People don't like to start on new projects the last few days of December. The pre-holiday bustle that focuses around family, food, faith, fa-la-la and folly has subsided, and we look ahead to the first full week of January to really start work. This year, these last December days are "lost" days if we don't seize them and dedicate them to simple, yet constructive things.
Like not letting one more minute pass before you update your website biographies. Face it - it's long overdue. Don't wait to make it a New Year's resolution (along with "I will lose 10 lbs, stop eating M&Ms, observe highway speed postings and call my brother more often"). Here are some things you can do in 30 minutes or less -- and a few other things you can do during your next website refresh.
Each year, Content Pilot publishes “Ten Foundational Best Practices” for law firm websites, and Lawyer Biographies is one of them. The company analyzes AmLaw 100 firms based on the Ten FBPs and will release the research findings in late January 2013. The housekeeping items below are the attributes of the Lawyer Biography Foundational Best Practice. If you invest this bio update time during these lost December days, you'll start the year with a best practices bio to boot.
Things you can do in 30 minutes or less (You will need the help of your marketing team, but I know they'll be happy to help you.):
- Rewrite the first 150 characters (not words, characters, which include punctuation and spaces) of your bio so that it is compelling and relevant to your practice. Google and other search engines will pick up the first 100-150 characters - arguably the most valuable professional real estate you can own. What do you want potential clients to see when they Google your name? Focus on that.
You know your practice. You know for what you want to be known. This shouldn't take more than 10 minutes to write.
- Rewrite the rest of your overview paragraph. Don't tell who you are (Partner in the labor and employment section of XYZ law firm, Board Certified, blah blah blah), tell what you do and for whom you do it. Here is a good example:
John Smith represents trademark, brand and copyright owners around the world in disputes, enforcement efforts, trademark acquisitions and stopping counterfeits. His clients include consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, software companies, real estate developers, and service providers.
It is loaded with keywords that are critical to John's practice.
Again, you know what you do. This shouldn't take longer than 12 minutes to write - you already have the first 150 characters done.
- Do not use Mr. or Ms. throughout your bio. It's so old-fashioned and impersonal. If you want to get hired over your competitor across the country or down the street, humanize your bio. Be approachable.
This will take your webmaster 3 minutes to do.
- Update your LinkedIn profile and keep your Twitter feed active. Then add your social media icons to your website bio.
Your webmaster and maybe your developer will need a few minutes to add these links/icons. But updating your LinkedIn profile will only take about 10 minutes.
- Study and be critical of your practice and industry lists to which you link on your bio. Too many lawyers have a long list of 10 or more links. This does not add credibility to your profile. To pare this down, answer the questions: what do I want to be known for? What will I be known for in 3 years? 5 years? Ignore the practices that occupied you 10 years ago unless those are still critical to your livelihood (and your firm's strategy) today.
If you are comfortable self-analyzing, this won't take more than 5 minutes. If you don't like to self-analyze, get over it - at least for this. Your marketing team can help you.
- Visitors to every law firm website want to know 3 things: What you've done, for whom you've done it and what, specifcally, you can do for them. So - update the experience on your bio and be as specific as your state bar association allows.
If you haven't been keeping it current, this could take awhile. This is the most important bio commitment you can make.
- Finally, add your latest news articles, publications, e-alerts, etc. to your website and cross-link to them. Your marketing team is most likely doing this already. But confirm that they have everything that's relevant to your practice.
Take a few minutes and delete links that are no longer relevant to what you are doing. Including a long list of 30 articles that were written 20-30 years ago doesn't add credibility, either (unless they are seminal articles in important publications).
All this will only take 10 minutes if you've been keeping it fairly current.
Please use these lost days of December. When we roll around to January 2nd, you'll feel so much better about starting this new year.