You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

Communication Tip: Fight Capitalization Creep

(Updated August 1, 2018) Do your firm’s communications suffer from capitalization creep? It’s an insidious virus that infects the writing of many a professional — lawyers chief among them — resulting in an over abundance of capitalized words on a page. Legal writing encourages this behavior of capitalizing words as a way to personify or make them formal subjects of a document. Writers will often capitalize a word to give it extra importance. But don’t allow that logic to creep into your marketing writing.

A handy weapon in the fight against capitalization creep in your firm’s public facing communications is a style guide. You can develop your own in-house style guide as a way to define a preferred usage for firm-authored articles, web bios and marketing materials. If you don’t have a style guide, the AP Stylebook is a great place to start. You can either use it verbatim, or you can use it as your base guide and make exceptions or additions to it over time. (The AP Stylebook is one of my favorite reference books of all time.)

A Style Guide To the Rescue, Updated for 2018

AP Stylebook 2018A style guide is helpful not only to keep everyone on the same page using consistent style, but it is also great support when you need to tell a specific attorney why you keep lower-casing his or her capitalized terms.

It can sometimes be difficult especially for a younger professional to tell a senior attorney that his “Fellow” should be a “fellow” or that her “Chair” should be a “chair.” However, a nicely worded e-mail stating that you’ve made the following edits to the article “to maintain consistency with the rest of the web site and to adhere to AP style” almost always gets your point across and accepted.

Another good reason to limit capitalization: It’s much easier to read a sentence or paragraph that isn’t fraught with capitalized words. Lots of capitalized words make a paragraph clunky and slow down reading.

One big trouble area especially when preparing attorney bios is titles. Formal titles are capitalized when used immediately before a name, not when they are used alone or separated from the name by commas.

Common Capitalization Creep Culprits

Here are a few examples of the most common types of phrases I find myself editing (de-capitating)…

  • He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Brown Company.
    He is chairman of the board of directors of Brown Company.
  • Mary is Editor in Chief of the Technology News Quarterly, and a Contributing Writer to several IP Newsletters.
    Mary is editor in chief of the Technology News Quarterly, and a contributing writer to several IP newsletters.
  • He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ceramics and a Master of Science degree in Chemistry.
    He has a B.A. in ceramics and an M.S. in chemistry.

Capitalization is just one battle you will win armed with the AP Stylebook. It’s a great reference for any communicator and solves any moments of indecision you may encounter on the job. The Associated Press also has an online version of the guide that you can use with a site license and customize to define your firm’s or organization’s specific style preferences.

Posted in Books, Communication Tips, Law Firm Marketing

Boston Law Firm Celebrates 25 Years with Creative Social Media Campaign

Long time client Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a law firm with a fun social media campaign on Twitter. I have nothing to do with the effort — it is the brainchild of the firm’s Director of Marketing Jaclyn Braga.

The campaign celebrates the “Age of 25” through a series of Twitter posts that give us a brief glimpse into the life of each attorney/professional at the age of 25. Each one is a reminder of how our lives were full of daring and possibility at that stage of life (and, by association then, so too must be the law firm).

MBBP at 25

“We definitely wanted to do something to mark the occasion, but we didn’t want to spend a ton of money,” said Braga, “and we didn’t want to do something that was… ‘yeah, so what.’ So far, the social posts (which are still rolling out) have been receiving positive response from clients and friends of the firm. Said, Braga, “Our bank called us and said, we didn’t know it was your anniversary! and they sent over lunch!”

MBBP at 25

Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton was founded by pioneering downtown Boston lawyers who picked up stakes and moved out to Waltham to move closer to clients in the burgeoning high-tech corridor along Route 128. Now with additional offices in Cambridge and Boston, the firm continues to seek ways to get closer to budding businesses. Read more about the firm’s beginning and growth here: MBBP Celebrates 25th Anniversary.

MBBP 25 years

Certainly the success of any social media campaign is to attract the attention of/engage clients, potential clients and stakeholders — and this one does that. But it also does a wonderful job of storytelling and connecting, and reminding us both about our own selves and how little we may know about each other.

