Tuesday, April 17, 2012
In theory, writing your attorney profile should really be the easiest part of building your new website, but for many of our firms, the development comes to halt as the attorneys put off drafting their biographies for inclusion on the site. The truth is, most people don’t like talking about themselves and they find it challenging to present their background in a way that is interesting and engaging to a complete stranger. Here are a few simple steps which will help you put pen to paper:
Put on Your Visitor Cap
When developing any type of marketing messaging, it’s important that you step back and take a moment to think about your intended audience. Are you trying to appeal to prospective clients or are you looking to network with other firms in the area that might refer certain clients your way given your unique experience? Determining who you are writing for is an important first step in drafting an effective bio.
Once you’ve pinpointed your audience, think about your professional profile as a story which should resonate with your readers. If you are an estate planning attorney whose specialty is special needs planning, be sure to explain why. Perhaps you witnessed the struggle that many families face firsthand when your nephew was diagnosed with autism or you volunteered at a local children’s hospital while you were in law school. For parents coming to your site, the knowledge that you actually have first-hand experience and an understanding of their concerns is incredibly valuable. Do not be afraid to be personal with website visitors. By the same token, don’t be afraid to be a little cocky. Here is your place to shine. Don’t refrain from listing accomplishments in fears of looking boastful; at the end of the day, visitors are evaluating whether you’re worthy to be their trusted advisor.
Whenever you embark on a new writing project, it’s important that you create an outline. It doesn’t have to be very thorough but it should have the major points you want to include. There is nothing worse than when you draft a compelling bio and then realize you forgot a very important piece of your career puzzle.
Call On Your Team
If you’re still struggling to begin, consider making this a group activity in the office. Have each staff member create a list of questions and put everyone’s name into a hat. Have everyone pick a name and interview the person they’ve selected. When being interviewed, people tend to be more candid and exhibit less hesitation in talking about themselves. This is a good team activity as you get to learn more about your colleagues and can help you pinpoint key information to include. If you have a skillful writer in the office, you may turn over the results so she can work on putting the answers into paragraph format and ensure that each profile has a consistent voice. Or if you’re trying to differentiate your website from the average attorney site, you might even consider including your profiles in interview format.
Create Your Own Focus Group
Most writers agree that it is difficult to evaluate their own work with an objective prospective. Keep in mind that your profile is intended to teach a complete stranger about your experience. Once you have your profile drafted, send it to trusted contacts and ask them what they think. Of course, you know your contacts but that doesn’t mean they know all about your practice or the exact nature of the cases that you handle. Call upon these people to serve as a focus group to review and evaluate your website.
Revisit Your Profile Often
When you post your bio to your website, keep in mind that it can be changed and in fact it should be changed as your career evolves and you acquire more feathers in your cap. Schedule a time twice a year where you thoroughly review your profile page and make any necessary updates.