Lawyers face a particular challenge when it comes to being regarded as authorities in their fields and making connections with new clients. There are just so darn many attorneys that people seem to get overwhelmed and lump them all together into one big category.
As a personal injury, family law, business, or attorney specializing in any other area of the law, the last thing you want to get lost in the crowd. In fact, you don’t even want to be a nameless face in your own law firm, no matter its size.
The answer to these challenges is personal branding for attorneys. Here’s why personal branding is so important as an attorney and some strategies to build a strong personal brand.
The Basics of Personal Branding for Attorneys
Personal branding is the intentional and conscious effort to promote yourself professionally to create and grow your influence as a leader and authority. Personal branding is how you want others to view you professionally, whether they be your clients, colleagues, or other stakeholders.
Personal branding is more than having a fancy business card or impressive headshot. Those might be part of what sets you apart. But your brand is what you stand for as an attorney. Is it your fierce presence at the negotiation table? Your notorious attention to detail? Your intimate knowledge of case law? Your compassionate approach with clients? These are just a few examples.
Attorney vs. Law Firm Branding — What’s the Difference?
It’s important not to get your attorney’s personal brand confused with law firm branding. Traditionally, the term “branding” is associated with large companies like Apple and Coca-Cola. These are some of this country’s most recognized corporate brands.
Your law firm probably will, and should, have its own branding campaign. It will focus on the values and ideas the business stands for. With the advent of social media, many of today’s business leaders, who were once relatively obscure, now have personal brands and a wider audience. This is separate from the corporate brand.
As an attorney, your personal brand can certainly have some connections to your law firm. For example, you may share some of the same values and goals. But you’ll set yourself apart from your firm by using your brand to showcase what makes you unique and interesting as an attorney.
Why Personal Branding is Important for Attorneys
Even if your law firm is the most recognized in town, you need a personal brand. It’s not enough to simply ride on the coattails of a law firm’s branding efforts long-term. The legal industry is too competitive to trust that you’ll achieve success without personal branding. Still not sure? Here are some of the top reasons personal branding is vital for attorneys.
- Stand Out from the Crowd
Any attorney must recognize just how crowded and competitive the legal industry is. There are so many lawyers in some practice areas that it’s overwhelming. Think of how bewildered most potential clients must be when they begin researching lawyers. Your personal brand is the one way you can stand out from the crowd. And if you don’t put the effort into crafting your brand, your past clients might do it for you through online reviews.
- Reputation Management
As stated above, your personal brand is the same as your reputation. When it comes to lawyers, most start out with low expectations in the eyes of consumers. According to one Princeton Study, few people truly like lawyers even though they’re viewed as being competent and capable professionals.
That’s unfortunate. But you can use your personal brand to control your message. How do you want to be seen by others? Do you like being viewed as a ruthless adversary for your opponents? What about a dedicated advocate for your clients? You get to decide.
- Build Trust
When people are facing a legal challenge, many of them are more interested in hiring a lawyer than connecting with a law firm. There’s a difference. In the case of an individual attorney, your brand gives you the opportunity to build trust on a more personal level. It helps potential clients attach value to your name instead of only the law firm’s brand.
When you create a track record of successful results or are generous with your time online answering questions, people will remember your name and return to you again and again. They might also recommend you to others as someone trustworthy in a particular practice area.
- Establish Authority
Being seen online is great. But it’s probably not going to be enough to boost your personal brand. But you can use online strategies to establish and build authority, which sets you apart from other attorneys.
The best way to build authority is to share your knowledge. You can do this by answering questions, sharing content, and otherwise engaging with people. You can also share your results and background, such as any credentials or awards you’ve received.
- Client Acquisition
One of the main goals of most attorneys is to get more clients. After all, without clients, you can’t practice law, make money, or grow your business. In the age of digital media, prospective clients now do significant research before making a choice about who they will hire. A strong personal brand conveys experience, determination, knowledge, approachability, dependability, and many other elements that will boost client conversions.
- Opportunity Magnet
A strong attorney personal brand can also help you pull in more opportunities. For example, you are more likely to get professional referrals from other attorneys and professionals if you’ve demonstrated your knowledge and trustworthiness. Perhaps you’ll be asked to participate in professional events related to your practice area or find other exciting professional opportunities thanks to your winning personal brand.
Personal Branding Tips for Lawyers
As an attorney, your personal brand is inseparable from your reputation. Put that way, you can probably understand why promoting your reputation online might be important. But what’s the best approach to attorney branding to produce the results you want and need? Here are some personal branding strategies for lawyers.
- Understand Your Target Audience
Before you create a personal branding strategy, it’s important to clarify who you’ll be marketing to. Understanding your target audience is vital because it drives other marketing decisions, such as the online platforms you use and the type of content you create.
- Define Your Legal Identity
How would you define yourself in terms of your personal legal identity? This is another great starting point for your personal brand marketing. Take some time to consider who you are as a lawyer, including what things you value. For example, do you fight for justice, help clients protect their assets, or avoid conflict through negotiation? These values should permeate through all of your online activities.
- Establish a Strong Online Presence
Ensure you have a strong online presence personally, not just through your law firm. While you should have some space on your law firm’s website, your personal brand goes further than this. You can even create a separate website dedicated to your branding. Otherwise, you can focus on online platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for your branding efforts.
- Share Helpful Content
You’ll begin to build authority and trust as you share helpful content with your audience. Some of that content should be original blog posts and videos you create that showcase your knowledge and answer common legal questions. Other content, like relevant legal articles, can be shared from reputable sources.
- Engage With Followers
Much of personal branding takes place online. If you’re ignoring people who are interested in learning more about what you do, you’ll be disappointed in your online reputation. You’ll get the best results by engaging with people as much as possible. When someone posts an online review about your services, respond quickly and appropriately. If a person has a question or makes a comment on social media, engage with them to see how you can help. They’ll remember your name, even if they aren’t ready to hire a lawyer that day.
- Be Active in Your Community
In addition to your online activities, you can boost your personal brand by being an active member of your local community. Participate in business and charity events where you will get to know others and begin to receive some name recognition. In many cases, your photo and name may be posted online, which will boost your branding efforts.
- Cultivate Professional Relationships
Create personal connections in everything you do, whether it be working with a client, helping out in the community, or engaging with someone online. These relationships are the key to achieving more referral business and achieving your goals.
Need Help Creating and Promoting Your Personal Brand?
As this information illustrates, it’s essential to create and promote your personal brand as an attorney in addition to your law firm’s brand. But success doesn’t happen overnight, and effective digital marketing requires thoughtful strategy and execution.
At Too Darn Loud Legal Marketing, our team has a proven formula for helping attorneys establish and promote their personal brands. We never take a cookie-cutter approach to legal marketing but instead, tailor our strategies to what will achieve your individual goals. If you would like to learn more about how our team of seasoned digital marketers can elevate your online presence, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.