Author Archives: Umbrella Legal Marketing

Lawyer Lands In Hot Water Over Misleading Marketing

There’s nothing wrong with boasting about your firm’s experience in certain areas of law, the number of lawyers in your firm, or the combined experience of those lawyers. It is not, however, ok to boast about those things if they simply aren’t true.


The Law Society of Ontario recently held a tribunal hearing where a lawyer (the “Ontario lawyer”) was reprimanded for a number of issues relating to his marketing efforts.

A series of marketing no-no’s


The lawyer was called to the bar in 2013 and had practised as a sole practitioner in his Mississauga office since 2014. In 2015 the lawyer partnered with the managing partner of a Florida law firm (the “Florida lawyer”), registering a business name and executing a Professional Partnership Agreement that saw the Ontario lawyer named as the new firm’s Managing Partner with the Florida Lawyer named as its Controlling Partner. Only the Ontario lawyer practised law through the firm.


The Florida lawyer had a relationship with another business, which ran a few websites, including a lawyer referral website in the United States, and a Canadian website which presents itself as an automobile accident and injury helpline. The website ran television commercials in addition to its online presence. The advertisements stated that over 200,000 people have dialed the website’s number and that callers received medical and legal help. People who called the Canadian website and were identified as being from Ontario had their information sent to the Ontario law firm. The Florida lawyer testified that the anticipated arrangement between the website and the firm was that the website would be paid for referrals made to the law firm.


The Ontario lawyer also had his own website, which claimed to have offices in both Toronto and Mississauga. However, no Toronto office existed. The website indicated that a number of lawyers worked at it, including posting five photos of “lawyers” who were ultimately determined to have been actors. The website also boasted of the firm’s lawyers having “100 years of combined experience representing thousands of people.” However, the Ontario lawyer, who was the firm’s only lawyer, and had just four years of experience. Finally, the website marketed itself as being “aggressive” and claimed its lawyers “specialize in representing injured people,” though the Ontario lawyer had not received a specialization certificate from the province’s law society.


The Ontario lawyer admitted to the facts of the case, and in doing so, was found to be in violation of a number of a number of the Rules of Professional Conduct, which contains rules about marketing legal services. The first rule to be broken was around referral fees, which states a lawyer shall not pay to anyone for the referral of people who are not lawyers or paralegals. The firm’s agreement to pay referral fees to the website was in violation of this Rule.


Television advertising is also covered by the Rules, with Rule 4.2-1 stating ““A lawyer may market legal services only if the marketing (a) is demonstrably true, accurate and verifiable; (b) is neither misleading, confusing, or deceptive, nor likely to mislead, confuse or deceive; and (c) is in the best interests of the public and is consistent with a high standard of professionalism.”


The advertisements were found to be misleading and confusing by advertising services it could not offer and experience it did not have.


The Ontario lawyer’s website also broke Rules 4.2-1, 4.2-1.2, and 4.3-1 by advertising for specializations the Ontario lawyer did not have,  jurisdictions it did not operate in, and lawyers who did not work for it. The tribunal took note of the seriousness of this breach, writing, “This is a particularly egregious breach because clients seek lawyers, and lawyers market to clients, based on skill and expertise. Pretending to be a law firm that one is not is a serious matter.” Lawyers are also not allowed to market themselves as being aggressive.

How to avoid these mistakes


Of course, building a personal brand and marketing your law firm is incredibly important. The key is in doing it right. If your law firm does specialize in particular areas of the law, does have a number of experienced lawyers working for it, and has offices in various cities, then by all means, those should be a part of your marketing plan. But even if they’re not, there are still plenty of ways to market yourself.


The key is in focusing on what you are able to offer, and what sets you apart from your competition. Are you a strong advocate, willing to always work towards the maximum compensation for a client? Or perhaps you build close, personal relationships with your clients. It could be that you are affordable, or have payment options that might help those without a lot of money.


These are all marketable traits, and are some of the many things Umbrella Legal Marketing does to help our clients. We work with lawyers at all stages of their career development in marketing the work they do, and the people they are. In addition to helping our clients market themselves, we also help them articulate, define and uncover their value propositions so they can better communicate what sets them apart from the competition.  At Umbrella Legal Marketing we work exclusively for lawyers. All of our writers are lawyers, and our co-founder is a lawyer as well. As such, we are intimately familiar with the Law Society of Ontario’s Rules of Professional Conduct. If you would like to learn more about how we can assist you with your digital marketing, please call us at 416-356-4672 or find us online.

