Marketing in the Legal World

We can all agree that a marketing strategy at a law firm is very different than one at a … software company, for example. Instead of speaking about the importance of workplace collaboration or how interesting the latest trending app is, lawyers will broach dense topics like intellectual property laws, immigration concerns or data privacy.

California-based Criminal Defense Attorney Grant Bettencourt told The Huffington Post that whenever potential clients have legal questions or worries, they turn to the internet for answers, usually before speaking to an attorney.

“This is where content marketing can really prove invaluable,” Bettencourt explained. “When legal practices publish engaging content that answers these questions, practices can raise their own profile and further establish themselves as a local leader on these hot issues.”

What’s content marketing?

It’s all about driving profit through words, images, video, infograpics and more. Content can really be anything from a web page to a testimonial.

How to do content marketing for your law firm

Once a law firm has grounded their practice as a thought leader, they can draw in new clientele and grow into a thriving business. Yet, the question remains: How can law firms successfully market their practices to the outside world? Here are a select few tips for achieving just that:

Keep it simple

You don’t have to publish articles and videos every day to develop a solid marketing strategy. Essentially, focus on quality – not quantity. Google currently places immense value on thought leadership, instead of just filling up your website’s blog or social media platforms with unnecessary – or even annoying – content. What’s thought leadership? It’s that unique position your company has where it actually differs from the competition, but still operates in the industry space. If your law firm excels at customer service and communication, maybe you provide ideas on how to improve customer service.

Keep it clear

You won’t be writing to other lawyers, most likely. While you don’t need to “dumb it down,” you do need to reach your audience on their level. They are concerned, worried, confused and you want to present yourself as the answer to all their problems. Present difficult topics in a way that is easy to digest and point to yourself as the expert to answer any other questions they may have.

Keep it interesting and relevant

In today’s mobile world, you want to present topics and ideas that are innovative or engaging – not dry and outdated. Find trending issues or local cases and then relate them to your law firm and area of expertise. Overall, remember that even the simplest and most effective marketing strategies tend to have the most effect in an increasingly connected world.

Need a tool for content marketing?

Try Webinars

Fierce Conversations

Confrontation is a necessary part of relationships, especially in the workplace. You and your coworkers will consider different courses of action the best option when problems arise or during strategic planning moments. There are a few different approaches you can take during those moments:

  1. Pretend the conflict doesn’t exist, avoiding it at all costs and preserving your tepid relationship with your coworker. Make brief eye contact with said coworker in the hallways, and engage in curt small talk when absolutely necessary. Repeat until one party retires from the company.
  2. Address the conflict directly using large hand motions to support your claims, and mostly unrelated personal information to attack your antagonist’s credibility. Make sure you yell loudly, because the one who yells the loudest is the most right.
  3. Use a communication model to address the issue at hand efficiently, increase understanding of your coworker’s perspective and thought process, and strengthen the relationship in the process.

Yeah, it’s pretty evident which one works best. But it’s human nature to choose options 1 or 2.

Healthy confrontation can improve relationshipsBusinessman with clenched fist on the desk at office

Confrontation can actually help relationships grow, but it needs to be carried out in a thoughtful and productive manner. Think about your friends, girlfriend or boyfriend, spouse or partner. Have you avoided confrontation there? Or has disagreement improved the relationship?

It can happen at work, too. That’s part of the reason Courtney Graham, ReadyTalk’s Sr. Director of Human Resources, instituted a take on the Fierce Conversations model to allow for productive conflict.

“Basically, we have a formula that lets you get the issue out in one minute: here’s the issue, here’s the impact it’s having on me, here’s my fingerprint in it, and if nothing changes, this is the outcome I see happening,” says Courtney. “Then you stop talking, and listen.” 

The hardest part is being actually open to what the other person says. It’s very easy to call an audible and switch to strategy 2 from above — to get angry — when the person across from you opposes everything you believe. But with Fierce Conversations, it’s important to identify those trigger points so they be can effectively managed throughout the discussion.

What’s a trigger point?

A trigger point is the word that drives you crazy, or the behavior, or the pattern of thought — it’s the things the other person might say that would cause you to lose your cool.

Ask questions

From that point on, it’s about getting curious and asking questions.

For instance, instead of saying, “The way I pronounce the word tomato is correct and the way you pronounce it is incorrect,” one might ask, “Why do you pronounce the word tomato that way?”

The question allows greater insight into the other person’s perspective, and that perspective allows you to better evaluate the merits of their view. As both parties continue to recognize the disagreement, the conversation can progress to conclusion and build a relationship. In fact, the parties may never reach a consensus, but ultimately, salsa must be made — you can disagree, but move forward.

“We walk away feeling closer in our relationship whether we agree or disagree,” says Courtney. It’s about providing a structure that allows people not just a way to settle their differences, but creates a greater understanding of all facets of an issue: “it’s giving people strategies so they can make the right decisions for themselves and the business.”

Engage in Active Listening

You’re talking with someone at work. You’re exchanging information. You’re enjoying it, but after you walk away, do you really know what they said?

In other words, were you really listening?

