Find a niche… easier said than done, right?

Usually when I mention finding a niche, most lawyers’ push back. They generally explain how they don’t want to miss this kind of case or that kind of case. Their practice areas list looks like that of a firm of 10 lawyers. How can you possibly market such a list? How can potential clients and referring attorneys remember what you do? Will they think of you when any of those practice areas are mentioned? Probably not!  If your list is a practice group with a long list of sub practice areas… that works. However if your list is: criminal defense, real estate closings and business transactions… that’s another story.

Continue Reading Legal Business Development: Find A Niche

Be direct. You never want to hear… "You talkin’ to me?"

Identify your target market. I mean PICK one! No… You can’t talk to EVERYBODY. You try and do that and NO ONE will listen. The message becomes so generic or watered down that nobody thinks you’re talking to them.

So where do you begin? You narrow your focus… pick a slice of the market that you serve in your practice area. It maybe a segment of an industry, a group with a particular problem or green eyed children born to left handed women! Be the biggest fish in the smallest pond. Here are 4 strategies to put into place:

1. Speak the language of your target market. Use their terminology, refer to the things they do and they way they think. Doing this makes it very clear to your audience that you KNOW them… it gives you credibility. What would happen to MY credibility if I referred to your firm as a company? It would be out the window I’m sure!

2. Tell stories that are relevant to their lives. Not only does it connect you to them, but also stories are memorable. They are memorable because they conjure up an image and evoke emotion. When told well they are very powerful tools.

3. Let your personal brand shine. Give some considerable thought to what you want to be known for and make sure your writing reflects that, and YOUR personal brand will soon become clear to your target audience. Approachable… Attention to detail… A get it done kinda guy… All of these can be illustrated in your writing without having to come out and say those exact words.

4. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition… did I say repetition? Yes, that is what cements your personal brand into the memory of others, and believe me when I say… there is NO substitute for it!

You know how it feels when someone looks you in the eye and seems to be truly interested in YOU… it feels great and it creates a connection in a way that is exclusive. THAT, my friends is what these strategies will do for you. When you put them into action, soon it will be… "Oh my… you’re talkin’ to ME!"

 

 

Bringing your personal brand to the forefront and mixing it with what your target market wants to know makes for a clear, concise blog personality.

This week we asked: Do you have a clear vision for your blog or potential blog?

1. Yes, my vision is clear – 0%

2. Maybe, I have a few ideas – 68%

3. No, I have no idea where to begin – 32%

My Thoughts: It seems that most of you have at least an idea of where you’re headed with your blog and 32% of you don’t know where to begin. I’ll shed a bit of light.

I often speak about staying true to your personal brand, and blogging is one of those areas where it becomes even MORE important. You want readers to get an instant sense of who you are, what you do and what makes you stand out. Once you have that straight, move on to your target audience. A copywriter that I work with says she often pictures writing to a specific person… do the same with your blog. Who are you writing to? Other lawyers? Potential clients? A specialized industry? It will help you become clear on what your blog needs to cover and how you can position your voice and your advice or opinion in the best light.

Finally, think about theme. Find a way to differentiate your blog from others out there that are similar. Mine places it’s focus on simple, straightforward legal marketing and business development advice that can be applied to everyday life and is formatted in a very specific pattern (question, poll, answer and discussion). Are you passionate about a certain topic within the law? Blog about that. Have special insight into city-specific rulings or legislation? Blog about that. Does your legal knowledge translate well into a long-term newsworthy topic (such as local real estate, celebrity divorces, or travel issues)? Turn it into a blog. Just be sure to choose something that interests both you and your target audience and do it in a voice that stays true to your personal brand.

As my colleague Carolyn Elefant of LegalMarketingBlawg.com says:

In addition to staying on top of news streams, put yourself in a client’s shoes.  If you were a prospective client searching for a [bankruptcy or immigration or family or special education or fill-in-the-blank] lawyer, what kinds of questions would you have?  What information would you want to know?  And what would you hope to learn about your lawyer?

