While people go online for a variety reasons, at one time or another, most people will probably use the Internet to solve a problem. In fact, aside from consuming news & stalking your friends on facebook, I would venture to guess that some form of problem-solving is probably contributes to a great deal of Internet usage and search behavior. That is why, as the owner of a law firm, everything that you do online to grow your professional reputation should be designed around solving problems.
This really should come as no surprise. As it has been since ancient times, people call upon advocates to help them solve their problems. Whether it be answering questions, counseling through difficult decisions, or litigating their matters at court, lawyers have always been called upon to solve our problems. And so, the first step to any online professional reputation development should be brainstorming your potential clients' problems.
What Is The Problem?
Unfortunately, many legal professionals conclude that the problem their prospective clients are facing is that they don't know enough about them. That is why they spend so much time and effort adding biographical information about themselves. They write about how hard they work and how much experience they have. They include images about professional awards that they have won and the number of years it has been since they first got their license. But is this truly the problem that prospective clients have? Are they out looking for this information? Perhaps eventually, but not at first.
Solving Their Problems
The first problems they are trying to solve have to do with them. How can I get out of this financial mess? How will I pay my bills now that I can't work because of an injury? What amount of jail time may I be facing for my drunk driving arrest? These are the problems that Internet using prospective clients are trying to solve. And these are the problems that legal professionals should be helping to solve online.
And so, your online professional reputation building should be invested in techniques that solve problem. Here are some excellent ways to help solve-problems online:
- Blogging - Blogging about the problems that your prospective clients are facing, and more important, how you can help them solve them, is one of the most effective ways to communicate the value of your services online.
- Q & A Sites - Sites that provide forums for questions and answers are another great opportunity to help prospectice clients solve problems online.
- Content Syndication - In addition to developing problem-solving content, it's important to get that content in front of those that have the problems that you're trying to answer. That is why content syndication is so important.
- Commenting on Blogs - You may be surprised as to how effective blog commenting can be in terms discussions and problem solving.
- Educational Materials - Whether in the form of guide downloads, e-books, traditional books, or videos, providing a variety of educational materials geared at solving problems is extremely effective online.
So the next time you find yourself tweaking your "about us" or "attorney profile" pages, spend some time thinking "about them". What are their problems? How do you help them solve those problems? How can you effectively communicate your ability to help them solve those problems.
Once you have addressed their problem and how you may be able to help them solve it, only then is it time to communicate your adeptness for solving those problems. Interestingly, it has a lot less to do with where you went to law school and how long you have practiced than it does about how you are able to communicate your ability to solve their specific problem.