Brave New World: How Law Firms Can Generate Clients Online

In an ever-changing legal landscape, finding clients and generating leads can be challenging. More and more law firms are turning away from traditional forms of advertising and marketing and are looking to expand their digital presence, and their portfolio of clients.


However, how do you even begin to navigate the online world, and where should you focus your attention and resources? Here are some best practices to consider adopting to get started.


Step One: Update Your Website


Your website is likely the first contact any prospective client will have with your and your firm, and it is arguably the most important element of your online presence. A modern, well-designed, and regularly updated website is a huge opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors and to attract new clients and new business.


If you a step ahead of the pack and are actively thinking about your firm’s online presence, go online and assess your website. Ask yourself some important questions. Start thinking about what you want your site to convey and what you want it to look like.


Thinking about your website as the fundamental building block of your digital presence is important and will provide a strong foundation for the rest of your marketing efforts.


Step Two: Use Social Media


In this day and age, law firms can’t afford not to be on social media. Studies show that about 40% of people seeking a lawyer start their search online.  If your firm has a great website combined with a strong presence across multiple social media platforms, you will increase the likelihood that you will be the firm they decide to contact when its time to retain a lawyer.


Not only can regular, consistent use of social media on various platforms help position you as a subject-matter expert, or the “go-to” firm for a certain practice area, social media also allows your audience (including prospective clients!) to engage with you.


Social media is also a great way to drive traffic to your website.


Step Three: Drive Traffic to Your Site


Other ways of driving traffic to your site include:


  • Content: high-quality content is key to a successful digital marketing strategy and a way to drive visitors to your firm’s website. Firms who engage in the most effective content marketing will have an informative website full of well-written content that informs readers. This will include not only information about your firm’s value proposition and the areas in which you practice but also a blog and videos or podcasts.
  • Blogging: regular blogging is an integral part of a successful law firm marketing strategy. Consistent (at least once a week!) blogging is another great way to position yourself as a thought leader and reliable source of commentary and is a great source of original content for social media. Blog about frequently asked questions, developments in the law, policy changes, recent notable decisions that you or the firm may have been involved in. Post your blog to the site and across social media to maximize impact.
  • Online Advertising: proper and targetted use of Google Adwords is an effective way to drive traffic to your site, particularly if you are looking to draw clients from certain geographic areas or on certain types of matters.


How Can Umbrella Legal Marketing Help?


At Umbrella Legal Marketing we take a holistic approach to marketing. We know that a strategically targeted combination of diverse marketing efforts yields the best results and the largest possible return on your investment.


The most effective marketing solutions for law firms usually include an ongoing combination of online and traditional marketing, local & community advertising, and referral building. Among the services we provide are:


  • Custom websites;
  • Custom content;
  • Custom blogging;
  • Search engine optimization (SEO);
  • Social media management;
  • Social media engagement;
  • Public relations and community marketing;
  • Professional photography;
  • Custom video creation;
  • Branding;
  • Business cards.


To learn more about what we can do for your firm, contact us by email or at 416-356-4672.


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Join Us For The 3rd Annual Wake Up Dylan Lemonade Stand!

It’s always great to see clients who have causes close to their hearts and to see people come together to rally behind a cause (and it makes for great marketing content as well). One of the causes Umbrella Legal Marketing is passionate about is raising money and support for narcolepsy and cataplexy. Why narcolepsy and cataplexy you ask? Well, Umbrella Co-Managing Partner Lanna Barrison has a beautiful boy named Dylan who suffers from narcolepsy and cataplexy. Back in 2015 Lanna decided to launch a modest campaign in support of National Narcolepsy Awareness Day by encouraging her friends to post photos of them, their kids, or their pets sleeping, along with the hashtag #WakeUpDylan. Three years later #WakeUpDylan has ballooned into a full on fundraiser. It raised $2,000 the first year, $5,000 the second, and this year’s goal is $8,000!


What’s this lemonade stand all about?


The 3rd Annual #WakeUpDylan lemonade stand will be happening at Bakersfield Public School Park at 75 Misty Sugar Trail in Thornhill, Ontario. In addition to lemonade, there will be sweet treats, bracelets, cotton candy made onsite, and a promotional draw with amazing prizes! Bounce Entertainment will be on hand to DJ the event as well! Every single penny raised during the event will go directly to the Sleep Disorders Priority Fund at Sick Kids Hospital. The fund is earmarked specifically for narcolepsy research within the hospital.


