Thought Leadership - Build Your Brand Online


The selling of "expertise" has always been a crucial element to legal marketing. Why else would lawyers with heavy billable targets take months of their valuable time to write a book? Expertise, even more than having years of experience, is a key measure of qualification and a tool used to grade the modern professional. So the question presents itself: Does an expert rise from the ranks and develop out of peer acknowledgment? Or, is an expert a created entity, carefully crafted by profile building and marketing? I contend that the answer is found in the "gray area" between those two theories. We all know exceptional professionals or academics who are well respected in their small circles, with limited exposure, and we all know the socalled experts who can best be described as "all sizzle and no steak."

The concept of "Thought Leadership" is hardly new, of course. Lawyers have become experts off-line in their fields for years. There are, however, a number of characteristics unique to the online space. First, the barrier to entry has been lowered. While in the past web technology was limited to those with programming expertise, newer software technologies -- such as blogs and social networks -- have leveled the playing field for exposing one?s professional knowledge and expertise. Second, the number of participants in these online conversations is not limited. Those with a willingness to get online and participate will benefit from increased exposure. And lastly, the web is a mix of both those who innovate ideas, and those who diligently spread the word. Success can be found in either capacity, but a balance between "subject expert" and "online rainmaker" is probably the best approach for most professionals.

Please note, this article was previously published in the January, 2008 edition of the Texas Bar Journal.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Steve Matthews, Stem Legal Web Enterprises Inc. | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Stem Legal Web Enterprises Inc. on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.