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Thought leadership is how you answer clients’ questions at scale

Use thought leadership content to efficiently answer the same questions many of your clients have about the same legal development.

Let’s talk about thought leadership as client service, particularly thought leadership content as a scalable client service tool.

It’s tempting to think about thought leadership content only as a marketing and/or business development tool. But it’s got some pretty cool client service applications. One of them is it that allows you to answer your clients’ questions at scale.

When a lawyer is hearing questions from a number of different clients about the same court decision, the same proposed new legislation, or the same trend, they should think to themselves, “Hmm, I have an opportunity here to write a piece of thought leadership content.”

It doesn’t matter what the form of the content might be, whether it’s a blog, an article, a client alert, a video, or even a podcast episode.

What matters is that enough clients are asking the same question that it is likely that other current clients—and past or prospective ones—might have the same question. Thus, the attorney should step up to the plate and answer the question—at scale.

The math of thought leadership as scaled-up client service doesn’t lie

Sure, the attorney could take time to answer the same question posed by a number of clients. That might make sense if a handful of clients have the same question.

But what about when 15 clients have the same question? The math tells us that answering the question via thought leadership content will be more efficient.

You could spend 15 minutes speaking to 15 clients individually, answering the same questions they have about that new state supreme court case or some other development in the law that’s weighing on their minds.

That’s 225 minutes that are likely “value-add” non-billable minutes.

Or, you could spend an hour or two (let’s go with two here) writing a short <1000 word blog post/client alert and then send a link to it to those 15 clients.

That’s 120 minutes + 15 minutes of emails (at most), for a total of 135 minutes.

That’s 40% less time spent DESPITE educating your clients in a personalized way (via your direct emails to them) and creating an asset that could revive past client relationships and create new ones when posted online or on social media, or distributed via email newsletter.

The benefits of thought leadership as a client service tool

When you treat your thought leadership content as a scalable client service tool, good things happen.

First, it gets you out in front of many of your active and inactive clients because you are going to be advising these clients on a development that so many of them have asked you to provide your thoughts about. It is another opportunity to remind your clients that you have the knowledge and wisdom required to help them with their legal and business issues.

Second, as I explained above, it can save you time. You don’t have to answer the same questions from client after client after client.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t still talk to your clients about these questions. If they have concerns or issues that could require more input from you than simply giving them an overview of a particular legal development, you’ll still want to engage with them one-on-one.

But at least from the standpoint of initially answering clients’ questions, you can streamline that process by creating a piece of thought leadership content and getting it out to them to answer their questions.

Third, as I alluded to above, this content can of course still be used for marketing and business development efforts.

You can repurpose it for your newsletter, for your social media feed, for your firm’s website, and for your or your firm’s newsletter.

A nice benefit of doing so, particularly when you repurpose the content on social media or your firm’s website, is that it allows people who don’t know you to come across your content—either by searching for the topic on the web or seeing it on social media—and become impressed by the knowledge and wisdom you possess regarding the issue, trend, or whatever else is prompting these questions from clients.

That may cause them to continue consuming your content. If they do, once they believe you are qualified to help them with their legal and business issues, they may reach out to you to actually do so.

More than a marketing or business development tool

Thought leadership is a fantastic marketing and business development tool. But it is so much more than that.

It is a scalable client service tool that allows you to efficiently nurture relationships with your clients by answering their questions in a one-to-many format that shows you’re knowledgeable and wise about emerging issues that are important to them.

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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