Eight out of 10 visitors to your website will click on your attorney bio – and many of them will decide whether to hire you or not based on their impression of it.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure your bio is unique, up-to-date and compelling.
Unfortunately, too many are just the opposite: unoriginal, outdated and boring.
“It’s easy to follow the usual attorney bio format and rarely update or change it,” writes legal marketing consultant Nancy Slome. “The bio becomes an end product of your CV — told in prose form. Those rock-solid credentials and impressive accomplishments get lost among ordinary verbs and uninspired adjectives.”
Following are some pointers from Slome on how to avoid making your online bio a glorified, digital version of your resume.
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Here are seven pointers for a fresher, more effective attorney bio, courtesy of Slome and Attorney at Work.
1. Use descriptive and original words. You can’t draw a vivid, powerful picture of your credentials and accomplishments with vanilla, boilerplate language. Use exciting prose instead. If writing is not your thing, get someone in your office to help, or hire a professional writer. Some trite phrases to steer clear of: “his/her/their practice focuses on; he/she is uniquely qualified; he/she handles a variety of complex matters.”
2. Start by answering an important question. “Think about the most frequently asked question within your law practice,” Slome writes. “What does a client seeking your services most need or want? For example, ‘Clients often want to know ….’ Or, flip it around and lead with the actual question.”
3. Provide a case study. Nothing beats a real-life story. Write about a recent settlement, verdict or legal win. But make sure you have your client’s consent, and make sure you comply with the ethics rules regarding client confidentiality, legal marketing and publicizing case outcomes.
4. Get comfortable writing about yourself in third person. Here are two warm-up exercises suggested by Slome: “(1) Imagine you’re at a networking event and some colleagues spot you from across the room before you see them. What are they likely to be saying about you? Write down your answers, using only adjectives. (2) Next, write a few sentences using those adjectives to demonstrate how you are those things. If your friends describe you as being ‘strategic’ and ‘curious,’ you might write, ‘Jane can identify issues well before the client even knows there’s a problem.’”
5. Don’t lead with your academic background. Clients are less interested in where you went to school and what honors you earned than they are in knowing that you are the right lawyer for their case.
6. Don’t make it all about you. This may seem counterintuitive. It is your bio, after all. But it’s the client who has a legal problem, and your bio should convince them that you’re the one to help them solve it.
7. Be specific. “Your prospects and clients want to know details,” writes Slome. “Veiled descriptions of clients’ identities may be required, but if you have published articles about matters that are germane to your clients’ business, you should refer (or link) to one in the prose section of your bio.”
A final takeaway: be authentic. Authenticity is not just a buzzword, Slome says. It’s the key to survival in a crowded, competitive market.
“Let your clients and prospects learn a little something about who you really are,” says Slome. “People hire people they know, like and trust.”
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