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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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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Remember the good old days when we just did a bunch of things and didn’t have specialized terms for them? Yep, these aren’t them.

Social media marketing” came about when social media platforms were introduced and we learned how to use online technology to build relationships that we’d previously been building offline (that’s tremendously simplified, but you get the idea). Then “content marketing” came along to describe what many law firms had been doing for years – writing about the law and its impact on their clients, and then sharing it with them. As a term, content marketing is broader than that, but in terms of the legal industry, that’s pretty much the short version.

As we worked through the introduction of the terms, we separated people into two camps: the “broadcasters” and the “engagers.” The “broadcasters” treated social media and content marketing as a means to spread their message around, but without the end goal of developing community with anyone. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a different valuation – some of the goals that firms/lawyers who embrace this philosophy might be pursuing are reputation enhancement, being considered a thought leader on a particular subject, etc. Many firms/lawyers have been successful, and even built a large following this way, and spend little or no time engaging with their audience.
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Depending on your business/relationship development goals and strengths, one of your strategies may be to write and share content. When you’re considering augmenting your reputation and building your practice, it might seem counterintuitive to share the spotlight with someone else by quoting or referencing them in your articles and posts, but I’m here to tell you that it’s both essential, and a good business development practice. How so? 
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In today’s rainmaking recommendations post, coach and trainer, Jaimie Field is talking about what happens when you get writer’s block – and she event mentions yours truly!

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If content is king, what happens when you get writers’ block?

You are staring at a blank white screen on your computer, your hands poised nervously over the computer keyboard (or if you are old school, the  8”x14” yellow legal pad with a pen in your hands) waiting for some inspiration to hit you.

I have been plagued with writer’s block for a few days and have been wracking my brain for ideas; I have been scouring the internet for some revelation of what I could write about for this issue of Rainmaking Recommendations, and……..
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This morning, I’m bringing you a guest post from Lance Godard, of The Godard Group, who is sharing some excellent tips on how to use content to create and deliver value for readers. Have you been wondering how you bridge that gap between good writing, and great writing that catches the attention of potential clients, referral sources and influencers, and shows you to be a thought leader? Lance has the answers. For over 30 years, Lance has worked with lawyers and law firms to help them craft their messages, so if you’re looking for someone to help you with your content, look no further than The Godard Group.

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Blog posts, presentations, podcasts, and more: today there are more ways than ever for lawyers to market themselves and their firms. Whatever the method, though, it’s critical to remember that the most effective marketing is that which creates and delivers value to your clients and potential clients.
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You’ve probably heard a lot of chatter about “big data,” “data,” “metrics,” and other buzzwords, which can sound like a lot of fancy talk about things you can’t be bothered with (Spoiler alert: in general, it’s not).

While I’m not going to get into a big discussion about data and all the ways you can use it, I AM going to talk about two practical things you can use today in order to support and improve your content marketing efforts. If you’re thinking “hey, ‘content marketing’ sounds like something for other people to do, and not me!” ask yourself – do you write articles or blog posts? Do you participate in speaking engagements? Do you write memos that you send to your clients and prospects? Do you want more people to know about the kind of law you practice, and how you can help them? If the answer to any of those questions is “yes” then content marketing IS for people like you, too. And for our purposes, when I use the phrase “content marketing” I’m talking about the actions that we undertake to promote the written and oral work  you do as a lawyer to a wider audience – it’s likely something you’ve done all your career, but it just may not have been how you referred to it. 
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Today, I’m excited to bring you a guest post from my friend, Jennifer Simpson Carr. Jenn joined Lowenstein Sandler as a Business Development Manager in 2013. With 10 years of experience working in law firms across the US, she has worked extensively to help firms and attorneys engage target audiences and win new business in competitive markets. She recently attended and presented at the Legal Marketing Association’s Southeast Conference, where she gained some excellent, actionable advice that firms can implement immediately. Below, you’ll see her five takeaways from the conference, which range from client service to analytics to succession, and her advice for what action firms can take to implement them.

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Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in the LMA Southeast Conference (LMASE17), which I found to be one of the most inspiring and thought-provoking conferences in my 10+ years in the legal marketing profession.

I find conferences energizing. They offer the opportunity to connect with the legal marketing community, share ideas and strategies, and gain new perspectives. This conference was no different and set new standards of excellence.

LMASE17 offered three days packed with educational programming, many sessions addressing the topics that are top of mind for in-house business development and marketing professionals as well as the agencies that support them.

As I reviewed pages of notes and contemplated how to use some of this newly-acquired wisdom to make an impact, five themes stood out to me as strategic and actionable, and yet easy opportunities for any professional to affect change.
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