The importance of awareness


Raising money for research into narcolepsy and cataplexy is great (and important), but it’s not all they’re trying to do. Narcolepsy and cataplexy are little, or misunderstood diseases. They aren’t directly life threatening, but they do have a severe impact on the lives of those who suffer, as well as those who care for them. By raising awareness they hope to help people develop an understanding and acceptance of what those suffer from narcolepsy and cataplexy are going through. Children with narcolepsy can suffer from exhaustion, spending most of their days warding off sleep. They can be too tired to venture outdoors and can suffer from mood swings as a result of fatigue. Money is great, because it can help lead to a cure. But awareness is just as important, because it leads to an understanding of what Dylan and others are going through.


What is narcolepsy?


Scientifically speaking, narcolepsy is a lifelong, incurable, neurological disorder caused by the depletion of the neurotransmitter hypocretin/orexin that affects sleep and wakefulness. Practically speaking, people suffering from narcolepsy feel as though they have been awake for three days straight. They don’t sleep well at night, and they’re sleepy during the day. When they do sleep, they spend too much time in the deep stage of REM sleep, while not spending enough time in restful, restorative stages. Narcolepsy can lead to hallucinations and sleep paralysis.


What about cataplexy?


Those suffering from narcolepsy often suffer from cataplexy as well. Cataplexy is a loss of muscle tone, often experienced during periods of strong emotion such as laughter, sadness, and anger. Cataplexy experiences range from droopy eyelids or a protruding tongue to a full body collapse. It is currently treated by antidepressants such as Prozac or Effecor, which suppress REM sleep and improve sleep quality. Xyrem (commonly referred to as the date rape drug) can also be used as treatment. However the side effects of these drugs are long and scare, and the long-term effects of their use is not fully understood.


Want to help?


If you live in the Toronto area it would love to see you on June 24. But it’s understood that many people live outside of the GTA or have other commitments. What is really need is awareness. Feel free to use the #WakeUpDylan hashtag, and share it if you see it on social media. Narcolepsy isn’t a popular media story, and any awareness that can be spread across the community is vital to the goal of creating a better understanding of the disease. Please feel free to visit this website to learn more about narcolepsy and cataplexy or click here to donate to the cause.

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Suffering From Writer’s Block? Here Are Some Handy Tips To Find Content For Your Blog

Managing a compelling marketing strategy for your law firm can be tough work; after all, you’ve already got a full time job as a lawyer. Nevertheless, maintaining a digital presence is critical for your firm’s branding and community footprint. Running a successful blog means regularly updating it – something easier said than done. Even the best writers suffer from writer’s block. Here are some tips on how to deal with it when you’ve found yourself fresh out of ideas.


Browse CanLii or other legal research resources     


Websites such as CanLii (the Canadian Legal Information Institute) and other legal research websites offer great glimpses of both recent decisions as well as commentary on developments in various areas of the law. These websites are updated frequently and a quick browse through the current week’s headlines should give you some ideas of cases or topics to cover. We recommend heading right to the source material – decisions – in order to get a good understanding of what the decision means as well as to give yourself a chance to form your own opinion on the matter. You want to be careful not to rely too heavily on another writer’s summary or opinion of a decision or development in the law.


Follow the news closely


New outlets don’t always have comprehensive coverage of the law, but they are a great way to see what stories might matter most to the general public. Opinion pieces in newspapers might also give you an idea about what someone outside of the legal profession thinks about the outcome of a case or changes to a law. News stories can also provide you with excellent opportunities to put some quotes from outside of a written decision into your blog post (just remember to cite your references). A good way to track stories in the press is to follow a newspaper’s legal reporter on Twitter. We have more on that coming up!


Read other blogs


Sometimes it helps to see what other lawyers are writing about on their blogs. Take some time to identify lawyers across the country who practice in a similar area of the law. Bookmarking their blogs or subscribing to them through an RSS feed is a great way to discover a case that you may have missed. While you don’t want to borrow their content, blogs area a terrific way to get on with your search for engaging content.