Hats off to MBBP on this creative, humanizing and joyful celebration.

Follow them at @morsebarnes to see more….

“Shake it like a Polaroid picture!”

Posted in Client News, Law Firm Marketing Tagged with: ,

The Cobbler’s Children

New and improved soles with fresh tread and spring colors…

While I am always busy maintaining, updating and optimizing my clients web properties, my own could use some fresh tread! Currently, this blog is in the process of being updated. I have switched over and applied a new responsive theme with a default theme offered through the Harvard blog platform. Most importantly the new theme is mobile responsive, but the theme does not allow me to customize fonts and colors without upgrading. I am not opposed to upgrading, however, this is as far as I got on a beautiful Saturday morning. Further enhancements will come, but for now, at least my blog is viewable on all screens — a big step forward. Happy Spring!

Related post: Spring Cleaning Your Law Firm Website

Posted in Law Firm Marketing, Marketing

10 Steps To Build A Better Blog

build a better blog artwork

Happy New Year! If you resolve to blog more in 2018, here is a blueprint of sorts for building a better blog. Lawyers can use these 10 tips as a template for focusing your writing and making your posts easier for clients to read, understand and remember. Regular quality blogging will raise your visibility in your area of expertise and help to differentiate you from your competitors.

Before you write, ask yourself these questions…

1. Who is this blog post for?

  • Primary audience
  • Primary industry
  • Other audiences

2. What makes this post newsworthy/timely?

3. What do you want the reader to do upon reading the information?
Go ahead and provide a call to action, something like, “If you have questions on how this new law affects your hiring practices, please call me…” or “Read more on our website under Tips for Startups…”


4. Write a first draft without judgment.

Review and rework your first draft with these points in mind…

5. What is the single most important point you are trying to make?
Tip: After you are done writing the post, ask yourself, “So What?” What does it mean to your reader? Be sure that you clearly state that.

6. Provide links to relevant information cited in the post, such as:

  • Laws mentioned
  • Organizations mentioned if relevant
  • Other related materials on your firm website
  • Other/background info elsewhere on the web

7. Get to the point. If your first draft starts with something like, “On January 15, 2018, President Trump signed into law, the XYZ Act” — Rewrite that lead! Try something more like: “Entrepreneurs and founders of start-up companies should be aware of a new law that will allow your company to better protect assets in the event of …”

8. Use the language of your client, not the language of your profession.
Tip: Pretend your client/ideal client comes into your office, and asks you this series of questions…

  • What are you writing about?
  • Why is that important?
  • Does that affect me? — Continue to imagine the natural course of the conversation and how you would explain it to him/her on a one-on-one level — Write that!
  • Also ask yourself: Would a specific “For example,” help illuminate?

9. Review again to simplify, clarify and illuminate your point.
Writing in a casual, informative and straight-shooting style will help differentiate you from other lawyers writing on the same topic and position you as a friendly, accessible and helpful expert that people will feel comfortable reaching out to.

10. Have fun!
Don’t be afraid to inject a little personality into your writing.

Posted in Communication Tips, Law Firm Marketing

SEO’s Role in Your Attorney Marketing Strategy

Attorney marketing content ideas

Want to increase your web visibility? Start by creating the information that your ideal client needs and wants. Use the worksheet below to help.

Why Attorneys Shouldn’t Obsess about SEO

I recently had a law firm client ask me to come in and help them to better understand how SEO (search engine optimization) works. I thought it was great that attorneys were interested in this level of marketing detail. And I was happy to help explain the unexplainable (how Google works).

But I didn’t want attorneys obsessing about SEO and the more than 200 ranking factors that go into it — that’s their marketing team’s job. Rather, I wanted them to obsess about their clients and the information those clients need — and to consider creating more specific, relevant and truly useful information to share with their clients and potential clients.

Where Does SEO Fit In?

