Making the case for JD Supra, Lexology, YouTube and so on

While I might play an uber-techie at work, I really depend upon much smarter and techier people than me to make sense out of all this stuff flying at me on a daily (hourly) basis. For instance, one of my go-to smarties is Jayne Navarre for all things digital technology in the legal space.

Via a LinkedIn Group that I scan, Eric Peter Hoffman posted the following video on the new (now implemented) algorithms of Hummingbird and Penguin (sounds like a couple of Batman villains) that finally makes sense.

It is also a simple explanation as to why law firm blogs really must use the services of JD Supra, Lexology, YouTube, Wikipedia, and the like to push our content to the top search results pages. SEO alone ain’t gonna get you there alone.

Want attribution? Make it easy.

Don’t camouflage your Twitter address if you want attribution

We had an interesting conversation at the LMA Annual Conference about attribution while live-Tweeting at a conference. Nancy Myrland very nicely captures the discussion in her post, Who Said That? How to Live Tweet a Conference.

To aid attendees at our session on Generational Marketing: Strategies and tactics for engagement with Boomers, Gen Xers and Millenials, Jonathan Fitzgarrald and I deliberately included our Twitter addresses not only on the opening slide, but in the footers. (Click here for the slides)

If we wanted the attribution, we didn’t want to make you work for it.  And it worked. The Twitter thread was incredible, lots of attribution to us both. Lots of feedback. And many new followers.

I just realized today, however, that for those reading this blog and wanting to share it on Twitter, it’s not as easy to find my Twitter address for attribution.

It hit me because I was reading a post from Lloyd Pearson while on my commute this morning, Chambers USA 2014-15: Get Organized via my reader. The post was easy for me to share from my iPhone, but his Twitter address didn’t auto fill. I was about to hit the tunnel, so I sent it off without attribution. Not really like me.

I have become so accustomed when using Bitly or Tweetdeck for the app to auto fill the name, but it doesn’t do so always, making it difficult to attribute on the fly unless you already know the person’s Twitter address, or are really determined.

To make things easier, I just updated my blog image that you see on the desktop to hyperlink to my Twitter profile, and added my address in the caption, and I urge you to do the same.

And when you do the update, check your mobile app version. My image doesn’t show up, so I have updated the subtitle of my blog to include it as well.

Not as pretty, but this is about engagement, conversation, and attribution.

 

Controversial Clients and Social Media: Game Changer?

Photo credit: “The Controversial Topics of Wikipedia” on Wired.com

An interesting headline caught my eye this week via Forbes: “Disgusting!,” Cry Legal Experts: Is This The Lowest A Top U.S. Law Firm Has Ever Stoop (ht Above the Law).

Quick history lesson: During WWII the Japanese (allegedly) kidnapped (mostly) Korean women and forced them to be “comfort women” (prostitutes).

The case in question involves a U.S. law firm taking on a controversial action surrounding this issue:

Would any self-respecting U.S. law firm represent a client who suggested the Jews deserved the Holocaust? Probably not. As a matter of honor, most law firms would run a mile, and even the least honorable would conclude that the damage to their reputation wasn’t worth it.

Where imperial Japan’s atrocities are concerned, however, at least one top U.S. law firm hasn’t been so choosy. In what is surely one of the most controversial civil suits ever filed in the United States, the Los Angeles office of Chicago-based Mayer Brown is trying to prove that the so-called comfort women – the sex slaves used by the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II – were no more than common prostitutes.

Not exactly the way I’d like a story on my firm, in Forbes, to begin.

So why am I writing this post?

Call it what you will — a game changer, jumping the shark, yellow journalism, link bait — but something has shifted in the land of corporate communications and management with the advancement of social media.

While law firms like to hold themselves out to be above the fray (we’re a “profession” after all), truth is, we bleed green just like any other business and are susceptible to outside influences.

Earlier this month, the co-founder and CEO of Mozilla was forced to resign due to a relatively small political contribution he personally made to a now unpopular California state proposition.

