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Preview: Slaw» Allison C. Shields

Allison C. Shields – Slaw

Canada's online legal magazine

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How Lawyers Can Develop Content for Law Firm Marketing

Tue, 31 Mar 2015 11:00:14 +0000


One of the biggest mistakes law firms make in their marketing is abdicating all of their responsibility for marketing to a marketing professional and taking the lawyers entirely out of the equation. While marketing professionals certainly have their place in law firm marketing, some marketing and business development tasks are best tackled by the lawyers themselves.

Marketing professionals can help lawyers and law firms create professional marketing pieces, develop ads, generate marketing and editorial calendars, do the initial set up of newsletters, websites, social media accounts and blogs, create designs and themes, find images for posts, handle the technical aspects . . . [more]

Marketing Your Law Practice With Email Newsletters

Mon, 02 Feb 2015 12:00:04 +0000


Email newsletters are a marketing tool that can help you to stay in regular contact with current and former clients and strategic alliances, and to create relationships with potential clients. But in order to be effective, your email newsletter needs to provide value to your readers, not just serve as a promotional vehicle for your practice.

In the January 2015 issue of Entrepreneur magazine, content marketing expert Ann Handley, in her article, “Before you hit ‘send’: 13 steps to emails that don’t suck,” says, “[E]mail is the Rube Goldberg machine of online marketing: There are multiple moving parts in what . . . [more]

Use the Spirit of the Holiday Season to Improve Your Networking

Mon, 01 Dec 2014 12:00:38 +0000


The holiday season is here, and that means most of us will be doing a lot of networking, whether formally or informally, at office holiday parties, bar association events, family functions and get-togethers with friends, neighbors and colleagues.

While attending these festivities, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the spirit of the holidays is really all about giving to others and being thankful for our blessings. Keeping these seasonal sentiments in mind can improve your networking.

Be a giver: Focus on others and how you can help them

Successful networkers know that the basis of solid relationship building . . . [more]

How to Boost Your Referrals

Tue, 07 Oct 2014 11:00:44 +0000


Most lawyers say they receive the majority of their business through “word of mouth” or referrals, even in the internet age. But how can you improve your referral rate?

Be a Good Networker

Networking and building your system of contacts is the obvious first step in boosting your referrals. To get business, you first need to build your reputation and get to know people so they can develop trust in you and your work.

If you want to boost your referrals, focus more on building relationships with other professionals, strategic alliances and referral sources and strengthening your relationships with existing . . . [more]

Obtaining and Acting on Client Feedback

Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:00:18 +0000


Any good marketing and business development plan includes not only strategies for attracting new clients, but also strategies for ensuring that your current clients have an exceptional experience with your firm so that they will return to you for their future legal needs and refer other potential clients to you. But the mere fact that an existing client hasn’t gone elsewhere doesn’t mean that you’ve delivered that kind of client experience.

Take a look at a few lawyer websites, brochures or other marketing materials and you’ll see claims that lawyers are “client-focused,” and that they provide “excellent client service.” And . . . [more]

Get More Out of Your Address Book With LinkedIn Contacts

Fri, 06 Jun 2014 11:00:53 +0000


To be an effective networker, you need to find good contacts and then develop relationships with those contacts. Many lawyers have extensive contacts lists, but they don’t manage their contacts or use their lists to their full advantage.

One tool to help you find and manage your contacts and build relationships is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a business networking site that has made a number of major changes in the past year or so, including changes to LinkedIn Groups, the introduction of Showcase Pages as sub-pages for LinkedIn Company Pages, and changes to LinkedIn Profiles. But Contacts are . . . [more]

5 LinkedIn Profile Mistakes Lawyers Make

Wed, 02 Apr 2014 16:00:16 +0000


LinkedIn is the largest online professional network and the social media platform lawyers are most likely to engage in. But many lawyers are not using LinkedIn effectively, and they’re missing opportunities as a result. Here are five of the top mistakes lawyers make on their LinkedIn Profiles.