Certainly understanding where SEO fits in their attorney marketing strategy is a useful discussion. But, I told them that SEO is the last thing that they should think about. (Remember that’s the marketing team’s job.) SEO is a tactic that supports each attorney’s marketing strategies and objectives. Each attorney’s business development goals should be driving his or her marketing activities and web marketing, which can benefit from attention to SEO.

Want To Raise Your Visibility as a Subject Area Expert?

Here are 5 steps to help you create more specific content that your marketing team can then distribute, promote and optimize.

1.Identify your goals:

  • What are your goals as a firm?
  • What are your goals as a practice area?
  • What are you goals as an industry group?
  • What are your goals as an attorney?

2. Identify your target customers:

  • Who is your target client?
  • What do they need to know?
  • What is your area of expertise?
  • Where do those intersect? (This is where your content comes from)

3. Create a content calendar:

Attorneys, practice areas, industry groups — commit to write, speak, present, and create tools, videos, checklists, etc. on SPECIFIC TOPICS that resonate with your IDEAL clients.

4. Be strategic:

  • STOP practicing random acts of publishing
  • START positioning yourself as a specific expert
  • CARVE out a niche…
  • Really OWN it!

5. Differentiate through quality not quantity:

  • Make your content definitive
  • Make it the best
  • Make is “share worthy”
  • Make it unique
  • Write/edit for business audience (not legal).

What Clients Look for on Your Website

Don’t lose sight of this basic truth: Clients (and search engines) come to your website looking for recent, relevant evidence that you are the expert they are looking for. Even in a referral situation they are coming to your website looking for proof that you are good match — as a firm and/or as an attorney. Make sure you show them:

  • Evidence of recent work
  • Evidence of industry knowledge
  • Demonstration of subject matter expertise
  • Other clues that you are a good fit.

Differentiate by Demonstrating Your Expertise (Better than the Other Guy)

You may ask, “but if every other lawyer is doing the same thing, how do I stand apart?” By demonstrating your expertise, better.

  • Write more
  • Write more recently (that 10 year old article may be great, but it doesn’t look so great to someone perusing your site — update it!)
  • Write better (make the complex simple)
  • Write to a more targeted audience
  • Show you understand that specific industry / business needs
  • Illustrate using relevant examples
  • Write in easy to understand style
  • Have fun! Show some personality
  • Curate others’ content — be visible/engage on Twitter/Linkedin
  • Be the friendly helpful expert that they will reach out to.

So Where Does SEO Fit In?

When your marketing team knows how you want to be perceived and the type of content you want to create, then they can better assist you in optimizing and editing your content to be positioned for search engines. Write to your client’s needs. Then let your marketing team…

  • Optimize
  • Distribute
  • Promote
  • Blog
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Repeat!

Legal Marketers: I’ve included a link to a worksheet that I created to help attorneys better define and describe their web visibility goals and objectives to their marketing team. You can use this worksheet to develop your own process of understanding and assisting attorneys with their marketing efforts. Download at: Attorney Branding Worksheet.

Posted in Law Firm Marketing Tagged with: , ,

Spring Cleaning Your Law Firm Website

Keeping your website up to date is really important. And, I know, I know… it’s really difficult for busy professionals to do. (I admit, I’ve had a hard time keeping this blog up to date.)

So let the onset of Spring inspire you to renew at least some of the most important items on your law firm website.

It’s All About the Bio

Attorney bios have always been, and will always be, the most viewed pages on your website. Refreshing your attorney bio is the single most important thing you can do to (in fishing terms) keep that worm on the end of your hook.



Is your attorney bio up to date with your most recent experience? Are you positioned for the type of work you most covet? Remember that potential clients and referrals come to your web bio looking to see if you are a good fit. They are looking for evidence of recent, relevant experience. Even when you are not thinking about new business, or the next big client, people are coming to your web page to check you out! So take a look at your bio from the perspective of that next great client, and see how you can show them that you’re the one they are looking for.

Create Fresh Content

A great way to update your bio to appeal to a certain customer segment, is to write a new article to demonstrate your expertise in a specific area. Or even rewrite an article and make it specific to a specific industry segment. An attorney who has written several articles on a client’s interest will sets himself or herself apart from other equally capable attorneys.

