Historically, lawyers have held their professional knowledge cards very close to theirs vests. Like the veteran poker player, the less information revealed, the better.
The mantra was, “If everyone else knows what I know, my knowledge will become less valuable.” It was believed that sharing knowledge, skills, and experiences with colleagues and clients would somehow diminish the value of the knowledge.
Slowly, these traditions started to erode, and legal professionals began to realize that there was more to gain from sharing than from isolating.
Today, while there is certainly some proprietary legal knowledge, sharing is the rule rather than the exception.
This concept is most applicable to professional reputation development on the web.
When you filter out the noise, growing your online professional reputation really comes down to one simple concept: exposing your expertise to relevant audiences in a professional manner.
Michelle Golden articulates this important concept:
Firms also talk about putting valuable content and tools behind this client-only wall. This is exactly opposite of what your content strategy should be. Put your content and tools “out front” where people can see how brilliant and generous you are.
And recognize other audiences are using your site a lot more than clients ever will.
In his post, Example of WWGD? in action, Patrick Lamb harnesses this advice and distills it down to its essence:
The Gospel according to Google. Share content and figure out how to make money by doing so. In Michelle’s example, sharing content is the avenue to new clients.
This is also the blueprint for building your legal practice online: Share your knowledge and experiences in a way that demonstrates to both clients, as well as, your professional legal community, your expertise.
The web is particularly adept at providing professionals with the means by which to share, participate, and discuss. These also happen to be some of the most effective ways to build professional relationships and reputation.
Photo by John-Morgan