Bottom line: Attorneys and law firms should continue marketing during the COVID-19 crisis through thought-leadership content, but should keep these four tips in mind.
As I write this blog post in early April 2020, the world is fighting through the COVID-19 crisis — both the health crisis caused by the virus as well as the financial and economic crisis it is causing.
And yet, during this time, it’s important that attorneys and law firms understand that they should not stop marketing their services. Even though things appear to be headed for a recession (if we’re not there already), it’s important that attorneys and their firms keep marketing.
Marketing is the only way for law firms to keep their pipelines full of new and prospective clients. The size of their pipelines will determine how quickly firms can rebound after we get through this crisis, if they can rebound at all.
But while the COVID-19 crisis rages, certain marketing strategies will be more effective for law firms than others. Your law firm should be focused on strategies that position your firm as a trusted advisor and source of information, as opposed to a pushy vendor looking to “close the deal.”
(Strategies that come across as overly salesy or pushy are not going to win you clients. More likely, those strategies will repel clients and referral sources and make them think twice about engaging you now and in the future.)
In my opinion, the most effective marketing strategy your firm should engage in now and down the road is thought-leadership marketing.
I will not get into the ins and outs of thought-leadership marketing in this post, but suffice to say I think it is the most effective way for attorneys and law firms to market themselves in times of calm and in times of crisis.
That’s because it is a non-salesy and non-pushy way for attorneys and firms to show that they have expertise in and mastery of a legal issue or a legal area that is of importance to current and prospective clients or referral sources.
By providing that content as a resource, and thus subtly positioning you and your firm as sources of knowledge on these topics, you can get your name out there and show how you can provide value to would-be clients or current clients and referral sources, but not be pushy and not engage in tone-deaf marketing during a period of time where lots of people are suffering both from a health perspective and a financial perspective.
Thought-leadership marketing is an uncontroversial way for attorneys and law firms to market themselves. Here are four tips to help you develop thought-leadership marketing content that resonates with target audiences during the COVID-19 crisis and stands out from the pack.
- Stay focused with your thought-leadership content
It is important that you concentrate on the intersection of your area of law and COVID-19, and how society’s response to the COVID-19 crisis touches on your legal practice. You can draw inspiration for your thought-leadership content from questions your clients are asking or other concerns they’re raising with you.
Now is not the time to stray into other topics that you might occasionally opine on. You have expertise in the area of law that you practice. Go to that well often. People are going to be looking for the kind of insights and guidance that only you can provide.
By staying focused on your legal practice, you are providing deep knowledge while also putting a moat around your practice and yourself that separates you from other attorneys with a similar legal practice.
Through focused thought-leadership marketing content, you are saying to current and prospective clients and referral sources that you are THE person to come to regarding these topics based on the expertise and mastery that you are showing through your content.
- Value > turnaround time when it comes to thought-leadership content
You should be putting a premium on the value your thought-leadership content provides, no matter how quickly you can turn it around.
If you’re simply regurgitating what a state government or an administrative agency said regarding something COVID-19-related and blasting it out via email within hours of that announcement, you’re not providing value.
But if you take a day or two to actually think about and then explain how that announcement could affect current and prospective clients, including how it could impact their operations and various other aspects of their business, now you’re providing value.
You can rest assured that there’ll be news coverage reporting, word-for-word, the substance of a government announcement. At the very least, there will likely be thought-leadership content from other law firms breathlessly reporting on this substance.
Don’t be tempted to add to this pile. Instead, go one step further and provide value.
If you do, you will stand out and continue building that moat I just mentioned.
- Be empathetic in your thought-leadership content
When writing your thought-leadership content or providing your thought-leadership content through spoken means like a podcast or a video, be empathetic.
Make sure that your readers understand that you understand what kinds of issues they might be dealing with.
For example, if you’re dealing with employers, you need to be cognizant that if they’re laying people off, that’s probably going to be painful for small businesses and closely-held corporations where there’s often a close connection between management and employees.
Don’t be afraid to show that you have an idea what the consumers of your content are going through and that you are cognizant of the business and perhaps emotional challenges they’re facing while they deal with the uncertainty and problems created by the COVID-19 crisis.
- Be introspective in your thought-leadership content
Don’t be afraid to show a little bit of yourself and give the consumers of your content some insight into your life these days.
For example, if you’re like me with two small kids at home, working from home is awfully difficult. You want to balance being productive with spending time with your family. Perhaps that’s why this blog post took me twice as long to write as a normal post does!
Almost everyone is impacted by the COVID-19 crisis in one way or another. It’s OK to inject some introspection into your thought-leadership content. When you do, you’ll be creating another way for people to connect with you.
You will be giving them a way to connect with you on a personal level based on the shared sacrifice that we’re all making during this COVID-19 crisis.
As a result, you will be seen as a human being who happens to be a lawyer providing guidance to your current and prospective clients and referral sources.
Stay the course with thought-leadership marketing
Attorneys and their law firms should continue marketing themselves during the COVID-19 crisis.
Focusing their marketing efforts on creating thought-leadership content will help position those attorneys and their firms as go-to resources regarding their areas of law without being pushy or coming across as salesy.
As the COVID-19 crisis rages on, this positioning will be an effective way for attorneys and law firms to maintain client and referral source relationships and build new ones during these uncertain times.
Wayne Pollock is the founder of Copo Strategies, a legal services and communications firm, and the Law Firm Editorial Service, a ghostwriting service for attorneys and their law firms. The Law Firm Editorial Service creates high-quality attorney-written thought-leadership marketing materials for attorneys so that they can market themselves while staying billable. For more information, please visit www.lawfirmeditorialservice.com.
Do you have any idea how much revenue your law firm is missing out on by its attorneys writing their own thought-leadership marketing content? Visit writelessbillmore.com for a free thought-leadership cost calculator.