Three Things We Learned in 2021

Legal Internet Solutions Inc.
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Legal Internet Solutions Inc.

2021 was, well, quite the year . . . Some of it was good, and some of it was not so good – but we learned a lot.

One of the things we learned a lot about was content. We have big plans for content in 2022, and we covered All the Things as we kicked off our live streamed programming with Three Things We Learned in 2021. The LISI team reflected on what had the most impact on us in 2021 and what we are embracing for 2022.

see video here.

Robyn Addis, COO+CMBDO

Hi, everyone. Welcome to LISI’s Three Things, our “new” livestream program.

With me today, I have Taryn Elliot LISI’s director of client success, and Kristyn Brophy our director of client strategy. We were supposed to have Rae Ritter with us, our director of client service, but unfortunately she is not feeling well, so she is taking some much needed rest and relaxation.

To that end, welcome! And let me just tell you a little bit about the format. If anybody watched my livestream show last year, I started something called “Three Things I Learned Last Week,” and it was a program that was intended just to be…I get really nerdy about learning things and sharing information. So it was my way of sharing about three things I learned within the previous week (sort of) and I did that for a couple of months and it was really interesting and it was really fun to do.

And actually it was really, really successful in terms of building relationships and expanding the LISI brand, but it was a ton of work. And I was sort of doing that all on my own. I was also sort of testing at the medium having just been approved as a LinkedIn live broadcaster. So we decided to dial it back and rethink how we were doing it and how we could weave three things into our broader content strategy in 2022. And this is what we came up with. So three things is our new semi-monthly livestream program.

Kristyn Brophy, Director of Client Strategy

Before we dive into three things, I would like to have a moment of pause for our technology friend, the Blackberry. Earlier this week, Blackberry set the sun on their technology. And I remember my first Blackberry I’m sure. Both of you also remember your first Blackberry. So RIP Barry,

Taryn Elliott, Director of Client Success

Right? It changed the way I worked.

RA:

Rae and I were actually talking about this yesterday, our first blackberries were these, like, they were like this wide, which doesn’t look wide on my, like third of the screen, but it was wide. And we were very jealous of everybody at the firm we were working at at the time, because they had these like, again, really wide blackberries, but you could only have them if you were an exempt employee. So we felt very, very special once we got, you know, the ugly Blackberry and the holster, which I totally rocked the holster for a little while too.

TE:

I loved the actual keys on the keyboard. Yes. So I got my first Blackberry at a time I was also making some transitions with how I was working and I mean, that really did kick off the always “on” for work. But at the same time I remember somebody saying, you know, yes, I’m reachable outside of the office in a way I never was. But also that gives me the freedom to, you know, go on my kids’ field trip in a way that I never could before. So I really liked that, but man, those keys, it was so easy to type! A

KB:

I’m looking in the comments. And Jim Jarrell is saying that he’s proud to have never had a Blackberry. What?! That makes me so sad! I loved my Blackberry, but I approve of his second comment saying that he went from razor to iPhone. So that’s a good jump!

My Blackberry, and I said this in a LinkedIn post this morning, was my foray into social media marketing. I had the tweet deck for Blackberry app where I could do like promotions for my schools. I got my first Blackberry in college. So promotions for my school’s shows and performances all from the app. I felt so cool. I could do tweets and Facebook posts all at the same time. Instagram didn’t exist yet. You know, Snapchat didn’t exist yet, but oh, that Blackberry was the best. It really was well

TE:

And shout with the Palm pilot that also filled a very important role and has died a very sad death.

TA:

I was totally obsessed with my Palm Treo and I felt like the bees knee walking around with this, you know, again, another like mini brick when all my friends had the razors or those like, remember those like micro flip loans, remember like the super tiny ones?!?

Okay, so anyway, on three things. So the first thing, I mean, all the things that we’re gonna talk about today are things we learned in 2021, particularly about content. So first thing, being your authentic self on social media, we talk a lot about this, our friends that are watching the livestream, they talk a lot about this on social media as well.

And the reason behind this is sort of twofold. One, because people get to know you as a real person. And I don’t know, Kristyn wants to jump in about that in a second, but also two, believe it or not, it actually really helps with your content performance.

I cannot tell you how many times, and, and for the most part right now, I’m gonna talk about LinkedIn. I mean, although it holds true across all social media platforms. But in particular on LinkedIn, I have so many conversations with prospective clients and, and friends who are like, “Ugh, LinkedIn is just getting so personal and LinkedIn, you know, I don’t wanna see what somebody had for lunch yesterday,” Which by the way, I don’t wanna see that on LinkedIn either. I’m not encouraging that. And I’m also not encouraging like, you know, fringe type posts. We’re not, we’re not looking to get political. We’re not looking to get, you know, overly whatever.

