Branding is a foreign concept to most attorneys. This is true for most forms of marketing in the legal field. Attorneys simply do not have time to brand themselves, or take branding into consideration when operating their firm. Who can blame them?
Let’s face it, time is limited. However, branding is something that you cannot overlook. Who you are and what you are known for will eventually be made known. Do you want to be in charge of letting people know who you are, or do you want to leave it up to someone else to describe your business? Trust me when I say you want it to be the former.
By implementing a media outreach strategy, you can get your message out to the public. You can use the media to establish yourself as an expert, and let potential clients see what you do best.
Types of media to use for your branding.
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There are many forms of media that can be used to establish your brand. When you think of media, don’t just think of television. While television is one of the most prominent forms of media, digital media is one of the best ways to brand yourself.
Of all the mediums out there, I recommend that you use digital media and podcasting. I also recommend obtaining authorship on various publications, which ultimately makes you the go-to expert or authority for publications and media.
Branding through online media.
Online media is one of the easiest and quickest ways to brand yourself. It involves anything that can be used to establish yourself in the online arena and can include magazines, newspapers and other websites that report on your industry.
According to criminal lawyer and television journalist Darren Kavinoky, establishing yourself through online media is a must. “In my experience, being mentioned as an expert in the media provides important third-party validation,” says Kavinoky. “They wouldn’t be quoting from you if you weren’t the ‘go-to’ person in that area. The opportunity that I see many lawyers miss is not using those quotes effectively. To be made most effective, they can be integrated into your website, syndicated through your social media and included in your other marketing efforts.”
I recommend anyone trying to establish themselves online use a website called HARO (help-a-reporter-out). It is a website that connects writers and journalists with people like you, wanting to expand their expertise. Simply sign up for an account, and you can provide commentary based on information requested from writers. Wondering where I got the quotes for this article? You guessed it --HARO.
Another great way to get yourself into online publications is contacting the publication itself. For instance, my specialty is Wikipedia marketing. Every time I see an article written about Wikipedia, I contact the news outlet that printed the story and offer them my commentary. This has led to several placements throughout the years.
Related: 9 Tips for Creating an Awesome Brand
As with all branding, you can hire a public relations firm. However, they will more than likely be doing what I am showing you to do here. The two main differences are that they will already have the contacts you need, and it will cost you money. The two above options I’ve suggested only cost you time.
Branding through podcasts.
You are probably smirking just at the thought of podcasting. I did as well until I finally started to get serious about it a little more than a year ago. Before you brush it off as something you are not interested in, take a look at some of the statistics from Journalism.org:
- At least 1/3 of the American population has listened to a podcast.
- 17 percent of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last 30 days.
- 49 percent of Americans are aware of podcasting (up from 22 percent in 2006).
- 2.6 billion podcasts were downloaded in 2014.
So how do you get booked on a podcast? One of the easiest ways is to reach out to the host. Find a podcast that you believe you would be a good fit for, and send them a pitch via email. Your pitch is everything, so make sure to format your email appropriately. This LinkedIn post provides some great examples of what you want to include in your pitch.
You also want to make sure you are a great guest by making it easy for your host, as well as promoting the show.
“To be a great guest, prepare leading questions and provide them to the host in advance so your interview flows,” says CDFA Lisa C. Decker. “Most hosts appreciate you doing the leg work on the backend that makes them look good on the front side. After your interview is done and you have a link to the show, take the links to those interviews, and promote it on your website.”
If you want to take it a step further, start hosting your own podcast. I have been doing so for about six months now and the marketing effect is huge. It doesn’t cost a ton of money to get started. It cost me approximately $400, and I purchased some higher-end equipment. You become the authority as the host of the show.
Branding yourself by becoming the media.
Just as hosting your own podcast can increase your brand awareness, so can authoring articles for various websites and media outlets.
Guest posting is not dead, but it has evolved over the years. Gone are the days of trying to spam links into articles hoping Google will rank you higher in their search. Everything is about quality -- which means you must write well-researched content with actionable takeaways for the reader.
When you write a guest post (such as the one I did here), you will receive a byline from the site that publishes the article. Everything within your byline is your brand, and you should use it as such. By getting authorship on various publications, you can be known as an expert or authority on the subject.
A while back, Xiaohan Zhang wrote a great piece for Lawyernomics that sums up how authorship can help you brand yourself. “The readers [you] gained and relationships you’ve built will solidify you as an authority in your field of practice. Akin to having a respected reputation as a lawyer, building your authority as a legal professional online has similar benefits such as increased leads and better web visibility.”
What is the process for getting a byline? Well, it’s not as difficult as you may think. First, you must pitch to a publication that is within your niche. As an attorney, you wouldn’t try to write a guest post for Cracked. I would recommend reaching out to legal publications that accept guest posts, including Lawyernomics. You may even consider citizen journalist websites such as Ground Report.
You can also establish your writing profile by authoring articles on LinkedIn Pulse. You can write and post articles under your own byline, and use them as examples for when you pitch other publications.
Once you know the publication(s) you want to write for, you will need to send them a pitch. The managing editor at Convince & Convert put together a great guide on understanding what you need to put in your pitch. I highly recommend you read this before reaching out to anyone with a guest post pitch.
Make sure to read the guest post guidelines carefully. Some sites want you to pitch through a specific form. Others prefer email. Some accept cold pitches while some require you to submit completed content for review. Failure to follow the guidelines will get you rejected.
Summing it up.
Media outreach is one of the best ways to brand yourself. By becoming a trusted source for the media or becoming the media yourself, you can help establish yourself with potential clients.
Any personal media coverage experiences you want to share? Let me hear about it on Twitter @Legalmorning using #MediaOutreach.