When it comes to legal directories, the spotlight often just focuses on the submission and referee process. Our head of directories Linsay Leslie looks at what other factors firms should consider and how you can get more value from the directories process.
Develop a strong market presence
The legal directories process doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Researchers and editors immerse themselves in the practice areas they lead on; clients will be more likely to respond to requests for feedback on teams who are at the front of their mind; and your peers who will be listening and watching to see who is visible in the market will be asked to provide their feedback during the research period.
Producing a strong submission and having an aligned referee list are really important but they need to be matched with a strong market presence to ensure you achieve maximum traction. Here are our top tips:
- Undertake a perception audit to understand what external audiences think about your team and how this compares to the messaging in your submission.
- There are horror stories of clients delivering less than positive feedback to researchers. Don’t be caught off guard by referee feedback, run your own client listening programme to gather feedback so you can be confident about what your referees will actually be saying to the researchers.
- Ensure the key messages in your external communications are consistent and support the messaging in your submissions.
- Support the lawyers you are putting forward as leading individuals and help them build their own personal brand. Providing social media training is a good first step.
- Run a communications campaign to amplify your key messages externally and ensure consistent messaging across all external channels to support and reinforce what you are communicating in your submissions.
Get the most out of your submissions
Directories require significant resource and corresponding cost, but your submissions are gold mines, so some of this pain can be offset by fully utilising their valuable content. Here are our tips:
First and foremost, undertake an audit of your directories process. We run audits for firms of all sizes and there are always steps to save resources, improve the outputs, and increase the wider business value.
- Review your submissions for cross-selling opportunities. How you record and share information across the business is key to how well you can utilise the content. For example, extract information and share in your central bids repository and log referee lists on your CRM system.
- Use the process as part of your annual health check for each practice area with practice group heads.
- Review the content for thought-leadership themes and topics for wider marketing communications campaigns.
- Use the process as an opportunity to review and update service pages and bios on the website and social media profiles. Note that researchers do look at web profiles and LinkedIn profiles so these must be up to date for the research period.
- Review and update your paid-for profiles within the directories to ensure that the messaging is aligned with your overall strategy.
At MD Communications we understand the different elements that contribute to your reputation – legal directories play a part in this. We know legal directories inside out and support clients in achieving their objectives. This goes further than helping them write the strongest submissions – we help firms boost their profile and strategically position themselves so they are making the right noise in their market and are heard most effectively during the research periods.
Download our guide ‘Legal directories: get better results and improve your ROI’
Download our guide on referees