How Lawyer Ladies Can Use Their Career Expertise to Build a Personal Brand

By: Heather Tranen

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We live in a world where just simply doing a good job in your role is no longer enough. If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it actually fall? If we do good work and know our stuff, but don’t tweet about it, does it even matter? How do you build a personal brand without seeming over-the-top?

I recently showed a group of amazing ladies from the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania how to get started on building their personal brand. Managing identities as both a woman and a minority makes it difficult to grasp the concept of building a personal brand without feeling like one is bragging or being obnoxious. Studies show it’s especially crucial for women to be their own cheerleaders. In male-dominated fields such as law, it’s an especially-sensitive art to master.

In today’s society, it’s becoming increasingly important to not only do a good job in our work, but to establish ourselves as industry experts and share our expertise to the Twitterverse, Instagrammers, and Linkedin connections. Through an effective personal brand, we attract clients, influence others, and become more respected by our peers for our work.

Below are some takeaways from this session that will help other lawyer ladies build their personal brands and share their expertise outside of the office.

Be yourself.

The most important part of personal branding is simple, but perhaps the most difficult. Be yourself. Your voice is your power, and I want you to make sure you’re leveraging yours in the best possible way. Having knowledge is one thing, but sharing it is what sets you apart as a real thought leader.

Regardless of your audience, platform, or forum, knowing and understanding who you are and how you provide value is imperative. During our session, we did my favorite character-building exercise: I challenged the women to define what they believe to be their personal brand. Here’s what I came up with for myself:

Forward-thinking career and content strategist who gets to the point and uncovers your best self. English major geek. Recovering New Yorker. Bravo enthusiast. Mom of two boys who always have dirty faces.

[Related: Authenticity Might be the Key Ingredient for Career Success]

Getting started.

During a webinar hosted by Shewolf, founder Jordan Lacenski shared, “Your personal brand is what other people think about when they hear your name.” What do people think when they hear yours? You’re responsible for putting the information you want at the front of their minds.

I asked the group if they wanted people to think of cheese fries, litigation, immigration law, or something totally different. There are a variety of ways to share knowledge and connect with constituents. Making yourself visible is important! This can be through engaging on Twitter or with the right people at your firm through networking events.

To build a strong personal brand, you want to make sure you are choosing the right platforms (this can be within the virtual space, such as on social media, or the real world, within meetings and conferences). Also, think about your message — what do you want to say? What is your expertise? What are your goals?

Get on the right platform.

Consider your audience. Who are your target clients? Where do you find them? Strategically reaching them is key.

Remember to start small. Pick one platform that you think your audience is on and go full-force. No one is expecting you to be a social media guru out of the gate.

Content is king. Be consistent.

Make sure you’re posting a good amount, but don’t be obnoxious. Most people don’t read a thing. Telling stories in pretty pictures or gifs will grab people’s attention.

Sharing is caring.

Share what cool people are doing. The bigger the following, the better. This will get you noticed in their realm and have them see what you’re doing, too. Think about how you’d act in real life. Have dialogues. Engage.

Keep in mind that hashtags are the secret code you need to get into the cool parties. Piggybacking off of big ones will help you to get noticed and be part of the community.

[Related: How to Get Press for Your Business]

Work smarter.

There are tools out there to help you schedule and manage your postings. Hootsuite is what I use. Feedly is a great way to aggregate content to find articles to post. Anything you can do to keep consistent, quality content will help you stay visible and interesting.

Get in with LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool in many ways. You can target clients by having a compelling, searchable headline and share content through its blog feature. You can also make connections with the right people and participate in industry-specific groups.

Get out there IRL.

Folks need to see you to hear you. Get out there. Don’t just attend conferences — present at them. Join affinity groups and participate in (or even organize) networking events. Whatever direction you go in, it’s important to take initiative beyond the everyday grind of your job.

Invest time in yourself and in your interests. So many women are apprehensive about putting ourselves out there. Channel some confidence while mastering the sharing of yourself.

Have fun with all of this!

Building a personal brand serves as a way to express your creativity, build meaningful relationships, create more visibility for yourself and your firm, and establish yourself as a true innovator in your field.

[Related: Communicating With Impact: Ten Elements of Effective Messaging]

As the founder of Schtick, Heather Tranen helps the pragmatically passionate find their schtick and make stuff happen. She believes that finding a meaningful career goes beyond blindly following passion. It takes hard work, introspection, and a little dose of reality. She partners with individuals and companies to help people discover and channel their value.

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