But the posts that evoke emotion show who you really are and they perform really well. So when you can weave in that personal content and that content performs really well, then you might grow your followers. You might have more engagement with your content and that engagement creates opportunity for a other content, other more substantive content or self promotional content to be visible in your followers or potential, you know, second and third, third degree connections feeds.

KB:

Whenever I was working in house at law firms and training attorneys or coaching them on business development, the number one thing I say even to this day is that people want to do business with people. And if you’re not sharing a little bit of your authentic self on LinkedIn, then how do your prospective clients know that you’re a person that they wanna do business with? How do they know if they’re going to be synergies when you’re working together? How do they know, you know, who you are and what kind of connections you can form with them so that you can not only give the best client service to them, but also become a friend and become a trusted advisor. You wanna be able to connect with people. So being your authentic self is great. And one comment that I hate to see is like “this isn’t Facebook on LinkedIn.”

It’s like, okay, well then get a Facebook page and use a Facebook company page for your firm. Why not? Because you know, you then have that argument. This is Facebook. I can post personal things here. I don’t know, but always, always share some personal stuff. You know, you don’t have to get into the nitty gritty of like really dark secrets and personal details, but it’s nice to open up and, you know, be authentic. I know authenticity is one of those words that got thrown around in 2020 and 2021 a lot, but I, I think it still holds.

RA:

Yeah. I agree with you. And you know, I talk a lot myself on LinkedIn about my kids and I struggle. It’s funny. One of the comments here I see is, you know, I have a fear of oversharing you know, and I have that fear too. Because I am talking about my kids and I’m talking about some of the crazy stuff that they do. And it’s so interesting to me, at least in my personal experiences, being a mother is the connections between like, you know, managing of house full of like toddler terrorists and understanding how to get through like changing my way of communicating. So it actually gets through to them and I can actually get the desired outcome that I want. That’s not different really than adjusting my communication style to meet a staff member, a team member where they’re at.

And I think it has been a great leadership lesson for me. So that’s why I talk a lot about my kids on LinkedIn. And also again, they’re just crazy. So it’s kind of funny, the stuff that they do, but you know, and I agree with you, Kristyn, in terms of authenticity, that’s such a buzzword that I fear is becoming overused. But it really the meaning as you say, it still holds you know, being authentic and really being true to yourself. It resonates with people. I’m going to say from my own personal experience, that my own business development work that I do, my authenticity resonates with people and that’s what brings them to me. And so that’s what I keep doing

TE:

Well, and there’s a reason that so many sales systems have bonding and rapport as one of the first things that you do is that you want to get to know people and have some ways to identify with them and know how to communicate with them. And that’s really what being your authentic self is. And I think maybe we should look at it a little bit more as like, how do you connect with others to take things to the next level? And we talk a lot about building trust as well. And you know, do I trust this person with my business or do I trust this person with, you know, in our line of work, my website or with our clients, like with, you know, this really important, legal matter that I have to deal with? And it’s not like you have six months of, you know, going out to dinner to get to know somebody like a lot of times you’re making those decisions quickly.

And the nice thing about social media and in this case specifically, LinkedIn, is that you can go back before you have a meeting on any side, whether you’re or a prospect, whether you’re prospecting someone and kind of get to know them, get to know what their interests might be, get to know maybe like what pain points might be, depending on how they talk about that. And I think that that’s one of the great advantages of putting yourself out there is that it’s a little more permanent and it’s a good way to just connect. So that way, when you’re having those face to face, even at their face to face over the computer screen, you have a jumping off point.

RA:

Yeah, absolutely! I mean, I could go on and on about this, if you really want me just to lean into it, but you know, it, I guess to sort of put a bow on it’s: don’t be afraid to be yourself. That content actually resonates with people. It’s gonna feel uncomfortable at first, but…try it. And when it resonates, you’ll be pleasantly surprised and, and you’ll be more comfortable doing it more

TE:

Well. And I think this is one form of content that you can share, which is personal content. And you know, a lot of times you try to bring in the business lesson too, but that kind of brings us to the next thing, which is something that I know I really took away, but I know it’s something important to all of us. And that is, in 2021, we moved away from content repurposing and we’re gonna start focusing on more of a multi-channel distribution strategy for our content. So that’s more than just, I have a blog and can I write five more blogs that are related to that piece of work, but I had this piece of content and how can I utilize this on all of the platforms that we are using? You know, for us 2021 was really like when we got this team together, as well as some of the other people on our team that aren’t on this livestream and we’re like, “okay, we’re gonna produce content.”

