5 tips for building your brand and growing your network

Posted in Networking

shutterstock_82818208Recently, I had the privilege of speaking about building your brand and growing your network at the Avvo Lawyernomics 2014 conference in Las Vegas. What amazed me most about the event was the tremendous turnout of lawyers from around the country who took three days out of their hectic schedules to learn more about marketing. These lawyers know the importance of business development.

Unfortunately law school does not teach potential lawyers how to obtain clients. This is a lesson learned on the job. And many of us learn quickly that if we want to advance to partner at a firm or build our own successful practice, being an excellent lawyer is not enough. You must bring in business.

Marketing comes naturally to only a select few of us. The good news, however, that it a skill that can be learned. What follows are five top tips to ensure your marketing success:

1)    Find Something You Love To Do

Look around you —those who have successfully built their brand usually do so by finding something that they are passionate about. I happen to enjoy the challenge of being a legal commentator on television. To me, it is fun. Some of my colleagues, however, would be terrified to appear on camera. They admittedly would sweat profusely and become tongue-tied. Television would not be the best means for building their brand. The takeaway here, is that marketing should be enjoyable. It should not be forced. Find something you like to do and do it. It does not even have to be related to the law. Perhaps you would enjoy getting involved in a community project, or a non-profit organization. Maybe you enjoy writing or speaking. The more you like something, the more you will be willing to pursue it.

2)    Think Creatively

Perhaps you enjoy writing but no major publications are calling for your articles. Or you enjoy public speaking, but cannot obtain an invitation to present at a conference. If you are creative, you will find a way to do what you love to market your practice. For example, you can start your own blog. You can also give free seminars about a cutting edge legal topic at your own law firm and invite prospective clients. The main theme is to not let barriers get in your away to success. Find your way around them.

3)    Build On Your Marketing Feats

Once you do write the article or speak at a conference or appear on television, continue to build on that success. Note your marketing feats on your blog or web biography where potential clients assess you. This will also help to raise your internet profile. Keep your social media posts current with all your recent accomplishments. This is not bragging, it is good business sense. If you don’t broadcast your latest and greatest, how will clients get to know you and all that you could possibly do for them.

4)    Delegate But Don’t Give It Away

Think of your business development plan or brand as your top client. You can delegate some of the work to others, but you want to stay in control of the matter. You are the best judge of what you want your brand to be. Others cannot do it for you. For example, you can have an expert build your website, but you should be in control of the content. Similarly, you can learn about social media and how to develop your profile, but you should control what is posted on your behalf and make sure it is kept up to date. Treat your brand as a prized possession. Don’t give it to someone else to manage.

5)    Make Marketing Part Of Your Daily Routine

You are a busy lawyer, and maybe once in a while, you like to spend time with your family or pursue personal interests. You ask how can you possibly make time for one more thing. Just like everything else in life, if there is a will there is a way. And if you make the time to market and build your brand, you will reap great rewards in the future. Marketing and networking should be part of your lifestyle. Just letting people you meet know specifically what you do goes a long way. Make sure you sneak your particular practice area in conversation. For example, instead of saying “I’m a lawyer”, you should say “I’m a family lawyer.” It can be that simple. Each day, you should find at least one marketing activity to accomplish, whether it be taking someone new out to lunch, writing an article, speaking at a seminar, or even improving your social media presence. If it becomes part of your daily routine, you will benefit in the long run. And if you follow tip number 1 above and find something you love to do, marketing will be virtually painless.