Empty chairs on a stage in a ballroom

Six ways thought leadership can help you secure speaking engagements

Consistently publishing thought leadership can help attorneys pave a path straight to the stage at an industry conference.

Thought leadership is a Swiss Army knife for attorneys and their law firms.

It’s a marketing and business development tool.

It’s a recruiting tool.

It’s an advocacy tool.

It’s also a tool for helping attorneys land speaking engagements at legal industry events and events in their clients’ industries.

There are six ways the consistent publication of relevant, valuable, and compelling thought leadership can help attorneys secure speaking engagements.

Thought leadership gives attorneys exposure

Consistent thought leadership puts attorneys on the radar of conference planners or the people who can influence those conference planners by suggesting to them they consider a particular person as a speaker.

When attorneys consistently publish articles in third-party publications and consistently post on social media, they increase the chances that they will catch — directly or indirectly—the eyes and ears of the people deciding who will be on stage speaking at a conference.

Thought leadership gives attorneys credibility

Thought leadership is one of the most effective vehicles attorneys can use for putting their thoughts and opinions out into the world. Through their consistent creation and publication of thought leadership, attorneys can demonstrate the knowledge and wisdom they have regarding the work they do. This gives them credibility as leading practitioners regarding their legal practices and the industries they serve.

This credibility gives event organizers comfort that an attorney will substantively contribute to an event as a speaker by educating the audience and giving them valuable insights they can take home with them.

Thought leadership shows attorneys’ range

When attorneys consistently publish thought leadership, they show the world that they can cover a wide range of topics and issues related to their legal practice.

Naturally, attorneys will not be covering the same topics and saying the same things in every article they write, video they create, or podcast episode they appear on. In order to consistently publish thought leadership covering a mix of topics relevant to their target audiences, they will need to, well, cover a mix of topics relevant to their target audiences. As a result, they will develop the ability to talk authoritatively about a range of topics that might be a degree or two away from the core work they do for clients.

When they demonstrate this ability through their thought leadership, they show event organizers that they can give presentations, participate in panel discussions, and answer audience questions that cover a range of topics relevant to their legal practices.

Thought leadership previews an attorney’s stage presence

An attorney’s consistent publication of thought leadership can give consumers of their content a sense of their personalities, which can also serve as a preview for event organizers of their presentation style.

The style in which an attorneys writes an article, how they come across on video, and their pace and tone during a podcast interview gives event organizers an idea of how they would communicate on stage.

Are they lighthearted or stern?

Do they smile often or come across as an unpleasant robot?

Would attendees want to have a coffee with them—or run the opposite direction?

The more thought leadership an attorney publishes that gives consumers of that content a sense of who they are as a person, the easier it is for event organizers to judge whether the attorney has a stage presence that they think audience members will respond to and react favorably toward.

Thought leadership generates a following

Attorneys who consistently produce relevant, valuable, and compelling thought leadership tend to attract a following, which is proof that members of their target audiences are interested in what they have to say.

Consistent thought leadership that strikes a chord with people will cause them to metaphorically raise their hands and indicate they want to consume more thought leadership by that creator. An attorney’s social media followers, email newsletter subscribers, article views on sites like JD Supra, and other similar metrics are signals that people are at the very least interested in what the attorney has to say.

They also signal to event organizers that an attorney has proven they are someone people are interested in hearing from, and that the attorney may be a reason why attendees decide to sit in on a particular program or even attend an entire event.

Thought leadership leads to external validations of authority

When attorneys have consistently published relevant, valuable, and compelling thought leadership in third-party publications, or their thought leadership has led them to being quoted in articles in these publications, interviewed on podcasts, and asked to speak at events, they’ve been validated as authorities by third parties.

This validation shows event organizers that an attorney has been acknowledged as a thought leader. In a way, this validation is a shortcut that the event organizers can rely on to avoiding having to vet the attorney too intensely themselves.

After all, if media outlets, credible podcasters, and other event organizers have, through their interactions with them, deemed an attorney to be worthy of the spotlight and of interest to their audience, who are the event organizers to second guess those third parties’ conclusions about the attorney’s stature (assuming the attorney has not done anything recently that gives a reason to second guess those conclusions)?

From the page to the stage

Attorneys who consistently produce relevant, valuable, and compelling thought leadership in any form are likely to be rewarded for their efforts by being sought out by event organizers to participate in conferences and other events through opportunities to speak on stage.

Thinking about bringing on an outside writer to help your law firm strategize and create compelling thought-leadership marketing and business development content? Click here to schedule a 30-minute Content Strategy Audit to learn if collaborating with an outside writer is the right move for you and your firm.

Wayne Pollock, a former Am Law 50 senior litigation associate, is the founder of Copo Strategies, a legal services and communications firm, and the Law Firm Editorial Service, a content strategy and ghostwriting service for lawyers and their law firms. The Law Firm Editorial Service helps Big Law and boutique law firm partners, and their firms, grow their practices and prominence by collaborating with them to strategize and ethically ghostwrite book-of-business-building marketing and business development content.

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