And we got that down and we kind of fell into a pattern with that. And so when we started looking to 2022, we said, well, how can we build on this? And one of the things we came up with is: let’s really look at our content and not just look at a blog as a blog post and can we do more blog posts and we put it on social media, but can we do more with that? And so for us, one of the things we started talking about was, well, yes, obviously we’re on LinkedIn and that is important, but you know, are we utilizing all of our team on LinkedIn? Are we just using, utilizing our company page? What role does Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Instagram reels and LinkedIn live, and, you know, even TikTok was discussed you know, clubhouse and we’re not utilizing all these plat forms, but how can we make them work for the message that we wanna get out?

I know Kristyn said something earlier about having a Facebook page in addition to your LinkedIn page. And for us, that was something we decided we wanted to do because we like doing personal stuff. Anybody who follows us know that we did an entire thing about music for our holiday celebration. And we were like, that’s something we wanna continue, but maybe, you know, Facebook is a place to do some of that or Instagram.

But not just that, but also looking at, okay, so we have these pieces of content. We have all of these channels to get it out, how do we need to republish or repurpose something? You know, if we’re doing a video, can we also make that a podcast? So that way we’re on that distribution channel. And if we’re doing a post on LinkedIn, is there a way to change it, to be more graphically pleasing on a different channel? And really like just going beyond just creating content to creating content that is real and authentic to us in the places that our prospects are going to be wherever that might be.

RA:

Yeah. And, you know, it’s, it’s so interesting to me, when I think back to when I joined the agency, oh two and a half years ago, at this point, there were efforts made for content certainly, but the team was leaner at that point. And so the ability to consistently post or create that content just wasn’t there. So part of what I was tasked with coming on was creating more content and, and getting it out there and, you know, slowly building that momentum to the point when Taryn joined and Kristyn joined. And again, you know, a handful of other people who aren’t here with us right this minute. But that content generation engine has slowly been building momentum. And now, you know, when I look at our content calendar, which these ladies are gonna laugh at me because I *genuinely* do this: I open our Google sheet sometimes just to like, look at the expanse of it because it’s so exciting to me and just like scroll through it.

It’s like, it’s like somebody who just likes to look at their closet just to see all the things they have. That’s what I do with our content calendar. Because I’m a nerd. But you know, to Taryn’s point, now we have this content and we have this, this nugget that we’re figuring out, okay, how do we get it out on Instagram? And how do we get it out meaningfully across multiple channels in a way that is resonating with that audience at the right time, in the right place.

And we’re having a lot of fun doing it too. You know, something I said on a podcast last year, again, just building up the momentum on that content generation engine. It’s not, you know it’s not super easy. It takes some time and it takes effort. And it, of course it takes effort, but I mean, it takes like effort in that you have to trust the process. It’s not going to happen overnight, it’s it, you’re just not gonna have the stamina to do it overnight. And now the idea of having so much content that we’re swimming in it and I can just revel in this glory is, is super exciting because it’s exciting to see, you know, what all we’re able to do with that.

KB:

It’s amazing too, because once you start creating content more content just snowballs and it’s amazing.

TE:

One of the things we didn’t talk about that I think is missed and it’s not something we’ve not necessarily done, but this applies for everybody is how do you take the content that created for marketing purposes? And then work that back into further down the line when you’re doing business development or sales, whichever you prefer, because there’s definitely this wealth of content that we have created or any organization has created that doesn’t just sit there and we do go back on a regular basis and say, is there a way that we can get this back out?

Because you know, like of course there’s always things that we do. At budget time we have a whole series of blog posts that are still fairly relevant that we’ll put out, but even, you know, do you have a prospect who might be looking at doing a new website and they have some questions about how that would work and, you know, we have a whole series about what to look for when you know, doing your new website and, you know, how can you even insert that into other places that might not have originally been thought of when you were just, you know, sitting down writing a blog post

Which before I took this role, I was like, “Ooh, lot of content writing. I’m not so sure about that.” To be honest with Kristyn’s point, you know, once I got into it and, you know, trusted the process and start, I don’t think I’ve ever told Robyn this: I was really hesitant, but once I got into it and started the process, I was like, “okay, like, this is, this is the way that it’s supposed to be.”

It also helped that I started in March, 2020. So how we marketed and how, you know, we developed business completely changed. The emphasis on content really kind of kicked in at that point.

