Personal Branding

How badass lawyer ladies can take their career expertise outside of the courtroom and build a personal brand

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 s*it, 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 super badass ladies from the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania and their guests how to get started on building their personal brand. Managing identities as both a woman and a minority make 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 a male-dominated field 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 also 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.

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Below are some takeaways from this session that will help other badass lawyer ladies build their personal brand and help them 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 (in the right way) is what sets you apart as a real thought leader.

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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, where 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. 

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 to connect with constituents. Making yourself visible is important! This can be through engaging in Twitter or engaging with the right people at your firm through networking events.

Overall, 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 social media, or the real world, like meetings and conferences).

Also, think about your message - what do you want to say? What are your expertise? What are your goals?

Get on the right platform

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This shows the reach of the popular platforms. 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). I doubt that this has reached the law industry but most people don't read a thing. Trying to tell stories in fun pretty pictures or gifs/jifs (whatever the kids are saying these days) will grab people’s attention. Gifs are great resources

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 eventually too. Think about how you’d act in real life. Have dialogues. Engage. Also 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

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.

Who’s doing it well. Believe it or not, some lawyers are out there doing cool stuff on social media! Here are some examples I shared during the session:

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Get in with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a powerful tool in many ways. You can both 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.

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Get out there IRL. Folks need to see you to hear you. Get out there and not only attend conferences, but present at them. Join affinity groups and participate (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.

When in doubt think like a white man. So many women are apprehensive about putting ourselves out there in this way. Traditionally, white men don’t give a crap if what they say is compelling or interesting. Channel some of that confidence, while mastering the sharing of yourself.

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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.

Need help? Feel free to contact me for a free consultation!

Schtick Guest Blogs for Switchboard | Be Your Own Unicorn: Building a Strong Personal Brand

Thanks for inviting us to guest blog for you, Switchboard! It was great to share my thoughts with higher ed professionals about how to build a strong personal brand. 

There is so much buzz (read: extremely annoying buzz words) around building a strong personal brand. How can you own the internet? How can you make sure you are the go-to person for your area of expertise? The jargon and the tools suffocate, and at times, choke your very essence to death. As a recovering higher ed professional myself, I’ll offer some straightforward ways to unlock your inner unicorn and make the biggest impact on your campus. Read more on Switchboard's website

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Style your virtual professional outfit: Tips to optimize LinkedIn and get noticed

Don’t get left out of the party. 50 million people are on LinkedIn. Are you?

Why LinkedIn

Think of LinkedIn as the nice virtual equivalent to the nice outfit you wear for an interview or the rolodex of contacts people kept back in the day.

                                      FYI this is a rolodex

                                     FYI this is a rolodex

Quick Tips:

1)    Complete your profile. Do you show up shirtless to an interview? Nope. Make sure your profile is fully dressed, too.

        What's your snack policy?

       What's your snack policy?

Profiles that are 100% complete get the most exposure. Make sure you completed your summary, added relevant experiences, asked individuals for recommendations, and included a picture.

2)    Make personalized connection requests. You wouldn't randomly knock on someone's door. The same etiquette applies when reaching out to potential LinkedIn connections. Include a brief message on how you know a person and why you want to connect with them.  Many people indicate their connection preferences in their profiles. Begin by asking people you know to join your network and expand from there.

3)    Keywords are Key.  Understand and use the language of your audience. Use the “Skills & Expertise” tool, located in the “More” menu and on your profile. This will help you identify keywords to populate your profile which can help you demonstrate your expertise, use of relevant jargon for a particular career path and potentially be found in a search.

4)    Join Groups.  Groups are a great way to build your network within your industry and community.  Consider your career/professional school interests. Join university alumni groups. Identify groups based on professional associations and common interests.

5)    Summarize Yourself. Creating a summary for yourself on LinkedIn is extremely individualized based on your experience and your goals.  If you need inspiration, take a look at what like-minded professionals write about themselves. Highlight key achievements, list specialties and skills you have, and explicitly state any goals you want to pursue.

LinkedIn Profile Guides and Resources

Contact Schtick We take the time to get to know you and optimize your LinkedIn profile. Connect with us and get noticed.

LinkedIn Help Center provides  support for whatever stage you are at in the profile building process.