Updated: Jan 8, 2021
Gaining recognition as a thought leader within your area of practice is undoubtedly a game changer for your brand and your law firm as a whole. Among business decision-makers, 92% report that thought leadership increased their respect for an organization and 58% awarded business to a company because of their thought leadership.
The challenge, then, is figuring out how to rise to the occasion and establish yourself as a thought leader. These five strategies will help you not only build your own brand as a lawyer, but also encourage critical thinking and discussion of issues within your practice area.
Create Innovative Content
To serve as a thought leader, you must be visible and trusted. That means getting in front of more people with consistent, high-quality content. Posting on your own website is one aspect of this, but you need to go further. Writing guest blogs for trusted sites within your area of practice helps you reach those outside your current sphere of influence. You can also get involved with B2B platforms and networking sites, such as LinkedIn.
For many busy lawyers, the level of content creation required to reach this level of leadership is too time-consuming to do alone. Outsourcing most of the workflow allows you to retain control over the topic and direction of your content while focusing on other tasks or billable work.
Extend Your Reach Through Speaking and Publications
Being trusted by your target audience is a positive outcome of thought leadership, but you must also be trustworthy among those in your industry. Devote some time to looking through your current memberships and finding ways to be of service to their organization through speaking and publishing. You would be surprised at how many publications are seeking submissions and event managers that are looking for engaging speakers. Putting yourself in front of your peers and also your target audience to connect with them in this regard will elevate your status. It will also allow you to build a stronger network to share your ideas, inspiration, and leadership.
Learn From Other Thought Leaders
No one is so advanced and educated in their field that they cannot learn from others. By connecting with others within the legal industry, your niche, or your practice area, you can develop an understanding of how they engage with their audience and how they have reached their status. Take this time to offer thoughtful comments on their content, pose questions, and lay the groundwork for professional collaboration. Through these efforts, you can slowly earn a place in the thought leadership community in your niche and hone your own strategies.
Develop Online Education Programs
Those who teach naturally become thought leaders. As they provide their students with the tools and knowledge they need to move forward in their careers, they become an invaluable source of information for those students. As those students go out into the world and blossom, they are living examples of their instructor’s knowledge and expertise. Through platforms like Kajabi and YouTube, lawyers can easily develop online education programs that provide resources for other legal professionals and people that consume legal services. These connections can lead to client referrals, publishing opportunities, and professional references.
Reach Out to News Outlets
When news outlets are crafting stories, they rely heavily on commentary from industry experts to inform, guide, and support their work. Tap into resources like Help a Reporter Out, which connects journalists in search of industry experts with professionals willing to offer insight. You can also reach out directly to news outlets in your area and legal niche, and look for networking opportunities to share your expertise with editorial staff who can help you establish credibility across new platforms.
The path to becoming a thought leader is paved with hard work, education, and commitment but it is worth it. Thought leadership extends the reach of your career and allows you to be more than a lawyer. By consistently implementing these strategies, you can elevate your status within your niche market by credentialing your career.
Meranda M. Vieyra is the owner of Denver Legal Marketing LLC. She is one of the most visible legal professionals in Colorado law with over 20 years of service in the Denver legal community. Her award-winning marketing firm has earned a strong reputation as the go-to for impactful, cost-effective legal marketing strategies. She has helped her clients secure coverage by well-known publications and has obtained local, national, and international awards on their behalf. Meranda enjoys working with solo practitioners and small law firms helping them attract recognition, promotion, and visibility to their practices. She also advises medium-sized and national law firms on business development and marketing strategy. Meranda is a lecturer and author on issues related to marketing including how lawyers can use LinkedIn effectively, how to develop a personal brand, and the promotion of legal services through community service. In 2018, she was honored to be named to the 40 Under 40 list by the Denver Business Journal and to be given the 10 Under 10 Award by the Metropolitan State University of Denver Alumni Association (top 10 alum of the decade). In 2019, Meranda was named in the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Business by the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce and in the Top 100 young professionals in Colorado through the Gen XYZ Awards published by ColoradoBiz Magazine.
For more information, go to www.DenverLegalMarketing.com