Legal directory rankings used to be seen as a ‘nice to have,’ a little ego boost once a year and a way of getting one up on your drinking buddies from other firms. Now, with the digital age increasingly making information on firms more searchable, and competition increasing, they have become another crucial marketing tool.

If you’re going to invest time and effort into making submissions to directories for ranking then they should not be an after thought. Incorporate the submissions process, and the rankings, into your marketing decisions and you could see some very positive results.

Establish an internal process

No matter who you are in the legal sector, the directories don’t come to you. From the biggest to the smallest practices all the legwork needs to be done internally to the timetable set by the directories themselves. Set up a process for managing directory submissions and determine who is going to be accountable for them. Incorporate this into marketing strategy and resource allocation to make sure that it gets done.

You need to bear in mind: deadlines, references, writing the submission, doing an interview with the researcher, following up after the interview, getting feedback post-ranking.

Buy a profile

The rankings at both Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners are independent and no amount of cash is going to change where you sit in the table. However, both publications offer the opportunity to buy a profile that provides more information on what your firm does and that’s something that can be very useful for marketing purposes.

Make sure that you provide enough information about the firm in terms of geographic reach, numbers, practice areas and specialisms. It’s also crucial to ensure there is a link back to your website.

Use the rankings in your PR

Both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners are considered a reputable source of information on where firms sit in the sector, so if you get ranked then shout about it. Build ranking info into email marketing and website updates and factor this into your social media planning too.

Use everything that the directories give you in your marketing, not just the numerical rankings themselves but any client quotes that are included and where other firms sit in comparison to you. When you’re planning marketing for individual practice groups, make sure that you include any directories information.

Get the whole firm involved

It’s amazing the difference that it can make to getting results from rankings when everyone in the firm is focused on it. Ensure all teams are feeding into the submissions process, from partners, to those managing what goes out in terms of PR and what appears on the website. Make sure that individual rankings appear on the profile pages of the lawyers who are ranked and provide internal training on how the process works.

Measure your success

An important part of any marketing strategy is establishing what is working. With directories, there are a number of metrics to use. For example, how many hits is your website getting from the online profile that you paid for? Can you put a number on the new instructions that have been generated because of a ranking received?

Do job applicants answer yes when asked if they made the decision to apply based on a directories reputation? Directory rankings aren’t the solution for every firm but if you put the time and effort into getting them right then they can produce some great results.

MD Comms’ dedicated Legal Directories Ranking team is made up of former directory editors and senior marketing managers from UK and global law firms. Our consultants have the insight and experience to make your submissions count.

Find out more about our legal directories services