What makes you different from the other lawyers in your practice area? What about in your firm? How do you keep potential clients from seeing you as “just another lawyer”? Maybe it’s time you brag a little.
This week’s blog continues a review of the book, Reinventing Professional Services; Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace, by Ari Kaplan. In Chapter 3, “Reinventing Professional Services” Kaplan introduces several ways to make your professional service stand out from your competitors. He quotes Dr. Janet Crain, Co-Director of the Center for Headaches and Facial Pain in South Amboy, New Jersey:
“You have to tell people nowadays that you’re unique and this is what you can offer. You can’t just put up a sign and build your practice based on that.”
So what makes you unique? Does your firm offer flexible payment options or value billing? Are you serving a niche market? Maybe you have received some special training that can make you stand out from the crowd.
Using Continuing Legal Education as a Marketing Tool
Almost every state requires its lawyers to complete continuing legal education (CLE) to maintain their licenses. Even in the 3 states that don’t require CLEs (including Michigan), continuing education is available to those committed to providing the best legal services.
But not all CLEs are created equal. While some rehash and refine approaches to issues common to the craft, others help lawyers develop new tools to represent clients with unique needs. In the dental world, Dr. Crain’s practice converted from radiograph to digital imaging x-ray. Other dentists received training on sandblasting, tooth-whitening, and computer-assisted implant design. In the legal world, CLEs can help you hone your practice on helping business start-ups or representing traumatized clients in divorce actions.
When Crain and her husband Klemons received certain certifications, they let people know about it. They sent press releases to local papers. Dr. Crain says:
“We would never have done this before, but the more times your name appears in front of people for good things, the more credibility you have because people don’t do things on blind trust anymore.”
Blogging Can Demonstrate Specialized Expertise
While press releases are one way to get in front of an audience, your blog is another. People who follow you, either by subscribing to your blog or following you on social media, want to know what you do. So let them know when you get advanced training in your field.
After a CLE, sit down with the materials and type out a blog, or better yet a blog series. Writing about what you just learned will help cement the knowledge in your own head, while demonstrating your expertise to your followers. When a CLE addresses a controversial or complicated issue, writing a blog that focuses on the keywords for that problem will also make you show up when potential clients are searching Google for answers to their questions.
Using an informational blog to boast about your certifications and continuing education can do a lot toward developing a reputation as a visible enthusiastic expert. And by pushing these posts to social media and using them to engage with followers, you will demonstrate that you are not “just another lawyer.”
Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She provides blog and web content to lawyers and small businesses. If you need help setting your firm apart from your competition, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.