RA:

Yeah. you did tell me, I remember you telling me like “it’s a lot of writing. It’s a lot, lot of writing.”

TE:

But I, I think one of the other things that was really good is that we also kind of, as we settled in, we placed an emphasis on it not being just one person’s voice. That it is, you know, everyone’s voice. You know, even the people who don’t necessarily love writing, we still sometimes <laugh> work with to make sure their, their content and, you know, everything they know is getting out there too

RA:

Well. And you know, what really quickly to, just to interject, because I know you’re ready to move on to the next thing it’s on that point specifically. I remember you and I having a conversation several months ago, maybe eight, nine months ago, you know, because it was largely my voice and it was largely my presence and it got to the point where I was like, okay, like I’m tired of seeing my name. I’m tired of seeing, you know, my face out there and, and you know, yada, yada, yada, I won’t, we don’t have to go into that point too deeply, but it, it is really valuable for our agency to be able to show sort of the depth and breadth, which translates to law firms, as many of the people who I see tuning into this presentee already know, but for those watching after the livestream:

Take it from us in our real world experience. Sure. Robyn is at LISI, and Jason is the founder. And, but that it created a little bit of perception or it perpetuated the perception that we were still sort of like small potatoes. And now the more that, you know, Kristyn is out there and writing and Taryn’s out there and writing, and again, all the other people that we have on the team and we’re really able to sort of compound that presence and compound those opportunities because of that, the same holds true in, in law firms and law firm marketing as well. So food for thought.

TE:

Well, and I think that talking about all this content actually brings us to the third thing that we learned in 2021. And this was a really big lesson for me. But it was a big lesson for our whole team. And it’s important to put out there. We didn’t wake up on any given day and be like, “Woohoo, look at all this content we have when we’re all producing it and we’re gonna do video and we’re gonna do these interviews.”

We sat down and we said, okay, you know what, we’re gonna start with this. So it brought us to the whole concept of what’s a phase one project and what’s a phase two project because one of the concerns and this we see for us, you know, internally, we saw it in some ways and actually we saw it in this way as well.

But we see this most with our website clients. Although we see this across the board with all of our work and since we launched our website last year, that also made us a website client, but having that whole conversation of what’s a phase one project and what is a phase two project? Because if you wait until you have every single thing that is amazing and perfect and ready to go, you’ll never launch whether that’s a website or a video series or a blog or whatever you know, a CRM. So when you’re working through any piece of content, you know, from as big as a website to as small as just launching a blog, don’t let you know, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. It’s more important to get out there and to get your voice out there, to get your thought leadership out there to get your messaging out there than to be silent because you’re waiting for, you know, the absolute perfect way to do it.

So for us, you know, we were doing our website and one of the things, you know, we’d have ideas and we’re like, “well, but if we do that, it’s gonna take longer.” You know, or there’s this one part that is taking longer than we expect it. So do we need that on lunch day? Or can it wait until, you know, a month or two afterwards? And we have a little bit more time to work through that.

Even for content, you know, okay. When we started writing, we’re like we really wanna do video, but part of what we needed to do was get our whole process down. And it was a lot easier for us to get our process down with writing than it was with video. So we started with writing and we would work through that.

And then we said, okay, when we’re comfortable with this, then we will add in video, we will look at the ways that video works with the content we’ve already had. You know, can we add video to a blog post? Is there a blog post we can make into a video? You know, how do we use video and written work on LinkedIn? And that was definitely phase two, because if we’d tried to do it all at phase one, we would’ve done nothing.

And that’s something that, that was something that I learned personally. That’s something that I know our team talked about a lot in 2021 that we’re carrying into 2022. And I know that that’s something that we are definitely working with our clients on to make sure that, you know, we’re getting results and we’re getting wins, you know, along the way, it’s not, you know, we don’t practice all year and then get to the super bowl, like we’re playing games the whole way through. So when we get to the super bowl, like we’re really ready and we know what we’re doing.

KB:

And same with our outsourced legal marketing clients. We say, okay, phase one, we’re going to lay down the foundation, get all of the systems kind of in place, and then we’ll roll it out. And we actually just had a client that I worked with that we wrote a plan for that they saw the strategic plan I wrote for them and said, “oh my God, this is overwhelming.” They were in a little bit of a shell shock because it it’s just a lot. It’s a lot of information that we gather. A lot of data gather a lot of content strategy that we lay out in a document for them, a lot of process that we lay out in a document for them.