Twitter is one of the best ways to collect information for blog ideas. Once you’ve created a Twitter account start following people who write about the law. This includes people who write for newspapers or news sites as well as legal journals and other law firms. Keeping track of who you follow on Twitter professionally and personally can be a bit of a challenge. One great way around this is to create a dedicated Twitter account for following law-focused Twitter users. You don’t have to send any tweets from this account, but can use it for a way to quickly look at tweets that can help you out. To make things even easier, you can use a tool such as Twitter’s TweetDeck, which allows you to see Twitter feeds from a number of accounts. You can also easily set up feeds to show tweets around a hashtag that you may have identified as relevant.


Contact Umbrella Legal Marketing if you have any questions about creating engaging content for your digital marketing efforts or to find out how we can help maximize your firm’s presence online. We help lawyers position themselves as leaders in their field. We look forward to helping you grow your brand and your business. Contact us online or by phone at 416-356-4672 to get started today.

Expanding the Conversation in Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a terrific way to get your personal brand in front of your community. One of the most obvious places to start in terms of social media content is sharing content that demonstrates your experience and knowledge in the areas of law you practice. Beyond that, though, it’s important to harness the ability to engage with your community through social media. Unlike traditional marketing, social media marketing allows your audience to engage with you. By posting content that is relevant to your community’s interests you’ll be able to show you’re an authentic member of the community and not just a business looking to sell services.

Curate content relevant to what’s happening in the community

Not all content has to be about the law. The conversations people have at work, at home, and online tend to be about what’s happening in their day-to-day lives. By paying attention to what’s happening in your community, you’ll have the opportunity to share news or advice relevant to conversations that are already taking place. New Brunswick recently experienced flooding along the province’s St. John River, destroying homes and shutting down access to entire neighbourhoods. Insurance lawyers in the province could have used their platform to share resources on how people can findout about their coverage, disaster relief, where to go if forced out of their home, and information on how to contact emergency services. By taking the opportunity to gather information and share it, law firms would have been able to demonstrate they are authentic members of the community.

One of the most important things to keep in mind about social media marketing is that it’s important to not always talk about you. Instead, look at what’s happening in your neighbourhood or city and identify opportunities to champion the accomplishments of others. Has a local sports team won a title? Has a student organized a successful fundraiser? Has a new restaurant opened? These are all great opportunities to talk about others and again, establish that you’re more than just a lawyer.

Partner with community organizations

Working with community organizations, especially non-profits, is a great way to integrate your brand into the community. By helping to raise money or provide hands-on work into a community project, such as a Habitat for Humanity build or a project in a school, you not only have the opportunity to help those in need, but you can also collect great marketing material, such as photos and videos, to use down the road.

Community organizations also provide great cross-marketing opportunities. It’s fair to ask organizations your partner with to share your photos and messages with their audiences. Not only does this get your message out to a larger audience, but it also provides the opportunity to get new followers for your own social media accounts.

Other great opportunities related to community involvement could be individual participation in community events by people at your office. If someone in your office ran in a marathon over the weekend, ask them if you could get a photo of them before or after the race to share with your audience. Public speaking engagements where people in your firm have participated also offer great opportunities to showcase your involvement in the community.

Get behind the scenes of your office

Social media is a great way to share personal stories about those in your office. Look for photo opportunities during birthdays, workplace anniversaries, and other special events in your office. Other opportunities include an articling student having passed the bar exam, or someone in the office being awarded for professional or community accomplishments. Going to court? Take a photo as you approach the courthouse and post it to your Facebook or Instagram account. We often get accustomed to the day-to-day happenings of our work lives, but these behind the scenes glimpses can be interesting to others.

If you have questions about social media marketing, or other ways to boost your firm’s marketing efforts, contact Umbrella Legal Marketing online or by phone at 416+-356-4672. We provide a wide range of marketing services for law firms and would love to help you boost your brand’s nam

Building (and Maintaining) Your Personal Brand as a Lawyer

As lawyers, we do not receive any formal training on how to develop and maintain a personal brand. With a few exceptions, nothing we learned in law school, during articling, or even beyond properly prepares us for this vital aspect of our careers. Yet, as the legal landscape changes, and there are increased talks of legal market disruption, a killer personal brand is key to both standing out and bullet-proofing your career.


Personal branding forms part of your personal marketing strategy and is separate from the overall marketing strategy for a firm (unless you are a sole practitioner). Building your personal brand can seem overwhelming. Indeed, it is an ongoing task that must be carried out throughout your career. However, there are easy ways to get started and make this task much less onerous.


1) Think About Your Personal Value Proposition

The starting point of your personal brand should be your personal value proposition.


