If I was going to get a tattoo that reflects one of my professional beliefs, it could very well be this:
Content is king.
For professional services companies, it is paramount to produce quality content that demonstrates knowledge of a subject and that also adds value to client relationships while making you attractive to prospective clients.
Having the ability to publish materials via the web can be both a blessing and a curse. The Internet exponentially lowers the cost of producing collateral material. No more expensive brochures or days spent in the mail room sending out client alerts. However, a very real temptation exists to favor quantity over quality. This is compounded by the fact that when an important decision occurs or a new regulation comes into effect, a feeding-frenzy occurs and a flood of alerts are cranked out.
Still, time and again, I have heard general counsel say that well-timed, well-written emails, client alerts and third-party produced byline articles go a long way towards maintaining or helping start relationships.
However, your content – be it byline articles, client alerts or third-party media mentions – needs to be leveraged effectively to make an impact.
There is my next tattoo:
Look at these comments from the American Bar Association Section of Litigation Joint Committees’ CLE Seminar “In-House Counsel Panel: The Substantive and Practical Challenges Faced by Today’s In-House Counsel” this past January:
“I sometimes find papers written by law firms, but I start with Google and then end up linking to the law firm site. I never start with the law firm site when looking for information on a legal issue.” – General Counsel
“I use the Internet 100 percent of the time for my research and communication needs. Google and Yahoo are usually my first stops.” – General Counsel
How does content get traction on Google? Several ways:
- Keyword-rich landing pages on a company website.
- Links and narrative referencing on the pages of the bios of those who authored the content.
- Promotion via social media – Tweets via corporate Twitter account and personal LinkedIn status updates.
Another critical credentialing tool that drives search results is tacit third-party endorsement via byline article writing and quotes in trade and general media publications. Of course, reprints of these mentions should be utilized on firm sites.
From the same ABA CLE program, it is also telling what general counsel did not like when evaluating law firm websites:
“Candidly, a bad law firm website would be like showing up to a meeting with me in a crumpled suit.” – Chief Counsel, Intellectual Property
“They all look like they took their marketing materials and handed it to web guys and put it online. I could do a better job writing the content for a law firm website.” – General Counsel
The presentation noted:
Most participants indicated that they would be interested in being able to access more substantive tools and knowledge on law firm sites.
Read differently: General counsel want quality content that is readily accessible!
There is real value in being pro-active and strategic with your communications plan. Executed correctly, it builds the brand and helps generate business for both the professional and the organization.
Now I just need the number for a good tattoo parlor.