Seven Ways to More Effectively Use Your Downtime to Build Your Brand [VIDEO]
The long Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to focus your brand and business.
Of course take time to be with your family, but when you need a break from them (and all the turkey and pumpkin pie you’re consuming), take some time to actually do things that will support your brand for the rest of the year and into the new year because why not start now thinking ahead?
I don’t necessarily believe in resolutions. I think you should be improving yourself all throughout the year. And I don’t like to feel bad about the fact that I may have fallen off the resolution wagon.
Here are some things you can do to enhance your brand when you have a little extra time.
Focus on your LinkedIn profile. Make sure your cover image and your headline are customized and updated and reflect what you do and for whom you do it. Make it as easy as possible for people to find you by putting your contact information (include your phone number and email) front and center on your cover image. Don’t use a generic skyline image or one of LinkedIn’s templates – this is an opportunity to customize this big piece of real estate to support your marketing efforts.
Get more active on LinkedIn. Everyone – from the most senior executives to the most junior employees in the workforce today – should be using social media – especially LinkedIn – to position themselves as a subject matter expert in their respective industry. Your goal for social media is to simply go regularly and meaningfully use the social channels your clients are using. The individuals with the strongest LinkedIn brands are those who strategically share content that is helpful and value added. They also dedicate some of their posts to others by sharing and commenting on them which builds community. In addition, they post content on social media at the right time of day – during am and pm commuting hours. They also use free online tools such as canva.com (because visuals are powerful) and learn how to use the right hashtags (because hashtags enable your content to be more widely discovered).
Update your bio. This is a great time to look back on the past year and make sure that your bios (both your web site bio and your LinkedIn bio) are reflective of the awesome things that you’ve done, awards you’ve won, the unique experiences you’ve had, etc. Oftentimes if you don’t say you do something, people assume you don’t.
Speak up. Speaking engagements are a great way to demonstrate mastery of subject matter and connect in person with key people in your industry. They can also open many doors, such as leading to additional speaking opportunities, article writing, media placements, committee appointments, referrals and the very best case of all – a new client matter. Look at the conferences that are coming up in your industry and make a list of the ones you want to attend, but better yet, speak at. Track the dates of the conferences in a spreadsheet along with speaking proposal submission dates. Create a few speaking proposals which you can reuse and submit yourself for them. This really does work – I’ve gotten a lot of speaking engagements this way.
Become a thought leader. Raise your profile by publishing value-added content. The purpose of your content is to brand you as a leader in your practice area/industry and publishing regular content (aim for one article per month) helps to keep you top of mind with your network. Look back at the past year and ahead at the year to come, giving your insights and perspectives on important updates and trendsthat affect your clients. It’s a great touchpoint and makes people aware of your subject matter expertise and puts you back in the sphere of consciousness. Many firms have a direct gateway for their lawyers to publish thought leadership by authoring client alerts, thought leadership pieces and blog posts. If your firm doesn’t have any of these channels, you can publish content on LinkedIn. In addition, many local law journals are often seeking guest columnists to opine on recent landmark case decisions and the business of law in their special supplements – you just need to find their editorial calendars, get on their radar and pitch them a story idea or two. The trick here is to be proactive with editors if you are seeking to publish your content in a third-party publication, find your unique writing voice and always write with your readers in mind in terms they understand and about topics that resonate with them.
Repurpose your content. So many people make the mistake of creating a piece of content once and then they never post it again. That is a huge waste of time and effort, especially since people are busy and don’t always see our emails or LinkedIn posts. Plus LinkedIn only shows your content to a very small percentage of people who have interacted with it, follow you or who the algorithm thinks would enjoy your content. That’s why the onus is on you to bring your content to more people. And that’s where repurposing comes into the equation. If you feel uncomfortable about posting the same piece of content again, (you shouldn’t because most people don’t remember what they wore the day before or ate for breakfast, let alone what you posted on social media), you can use a different image or edit the introductory text. Let your content work harder for you – it’s just smarter marketing.
Send out a Thanksgiving, holiday or a New Year’s card. I know that many holiday cards can seem very generic like a snowflake or a tree or happy holidays in different languages… and I know you can do better. Find things that differentiate your organization, including highlights from the past year, incorporate your people, reuse photos from events and feature your pro bono and community service activities, maybe even add video messages from your employees. Some fun card ideas include making a playlist of your employees’ favorite holiday songs, holiday movies, holiday memories or your favorite recipes – it’s just a little different and unique.
Here’s a video with more on how to make the most of the long weekend to build your business and brand. Happy Thanksgiving! I’m so thankful for each of you.