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Lawyers & Telecommuting: 7 Tips for Making the Most of Working Remotely

Telecommuting is a viable – and often attractive – option for professionals in myriad industries, including lawyers. The benefits for law firms can be numerous, including reducing overhead for smaller firms and attracting top recruits looking for flexibility in larger firms. Lawyers who are able to telecommute some of the time, most of the time or even all of the time, have cited multiple benefits to working from home. Some of these include the ability to work when they are at their most productive (early in the morning or very late at night), the opportunity for quiet time needed to think about particularly challenging case issues or preparing for trial, time saved on commutes (which allows for more work to get done), greater levels of autonomy (which helps with attaining work/life balance) and more.

If your law firm offers the option to work remotely, here are seven tips to ensure you’re as productive as possible while out of the office.

  • Act as if you’re going into the office

As an attorney, depending upon your practice area, spur of the moment or emergency meetings are par for the course. Do yourself a favor and wake up, shower and get ready as if you’re going into the office. This way, you won’t be caught in sweatpants when a client needs to see you ASAP or you need to Skype into a teleconference.

  • Avoid multitasking

One of the most difficult things about working from home is the desire to multitask, particularly for lawyers who never seem to have enough time in the day. It’s tempting to get some of those household chores done while taking care of more administrative tasks, but in order to be fully productive, you need to focus on one thing at a time. Studies show that high-level multitasking is neurologically impossible; it’s like physically being in two places at once. Dedicating yourself to a full, uninterrupted work day will help keep you on track. Think of working remotely the same as being in the office – you wouldn’t drop everything to do a load of laundry, so why should you at home?

  • Stick to your office schedule

Continuing the theme of productivity, one of the most common questions asked of people who work from home is, “How do you stay focused?” The answer lies in sticking to a schedule. Wake up at the same time as you do when you go to the office. Begin your work day at the same time (or earlier, if you want to really increase productivity). To ensure maximum efficiency, don’t allow yourself to stray from your planned schedule.

  • Continue to attend meetings and networking events

Working remotely can start to feel isolating if you’re not making a point to get out and see colleagues. Allocate time for lunches, networking events or industry association seminars to maintain “face time” with others.

Marketing and business development efforts also shouldn’t go by the wayside. No business development means no new clients, and no new clients means no new business.

And don’t forget the basics:

  • Designate a workspace

Working remotely shouldn’t equate to working from the couch with your laptop – set up a clearly defined workspace. This doesn’t have to be an opulent office, but it needs to be separate from the other living spaces in your home. You’ll be more productive in a space that’s designated solely for work.

  • Equip your workspace with office essentials

Just like in your regular office, you need to have the right equipment — a comfortable work chair, desk and basic office supplies so that you’re not scrambling when you run out of printer ink and need to print a large document. And of course, reliable internet access is critical.

  • Make sure all office programs are on your home computer

Before working from home, make sure you’ve downloaded and installed every program you rely on in the office on your home computer. This can save you countless hours of stress, delays and inconvenience by ensuring programs are set up properly ahead of time. Too, presuming you’ll be using a project management application or document sharing system, make sure you understand how to use everything so you’re not left trying to figure it out at home.

Working from home can be an immensely rewarding and productive experience for a lawyer if you’re prepared for it and continue to manage your time well.

Don’t Make These Mobile Website Mistakes at Your Law Firm

Almost 60 percent of smartphone users say they won’t recommend a business to a friend if it has a poorly designed mobile site. Yet bad mobile websites abound, in all their cluttered, wordy and difficult-to-navigate glory. This is a particular problem for lawyers, who tend to pack a lot of information on their websites.

There’s no doubt about it: having a bad mobile website has a negative effect on your business. The good news is that the inverse is true, too, and making a few small changes can improve your site immensely. Can you spot and fix any of these common mistakes on your mobile site?

Making navigation too complicated
On a tiny screen, the options need to be short, simple and to the point. There just isn’t enough room for submenus or breadcrumbs – the secondary navigation that helps users figure out where they are on your site – on a mobile device. Your mobile site should lead visitors exactly where they want to go – and where you want them to go – and nowhere else. Remove any unnecessary navigation to make the interface cleaner.

Requiring visitors to fill out long forms
Very few visitors have the patience to type out long responses using a tiny touch keyboard. If you’re trying to gather information from potential clients (perhaps on your contact page), ask them only for the bare minimum. Most people won’t balk at typing in their email address. But asking for a summary of their case or a mailing address (especially when your first contact will probably be via phone or email)? Forget about it. It’s just another barrier preventing them from contacting you.

Including too big or too many images
Big, high-resolution images are the norm on desktop sites, but on mobile they’re more of a hindrance than a nice design element. Adding too many images will slow down the page load time, which is a huge annoyance for mobile users Googling on the go. Plus, on a phone screen, images are so small that many of the details get lost anyway. Save large images for your desktop site.

Burying important information
Most people researching your firm on their phones want the basics: firm location, firm hours, firm contact information and a bit about what the firm does. Put that critical information front and center. You shouldn’t include everything from your desktop site in your mobile version – any nonessential information only serves to make your mobile site more difficult to navigate and draws attention away from the need-to-know information most people are looking for. If visitors really want to know it all, you can always give them the option to navigate to your full site on their phone.

Using long headers and blocks of text
On a mobile device, you’re working with way less space. Long headings and subheads will get cut off on a two-inch screen. “The Story of McDermott & Goldstein, LLP: Where We Began” may look great on your desktop site, but on mobile, just stick to something like “About Us.” Similarly, paragraphs that are only a few sentences long on a desktop site are much longer on mobile screens, forcing users to scroll on forever. Significantly shorten any blocks of texts and simplify your copy.