Prior to the contribution being revealed — several years after the fact — there was no indication that his contribution ever impacted the running of the business, or the management of the employees.

But his personal position is now incredibly unpopular and political forces used social media to put pressure on the company once the contribution was unburied, and he resigned.

Then I saw the Forbes headline this week. And read the comments. And started a discussion. And listened to the debate. And I have one question that cannot be answered … yet:

What does this mean for law firms that take on unpopular or controversial clients or causes?

Continue reading

Am I leading with my ego?

If we’re friends on Facebook you know that I had an encounter last night that ended in a very awkward moment for the other person. It probably wasn’t the most spiritual thing I could do to post about it, but what can I say? I saw a lesson there … for me.

When I lead with my ego I ALWAYS learn a lesson. The hard way.

I am ALWAYS right-sided. My ego is smashed.

I have found out that if I lead with my ego, I will find humility through the ensuing humiliation.

So what does this have to do with legal marketing? Everything.

In a profession where I am often referred to by the lawyers, lumped together with every other staffer, from the copy room to the C-Suite, as a “non-lawyer,” I have had to learn how to find my place.

It is such a fine balance. In other businesses, the marketing and sales team are seen as revenue drivers, strategic team members, leaders.

In many a law firm we are seen as nothing more than a cost center and a annoying, and pricy, necessity.

On average, in most companies, the marketing budget is 10% of revenue.

In a law firm, yeah, not so much. As in 2-5%. If you’re lucky.

I’ve been in legal marketing for 16 years and that percentage has stayed consistent.

I have had three situations, one as recent as last week, that have been a personal evolution and a reminder that when I think I am hot shit, I will be reminded by some force in the universe that I am not.

My humility (and ego) must rest in that I do this (writing this blog, volunteer service and speaking in LMA) for fun and for free.

And, in return, I have found that I learn more about myself, legal marketing, business, and leadership than I realize. Continue reading

Did I ever tell you my Ross Perot story??

Between my days as a lobbyist and joining legal marketing I was the Director of Programs & Events for Town Hall Los Angeles, a public interest forum.

During my tenure we hosted numerous politicians, pundits, authors, and a king. But my favorite story has to do with Ross Perot. Yes, THAT Ross Perot.

Once a speaker was confirmed my first duty was to confirm the name of the speech, get a copy of their bio, and a photo for our newsletter.

This is the photo we received from Mr. Perot’s office.

From D Magazine November 2013 photography courtsey of Hillwood Perot in the early 1960s. courtsey of Hillwood

From D Magazine November 2013 photography courtesy of Hillwood
Perot in the early 1960s. Courtesy of Hillwood

Nice picture. The problem was it wasn’t the 1960s, we were well into the1990s.

This is what he looked like at the time.

John G. Mabanglo / AFP/Getty Images

When I called Mr. Perot’s office to inquire about a more recent photograph, his assistant told me, no, “Mr. Perot likes this photo.”

So what does this have to do with legal marketing? Well, I’ve been connecting with new people on LinkedIn and following them on Twitter both during the LMA Annual Conference, and now that I have returned.

There are some people out there who really like their (old, and it doesn’t look anything like you) portraits.

Seriously. Time for some portraits to be redone. Gittings was at the conference and are a great resource if you don’t currently have a regular photographer where you are.

What it comes down to is if I cannot recognize you by your photo from the person speaking in the session, or the person I just met, not good.

And I have a feeling if the legal marketers are not updating their photos, the attorneys in their firms aren’t either. Clients should not be surprised when the finally meet you that you look nothing like the photo on your web bio.

It’s painful getting your portrait taken. I don’t like aging either, but if you could see a picture of me from two or three decades ago … well, it really wouldn’t do today.

The rule of thumb my photographer uses is every three to five years. Women should go more frequently as we are more inclined to change our hair styles (and color). I personally do very two years.

