As an attorney, it’s important to think not only about your firm’s reputation but also your own. Whether you just passed the bar or are a partner in a prestigious practice, cultivating and curating your personal brand is important for attracting clients.
One of the best ways to build your authority and name recognition is by writing bylined articles. Authoring thoughtful articles can be hard to make time for, but the return on your investment is far greater than you could imagine. Writing articles is one of the most cost-effective marketing techniques – especially if you already have a subscription to a legal directory that accepts submissions. It can bring lots of opportunities to you and your practice.
Writing articles to build your brand
There are many benefits to writing articles, but here are some of the biggies:
- It establishes you as a thought leader and expert in your practice area.
- You can toot your own horn. If you win a big case, it’s a great way to get some credit.
- It beefs up the “publications” section of your CV.
- It can bring in new clients if you write about an issue they are facing.
- It can lead to media opportunities if journalists want to interview someone about a topic you wrote about.
- It expands your digital footprint, so when prospective clients check you out on search engines there is more for them to find.
- You get an SEO boost from adding content to your own website or earning a link from an external publisher.
- Publishing articles is something you should do regularly to cultivate your online reputation. Having a portfolio of work demonstrates expertise among your peers and to potential clients. Search engines reward websites that stay active and put up new content on a regular basis by ranking them higher than static sites that are not actively engaged with an audience.
It used to be that people relied on word of mouth when they needed legal advice or called the phone number they saw on a billboard or commercial. While that’s still true, people increasingly turn to the Internet when they have a problem. Most prospective clients search online to find out more about the lawyer or law firm they’re considering. They want to know what you do, what you’re like, how you think, and how you focus on the client’s case. They also want to know where you went to school, cases you have won on behalf of past clients, and how well you know your area of law. The more information you have online, the more attention you gain for yourself.
Best legal directories to grow your personal brand
|Name||Ahrefs Domain rating||Article submissions allowed?||Do-follow link in articles?||Minimum price to be able to submit articles|
|#1||BestLawyers||81||Yes||Yes||Free with nomination|
|#5||Martindale – Nolo – Lawyers.com||86, 85, 83||Yes||Yes||$2,400 p/yr|
Methodology: We started with more than 100 legal directories. We eliminated small niche directories that only include particular specialties (ex. bankruptcy) and broad directories that include other types of professionals as well as lawyers (ex. real estate agents, accountants.) Then we focused on directories that have an Ahrefs domain rating of at least 30. That left us with 34 contenders. The best directories for growing your brand were chosen based on 4 main criteria: domain rating, allowing article submissions, do-follow links on articles, and price.
For this article, because cost is a factor, we grouped directories that sell listings as a bundle across multiple websites. For example, it is not possible to be listed on Martindale-Hubbell without also having a listing on Nolo and Lawyers.com. The three directories are owned by Internet Brands. Subscribers get premium listings on all three directories for $2,400 a year ($200 per month). No smaller package is available.
Some honorable mentions
There are some directories that don’t host articles themselves, but allow attorneys to link to their own blogs through an RSS feed or attach documents to their profiles. They include Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute (LII), Justia, LawLink, and LawyerLegion.
Question-and-answer forums are another venue for posting branded information online. While not as robust as an article, answering someone’s question about a legal issue can lead to landing a new client. Sites that offer Q&A forums include Avvo, Justia, FindLaw, Lawyers.com, US Legal, and LawGuru.
Take note that Lawyer Central, has attorney-bylined articles on its site with do-follow links to the authors’ firms, but there seems to be no new activity since 2014. Attorneys with premium accounts can post press releases under their names.