This will likely be the element of your personal brand that will take the longest to craft, but it is well worth taking the time to do so, as this will be the foundation for everything else. Understanding your value proposition is helpful in many ways:


  • It gives you a clear vision and understanding of what makes you unique as a practitioner; and
  • It allows you to determine what it is about yourself that you want to communicate to prospective and current clients.


Once you determine what it is that you want to communicate about yourself, it will be easier to determine the most effective way of transmitting this message and building your brand to help you differentiate yourself from your competition.


2) Update Your Firm Bio (including your photo!)

In this day and age, the first thing someone is going to do when they want to learn more about you is Google you. Your law firm bio is likely going to be the first item that appears in a search, and it is your best opportunity to make a strong first impression.


Your bio is an integral element of your personal brand, a great way to convey your value proposition, and should be the starting point for everything else about you that appears in writing. Before you get started on revamping or updating your bio, there are several “bio best practices” to consider.


3) Update Your LinkedIn Profile

Other than your law firm bio, your LinkedIn profile will also be a high-ranking search result when people look for you online. As such, it is important to make sure it is up to date and optimally promoting your personal brand.


If your profile has only very basic information about you, is missing a professional and up-to-date photograph, or hasn’t been updated in a long time, it will reflect negatively on your personal brand. The same is true if you do not have a LinkedIn profile at all.


Here are some simple things to keep in mind when you review your current profile or create a new one:


  • Make sure your LinkedIn photo matches your law firm bio photo;
  • Claim your LinkedIn vanity URL;
  • Update your LinkedIn heading and summary (thinking about and finding ways to highlight your value proposition will be immensely helpful here);
  • Customize your work experience section to reflect what you want to be known for;
  • Keep things current (highlight speaking engagements, papers you have written, volunteer positions, boards and committees you join, etc.).


4) Be Active Online

Other than having a strong, updated firm bio and LinkedIn profile, you should also be active across other social media and digital platforms. This is the best way to establish yourself as a thought leader and to reinforce your personal brand.


A great starting point for crafting your online presence is to have a regularly updated blog. A well-maintained blog is an excellent place to highlight your in-depth knowledge and to establish yourself as an authoritative source of commentary.


Once you start blogging, social media (including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) provides a great platform through which to promote your blogs, yourself, and highlight your brand. Use your social media actively: share your blog posts to your channels every time you publish.


Overall, aim to post something at least three times per week – this does not have to be original content (for instance, a paper that you’ve written, or a blog post), it can be content that you curate from other reputable and relevant sources.


5) Harness the Power of PR

Engaging with a PR specialist and actively using PR services can significantly help build and solidify your personal brand.


A PR specialist can help you identify and facilitate speaking engagements and educational opportunities that align with your value proposition and personal brand. They will help you develop a positive working relationship and reputation among media outlets (including radio, T.V. and newspaper) to position you as the “go to” commentator and subject matter expert in your practice area.


At the end of the day, it is not enough to be a great lawyer if no one knows that you are. Taking the time to strategize about your personal brand and putting in the effort to build and maintain it will reward you many times over.


At Umbrella Legal Marketing, we help lawyers define and develop their personal brand. We work with lawyers at all stages of their career development. This is one of many comprehensive services that we offer our clients. If you would like to learn more about how we could assist you with your digital presence, please contact us online or at 416-356-4672.

Google My Business for Law Firms

Last week, we blogged about a new feature that Google introduced to its Google My Business service, which makes it possible for law firms and other businesses that use the tool, to add a “women-led” icon to their profile. This week, we explore what Google My Business is in more detail and explain why all law firms should have a Google My Business profile.


Google My Business: 101


Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence on Google, including in search results and maps. Google My Business is a great tool to use in conjunction with your other marketing efforts to interact with new and prospective clients and to paint a better picture of your firm.


Google My Business allows the organizations using the function to, among other things:


  • Manage the information that Google users see when they search for your firm directly, or search for the type of law that you practice;
  • Post relevant information about your hours of operation, address, and website;
  • Update clients on changes such as adjusted holiday hours, or similar;
  • Read and respond to reviews from your clients;
  • Post photos about your firm and what you do, including photos of your office;
  • Gain insights into how clients searched for your firm, and where those customers are coming from (including how many people called your firm directly from the number displayed in local search results.


Google My Business is intended to complement your existing website, and social media presence, by providing your firm with an official public identity on Google. The information you provide in your listing will appear in Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+.


Some Stats


Still not convinced setting up Google my Business for your firm will be beneficial?