Or give up on the photo all together and just go with an avatar:

Heather Morse's Twitter Avatar

Portrait of Mommy by Piper

Trends in Media/Pr for Law Firms: What’s Valuable and Effective Today

Denise NixThank you to guest blogger Denise Nix, Marketing and Business Development Manager at Glaser Weil, for providing her insights into “Trends in Media/Pr for Law Firms: What’s Valuable and Effective Today” from the recent Legal Marketing Association annual conference.”


Really the only LMA session this year to focus exclusively on the PR side of marketing, the panel broke down the topics into The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and The Future.

Panelists:

Moderator:

THE GOOD – sharing good news (new hires, successful outcomes, office moves, etc.)

  • “Content is queen” because it is used to create relationships and connections, and build awareness. Scoring (measuring and weighing reach of content and what it leads to in terms of hires, matters and other opportunities – or engagement) is key. Engagement is what we create from that content. (Eleanor)
  • All firms should have media policies, written and circulated to all staff and attorneys regularly. (Kathy) Make them a part of the staff handbook. (Paul)
  • PR can be used to influence litigation (Eleanor) or create the right visuals on the courthouse steps (Lisa). Attorneys are being, and should be, proactive in how they write court documents on cases that are, or might, be followed by the media. While the attorney may not be able to comment on the case, key message points in the filing intro will get the point into the press. (Kathy)

THE BAD – handling bad news about the firm or its client

  • Have a crisis communications plan in place (Jaffe has downloadable templates on its website. ) Identify a spokesperson and practice the key message points with him or her. Keep internal staff informed – a well-written memo with your key messages is a good strategy, especially if there is a chance it may be leaked. (Kathy)
  • “Killing” a story is difficult, but can happen. Get partners involved if need-be (Lisa) or ask for a delay to at least get your message together (Kathy).

THE UGLY – surveys, directories and submissions

  • The audience groaned at this topic, but a few indicated they have received business from these.
  • Think about how to use the content in a new way once the information is published.
  • Use the information gathering step to really mine the attorneys for information about themselves and their practices to be re-purposed for other uses. Turn it into “marketing gold.” (Kathy)
  • Be strategic when dealing with the politics of who is being submitted and who is not (Susan). Be transparent with the reasons why and use as incentive for work/communication in the future (Paul).

THE FUTURE – social media

  • “Social media is the megaphone” for your content. (Kathy)
  • Social media is like winning the PR lottery – use these platforms to drive traffic to blogs, website, etc. (Eleanor)

Personally yours, from the Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference

It’s Monday afternoon and I have finally cleared my e-mail, spoke to a partner, posted a session recap/guest blog post (with three more in the que), and realize I have not personally provided any major content about the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual conference last week, except for my Twitter feed. Looks like I’m skipping the gym today.

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First of all, the LMA annual conference is exactly what Tim Corcoran, our president, described in his opening remarks: part educational & networking conference, part family reunion, part high school reunion. And we all know who the crazy uncle is.

There are so many layers to the LMA annual conference, that when I look at the conference from each individual pair of eyes, I find that it only tells one side of the story.

Family reunion: It was wonderful to see so many of my former colleagues from across my career in legal marketing. Kevin McMurdo from Perkins Coie, Ellen Musante and Corey Garver from my Pillsbury days. Not to mention all the current and former committee and task force members I have worked with throughout the years at both the local and international levels.

High School reunion: Some of my closest and dearest friends I have met through LMA. While we are in constant contact via Facebook, getting to see one another live is beyond measure. We have actually started to form an “after prom” event so we can focus on our business and networking while at the conference, knowing we’ll have our personal social time once the conference ends.

Scenes from an LMA Conference

Education & networking: Really, there is no better place in the industry for marketing professionals to gather. We are a strange breed, and only in LMA are “competitors” so open and willing to share, help one another as we traverse this road, mentor one another, and on board new legal marketers.

One of my favorite slides, ever, from Matt Homann

One of my favorite slides, ever, from Matt Homann

This year I found the two most powerful sessions, for me, to be the first and the last I attended.

Continue reading

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