What is active listening?

It’s listening with the intention to understand. And the understanding part is important.

  • Understand what someone says.
  • Ask for clarification if needed.
  • Sum up what was said, and verify.

Use phrases like, “I think what you’re saying is ____. Is that right?”

Don’t listen to respond

Use active listeningSometimes, because we’re human, we listen to respond. In fact, before someone’s done with their sentence, we’re already figuring out what to say next. We have the comment in our head so intently, that we can’t actually process what’s being said. We’ve missed the opportunity to understand.

It’s hard because adults have an attention span of — depending on who you ask — about 7 – 22 seconds. By the time you’ve read this far in this blog post, you may’ve already gotten called away. Communication helps people get the most of the 7 – 22 seconds. But it’s more than that, it’s about true engagement.

Why active listening?

It’s hard, but it’s worth the effort. It builds trust. It ensures you have the facts right. And it enables you to respond with understanding. This is especially important when there’s disagreement. (Disagreement is healthy, too.)

In order to engage in true conversation, listening is important. Listen hard. Listen without thinking of the next thought and with your full attention.

I Want to Own Time

Retro alarm clock on wooden table

I want to own time.

It’s not the first time that phrase has ever been said, but we’re getting closer to making that statement a reality.

Generation 1: Saving time

If we take a look at ReadyTalk’s beginnings back in 2001, we created a way to be really productive and share ideas — all without having to be physically together — with our audio and web conferencing services. Using our services, people had the ability to get together to communicate something without the inconvenience of having to be there. Since then, we’ve been iterating on that idea. You know, we’ve been improving it incrementally to continue to save time and enable people to be more productive. In other words, by freeing you to work where and when you want, we’ve helped you control time.

But it’s just one piece of the big picture. Let’s call it “Generation 1”; you don’t have to be there, so you’ve saved time.

Okay, so what’s next?

Generation 2: Time-shifting

Similar to how the consumption of television toward on-demand has changed over the course of time, we want to use that same principle in the workplace. The consumption of content happens when and wherever people want, using whatever device they want.

We’re taking a similar approach, freeing organizations from wasting time monitoring the minor details of employees’ routines. We believe that when and how you do things don’t matter, just as long as you achieve the same objectives. In other words, workers can really telecommute faster and easier.

While that’s good — ReadyTalk is going beyond that to truly time shift.

  • What if you could consume content on-demand just like you do Game of Thrones or your other favorite television show?
  • What if you could be bi-locate, be in two places at once?
  • What if you could consume that information in a third of the time?  
  • What if you could focus on just the information you wanted — fast-forwarding past the stuff that just gets in the way?
  • What if your meeting was smart — doing things that you found mundane, like sending out notes and emails?
  • What if your meeting was spun into other on-demand content like slides and blog posts for your audience to consume in addition?

That’s controlling time!

We’re exploring all the ways that make it possible to truly “own time.” From voice recognition to artificial intelligence (AI) and more … we aren’t leaving any possibilities behind.

Stay-tuned for more to come.

How to Improve Communication and Communication Types

You know communication is important in the workplace. From discussing last month’s earnings to giving department-wide presentations, there’s no end to the amount of communication that occurs in the office.

Group at computer iStock_000008462068Large copyWhat you may not know, however, are the three main types of communication — verbal, visual, and written. You also may struggle with which tools and method will help with each one and why use it. Here are a few reasons why every different type of communication is important in the workplace, starting with the least interactive and moving to the most:

Written

Instant message (IM) and text

It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s informal. But it’s not always the best way to get updates or information. Sensitive topics that could cause issues shouldn’t be covered here.

Email

No matter what new technology has been introduced, email has withstood the test of time – at least so far. This form of communication is necessary for client or customer interactions, along with semi-formally addressing coworkers or employees about certain information. It’s a little more formal than IM or a text.

As it only hits on written communication, it lands at the bottom of the interactive communication spectrum. Despite its limitations, emails are likely to be necessary and useful for years to come.

Verbal

Phone calls

Just picking up the phone to talk to a coworker or client can be far more effective than emails, yet still only hits on one category of communication: verbal. Phone calls are great for information conversations or short meetings, yet do have various shortcomings. Regardless, this straightforward, quick form of communication will also be an integral part of the workplace for at least the near future.

Visual

Webinars

Although you can discuss with people, visually, webinars tend to be one-way communication vehicles. You’re relaying information and you want people to understand. They can have interactive components — like polls — but they’re not generally thought to be two-way sharing.

Video chats and webcasts

This tool is especially useful for remote workers or clients located far away. Video chats cover verbal, visual and written with chat functions and more. They’re interactive. Not only are you able to see the individuals you are speaking to, you can see how well they’re responding to your topic or opinion, ensuring a better and more authentic flow of communication.

Face-to-face

All in all, face-to-face continues to be one of the best forms of communication. While the possibilities are limitless for face-to-face meetings, the problem is that many remote workers, including those who telecommute for the day, or distant clients simply can’t meet with you one-on-one everyday. This is why innovative video collaboration services can connect your office – no matter where you are.