Among my most popular posts last year were those dedicated to talking about LinkedIn, which tells me that it continues to be the tool that resonates most in the legal industry. I know that it’s in part because it’s become such a robust and useful platform, but I also suspect that it’s in part because some of us are still hoping that there’s a silver bullet out there when it comes to networking and relationship building. I hate to tell you – there isn’t. Even when you’re using social media, which can supersize your efforts, you still need to have goals, develop a plan, and invest time and effort in order for it to pay off for you. 
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Daily, we interact with lots of people – this happens in person, at our offices, in the coffee shop, at our kids’ sporting events or art classes. It happens online, through our group chats, text messages with friends, Facebook shares, LinkedIn comments, etc. We interact so much and so frequently, that we’ve reached a real saturation point with these interactions, and even with our professional messages, we can see a lack of care that a lot of us are giving to the details over the tools and the shiny new thing. Instead, we’re just blindly producing more and more and more and more, adding more noise (as Adrian Lurssen would say). 

If you’re sure that YOU are producing things of value, and not just more noise, ask someone in your circle if they can remember the last thing you shared on LinkedIn, or the last article you wrote. If they can’t, chances are, you’re not producing anything memorable. You’re not creating connection in your relationships. 
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Content marketing can feel like the opportunity to be the author or podcaster or speaker that you’ve always wanted to be.

But when done strategically, it’s about building relationships with clients and potential clients, and providing additional value to them that will make you top of mind when they have a matter that requires your expertise. When you bear that in mind as an end goal, it’s a reminder that you can’t simply put out content – you need to build an audience. 
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Content marketing is a tool in your arsenal for building effective business relationships.

But like any tool, it’s not going to be useful to you if you don’t use it efficiently. In the past, you could get away with producing *something* and getting the attention of a client or potential client, because you were the only one writing or talking about it. But today, content is so ubiquitous, that if you’re not standing out, you risk being relegates to background noise. 
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We know and are comfortable with the idea that the legal industry is a business of relationships. Lawyers do good work, their clients talk about it (hopefully) and that brings them other clients. That’s the basic principle behind the standard “word of mouth” reputation.

But with the introduction of technology, and in particular, social media, the way that we form first impressions of people and build the relationships that lead to referrals has changed. It’s not simply about doing good work anymore – it’s about whether your online reputation matches your offline reputation, and meeting people where they are. Let’s look at two pieces of this, referrals and first impressions.

Referrals

As someone who espouses social media, something that I hear fairly often is “But am I really going to get BUSINESS from using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc?”
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Recently, Greentarget and Zeughauser Group released their annual results for the 2019 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey. I had the chance to chat with Greentarget President and Founding Partner, John Corey, about the results, which had some actionable findings for lawyers and law firms, as well as a few surprises.

First, the report – Corey notes that they work to take it somewhere new each year, and their six months of hard work are obvious. In addition to the report’s results this year, you also get access to some excellent thought leadership pieces that expand on the ideas revealed by the data. The data itself examines three categories of respondents – general counsel, the C-suite, and law firm CMOs, which gives a full and interesting picture of what your firm clients are looking for at various levels, and whether your firm may be correctly addressing these needs. 
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In most of the world, it’s been pretty hot, and many of you are either on holiday, or getting ready to leave for holiday. I know that the LAST thing you want to think about is building relationships for business development. But I’ve got an easy challenge for you that will set you up nicely to return to the office in September with some stronger connections and potential for added business, while your colleagues are working to catch up.

Every day, for the next month, reach out to three of your connections on LinkedIn by email.


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One of the questions I am asked most often is about how to manage relationships when we’re all so busy – and we are ALL so busy these days!

LinkedIn is a great tool for professionals (even lawyers!) to employ to efficiently and effectively develop relationships without a huge time investment. Yes, like with any social media, you have to be somewhat diligent about not getting sucked in to it and losing time, but with some time management safeguards in place, it’s possible to maximize your use of it without wasting your efforts.
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In today’s rainmaking recommendation from expert and coach, Jaimie Field, learn the difference between social media marketing and social media networking, and why you need both in your arsenal.

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One of the things that I haven’t discussed in a deeper manner is how to use various social media networking sites for Rainmaking Purposes.

I have touched on the fact that if you use social media you need to take the relationship from online to off in order to allow you to create the relationships that will lead to more referrals, prospective clients and deeper relationships with other. 
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I am absolutely gobsmacked that we’ve made it to nine years of blogging here at Zen. It’s been an adventure! I never imagined when I first began writing in this little corner of the internet how much joy blogging would bring me, but it’s allowed me to connect with people all over the world, and have some brilliant and interesting conversations with some wonderfully smart and thoughtful people.

In nine years of blogging, we’ve seen:

  • Almost 1,110 posts
  • More than 58,000 page views (WOW!)
  • Visitors from almost 200 countries and six of the seven continents

I’m looking forward to connecting with even more of you in the future, and continuing to deepen the conversations that we’ve had here on Zen.

So what has 9 years in legal blogging taught me? I wanted to share with you 9 lessons about the legal industry that I’ve picked up over the last 13+ years.
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