A thought leader is someone who offers a unique, expert perspective on issues within their industry, and publishing thought leader content can serve an important purpose in the sales process for your firm.
Expert thought leadership content will help engaged clients begin to trust you as an industry expert while also drawing in interested professionals from the outside, leading to even more potential sales.
Here are four tips for becoming a thought leader and win more clients.
Define Your Expertise
Your expert opinion and insight are more powerful when you're able to be specific. Any lawyer could call themselves a thought leader in the industry, but what will make you stand out is aligning yourself with a niche. It might be a specific type of law — such a property, tax, or media — or it could be relevant to a certain way in which you practice. By getting specific, you’re more likely to reach the people that need your help.
For example, if you talk more generally about legal issues, you could have potential clients approaching you for areas that you don’t cover. But if you do a deep dive into intellectual property law, for example, you’re going to attract the people that need those services.
Think About Your Audience
You need to think about the target audience for your content in the same way you'd think about the market for your firm as a whole. Is your goal to reach general counsels in a business, or are you aiming for c-suite individuals who might not have such a clear view of legal matters?
Not only is the way you approach the content different for each of these groups, but the topics and article placement will be different as well will. Think about the subjects that matter to your audience and how you, as the expert, can provide wisdom and guidance on the challenges they face.
Cover Trending Topics
When planning your content, look at whether there’s a legal spin you can put onto something that’s currently trending. For example, many businesses are interested in cybersecurity and how they can protect themselves. You might not be able to talk about the technological side of things, but can you look at the whole topic through a legal lens? Perhaps you’ll talk about what businesses need to do from a legal point of view if they are faced with a security breach.
Keep an eye on the publications and websites that your target audience reads. This will allow you to stay on top of trending topics and will help you come up with ideas for your own thought leadership content.
Thought Leadership Goes Beyond Blog Posts
While the term "thought leadership" is most often used in the context of articles, it can be so much more than that.
First off, think about where this written work is going to be placed. For many firms, much of this content will be posted on their website, but there are ways to expand its reach. The first is to submit your thought leadership pieces to relevant publications. Many websites and trade magazines would welcome legal thought leadership from an expert, as this is often something they can’t cover in-house.
If you align this external content with the publications your target market reads, it’ll not only help you build your authority, but find new clients, too.
Next, consider how you use social media. LinkedIn can be a great platform for short-form content and you get the added bonus of being able to start a discussion in the comments. This is a great way to help your content reach a wider audience. And remember, if you want to link this back to a longer piece of content, post the URL in the comments — this stops LinkedIn from throttling your reach!
Consider Becoming a Speaker
The last logical step is to put yourself forward to speak on your expert topic. Whether you do this on webinars, at regional events, or at national conferences, it’s a great way to put yourself in front of your target market. While speaking at law industry events is great, try and look beyond that and think about other events your target audience might attend.
Video content is another great way to show your personality and expertise. Take Legal Eagle, for example, a YouTube influencer in his own right but a thought leader when it comes to legal issues affecting a range of people.
The form your thought leadership takes is completely up to you but consider your audience’s media consumption habits: are they more likely to read an article, watch a video, comment on a LinkedIn post, or attend an event? The answer to this will help you determine your content strategy.
Regardless of your approach and the format you decide to use as delivery, thought leadership will help you build that all-important trust with a wider audience, making it a valuable tool in your marketing mix.