1. Missing, distracting or unprofessional photo

LinkedIn is a business network, not a social network, so no selfies or photos with pets, please! Truthfully, I haven’t seen any lawyers who have posted Profile pictures with their pets, but I have seen photos that are obviously selfies (even if they tried to look professional), . . . [more]

The Best Times for Lawyers to Post on Social Media

Wed, 12 Feb 2014 12:00:39 +0000


The purposes for which lawyers engage on social media include: boosting visibility, increasing engagement, marketing your services, providing valuable content to your audience, building connections with other lawyers and potential clients, gathering and sharing information about the law and practice. To be a successful social media user, you’ll need to provide content that is valuable, use the right headlines and ‘shareable’ words, include images, vary your post style, and undertake other activities to boost your engagement. But timing your posts properly is another important element of your overall social media strategy.

Ideally, you’ll want to schedule content to post . . . [more]

Law Firm Editorial Calendars: 6 Steps to Success

Thu, 05 Dec 2013 12:00:49 +0000


Last year on Slaw, Steve Matthews wrote ten tips for building a law firm publishing culture. One of his tips included using an editorial calendar as a useful tool to keep track of who was writing what in the firm and when, but also to include guidelines, set reminders, and help identify opportunities, and in my last post on using Evernote as a marketing tool, I mentioned that lawyers may want to keep their editorial calendar within Evernote.

Editorial calendars help you plan content and ensure that you are posting consistently. They are also handy tools to help . . . [more]

Five Ways to Use Evernote as a Legal Marketing Tool

Mon, 30 Sep 2013 11:00:06 +0000


Evernote is a digital notebook application with both desktop and mobile versions, all of which easily synch so that your information is available on any of your devices at any time. Evernote is a cross-platform application, which means that you can use it and information will synch even if you have a Windows desktop, an iPad and an Android phone.

Although many consider Evernote to be a productivity app, it can also be a helpful marketing and business development tool to help lawyers capture marketing and business development ideas, keep track of notes on prospective clients, and develop content, among . . . [more]

Should Lawyers Get a LinkedIn Premium Account?

Wed, 31 Jul 2013 11:00:58 +0000


One question I’ve been getting asked more and more frequently as I do presentations on LinkedIn for lawyers is whether it’s worth getting a paid LinkedIn account. For most lawyers, the basic (free) LinkedIn account has more than enough features to help you build your network, find and communicate with people and build relationships. But there are some advantages to having a premium account, depending on how you’ll be using LinkedIn. For example, if you’re planning to use LinkedIn as your main contact database, you might want to consider a premium account.

Here’s an overview of the different types of . . . [more]

Are in-House Lawyers Influenced by Social Media?

Tue, 04 Jun 2013 10:00:17 +0000


The results of the 2013 In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey conducted by GreentargetInsideCounsel and Zeughauser Group in February 2013 reveal that among the 379 in-house counsel who responded, social media use and consumption of information on mobile devices are on the rise.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the results and what lawyers can do to get the attention of in-house counsel online.

Most Popular Media for In-House Counsel

LinkedIn, the “professional network,” is the one in-house counsel turns to most to obtain information and to expand their professional contacts. Two thirds of all respondents . . . [more]

Is the “Professional Network” Becoming More Social?

Thu, 11 Apr 2013 16:00:35 +0000


In December, fellow Slaw marketing columnist Doug Jasinski wrote a great post about LinkedIn’s new makeover. His post walked you through the Skills and Endorsements feature (that LinkedIn is placing a lot of emphasis on), and the new look for LinkedIn Company Pages, with their new large image-based banner and prominent status update box.

But there have been even more changes to LinkedIn’s platform that may have gone unnoticed, particularly in the legal community. These changes are making LinkedIn more interactive, and more akin to other, more ‘social’ networks.

Sharing Options

In the past, publishing Updates to LinkedIn was largely . . . [more]

Infographics for Lawyers

Thu, 07 Feb 2013 12:00:49 +0000


One of the hottest ‘new’ tools for marketing and business development is infographics. Infographics are visually appealing, highly shareable and, when done right, can convey a lot of information quickly and easily, or make a mountain of data easy to understand. By combining text and visuals into one, infographics make the most of both to reinforce a message.

For lawyers, infographics are another tool that can be used to help differentiate a firm from others in the same practice area and a way to help clients and potential clients understand the legal process.