And the point of contact at this firm was just like, I can’t give this to the attorneys. They’re going to, their eyes are gonna glaze over. They’re not going to know what to do. And so, you know, we lay out different phases through that. And we actually, I worked with this client to make a roadmap of, okay, here’s the plan. I understand you can’t digest it in its form. It’s a lot to take in. I totally get that. It was a lot to take in while I was writing it.

So if we want this to be successful, let’s roll this out slowly. Over time, let’s start here. And, you know, the, and I sat down identified where our starting point is and which steps we should take over the course of time. And then by the time you get to year two strategy, you have your foundation completely set. You didn’t let perfect be the enemy of the good, you didn’t burn yourself out because you weren’t like going hot out into the gate, trying to get everything done at once. And now you have time to actually focus on your strategy and try new things and disseminate content in different ways and start to, you know, really do these fun initiatives that you set your groundwork for in year one in phase one. And then in year two, you can kind of continue and build on that and just go even more places.

TE:

And I think we have to remember not everyone has unlimited resources be that time, be that talent, be that money. You know, I think we all think there’s a perception that if you just get to a certain size law firm or a certain size business, like that’s not an issue. And it is because because there are still just that many more people to serve. And I think working through, you know, phase one, phase two, phase three, whatever it is also gives you the opportunity to say, I cannot do this all today. Not just for the reasons you stated, because you don’t have time. But like sometimes it’s just, do I have the resources to do this? You know, is only so much in my budget and that allows people to plan out what they wanna do in a logical way and still be cognizant of the fact that there’s only so much time and only so much money to go around in a given time.

RA:

Yeah, I struggled with this. I still struggle with this. Like, you know, in my daily life, I want it to be perfect before it launches or, or whatever the case might be. And I think especially in this industry, it’s particularly true because how many times, I don’t know if you have had this experience. I have said, you know, “you get at one chance.” Lawyers are trained to expect perfection. There’s a lot on the line, you know, when they’re working for their clients, it’s high pressure. They have high expectations for a reason. And I, I love that about this industry and a bizarre twist because it really requires attention to detail and focus and high quality work. And I think that the, the reason that so many of us are in this industry and succeed and do well in this is because that we can rise to that level. And we like that challenge.

But on the flip side of things, you know, if you think about it in the, you only get one chance, that’s why you, we are accustomed to trying to make it perfect. And I think it comes down to communicating to our constituents, to our stakeholders: It’s not that it’s not going be perfect. It’s perfect for phase one and it’s perfect for, and then phase two, is this and phase three. It’s just managing those expectations too. As opposed to like, you have to get it all right.

Because the fact of the matter is at least in my experience, try to get it all perfect the first time and you’ve try to fit in literally everything.. you’re going fail. I mean, sorry, but you are because you it’s just not possible. And then they’re just going to be ticked off because it’s taken you two extra years to get something launched when it should have launched, you know, in 2019 as opposed to now it’s 2022.

TE:

I think we’ve reached a point with technology where very few things need to be fully implemented on day one. Yeah. you know, like you can go in and make changes to a website at any point. It’s not a set it and forget it strategy for CRM, which is an area that I work in a lot with clients. And that’s actually, I think one of the biggest things everyone’s like, we need to have our list to totally up and clean and ready to go, which yes is ideal. But sometimes you take what you can get and then you work to get it perfect. So that way it’s not implemented two years after the fact, but the point is you can do that in a lot of instances. It doesn’t all have to take place on day one. There are ways to make it so it makes sense to do things spread out because sometimes that’s just what you need to, to move forward with the other things that you wanna do.

RA:

Yeah. Yeah. Well ladies, I always love chatting with you. This actually I’m so proud of us. Our goal is 30 minutes and we’re like right there

KB:

Let’s go 2020. I mean 2022!

RA:

Catch up, girlfriend!

KB:

I don’t know. I’m half asleep. I have no idea what day it is.

RA:

It’s like you said, people kind of gave themselves some grace the last couple of weeks of the year and then all of a sudden it’s like, Ooh! everybody came out of the woodwork!

KB:

Literally yesterday everyone decided to wake up. It was like, oh my God, any more emails am I going to receive today?!?

RA:

I know it’s exciting! It’s a lot of good things!

Well, thank you to everybody who joined us on the livestream today. Thank you to everybody who’s watching the rebroadcast or after the fact. Look out for more from us! We have some really, really exciting things coming up. We talk about, we’ve got three things and you know, maybe we’ve got some more things it’s just gonna culminate in ALL THE THINGS that we have for you. So thank you so much to everybody and have a great rest of your day and enjoy. I know the end of the week. Thanks so much!

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