Recycle and Re-purpose Old Content

Older articles that continue to draw people to the website are known as “evergreen content” — as they continue to score well on search engines and can account for a large share of your website visitors. Given that, it is important to examine your most popular articles and ask yourself if they are still relevant and still accurate?


Take a look at your website analytics to find out which articles are the most popular and start there. If people are reading these articles often, you should:

  • Make sure they are accurate
  • Edit them to make them more timely — using current examples to illustrate your points
  • Edit to appeal to a certain customer segment
  • Edit to use the customer’s language and decode legalese
  • Link to other information related to the article (both on your website and off)
  • Tell the prospective customer how you can help them
  • Provide an invitation for the reader to contact you
  • Republish the article with an “Updated as of” date.

It is likely that some of your most popular articles are now 10 years old. A potential client who was referred to you, might see that you haven’t published on a topic in quite a few years, and might move on to the next referred expert to find one who appears more current. So take a look at what you can do to better position yourself as the current expert that you know yourself to be!


Posted in Communication Tips, Law Firm Marketing

Is Your Law Firm Website Mobile Responsive Yet?

How your website’s age could soon impact your web visibility

Google has been encouraging website owners for some time now to build websites that use web programming languages HTML5 and CSS3 to be “mobile responsive” — if, that is, they care about how Google will rank them for web queries from mobile devices. Recently Google started notifying website owners via its Webmaster Tools if a site fails to meet the mobile friendly requirements. And now, Google has drawn a line in the sand saying that sites that are not mobile friendly will be factored into their ranking algorithm for searches that originate from smart phones. Reports indicate this date is April 21.

Vermont Personal Injury Law Firm

An example of a mobile responsive website that adapts to the screen size of the viewing device

Why does this matter? More and more web visitors are using their smart phones to surf the web. Increasingly, all websites are seeing more visits from smaller screens of all sizes. In order to provide an engaging web experience for smart phone/mobile viewers, sites need to be reconfigured and recoded to display correctly on multiple devices. In some countries and in some demographics, users own only a smart phone and do not own a computer, and the trend toward mobile web usage is projected to continue.

Deciding When To Go Mobile

As with any communication strategy, it is most important to “know your audience.” Based on my own portfolio of law firm clients, I have seen a wide range in mobile usage statistics. Based on the type of clientele served, mobile visitors can range anywhere from less than 10% to more than 35% of users — and all sites have shown an increase in mobile visitors each year. (This information is easily accessible from your web analytics program.) And for non law firm websites that target consumer audiences, I’m seeing mobile viewership rates above 50% and growing.

Clearly, if 1 out of 3 visitors to your site is not able to get the full experience of using your website, then your ability to engage with and serve their information needs, and facilitate doing business with your firm is diminished.

So if you are wondering how much time do we have before we convert our website to be mobile responsive, first dig into those web analytics and take a look at your mobile visitor statistics. Your Google Analytics program (or other analytics program) will show you which devices and browsers your visitors use to view your website. (Note: Tablet views generally are considered not be “mobile” devices).

All firms should be aware of the mobile responsive issues. If you have a site in development now, then definitely make sure you are addressing the mobile responsive issue. If you have a redesign in your near future, then plan to incorporate mobile responsiveness into your requirements. And, if you are just learning about this now, evaluate your web visitor statistics and your clientele (for instance, if you target innovation industry clients and want to appear in-step with their expectations for website usability) to decide if your firm’s website should be optimized for viewing (and optimized for mobile searching) on mobile devices. Chances are, the time is now!

Examples of mobile responsive websites

The above mobile responsive site was created by my firm Infoworks! for Vermont medical malpractice law firm Maley and Maley PLLC. Other recent responsive law firm website projects include those for Boston medical malpractice law firm Lubin & Meyer PC and the New York City energy law boutique Funk & Zeifer shown below.