Six Tips and Tactics to Amplify Your Content

27 million pieces of content are shared every day. That’s a huge number, and it seems like every topic imaginable has been covered from every angle imaginable. If you want to make an impact in such a crowded space, it’s not enough to post something on your website and hope it will get seen. You have to be proactive and make people see it through content amplification.

What is Content Amplification?

Essentially, content amplification is using a variety of tactics to get more people to look at, download and share your content – whether it’s a blog post, infographic, white paper or study. Amplification is essential if your marketing strategy relies heavily on content marketing, but it’s not always easy. To ramp up your amplification game, here are six tips and techniques:

  1. Get strategic. Make a calendar and schedule your content based on what’s timely. You can’t predict everything, but having themes or a general sense of what you’ll share in the coming months can help you stay focused and gives you enough time to create quality content. It also gives you an opportunity to research existing content and figure out how you can make it better. There’s always an alternative for conveying an idea in a way that’s more engaging, eye-catching or informative.
  2. Post where people are looking. Thousands of people browse and share content from Medium, Quora, SlideShare and Reddit every day. If these sites already have guaranteed audiences, why not take advantage of them? You can create content specifically for these platforms, such as answering questions related to your expertise on Quora or simply link to your content that’s hosted elsewhere.
  3. Turbocharge posts on social media. Sharing your content on social media is a no-brainer, but just posting it on your profile a few times doesn’t cut it anymore. To ensure that your intended audience sees your content, you have to make a bit of an investment. Every social media platform has a way to promote posts, and it’s an easy and affordable way to get more eyes on your content.
  4. Don’t forget email. One of the easiest ways to spread your content and get more email subscribers? Offer people a free download in exchange for their email. As long as the content you’re offering is valuable (like an e-book or how-to guide), it’s a tried-and-true tactic. Once you build your list, you can share even more content via your newsletter. Try adding a link to your latest blog post to your email signature as well.
  5. Ask for help. It’s not unusual to reference experts, brands or other articles when you create content, especially if it’s informational or fact-based. When you share your content, tag the people you’ve mentioned to let them know they’re included, and they might be inclined to share your content with their own followers. Better yet, ask influencers for a tip or quote to include in your content beforehand and they’ll almost certainly share it once it’s published.
  6. Make your content bigger. Writing a blog is an easy and relatively quick way to generate content, but a single blog post can only go so far. “Bigger” content, such as books and studies go much further. Excerpts can be shared across an infinite number of sites, and they can generate a number of reviews and interviews. Although small pieces of content have their place, writing a blog post will probably never be as prestigious as putting “researcher” or “New York Times Best Selling Author” on your resume.

 

7 Easy (and Free!) Ways to Increase Your Instagram Presence

Instagram has been steadily gaining popularity over the years, as its ease of use has made it “the” social media platform of choice. Instagram boasts over 700 million active users, twice that of Twitter. Instagram’s latest feature, Instagram Stories, reached 200 million active users in April 2017, eclipsing the 161 million Snapchat users.

What does this mean in terms of your law firm marketing? Having a social media presence is almost a requirement for consumer-focused firms. Being active on social media builds credibility for your business, and in the age of millennials, is a determining factor when deciding which businesses to patronize. Instagram can also be a beneficial recruiting tool, as well as a way to share company culture.

Instagram may be the easiest, most user-friendly social media platform, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be an overnight sensation as soon as you create your profile. Through persistence, diligence and these 7 tips, you’ll be raking in likes and followers and potentially converting them to clients.

  1. Use hashtags. Hashtags are the most common, and efficient, way to increase Instagram followers. To explain them in the simplest of terms, hashtags are used to identify messages on a specific topic. By using hashtags (#TBT or #instalike for example) you’re instantly increasing your firm’s visibility. Now, anyone who clicks on that particular hashtag will see your post, whether they follow your account or not. Hashtags can be relevant to your business (#lawfirm, #marketing, #attorney, etc.) or they can capitalize on trending topics, much like Twitter.

A few popular hashtags that are sure to increase your followers:

#TBT (Throwback Thursday): 385,353,112 posts.

#instalike: 237,542,435 posts.

#FF (Follow Friday): 23,690,154 posts.

#instafollow: 80,495,076 posts.

#love: 1,147,239,740 posts.

  1. Post engaging content. One of the best examples of law firms capitalizing on Instagram marketing is West Coast Trial Lawyers and their @attorneyproblems Instagram account. They post humorous, sometimes crass, memes and photos pertaining to the legal field. Their approach works – they have over 79,000 followers.
  1. Like random photos. In a study conducted by Neil Patel, an expert in online marketing, liking hundreds of random photos posted by your target audiences increases your followers. Out of 100 photos, the average return in followers was 6.1.
  1. Use the Mayfair filter. According to studies, the Mayfair filter is the single most effective Instagram filter for marketers.
  1. Post on Sundays. Sundays see the fewest number of images posted by Instagram users. If you post on Sundays, you’re guaranteed an increase in visibility.
  1. Ask questions. A great way to increase engagement is by asking questions in your photo captions.
  1. Like and comment on other users’ photos. This may seem like a no-brainer, but liking and commenting on other people’s photos is an essential part of Instagram marketing. Getting your name out and driving traffic to your profile is the goal of all this, isn’t it?
Berbay Marketing & PR