Lawyers stand to gain more from their thought leadership marketing efforts than simply reaching external audiences like clients and referral sources.
Conventional wisdom says lawyers’ thought leadership marketing efforts are the ideal way for them to build their practices and their books of business because through those efforts, they show past, current, and future clients and referral sources that they are knowledgeable about the areas of law they practice.
In other words, thought leadership marketing works for lawyers because of how those lawyers can use the thought leadership content they create to engage with their external key audiences.
But what conventional wisdom doesn’t say, which is equally as true, is that lawyers’ thought leadership marketing efforts can help them build their practices and their books of business from inside their firms out.
That’s because their internal audiences for their thought leadership efforts could have as big an impact on their practices and their books of business as their external audiences.
I was reminded of this when I was talking recently to a senior marketing and business development official at a large national law firm — a firm with about 400 lawyers and $250 million in revenue.
We were talking about thought leadership and content creation for lawyers. He told me one of his associates had written a piece of thought leadership content regarding a legal issue that no one at the firm knew a lawyer at the firm had covered through thought leadership. Nor was anyone aware that someone at the firm was actually interested in this area of the law and could advise clients regarding issues that arise within it.
As a result, some partners at the firm brought this associate into their matters because they were looking for someone internally who had the knowledge she had.
This got the associate exposure to new colleagues and new clients, which allowed her to begin building her practice and her book of business from inside her firm out, centering on the niche legal issue she was covering in her thought leadership content.
This got me thinking, why aren’t more associates and junior partners at law firms doing this?
Why aren’t they using thought leadership to build their practices and their books of business from inside their firms out by showing their colleagues, through their thought leadership content, that they have specialized knowledge about legal issues their firms’ clients may be struggling with?
All too often, lawyers think about content marketing and thought leadership marketing as a marketing and business development tactic focused on key audiences outside their firms, such as clients and referral sources.
To be clear, they’re not wrong.
But associates and junior partners shouldn’t overlook their internal audiences as they develop their practices and build their books of business. They could use thought leadership to show partners at their firms and other colleagues that they have knowledge about areas of the law that maybe other lawyers in their firms don’t have, but that clients definitely struggle with, and they have an interest in learning more about, and positioning themselves as a leader in, those areas of the law.
By consistently executing on a thought leadership campaign that reaches their colleagues, they can help their practices and their careers by getting in front of colleagues who are in positions to staff them on client matters or to expose them to clients during meetings or via phone calls or emails.
Engaging external audiences, like clients and referral sources, with thought leadership content is a tried-and-true method for growing a legal practice and a book of business.
But associates and junior partners should remember that engaging internal audiences— their fellow lawyers and support staff — with thought leadership content could be just as beneficial to their practice-building and book-of-business-building efforts.
Interested in getting outside help creating thought leadership content to help you engage your target audiences—inside your firm and out? Click here to schedule a 30-minute Content Strategy Audit to learn if collaborating with an outside strategist and writer is the right move for those executives and your firm.