Energy Law Firm website medical malpractice law firm website


Posted in Law Firm Marketing, New Media / Internet

Top Legal Marketing Tip for 2015: Make Current Clients a Priority

Stacy West Clark has published an excellent article on The Legal Intelligencer titled, Marketing Activities That Will Pay Off the Most in 2015. I love these kind of articles, especially at the beginning of a new year, as they help attorneys and other professionals get back to basics and be more strategic and focused about which marketing efforts to spend their valuable time on.

Clark outlines 15 things attorneys should be doing now to grow revenue this year. And 15 things might seem like a lot to do and may turn off many a lawyer. So, I’m going to offer a bold concept: If 15 things seem insurmountable to you, then consider concentrating on just the top tip on her list…

1. Make your current clients a priority

Writes Clark:

It is still true that most of your work will come from current clients. The more matters in different practice areas you are handling for them, the better. Aim to cross-sell three to five different services of your firm to each client. Also look for ways to ratchet up service to your clients as law firms around the country are talking about providing uber service to differentiate them from the competition and keep clients happy. You need to get on this bandwagon too. Don’t just talk outstanding client service—provide it. Give out your cell and home phone. Visit clients off the clock to learn about their business. Research their industry and understand their challenges. Look for ways to audit and troubleshoot their standard operating procedures and prevent them from being in trouble. Check in frequently with your clients for the sole purpose of making sure they are happy with your services and improve any areas where they are not.

In my many years as a legal marketer, I have heard this advice again and again from marketing consultants and directly from law firm clients and corporate counsel when asked to provide insight into the best things attorneys can do to win their business and improve the client relationship. See previous posts on the topic…

So, if you are limited on time, heed Clark’s advice for marketing activity #1. And if you have a bit more time, heed #2…

2. Make spoiling your referral sources a second high priority.

Click here to read Clark’s full article and 13 other worthwhile marketing activities.

In a nutshell, Clark boils down the basic tasks of lawyer marketing. Attention to these details will help you to grow your business in 2015. All you have to do is follow her advice.

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

Legal Services Predictions and Trends for 2014

Here is a collection of informative trend pieces and prognostications on where legal services is headed. If you have other resources you would like to add to this list, please use the comment feature to add them.

Legal Industry Predictions for 2014 and Beyond from Lexis Nexis Matters of Practice Blog

21 Expert Predictions for the Legal Industry in 2014 from Lexis Nexis Make More Rain Blog

Bob Denny’s 25th Annual Trends Report: What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Legal Profession

Legal Trends in 2014 from Lumen Legal

BTI Consulting Research (brief summary of research reports for purchase) – Litigation to Surge and Litigation Outlook 2014

Mass. Lawyers Weekly 2013 “Real Rate Report”  Who’s Charging What in the Legal Community

More Salary Data from Robert Half

Report on the State of the Legal Market: Highlights and link to the 2014 report from The Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at the Georgetown University Law Center and Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor in the Hildebrandt Institute Blog

Who’s Eating Law Firms’ Lunch? ABA Journal


Posted in General, Law Firm Marketing, Trends

Technology Disruption Takes Hold on Big Law

I don’t pretend to be any type of analyst on the legal industry, but I do recognize an important article when I see one. Anyone working in legal services should find reading Who’s eating law firms’ lunch? by Rachel Zahorsky and William D. Henderson for the ABA Journal of great interest. It’s the bits-to-bytes paradigm shifting story of how technology is reshaping complex litigation and transaction practices.

In the article Kevin Colangelo, a former NYC attorney now with a legal process outsourcer called Pengea3, offers a quote that sums up what’s up…

“All of the lawyers in my area of practice [outsourcing and technology transactions] observed the same relentless pattern of businesses gaining enormous efficiencies through technology and globalization; albeit the collateral effects were often massive employment dislocation. Once you thought about it, there was no principled reason why this pattern was going to exempt BigLaw.”

Go read it here: Lunch

Posted in Law Firm Marketing, Trends

Why Attorneys Hate Marketing

John O. Cunningham has worked as an attorney, a legal reporter and a marketing and communications consultant and is especially well suited to write an article on why lawyers seem so resistant to the business of promoting their business. John was inspired to write the article from a Linkedin group discussion, but writes about his top 10 reasons why attorneys hate marketing along with some tips on how legal marketers can overcome each objection.

