Practice Skills

Building authority in a virtual world: Here’s what the top firms are doing

In the lull of lockdowns, lawyers and law firms have found a way to keep themselves busy – while maintaining salience and establishing authority.

How? By channelling their energy and expertise into the creation of tangible and valuable branded content, with the goal to attract, secure and retain all-important clients.

Becoming visible and valuable

When people need a lawyer, they don’t wait to see an ad on the TV or a billboard on the freeway. They usually take matters into their own hands and find one themselves – as fast as possible.

That means searching online, asking friends and even taking a trip down memory lane.

As they do so, they evaluate the options: Who’s trustworthy? Who demonstrates their specialist expertise? Who’s already providing value?

As a firm starting out, this is where your attention should lie. You need to put your cards out on the table, show what you can offer and, at the end of the day, be your ideal client’s ideal lawyer.

So what can you do? Start creating and distributing branded content.

What is branded content?

Branded content is an increasingly used marketing technique. It offers prospective clients value often before they even begin to consider your legal services.

As the content is directly linked to your brand, it’s a way of saying, ‘Hi, we’re experts in our field, we can help you, remember us next time you need a lawyer.’

In the legal field, branded content might look like checklists, expert blog posts or videos.

So to guide you in the right direction, here are some branded content activities lawyers have been busy undertaking in their (lock)down time.

1. Webinars and live Q&A sessions

While stay-at-home orders spanned the country, professional industries saw the rise of webinars. Lawyers and law firms have been taking advantage of this medium to get their name out there and demonstrate their expertise to an audience of potential clients.

These legal webinars have mostly consisted of well-prepared live presentations – giving online audiences the opportunity to ask legal questions in real time. And as a slight variation, many hosted live Q&A sessions.

An added benefit of webinars is that they can be recorded and made permanently available after the live session ends – providing value to a larger audience.


2. Blogging and guest blogging

Blog writing is an effective way to show your credibility and share valuable, expert and relevant information with your ideal clients.

Choose a topic that you believe will legitimately help the reader clarify a legal topic or question. After all, for non-lawyers seeking legal advice, there’s a lot to understand. If you’re the one making a concept easier for them, it would make sense for them to call on you should they seek a lawyer.

To cast the net wider, consider guest blogging for a website or publication with a large and specific audience. You can sign up to Sourcebottle or HARO to receive daily expert contribution listings. Remember to make sure anything you or your firm writes links back to your website.


3. Facebook groups

Lawyers and Facebook sound like a questionable combination. However, creating a dedicated Facebook group for your existing and potential clients to ask questions and seek your advice has proven to be an effective strategy.

This trend has been on the rise throughout the pandemic, when more organic means of in-person networking have been off the cards.

To ensure interested clients can find your page, set it up as a public group. But make sure people have to ‘request to join’ before they can read or comment on posts. This will allow you to check their legitimacy first – to protect your page from mischief-makers and spam bots.

A word of warning: although setting up a Facebook group is not time intensive, maintaining it properly will be. Ideally, you need to check the page, respond to questions and monitor the join requests several times a day.


4. Whitepapers 


A whitepaper (also known as an e-guide) is an authoritative digital document that helps your readers navigate a complex topic. It should help them solve a specific problem.

With this option, you have the opportunity to deep dive into a subject that’s especially relevant to your audience right now.

Remember though, whitepapers can be time consuming to write. They need to be high quality. And if you don’t move fast enough, the topic may date quickly.


5. Checklists or Q&A forms


Essentially an abridged version of the whitepaper, checklists and Q&As are less detailed information pieces that can help your clients navigate complicated areas.

They’re an appealing option because they’re quick to create, which means they can also be very timely. They’re attractive to time-poor potential clients too.


Ready to dive deeper with your marketing?


Lawyers are now thinking more broadly than ever and taking every opportunity to stand out in a very crowded and competitive industry.

So if you’re kicking a new firm into action, The College of Law’s Legal Practice Management training can support you to prioritise your marketing and reach clients where it matters – before your competitors do.

Already established in your practice? Our Master of Legal Business subjects can help you Develop an actionable plan for your own career growth.