Content is the New Battleground

It is clear to me that professional practice has failed to capitalise on its knowledge. By and large they have poured it down the drain.

What a waste.

Just think about your knowledge base:

  • Years of practice;
  • Advice given to clients;
  • Advice of third parties (e.g. Counsel and Experts);
  • PLC;
  • LexisNexis;
  • The Web/Google;
  • Government Websites;
  • Case law;
  • Research;
  • Speaking engagements;
  • Acquired wisdom of the collective.

If social media tools are the lever to opening up a vista on the world, then the content is the force multiplier to shine a light on your practice.

I have repeatedly espoused the need for firms to create something remarkable. As Seth Godin says in his book The Purple Cow:

“Something remarkable is worth talking about. Worth noticing. Exceptional. New. Interesting. It’s a Purple Cow. Boring stuff is invisible. It’s a brown cow.”

Can you relate to this?

When was the last time your clients remarked on your content?

If you are inspired by social media, as I was in practice, then please don’t ignore the content paradigm. In time, I expect that all firms will look to their on-line presence and that will mean they will all be chasing the same clients most likely with the same material. Just imagine every firm starting a blog on your area of law or multiple Twitter feeds or whatever shiny, new platform then exists.

It goes without question that you have to bake in your brand to your firm – service of distinction and all that – but again clients will find it increasingly difficult to distinguish one firm from another when you are all offering the same provision.

If you want to stand out from the crowd then content would be my weapon of choice. I would want to understand carefully what clients really want to know about. In some cases they may not even know, and you may have to create the demand (I am sure that this was the case for Henry Ford in the early days).

It is key that you champion cross-functional/team Excellence. You need to ensure that everyone understands the importance of this issue, and you don’t leave it to the same (non) Chosen few to bring to market the same or similar material each and every time.

Don’t restrict your content to the written word. Mash it up. Think video, sound, slides, free downloads, a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, beautifully designed material that is simply WOW and even your business cards tell a story.

I love creating content. It was one of those aspects to my role in practice that was never a chore. It should never be relegated to last place. If anything, it is as important as fee earning.

Content is most surely King but it is judged on quality not quantity. Just because you like words doesn’t mean your buyer has the same proclivity. Change your mindset to fit your client cohort. Think how they would think for a change. Lawyers have this nasty tendency to want to sound important. That’s OK where you are competing with your opposite number but it is meaningless to prospective clients.

You need to understand what you are expecting from your material. It may not be as simple as asking “Is it making us money” but you should at least know if it is driving traffic to your website, leading to more enquiries or raising your profile (if that can be measured). Don’t be afraid to change your style if something is not working. I have seen more dead horsed flogged to death than I care to remember. No one will think you a failure because you latest blog post hasn’t rocked the house. As I said in yesterday’s post, Fail Faster.

And most of all have some fun. If it’s not fun it’s not worth doing.

~ Julian Summerhayes ~

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