. In order for it to be successful, all three functions need to be working fluidly. The process starts with actually speaking with the clients to guide content topics. Next is deciding the most effective way to share these insights.
K&L Gates tries to evolve and vary the types of thought leadership content they produce. For example, recently they started a healthcare podcast that address particular issues that are critical for clients to consider.
What are you doing in terms of measurement?
After writing and posting content, K&L Gates tracks metrics to see how people read and engage with the content on their site. At first it takes time to figure out which metrics are the most important and how to use that information to change the content approach. By understanding which insights generate more attention, you can replicate what’s most effective and continually improve upon what your firm provides.
The Challenges and Results
The biggest challenges include educating members of the firm about this client-centric shift, trying to focus on fewer, more effective ideas, and keeping employees motivated and challenged with the work they are doing. Despite these obstacles it’s indisputable that thought leadership yields tangible results.
K&L Gates’ client-centric initiatives have increased appreciation and satisfaction from existing clients and opened up conversations with potential clients. The evident connection between sharing content and generating leads has only had a positive effect on lawyers who find more incentive to create more.
It’s clear that clients are asking law firms to provide more value. Some law firms work hard to get clients on board, but do very little to add value through insights. But how can they provide value? An easy way is to create thoughtful, relevant content. With an understanding of what expertise you can give and the type of audience you want to share it with, law firms can build content based on what will resonate the most with clients.