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The phrase “thought leadership” is trending, but what does it actually mean? Thought leaders are informed, trusted and often opinionated authorities in their field of expertise. When they share their innovative ideas with others, they inspire and build rapport with their growing audiences. Morphing into its own marketing strategy, thought leadership is making a big impact in the legal field.
What is Thought Leadership Marketing?
Whether an individual or a company, thought leaders are experts in their field, and people recognize them for it. Thought leadership marketing uses the unique influence of these prominent, authoritative voices to reach a company’s marketing goals. A law firm can communicate its thought leadership through content, sharing it with a target market on various platforms. Fans and followers spread not only the content, but the brand and positive reputation along with it.
A Niche within Content Marketing
How is thought leadership marketing different from content marketing? Content marketing gains leads for a business by providing value to its audience. This happens through articles, blog posts, podcasts, video, webinars, ebooks and more. Like a smaller subset, thought leadership is a niche within content marketing. Thought leadership uses content, but also the expertise and position of the thought leader’s persona to influence an audience to action.
All About Positioning
While content marketing focuses on search engine results, it does not necessarily set itself above the competition. However, thought leadership marketing is all about positioning and being heard as a reliable guide for a target audience. Thought leaders weigh in on the issues people care about, and they do this through credible, cutting-edge content. The central goal of thought leadership marketing is to attract more business by being an authoritative voice on big issues that matter.
Think Long Term
It takes time to develop thought leadership, because it involves building relationships and trust with a continuous, authoritative presence. Thought leaders tackle pressing topics that will impact the future, voicing their vibrant expertise through various content channels.
7 Ways to Develop Thought Leadership
Law firms that want to develop thought leadership need to provide a clear brand, a trustworthy presence and valuable, consistent content that is easy to find. It is crucial to make your voice heard on a variety of platforms such as: published articles, courses, webinars, forums, social media, podcasts, and as an expert legal news source. High visibility as a thought leader can bring your company faster growth and other benefits, so here are seven ways to groom your law firm as a thought leader.
Find an Idea
Thought leaders start with an idea that is original, and one that inspires an audience to take action. When thought leaders take their vision and translate it into an easily grasped message, they make it easy to share. To help your law firm toward thought leadership, consider keeping your thought leadership core messages to three or less.
Voice a Unique Point of View
With billions of people in the world, the last thing thought leaders should spout is another well-worn slant on an issue. Thought leaders proclaim a genuinely unique and compelling viewpoint on their focus topics. The issues they address are big, popular and sometimes controversial, and thought leaders take a prominent position and get their voice heard.
People hire companies that they trust, so as a thought leader to build trust. Do this through sharing expertise, knowledge and skills. Offer opinions and insight that will inform their decisions and help potential clients build new thought patterns. When your law firm takes a stand about a complex issue, it should also include evidence to back up the opinion. Data may take the form of other successful examples in the market, or other research that confirms your position on the subject. Confirming your opinion with examples or research also builds trust.
Like parents, thought leaders need to repeat themselves in order to be heard and heeded. It may take loads of content in multiple mediums to get your voice heard as a thought leader. Your law firm should consistently communicate its message through many angles, such as visual, audio, articles, interactive events, blog posts, social media and online forums. It takes commitment, effort and time to invest in clients and in your greater audience, and to discover how and where they can best hear your message. A large amount of quality content that contains your message is essential for thought leadership marketing.
Keep Your Audience Engaged
If you published a blog post, but nobody read it, does it really exist? It hardly needs to be said that in order to stand out as a thought leader, there must be an audience who listens, cares and shares your content and unique viewpoint. It is not simply numbers, likes and comments that thought leadership marketing requires, it needs a pool of loyal followers who enthusiastically spread the message and apply it in their businesses. Thought leaders often keep their audiences engaged with stories instead of articles packed with dry research. Data does not trigger our emotions, and we often forget statistics as soon as we have heard them. However, we tend to remember compelling stories, and effective thought leaders tell stories to engage their audiences.
Your law firm has an abundance of outlets when it comes to thought leadership marketing. Besides your website and blog, there are social media platforms, email, advertising, events and more. Being successful at thought leadership marketing may mean trying a variety of different channels to share your message, checking your metrics, and making changes as necessary.
To maximize any marketing strategy, a law firm needs to set goals and measure the outcomes. Since this is true with thought leadership marketing as well, start by setting goals for what you desire to achieve within the next three years. Then, plan the content your law firm will produce to meet your goals. Some ways to measure your thought leadership influence include:
- Content production and audience response
- Media mentions
- Being asked to be an expert legal source
- Getting published in strategic publications and niche outlets
- Website backlinks
- Speaking engagements
- Awards earned within the legal industry and local community.
How Law Quill Can Help
Examples of thought leadership are visible all over LinkedIn, Twitter, podcasts, and other social media channels. Sometimes it seems as if everyone is trying to be seen and heard, as a growing collection of brands, individuals and companies are vying for attention. Thought leadership starts with an insightful, educational, or life-changing message. From there, your law firm needs to find a series of channels to get its message out to an audience. It takes time, effort and resources to develop high quality, consistent content, but this is the way to allow your law firm to emerge as a thought leader.
We are here to help and would welcome the opportunity to visit with you for free regarding your law firm website’s content, and how we can take these tasks off your plate! Schedule a free visit with us by scheduling a quick phone or zoom call at your convenience on our calendar today. You can also email us at [email protected]