If you’re like most legal professionals, you’ve probably encountered quite a few litigation-themed ‘think pieces’ in published journals or online. These articles are written by thought leaders. While there isn’t a single, strictly accepted definition of a thought-leader, the general criteria is that you’re an expert in a subject or field, and you’re bringing new ideas and perspectives to others.
Whether you’re working at a major corporate firm or whether you’re a solo practitioner, there are a few different ways you can establish yourself as a thought leader. Most commonly, attorneys will leverage social media platforms such as LinkedIn to publish their own articles and share posts of interest to their audience. Not your style? Consider press interviews and corporate newsletters! These options require less personal branding work, but still allow you to share your opinions and offer your analysis of relevant topics.
Now that we’ve discussed some of the ways you can become a thought leader, let’s take a look at three major benefits of thought leadership.
Thought leadership increases visibility.
Out of sight, out of mind! By utilizing thought leadership tactics, you’re putting yourself in front of prospective clients and colleagues. Visibility can be extremely difficult to achieve, and might otherwise require thousands of dollars worth of marketing spending. Thought leadership gives you the opportunity to achieve that visibility organically while furthering your professional development in the process.
Bonus: If you’re interested in a highly niche area of litigation, there will be less competition for visibility. Establishing yourself as a thought leader in specialized subjects makes it more likely that you’ll be contacted by potential clients seeking your unique expertise.
Thought leadership gives you credibility.
How do you determine whether products and businesses are reputable? If you’re like most consumers you probably consult friends, search for reviews online, or check the company rating with the Better Business Bureau. For attorneys and law firms, there are fewer methods to establish credibility. While you might rely on press coverage of your cases or high-production-value marketing campaigns - thought leadership is a relatively inexpensive tactic to build brand recognition. Posting your analysis of a recent Supreme Court verdict online can help potential clients learn more about your litigation style and core beliefs, which ultimately contributes to their impression of your expertise.
Thought leadership can increase profit over time.
Individuals and products become more valuable as their sphere of influence widens. Whether it’s simple name recognition that leads to a referral or whether you secure a new business partnership through persuasive journal writing - thought leadership can prove lucrative in the long run! For that reason, it’s important to put in the work upfront. Writing a thought leadership article is unlikely to qualify as a billable hour, but you’ll see your efforts pay off long-term.
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