Lawyers are generally a text-heavy bunch. For . . . [more]

All I Really Need to Know About Marketing I Learned in Kindergarten

Thu, 13 Dec 2012 12:00:26 +0000


Robert Fulghum’s book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” is a collection of essays that demonstrate that the basic rules we all learned in kindergarten are all that is necessary to successfully navigate the adult world. The same can be said for legal marketing. The following legal marketing rules are adapted from some of the lessons contained in Fulghum’s “Kindergarten Credo”:

Share. What’s happening in your firm? What is the latest news in your area of practice, or in your clients’ industry? What current events could impact your client’s bottom line? It’s a world of content . . . [more]

How Usable Is Your Website?

Mon, 24 Sep 2012 11:00:19 +0000


Although these days most lawyers and law firms have some form of website, the ability of those sites to not only attract visitors, but to prompt those visitors to take action (fill in a contact form, call the firm for a consultation, etc.) varies widely. That may be due in large part to how easy the site is for web visitors to use, known as “usability.”

People read and consume information differently online than they do offline. For example, people tend to skim or scan web content; they’re looking for specific information. Rarely do web visitors read large quantities of . . . [more]

Tips for Marketing to Former and Existing Clients

Wed, 01 Aug 2012 16:00:52 +0000


Marketing is hard work, especially when you are constantly trying to get new clients in the door. One way that lawyers can get “new” business is by concentrating on their existing and former clients. People like to work with people they know, like and trust. It takes time to reach that point. Your existing and former clients have used your services in the past, or are using them now. They already know you. A level of trust has been established. It will be much easier to get additional work from those clients than it will be to get work from . . . [more]

What Makes a Good Lawyer Biography?

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 11:00:04 +0000


The bio or “About” page is one of the most viewed pages on a lawyer’s website. On social media, the bio or profile helps new connections or potential followers make decisions about whether or not to interact with you. Your “elevator speech” is your spoken bio and it can make or break a new relationship with a potential client or referral source. But despite its importance, the bio is an often overlooked marketing tool, and many lawyers give it short shrift.

Elements of a Good Biography

Your website bio, online profile and your spoken introduction (“elevator pitch”) are just different . . . [more]

Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Next Conference Experience

Mon, 02 Apr 2012 11:00:38 +0000


Spring is “conference season,” when a lot of business and law-related conferences take place. To maximize your conference experience, apply my “Before, During and After” strategy; instead of only focusing on the conference once you actually get there, begin your planning ahead of time and implement an after-conference strategy to make sure you get the most bang for your conference buck.

Before the conference

The first step is to identify your goals or purpose for attending the conference in advance. This will help you plan your overall approach. You may have several goals, but don’t try to do . . . [more]

Four Legal Marketing Trends to Watch in 2012

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 12:00:20 +0000


As we launch into a new year, I’m looking forward to seeing what marketing tools are adopted by lawyers and how changes in technology change the way lawyers do business. Here are four trends I think are worth watching in 2012.

Social media engagement and integration

Law firms and individual lawyers have becoming more active on social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and now Google Plus. As participation increases, law firms will need to become better at integrating their social media activities into their overall marketing plan, cross-linking each of the firm’s activities with one another to help increase . . . [more]

Maximize Your Content Marketing: Get New Traffic From Old Content

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 12:00:05 +0000


I like to encourage lawyers to ‘repurpose.’ Repurposing is using what you have already done (including legal work) in new and different ways to attract the attention of a new audience or to provide valuable reminders to your existing audience. Lawyers can leverage what they are already doing to get more mileage out of their work. For example: taking a recent case and creating a case study or turning a CLE presentation into an article for an industry trade publication.

Re-issue existing content in a new form

Another way to repurpose your old content and give it new . . . [more]

Close More Clients Using These Persuasion Techniques

Fri, 07 Oct 2011 11:00:02 +0000


In his book, Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. discusses many factors that affect how persuasive you can be with others. Cialdini was also one of the authors of Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, co-authored by Noah J Goldstein and Steve J. Martin.

Lawyers can use these persuasive techniques to help them increase the percentage of inquiries or initial consultations that turn into paid client engagements.

People like people who are like themselves; they hire people that they know, like and trust. In your initial consultation, you need to build up the . . . [more]

Self-Promotion Without the Sleaze

Mon, 08 Aug 2011 11:00:43 +0000


In a recent Slaw marketing column, Is “Humble” in Your Marketing Repertoire? , Steve Matthews noted that although lawyers are often encouraged to focus their marketing on their expertise, it’s counterproductive to actually proclaim yourself as an expert in your marketing materials. As Steve says, “expert status should almost always be bestowed by others, not claimed by you.” He advises that you “let your clients decide that you’re an expert based upon your performance.”

