This month, we’re offering a series of blog posts and a free webcast all focusing on simple, actionable strategies firms can put in place to kick start their digital marketing plan. Be sure to check out our previous posts on creating a law firm website and gaining exposure on search engines, and download our webcast, “Attract and Keep Clients: Everything You Need to Know About Digital Marketing for Your Law Firm,” here.

There’s a good chance that your law firm is already on social media. Lawyers, paralegals, and legal assistants alike quickly put on marketing hats to update the firm Facebook page or retweet something relevant from a followed account. In the past Smokeball has provided many resources on how attorneys can best use social media to expand their networks, grow their business, and attract more clients.

However, most lawyers and attorneys are far less inclined to use social media to post article-length posts that position them as leaders in their area of law, jurisdiction, or personal passion project. These articles are what are commonly referred to as “thought leadership,” and if you’ve ever been on LinkedIn, Medium, Quartz, Huffington Post, Forbes, etc. then you’ve likely already read a lot of thought leadership.

Thought leadership “provide(s) clarity, especially to industries that are in flux.” It is “about sharing insights and ideas— and a unique point of view—that provoke new ways of thinking, spark discussions and debates, and inspire action.” It can take any form, but can be included in your law firm’s content marketing plan via long-form posts, short blogs, infographics, slideshares, social posts, digital video, podcasts, sharing relevant news/others’ materials (with additional commentary), etc.

According to Forrester, thought leadership affects brand-building and sales at every stage of a customer’s journey:

So thought leadership not only provides more exposure for yourself and your firm, it also helps to position you as a leader in your industry and/or local geography. All of this has the potential to drive new leads and grow your business.

But many lawyers next ask: “What am I supposed to write about?”

This is the easy part. You should write about anything that you have expertise and/or passion about. If you’re a family lawyer you should write about issues related to adoptions, for instance. More to the point, you can tie your expertise to local news events. For example, you could write about how virtual courts are making virtual adoptions more of the norm, and then share your thoughts on it.

You don’t have to blow people’s minds with new insights. You can simply give your spin on what other people may be thinking. People, after all, are more likely to engage with content that they agree with, so writing something “new” isn’t necessarily the point. Likewise, many people would assume that writing less would help people engage more. But that’s actually not true: the more words you write, the more people engage. Aim to write at least 2,000 words for each post.

Next, attorneys might now ask: “How do I get started?”

Again, if you’re on LinkedIn, you already have a ready-made platform. At the top of the home screen instead of writing in the textbox marked “Start a post,” click to the right where it says, “Write article.” From there you’ll be presented with a very intuitive screen that looks much like the MS Word app you already use for everything else.

Once you’ve written your article—including pictures, links, pull quotes, etc. to make it more interesting to look at—post it not only to your personal page, but also to your firm’s page, your alumni pages, any bar association pages, etc. At this time LinkedIn only allows personal users (so not your firm) to write articles, so feel free to add a personal note explaining why you wrote it.

Finally, as explained in the marketing webinar linked above, be sure to post consistently. Even if you post once a quarter it gives people something to rely on. However, if you’re able to post once a week or once a month people will start seeing you as a steady stream of insights and information, making your articles that much more valuable.

Feel free to tag Smokeball in your posts. If and when you do, we’ll happily share them with our network, too!