The article appears on Legal Marketing Reader. Thanks John for writing another popular law marketing article.

Click to read: Why Attorneys Hate Marketing and What You Can Do About It


Posted in Law Firm Marketing

Hallelujah! Tweets No Longer Autopost to Linkedin. This Will Improve Linkedin Experience.

I’ve been ranting for months about how Linkedin is not Twitter. And just because I’m connected to you on Linkedin doesn’t mean I want to read your copious, not-my-main industry tweets! If I did, I would follow you on Twitter. (Please don’t take it personally.) I like both services, but each has its own purpose. The Linkedin experience was getting overrun by frequent tweeters and ruining the experience. Anyhow, that argument is now moot. Linkedin announced today that “Twitter recently evolved its strategy,” and Twitter feeds will no longer be displayed on LinkedIn. Hurray!

The two platforms can still work together, but only if you login to Linkedin to post the information, where you can choose to also share it with your Twitter audience. This is how it should have always worked.

This is also a good opportunity to remind you to SHARE MORE on Linkedin. Here are two videos that do that. One is 70’s nostalgia. The other is hot off the press from Linkedin!

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Posted in Law Firm Marketing, New Media / Internet

Important Basics for Your Content Marketing Strategy

I just read a great blog post by Hinge Marketing’s Professional Marketing Blog, Rethinking Thought Leadership: 7 Tips for Gaining New Clients. It nicely describes how professionals should approach writing for their website, blog, etc. I’ve been telling my clients the same basic things for years, and thought this post might help reinforce the points — so, I shared the link with them. And now, I am sharing it here. I especially like tip #3, because this is where you can really add value and differentiate yourself by speaking the client’s language instead of the esoteric language of your profession.

The first 3 tips are below. Click here to read the rest.

1. Thought leadership should not be aimed at impressing your peers. While it may feel good to be the most clever tax attorney or the sharpest programmer, it will likely do little to generate new business for your firm.

2. It’s much more productive to impress potential clients. Potential clients are just that, potential clients. They are the appropriate targets for a thought leadership strategy.

3. Potential clients are impressed by the ability to explain a complicated topic simply. Making an already complicated topic more complicated doesn’t help. Even though you are impressed by your understanding of a topic’s subtleties and nuances, many readers will get that glassy-eyed look and stop reading.

Thank you to Lee W. Frederiksen, Ph.D. for writing this.

Posted in Communication Tips, Law Firm Marketing

Three Steps to More Fame and Fortune in 2012

Whether you are a sole professional, marketing director or managing partner, find a way to require yourself or your law firm to meet these three basic requirements to get more from your professional network in 2012.

1. Create More Content

Write more articles that address your clients’ and potential clients’ most relevant concerns. Having excellent content on your website is the first step in a successful informational marketing strategy. Once you have excellent content (“information of value“), THEN you can worry about things like SEO, social sharing tools, e-newsletters and the like. In fact, content is so important that you should consider mandating your firm’s attorneys and professionals to meet a minimum requirement in 2012 to create content related to their specific business development goals and area(s) of expertise. New content does not always have to be an article — think also about creating video, audio, presentations, lists and more.

2. Share More Socially

Once you’ve written great content, don’t be shy about sharing your content via social media such as your Linkedin profile, your Facebook page, and any other sharing platforms you may use. (Yes, even if you use Facebook just for friends and family, letting your Facebook friends know what you’re working on professionally can also be a great way to tap in to the power of your personal network.) And don’t be afraid to share good resources created by others in your firm or referral network. Set a goal this year to try and share one item of interest to your network once a week — whether it is sharing a link to an article you wrote, or a comment and link to an article written by someone else. The key is to be an active participant in sharing information, and better yet, conversations around the topics that matter most to your clients and industry niches. Stay active. Keep listening. Engage. Be visible.

