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Your Law Firm Marketing Your Way to the Top

Creating a publicity platform does not have to mean hiring a high-priced public relations firm or new in-house staff to help get the word out about your law firm. But it is an essential part of marketing the value of your firm and its services that involves a step-by-step comprehensive plan to build a platform for publicity that will promote your firm's services and achievements year after year. Here's how: Seven Steps to Create a Publicity Platform for Your Firm 1.

Make your Web site the centerpiece. All components of your publicity platform must be designed to steer prospective clients and the larger community to your Web site. The high-priced videos and animation that some firms are outsourcing to specialists can backfire as merely annoying to Web site visitors who would rather not waste time sifting through all the bells and whistles to get to the meaty information.

Make your focus the "meaty information:" who you represent and how you do it; fresh testimonials from your clients; a section entitled "For Your Information" with client problem-solving success stories; a section with staff stories. Visit 10 or 20 top law firm Web sites for ideas on how to best present your law firm's value and services. 2. Promote your expertise in writing. There are dozens of free article directories and also trade publications that will allow you to submit articles that promote your expertise and unique perspective. Many smaller law firms are using www.

craigslist.org to hire the services of professional writers to prepare articles and news releases on a per-project basis. Once your articles get distributed, the media will pick them up and your name gets published in many places simultaneously linking back to your business. Your articles also can become the centerpiece of e-newsletters. Most local chamber of commerce Web sites now post local media directories. Also consider submitting opinion pieces to local newspapers.

Integrate these materials into "News Releases," "Articles," "Newsletter" and "In the News" sections on your Web site. 3. Promote your expertise out loud. Join local organizations that include your prospective clients as members.

Ask to be a speaker on topics of general interest that also hone in on your unique value and service to the community. Contact local radio and television stations and let producers know that you are available for interviews. Immigration, politics, employment, education and real estate are "hot button" topics.

With the aging of the Baby Boom generation, so are trust and estate law issues, elder law and other legal matters of interest to this huge demographic. Do a www.Google.com search of news articles on areas of the law in which you specialize, and use them as your springboard for your approach. 4. Make it personal.

Personal contacts remain a huge piece of any publicity platform. Vow to make time to attend public functions and association meetings in your community, and bring your business cards with you. Invite people to make appointments to visit your office. Promote your value to the community by engaging in public service projects such as Habitat for Humanity or local charities.

Prospective clients who know that you care about the community will know that you will care about them. 5. Partner up. Becoming a partner with a local charity, school board or business organization is a smart way to share the expense and time in building your publicity platform. Study local newspaper listings of community organizations and hone in on those that represent your ideal client pool. Then offer to become a sponsor or volunteer of an association event.

Offer to host a meeting, or co-host an event at a 'partner' location. 6. Let clients and prospective clients tell your story.

Interview existing clients for testimonials and post those on your Web site. Always ask for recommendations at the end of client interfaces. Don't assume clients will take that step unless you ask them. Let prospective clients know about your services, and encourage them to let other prospective clients know you are available.

Your word-of-mouth publicity campaign will grow fast. 7. Don't neglect your platform. Review all of the steps above at some scheduled time of your choice to be sure the platform you are using for publicity is always current.

To be comprehensive, don't focus all your efforts on one piece of your publicity platform, ignoring other vital components. Update your Web site with new information each month or at least each quarter. Gather up testimonials from your old and new clientele. Keep abreast of news developments in your area of expertise to create new articles and news releases. Make new contacts and attend community functions every month.

Ruth Klein is a branding, marketing, publicity and time management consultant to law firms and business professionals ranging from solo entrepreneurs to the Fortune 500. As an award-winning business owner with a master's degree in clinical psychology, Klein brings her unique, results-driven insights, expertise and practical solutions to her law firm clients. For more information, visit http://www.ruthklein.com .

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