“I’m getting my name out there.” I hear that a lot. That isn’t a strategy! Strategy doesn’t have to be long and complicated. But… there are 3 simple requirements of an effective strategy.

1. Determine the WHY. Why are you doing this initiative… whether it’s a new blog or a meeting with a potential referral source? You have to start with the why. The global why is “to develop business” but you have to get more specific than that. If it’s a new blog, are you trying to build credibility so that when potential clients and referral sources Google you, they can see that you know what you’re talking about, and it gives them a strong reason to hire you over others?  Or are you doing it solely for search engine optimization purposes to drive traffic to your website. Your answer, even if it is “both”, will drive the content focus of your blog differently.

2. Determine WHO is your target market? The key word here is target. I once asked an audience of lawyers… Who is your target audience? And someone in the back of the room said…”Anyone in a hospital.” I’m sure he was just being a “wise guy” but the sad truth is that most lawyers think on that big of a scale instead of narrowing their focus. You cannot market to everyone… when you try to do that, you connect with no one.

3. Determine WHEN you will meet milestones, and when the initiative will be completed. A specific timeframe is important to keep you on track. This is easier when the timeline is a day or two, but can be more difficult when the initiative requires more time. Setting milestone deadlines will be very helpful in keeping you focused and giving you a sense of progress.

I would caution you not to let tools, like blogs, websites and social media drive your goals and strategy. They are simple tools to help you achieve credibility, visibility and differentiation from the rest of the lawyers who work in your practice area. Give your potential clients a reason to hire you. And make sure that you’ve determined the WHY, the WHO, and the WHEN before you begin!