3. Connect More in Person

In your busy life, it is easy for relationships to shift from real to electronic as we use e-mail and social networking to substitute for phone calls and in-person meetings. In 2012, commit to meet face-to-face with your most important clients and referral sources in order to keep in touch with their needs and interests and to demonstrate how much you value the relationship. Use the phone more. And extend a personal contact to include a lunch or dinner, coffee or cocktail. Having completed steps 1 and 2 above can help provide “an excuse” to reach out to your contact — not that you needed one, of course! Not only is the in-person meeting good for the relationship… it makes work more fun!

Wishing you a great 2012!

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

What If Paul Revere Was on Twitter?

If you’ve read the popular book The Tipping Point, you know that the key to the success of Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride was not so much the speed or distance that he rode, or the volume of his cries, but his unique trait as a “connector” which gave him the social capital to spread the warning of the arrival of the British Army.

When alerting the patriots, he didn’t just ride down the road willy-nilly shouting, “The British are coming! The British are coming!” Rather he knew exactly which doors to knock on to alert just the right people (who were also very well connected) in order to get the word out in the fastest, most efficient manner. You could say that Paul Revere was America’s first social networker!

As we approach the end of 2011, we may be reaching a tipping point of our own regarding the use of social media. Professional services marketers and business developers are taking these new technologies more and more seriously.

The topic was very much alive and well among attendees at the Legal Marketing Association’s annual regional conference in Boston this month (see previous post), where firm attorneys and marketers learned and shared techniques and success stories of integrating social media into their marketing and business development plans.

Since social media are not going away, I am presenting some of my previous writing on the subject. I hope you’ll find some of it helpful as you consider your business plans for 2012.

Worth repeating…

Social Media — A Definition

Still Afraid of Social Media in 2011?

The Benefits of Blogging, Explained

Twitter 101: Twitter Is for Listening

Making the Case for a Firm-Branded Twitter Presence

Boston-area Law Firm Interest in Twitter Growing

9 Things To Do AFTER You Write that Press Release

Get more from your Linkedin account…

Linkedin for Lawyers: Basics, Power Tips and Caveats
This whitepaper details my top ten tips for setting up an optimized Linkedin profile with step-by-step instructions.

Click here to download the tips.

Posted in Law Firm Marketing, Marketing, New Media / Internet

7 Tips and Take-aways from LMANE2011

Perhaps the overwhelming message coming out of the LMA New England Regional Conference, Lawyers v. Technology, which took place this week in Boston, is that social media are not going away despite many a lawyer’s reluctance to embrace them. Luckily, legal marketers seem to be willing to continue to push the adoption of social media as part of an integrated marketing strategy and as a way to create and sustain personal branding and “thought leaders.”

(Cartoon commentary by Michael Cucurullo)

The cultural shift has begun in a few firms and in select pockets within firms. Over lunch with Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog, and between sessions with other legal marketers, I heard and shared success stories of individual attorneys and firms alike using social media (including blogs, videos, Twitter, Linkedin and the like) and attributing them to creating and strengthening relationships and winning new business. Certainly, legal marketers’ interest in social media and their technological literacy has increased dramatically in the past few years.

Below, I share the scribbles on my conference notepad (that still made sense the day after). In no particular order, these are “my” take-aways.

1. Google Analytics is not necessarily the best analytics program. Sure it’s free, but Google does not let you have as much control and access to server data as other paid programs, including PDF downloads. Some other analytics programs to check out include and

2. Web traffic rule of thumb. For the first time I heard the answer to a question I am often asked by law firm clients. The question: How much traffic should we be getting? The closest thing to an answer I’ve heard yet: 3 visits per attorney per day. Further explanation: The number was given by Igor Ilyinsky, of FirmWise, which conducted a study of 1,000 law firm websites, sizes ranging from between 5 and 250 attorneys. While the number should not be interpreted as the amount of traffic a site “should” get, it is the outcome of this specific study and does give us a benchmark to consider. (Using this benchmark, I am happy to report that law firm sites I manage for clients are getting 2 to 6 times this amount of traffic when looking at absolute unique visitors per month.)