Black Pearl: For great examples of interesting and focused blogs look no further than the blogroll at right. Click through and you’ll get a good idea of focus and content. A few of my favorites: DeathPenaltyBlog.com, themaclawyer.com, artlaw.foxrothschild.com, NYBusinessDivorce.com, and cruiselawnews.com.

Finding your niche when it comes to blogging is an important part of the process. Randomly commenting on events or ideas won’t cut it in this day and age…you have to have something that sets you apart and distinguishes your blog from the other million or so out there. So how do you know what to blog about? Use your expertise, your personal brand and your target market to begin with.

Question of the week: Do you have a clear vision for your blog or potential blog?


Do you have a clear vision for your blog?polling

The key to a successful blog? Have a plan before your get started and stick to it!  



This week we asked: Do you blog?

1. Yes – 2%

2. No – 40%

3. I’m considering it – 58%

My Thoughts: At least 2% of you blog, with another 58% considering it! Those who gave me a flat-out no? Time to reconsider.

As we touched on last week, everything you put out into the world should have your distinct stamp on it. From design to content, that includes your blog. Prior to jumping in head first, I always advise my clients to stop and understand the strategy behind the journey they are about to embark on. If you don’t have a plan, your blog becomes lost. Do your research. Look at what’s out in the blogosphere, what’s NOT out in the blogosphere and where you fit in with your expertise, your background and your target market. What do potential clients and referrals want to read about? What should it be called? How often will you post and will your posts have a set format? Will you write them or hire a ghostwriter? These are the questions (and more!) you need to answer before you get started. 

We’ll cover all of these topics in-depth in the coming weeks but feel free to post specific questions or concerns you wish to see touched on in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to bring you answers.

As my friend Kevin O’Keefe, CEO of LexBlog Inc. (and author of Real Lawyers Have Blogs) said in an interview with GPSOLO Magazine:

I think the biggest thing is to know what you are doing. People are going to find and read your blog. They will search for and monitor particular words and phrases and see what you are writing on that subject… If you are not presenting yourself well and you do not know what you are doing, that is an issue.

Black Pearl: Want more O’Keefe advice? Here  is  the full article from the American Bar Association website.  It’s a great introduction to blogging from a pioneer in the "blawg" arena.

You can never be all things to all people. It’s important to recognize your target market and make THEM your focus.

This week we asked: My target market:

1. Is abundantly clear – 53%

2. Is somewhat clear – 47%

3. Is not clear to me at all – 0%

My Thoughts: It’s great that over half of you have a clearly defined target market. That’s a huge step in making sense of your personal brand. For the rest of you, take some time to look over your client list… then make a list of the dream clients you want to have. Market to them. In simple terms: market to what you want, not what you have.

Identifying your target market is an extremely important step in not only building your brand, but in all aspects of your marketing and business development. Here’s why: Once you’ve defined your market it makes it easier to speak to them. You can focus on what THEY want, what THEY value, what THEY look for in an attorney. Once you’ve identified those things you are better able to speak to them in their own language. Don’t tell them what you want to say… tell them what they want to know.

Some great advice from my friend Patrick Mead of Carter Newell

Differentiate yourself through specialization and expertise. This takes time–be prepared to invest time in building your own sphere of excellence and then do the same things well over and over and over.

Black Pearl: Defining a target market is a basic principle of smart marketing. Here are two great pieces that focus on non-law firm examples… but do a great job of illustrating its importance. The first discusses the now-famous Apple iPad and its search for a target market; while the second is from Business Week and looks at an equally important group: the clients your firm DOESN’T want.
 

Strong branding REQUIRES that you have a clear target market. In other words: any group, or individual (for that matter) that you need in order to succeed. Your homework for the week:  Sit down and think about who YOU want to gain business from. It could be fortune 500’s, financial institutions, rocket scientists OR… other lawyers. Narrow your focus and see where you stand…

Question of the week: Do you know who your target market is?


My target market:(polls)