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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iSGu85T8TXS9zXJ20iBU__MG_9585With Instagram offering multi-account support (yay!) from within the app, it’s an appropriate time to talk about some marketing strategies for how to get noticed for using Instagram professionally.

Instagram is my favorite social media platform, and if you’re not yet familiar with it, or using it, Wikipedia tells us that it is:

mobiledesktop, and Internet-based photo-sharing application and service that allows users to share pictures and videos either publicly or privately…Instagram lets registered users upload photos or videos to the service. Users can apply various digital filters to their images, and add locations through geotags. They can add hashtags to their posts, linking the photos up to other content on Instagram featuring the same subject or overall topic. Users can connect their Instagram account to other social media profiles, enabling them to share photos to those profiles as well. Originally, a distinctive feature of Instagram was its confining of photos to a square; this was changed in August 2015, when an update started allowing users to upload media at full size. In June 2012, an “Explore” tab was introduced, showing users a variety of media, including popular photos and photos taken at nearby locations, trending tags and places, channels for recommended videos, and curated content. Support for videos was originally launched in June 2013, and had a 15-second maximum duration and limited quality, with Instagram later adding support for widescreen and longer videos. Private messaging, called Instagram Direct, was launched with basic photo-sharing functionality in December 2013, and has gradually received major updates incorporating more features, most notably text support and “disappearing” photos. In August 2016, Instagram introduced a “Stories” feature, letting users add photos to a story, with the content disappearing after 24 hours. Instagram added live-video functionality to Stories in November 2016, augmented reality stickers in April 2017, and face filters in May 2017.”

Many of you may be thinking “so what? It sounds like something for kids to use, and not that big of a deal.” So let’s look at the usage statistics:

After its launch in 2010, Instagram rapidly gained popularity, with one million registered users in two months, 10 million in a year, and ultimately 700 million as of April 2017. Its users have uploaded over 40 billion photos to the service as of October 2015. As of April 2017, Instagram Direct has 375 million active users, while, as of June 2017, the Instagram Stories functionality has over 250 million active users. Instagram was acquired by Facebook in April 2012 for approximately US$1 billion in cash and stock. The popularity of Instagram has sparked an engaging community, including dedicated ‘trends’, in which users post specific types of photos on specific days of the week with a hashtag representing a common theme. Instagram has received positive reviews for its iOS app, and it has been named ‘one of the most influential social networks in the world’.”


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Grunge cracked zombie virus concept background with some soft smooth lines

In keeping with our theme of zombies (this is the last post on this for a while, I swear), when last we saw our intrepid band of beloved Walking Dead characters, they were coming up with a plan to fight Negan and the Survivors. Without a plan, they spent much of the previous season just reacting to a bad situation – they thought they had all the information they needed on Negan, and took out one of his outposts, only to learn it was a small segment of his followers, and **spoiler alert** people died.

While no one is going to die without a content marketing plan, a rigorous, strategic plan can turn what is haphazard actions taken with fingers crossed into an efficient formula for building your online reputation into something that works for you. A plan combats the two issues we addressed with hit-or-miss content marketing last week,

  1. You’re a busy person who needs efficient marketing that works for you.
  2. Your audience is comprised of busy people who won’t hunt through tons of content to find the gems.


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Grunge cracked zombie virus concept background with some soft smooth lines

On all The Walking Dead quizzes I’ve taken, the results always show that I’m a Carol (TWD fans, you know what I mean).

But we’re not fighting actual walkers (or Saviors) – just the zombiefication of legal content marketing that’s been happening over the last couple of years as the patina wears off on our shiny new toy of content. Who’s with me?

This week, we’re looking at the second tactic that Shane Snow of The Content Strategist outlines in his piece for combatting content zombies, and that’s data – YAY DATA! 
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Grunge cracked zombie virus concept background with some soft smooth lines

17 million people watched the October 23rd premiere of the 7th season of The Walking Dead.

Although the show is wildly popular because of its writing and its character development, it’s safe to say that it’s also a huge hit because, well, zombies.

Zombies may not be the biggest threat facing our friends on TWD at the moment, but it turns out that zombie-thinking IS the biggest threat facing our content marketing efforts in the legal industry.

That might sound extremely dire, but hear me out – as we look at the saturation point we’re reaching with content (both in and outside the legal industry) and we look at the lack of care a lot of us are giving to the details over the tools and the shiny new thing, we’re just blindly producing more and more and more and more, adding more noise (as Adrian Lurssen would say). 
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In yesterday’s Rainmaking Recommendation, rainmaking trainer and coach, Jaimie Field offers some great advice for how to write in a way that will get you noticed. I’d expand a little bit on what Jaimie has to say by adding that once you start writing, you want to continuously review what you’re writing to see what seems to be of most interest to people (what gets the most shares, comments, engagement) and then to write/produce more of that. Further, once you’ve figured out what your “key” keywords are, you can get a little in depth with Google to identify what the most popular ones are. We could get really into depth about this – and I won’t – but an easy way to see what people might be searching along with your keywords is to start typing them into a Google search – Google with then start to populate the search with the most popular searches. That may give you some additional ideas, both for other keywords to focus on, and for topics that you may want to address in your content. Read what Jaimie has to say for the full context! 
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photo-1461783436728-0a9217714694Two weeks ago, we took a look at two brands (Rolex and Farmers Insurance) who are doing content marketing right, with the idea being that when we look outside the legal industry, we can often find transferable lessons that can be applied to our own strategy and execution to improve what we’re doing.

The original post by Neil Patel looks at 8 brands, and this week, I want to look at two more of them for some additional inspiration – let’s stretch our collective imaginations and see how what those in completely different industries to our own are doing successfully might translate to legal!
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photo-1430462773665-fd261133b47fWhether you’re a law firm marketer or a lawyer who is writing, tweeting, posting to LinkedIn, or sharing content in another way, your primary goal is to remain relevant and valuable to your audience.

To do that, you’re constantly checking to ensure that what you’re authoring and sharing resonates with them – you review, you refine, you revise.

During that process, it is also extremely useful to look to what others are doing, both inside and outside the industry, to get inspiration for your own content marketing. It can be easy to discard what those outside of legal are doing as not “relevant” because you think the legal industry is too specialized. And while it IS special in its own way (as are all professions, by the way), it’s up to us to take what others are doing and translate that into useful lessons for our own use.

One of my favorite content marketing authors, Neil Patel, authored an excellent look at what eight of the world’s best brands are doing in their content marketing, and we’ll spend the next few weeks looking at some of them, and the lessons we can take for the legal industry. Your first impression may be to dismiss this as soon as you heard the word “brands,” but we’ll be looking at high-end companies like Rolex, and professional services firms like Farmers Insurance, so I think we can all agree that there are translatable lessons to be gained from them. 
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photo-1460400408855-36abd76648b9Now that it’s starting to be the dog days of summer, and many of you are out on vacation (me included – I wrote this post in advance!), it can be easy to let your content slide a little bit. “Nothing is going on,” “Everyone is away,” “I’m too busy,” “I don’t feel like it” – do any of those excuses sound familiar to you?

But the warm weather is no reason to let your content slide. If you stick to your editorial calendar, not only will you continue the momentum that you’ve started this year with strong, substantive work, but you’ll also stand out in a sea of people who are letting their content slack in the summer.

But it doesn’t mean that you always have to be coming up with something new and fresh – sometimes, you can revisit some of your old content, freshen that up a little bit, and repackage it in a way that doesn’t require you to invest too much time away from the pool or the beach, but still maximizes your efforts. Let’s look at two ways you can liven up old content this summer. 
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