3. Use Linkedin’s Advanced Search feature to automate keyword searches that get e-mailed to you weekly. What an easy and great way to “listen” to your industry segments.

4. Remember the basics. Technology aside, Deborah McMurray of Content Pilot reminded us of this important starting point for your web site strategy.

People are coming to your website looking for three things:

  • What have you done?
  • Who have you done it for?
  • What can you do for me?

5. Attorney bio pages are still #1 — are yours up to snuff?

6. Video can be powerful.

7. The future is mobile.

What are your take-aways? Since I only attended one day of the conference and 3 sessions, I’d love to get other attendees to add their favorite conference take-aways by adding comments to this post! Thank you!

Posted in Law Firm Marketing, New Media / Internet

9 Things To Do AFTER You Write that Law Firm Press Release

As a follow up to my previous post, Putting the ‘Power of the Press’ To Work for Your Law Firm or Business, here are 9 things you can do to leverage your website news item.

1. Optimize it. Make sure it takes strategic advantage of the page title and description meta tags and uses good SEO techniques.

2. Tweet it on your firm-branded Twitter page, or via individual attorney Twitter accounts.

3. Share it on firm’s Facebook page.

4. Share some more. Ask attorneys and firm professionals to share it via their Facebook and/or Linkedin accounts as appropriate. (Sometimes you need to gently remind them to do this.)

5. Send traditional press release to local, targeted media when appropriate.

6. Consider e-distribution. Is there value in sending out via a web PR outlet such as PRweb or another similar site?

7. Post it. Add to local business newspaper websites or events pages as allowed.

8. Push it. Consider adding a link to the news item from your next e-newsletter if appropriate.

9. Blog it. Consider making mention of, and link to news item from your blog, if it adds value in any way.

Posted in Law Firm Marketing, Marketing, New Media / Internet

Putting the Power of the Press To Work for Your Law Firm or Business

“Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”
A. J. Liebling

The web turns everyone and every business into a publisher. And your website is your press. Now, you have the freedom and the power to decide what is “news” for your business, organization or firm, and you have the power to publish it on your own website. Writing press releases for the traditional mass media requires you to meet their standards for what is newsworthy based on their editorial requirements and readership, their audience. But now, because you own a website, you too are a media outlet and you can decide what is newsworthy (read relevant) to your audience (read customers). You decide what is news. So, while you may still write press releases for the local or trade press, don’t forget to be writing them for your own corporate press — your website.

Things that can qualify for web news items for law firms and other professional services firms can include the following:

  • New hires
  • Awards and achievements of individuals
  • Awards and achievements of the firm
  • Done deals
  • Client news, collaborations
  • Significant court decisions
  • An attorney speaking at an upcoming event on a specific topic
  • An attorney quoted in the mainstream press, or industry-specific trade press
  • New services offered by your firm
  • A seminar or workshop offered by your firm
  • Special appointments of attorneys to boards or panels
  • Attorney receives new credential
  • Firm opens new office, branch
  • Launch of new white paper
  • Launch of new blog
  • Launch of any other new customer-focused information product or tool
  • and more!

I am often surprised when I visit a client and learn in conversation that, let’s say, Attorney Smith was interviewed on local television about the changes to the tax law. I’ll then say, “Well that should be on the website! Let’s see if we can get the video and we’ll do a brief news item for the website.” Sometimes you are so close to the news that you forget to think of it as news. Remember that often the things that create a bit of buzz around the office, are the things that you want to include in your site’s News section.

Keep this rule of thumb in mind when deciding what is news. Ask yourself, will putting something about this on our website help to better demonstrate to clients and prospective clients who we are, what we do, and position us in our areas of expertise? If the answer is yes, then go for it.

Posted in Communication Tips, Law Firm Marketing, New Media / Internet

Content for SEO, Simplified

Click on graphic for larger version. Enjoy!

Brafton's Infographic: Why Content for SEO?

Posted in Communication Tips, Marketing, New Media / Internet

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish — Steve Jobs’s home page on October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs Commencement Speech at Stanford 2005
Watch it again on YouTube

Posted in General