So how do you showcase your performance in your marketing materials without sounding like a blowhard? Instead of talking about your performance, demonstrate it. And always . . . [more]

Networking Online or Off: The Same Rules Apply

Tue, 14 Jun 2011 11:00:25 +0000


Most attorneys say that their business comes through word of mouth or referrals. But how do you keep those referrals coming? How do you establish and maintain relationships with referral sources and potential clients? Through effective networking. In the internet age, that means networking online as well as off.

A lot of the lawyers I speak to are still lost when it comes to using social media and networking online. It doesn’t have to be complicated. The same rules apply whether you are networking in “real life” offline or using social media and other tools online. 

Here are some of . . . [more]

What Makes a Good Testimonial for a Law Firm Website?

Tue, 29 Mar 2011 11:00:46 +0000


Many lawyers don’t think about testimonials until it’s time to create or update their website. Only then do they contact clients or send them a recommendation request on LinkedIn. The best clients are perfectly willing to provide a testimonial. Unfortunately, asking clients for a testimonial or a recommendation without providing any guidelines is likely to lead to bad testimonials.

By “bad testimonials,” I don’t mean testimonials that disparage the lawyer – indeed many bad testimonials are just the opposite – they praise the lawyer in glowing terms. Unfortunately, those glowing terms are often vague, which can lead to the impression . . . [more]

No Magic Pill for Lawyer Marketing

Tue, 08 Feb 2011 12:00:14 +0000


As we begin the new year, a lot of my clients are developing their 2011 marketing plans, and that means I’m getting a lot of questions about what they ‘should’ do to market their practices this year. Here’s part of an inquiry I received from an existing client:

I simply must know what works for lawyers in my practice area, in a similar geographic area. What I need to do is to focus on best practices of other attorneys specifically in these areas of law, and replicate them to the extent possible….

In other words, I need a direction: cable

. . . [more]

Creating a Business Development Culture in Your Firm

Thu, 09 Dec 2010 12:00:14 +0000


Recently, I have encountered a number of lawyers who have found themselves unemployed due to cuts or downsizing at their firms. Some of these lawyers were baffled that they had been let go; they had experience and were good lawyers who did their work well, kept their noses to the grindstone, made sure the work they were given by their practice groups or supervising partners got done, and met their billable hour requirements. They didn’t waste time socializing and kept out of the way, focusing on their billable work. But the very things that these lawyers thought should have kept . . . [more]

Why Law Firm Marketing Plans Fail

Thu, 14 Oct 2010 11:00:08 +0000


Does your firm have a marketing plan? When was the last time it was reviewed? How well do you follow your marketing plan? You’re not alone if your marketing plan is collecting dust in a drawer, hidden somewhere on your firm’s server, or simply hasn’t been implemented effectively. But why do these plans fail so often?

Marketing is generally outward-focused, concentrating on your clients, their wants and needs and the services you provide to help them reach their goals. But in order to be truly successful when it comes to actual implementation of the marketing plan, you must look inward . . . [more]

Who Are You Marketing To?

Wed, 28 Jul 2010 16:00:47 +0000


To market successfully, you need to speak the language of your target audience. To do that, you first need to identify who you’re targeting. Many lawyers make the mistake of trying to target too broad an audience. The result is a watered down message that doesn’t really speak to anyone.

The first step in creating a marketing strategy is to explore your current client base and identify the clients with whom you work best and bring the most value to your firm. Next, you’ll identify those clients with whom you do not enjoy working, and ascertain the characteristics of ‘undesirable’ . . . [more]

Make Marketing a Habit

Tue, 25 May 2010 16:00:08 +0000


Running a business (and make no mistake, a law practice is a business) is a marathon, rather than a sprint. That is especially true when it comes to marketing. I see many lawyers who make the mistake of giving up too easily because they don’t see immediate results from their efforts. 

Marketing is about building relationships. In the same way that you can’t expect to have immediate results when you enter the dating pool, you can’t expect to have immediate results with marketing. It takes time to get known within the community where your target market ‘hangs out’ and to . . . [more]