[author: Noreen Fishman]
The more active you hope to be online, the more important it is for you to have a personal brand established. Social media activities, various websites or online portfolios, blogging, and other digital efforts all contribute to a unique identity and image. Have you given much thought to your personal branding? Here’s everything you need to know about establishing and optimizing a personal brand as it relates to marketing for attorneys.
What is Personal Branding?
The benefits of branding are real, and in many ways quantifiable. Research from McKinsey showed that strong brands outperform less recognizable competitors by over 70%. Furthermore, today’s clients are belief-driven and want to work with companies and professionals that align with their values and can be a force for change. Furthermore, personal branding can help you to connect with clients, become more visible in your industry, enhance your reputation, and leave you top-of-mind. But what does personal branding entail?
Simply put, a personal brand is the projected image of an attorney’s personality, skills, experience, and behavior that shapes their unique identity. Defining your personal brand is an important way of differentiating yourself in a competitive market. At a basic level, it involves telling your personal story and sharing your personality.
Personal branding encompasses all the information that’s currently out there about you. It’s easier to build from scratch than to change a brand that’s established. Once you have a well-defined personal brand, messages outside of that image will be confusing. A strong personal brand is intentionally created and nurtured and has boundaries to ensure that everyone knows what you stand for.
How Important is Personal Branding for Marketing for Attorneys?
Along with the research demonstrating that branding plays a critical role in people’s decision-making, there are other significant benefits to personal branding. The main advantage is that people will decide more quickly that they want to work with you. In addition:
- You can more easily differentiate yourself from your competitors.
- It’s easier to start your own business and help you transition to a true thought leader.
- You’ll be viewed as more authentic which enhances trust and loyalty.
At the end of the day, a strong personal brand increases the odds that clients will find you online and ultimately choose you over another attorney.
The Essential Elements of Personal Branding
Convinced that personal branding is worth your time? A well-developed strategy is important for marketing for attorneys. Here are the components to consider:
1. A Thorough LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is the foundation of many professionals’ branding efforts. It’s also where many people will begin their search to understand who you are. Fill out your profile and make sure it’s compelling with a professional picture, an optimized headline, a results-focused summary, and plenty of visual content.
2. A Positioning Statement
You may have also heard this called an elevator speech. When crafting this statement, keep your target audience in mind. Express to your audience what makes you different and special. Keep things short and sweet and use verbs to illustrate how you do what you do. Additionally, make sure you avoid industry jargon and acronyms.
3. A Search Engine Optimized Profile
There’s not much point in creating a personal brand if no one can find you online. Making yourself more discoverable online is essential. That’s why keyword research is so important. Don’t just use gut feeling, perform actual research in order to find the right keywords to incorporate into your online content. You can try Google’s Keyword Tool for inspiration.
4. Unique Things to Say
You don’t want to sound exactly like everyone else in your space. In order to really carve out a personal brand, you need to share some original perspectives. Think about what sets you apart and then use that information in the posts and content you create.
For a more in-depth look at how to build a successful social media strategy, check out this free eBook: Advanced Social Media Strategies for Law Firms.
5. A Regular Posting Schedule
After you’ve optimized your profile and considered your point of view, you can create content and start posting. Use social media to share consistent status updates, and share your thoughts on industry happenings, how-to articles, and other helpful material. That being said, don’t use your posts as blatant self-promotion. Make sure all of your posts contribute to a larger conversation and add value for your followers while displaying what you’re really about. Develop a habit that you can actually maintain, even if you’re not posting as much as you’d like at first. Consistency is most important.
A Personal Branding Strategy
As we mentioned, an intentional and thoughtful strategy is at the core of personal branding. Occasionally posting or having only a general idea of what you want people to know about you won’t cut it. Follow these steps when executing a personal branding strategy:
- Establish goals: Why are you doing this in the first place, and what will success look like?
- Have a cohesive theme: Just like a corporation, an individual should maintain a consistent tone, look, and feel.
- Share your story: Highlight your personality, opinions, work, skills, and even quirks.
- Show humanity: Remember that people are following you because they are interested in you as a person.
Developing a strong personal brand is a lot of work, but it’s always worth it when it comes to marketing for attorneys. To do so successfully, you need to really know yourself and what you have to offer, and then be able to post great content consistently. Aim to achieve a personal brand that is recognizable, original, and memorable.