LMA Virginias members Andrew K. Ryan and Mike C. Gray of Hellerman Baretz recently authored an article in Virginia Lawyers Weekly discussing ways to distinguish your firm through the use of branded content. Although we recommend reading the entire article for real-life examples and insight, some highlights are condensed below:
- What is Branded Content, and How Do I Use It Effectively?
Branded content is specialized information that is delivered directly to clients and/or consumers and is clearly branded/owned by a particular organization. Branded content can take many forms, such as blogs, surveys, reports, etc. and is a powerful marketing and business development tool.
- Identify a specific audience and then research what that audience is looking for.
Mike and Andrew note that general counsel consistently point to specific expertise as a critical asset that they consider when hiring outside counsel. Therefore, it is important to be as specific as possible when finding an area of the law to examine in a branded content piece.
- Choose the Right Vehicle
Although law firms are often quick to shy away from new ideas, a fresh perspective and engaging approach might be exactly what a firm needs to reach its target audience. This is especially true when creating a branded content idea.
For example, several years ago Ford & Harrison, a national labor and employment law firm, wanted to highlight its workplace employment law practice. In order to break through the clutter of the web, Ford & Harrison understood that its approach had to be creative and fun. In 2006, Ford & Harrison launched the blog “That’s What She Said…” based on the popular catchphrase from “The Office.”
The blog follows the antics of the characters in the show and analyzes the employment law issues that arise, such as harassment, ethics, and whistleblowing. In addition to the analysis, the writers also assign a litigation dollar amount to give context as to how damaging a particular issue or activity on the show could be to a real company. The blog has been an enormous success and has helped to expand the workplace employment law practice’s business. Beyond showing clients how workplace issues could affect their bottom line, the blog’s irreverent tone made it attractive to media, who used “That’s What She Said” as a tool for researching and understanding employment law issues.
- Leverage Knowledge
Branded content doesn’t have to be generated internally, but can be a collection of information from industry experts and leaders. One of the best ways to do achieve this goal is through a survey, a popular technique to gauge a group’s collective feeling on a specific topic or trend. The results of a survey can be shared with the media and used to position your firm as a thought leader in media outlets and across relevant industries.
How have you and your firm used branded content successfully? (Or unsuccessfully!) What tips would you share with your fellow legal marketers?
Original information appeared in the March 26th edition of Virginia Lawyers Weekly.