Studies show that businesses which verify their information through Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by customers and clients.


In addition, studies also show that businesses which add photos to their Google My Business listings receive 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses which do not.


How Do I Set Up a Google My Business Listing?


The first thing you will need to do to set up a Google My Business Listing is to verify your business. Verification helps Google ensure the accuracy of your firm’s business information across Google. Until you complete the verification process, you will not be able to edit any of the information that appears about your firm across Google.


To verify your business, you will have to request verification from Google. Once you do so, Google will send you a verification postcard, via snail mail, to the mailing address you identify (in some cases it may be possible to verify through other means). The postcard will include a unique verification code, which you will enter into Google My Business to confirm that your firm is located at the address you provided.


Google My Business Best Practices


Once you are verified, you can edit information about your firm, respond to client reviews, and add photos.


Information that you should always include in your Google My Business listing is:


  • Your business hours;
  • Your address;
  • Your phone number;
  • Your website; and
  • Category (i.e. what kind of business do you run).


The information you provide should appear exactly as it does on your firm’s website, including matching your address exactly. So, for instance, if your firm’s website is listed as 25 Liability Lane, Unit 1, it should appear the same way on Google My Business and not 25 Liability Lane, #1.


As soon as any information about your business changes (for instance, if you move to a new location), be sure to update your Google My Business listing. Updating your address will require you to complete the verification process once more.


There are several types of photos you can add to your Google My Business listing. These include:


  • Logo;
  • Profile picture (should be the same as the profile picture you use elsewhere online, such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.);
  • Additional photos (these can include exterior or interior shots, or shots of your team).


Photos help give clients a more thorough understanding of your firm and will help them recognize your business on Google.


The key to optimally using Google My Business is to provide all the information that Google requests. This can sometimes get cumbersome, and it is always nice to have professionals take care of this on your behalf.


If you have questions about Google My Business, or about otherwise maximizing your firm’s presence online, contact Umbrella Legal Marketing. Reach us online or at 416-356-4672. We help law position themselves as leaders. With our guidance, you and your firm can stand out in today’s ever-changing legal landscape.



Google Gives Law Firms the Ability to Label Themselves as “Women-led” in their Google Business Listing

Earlier this year, Google enabled a new feature on Google My Business, making it possible for businesses using the tool (including law firms) to add a “women-led” icon to their profile.


Google made their announcement in March, noting that they wanted to “celebrate International Women’s Day by supporting a women-led business”. The tech giant says that their goal is to “organize the world’s information in a way that is inclusive of all people”, and this initiative is intended to “empower women-led businesses to success online and enable to find businesses to visit using Google Maps and Search.


How Does the New Icon Work?


Once a business enables this icon, their profile will display a female symbol labelled “women-led” that will appear along other badges in the profile section that provide users with more information (for example, free parking, free wifi, or similar).


The feature has been live since March and is available to any business with a valid Google My Business profile. In order to use the icon, a female business owner will have to self-identify their gender when they create their account during the Google My Business verification process. Once enabled, the icon will be permanent, with the business owner having the capability to add or remove it whenever they wish.


Consider Adding this Feature to your Google My Business Profile


If your firm is owned, led, or founded by women, consider adding this feature to your page.


Here at Umbrella, we have the privilege of working with several incredible women who have started highly successful and flourishing law firms. We are, however, cognizant that overall, women’s long-term participation in law, particularly at high-level leadership positions, is low.  Recent data indicates that while women make up 50.3% of current law school graduates, they continue to make up a much smaller percentage of lawyers at law firms (35%), and an even smaller percentage of equity partners (20%). These numbers have not changed much in recent years.


Adding this icon can be a helpful tool to differentiate your firm from others, particularly if you have a specific interest or specialized or focused practice in, for instance, advising women entrepreneurs or business owners.


If you have questions about this making this new feature work for you, or about using Google My Business more generally, contact Umbrella Legal Marketing by email or at 416-356-4672. We help law firms maximize their digital presence and position themselves as leaders. With our help, you and your firm can stand out in today’s ever-changing legal landscape.

Creating an Editorial Calendar for Your Law Firm’s Blog

The bane of every blogger’s existence is coming up with engaging and informative content on a regular basis. This is especially true for bloggers who have a full-time job doing something else: like lawyers. Ensuring that you have a steady flow of topics to blog about can be challenging, but there are ways to make this process easier.


We’ve previously talked about adding case studies to your blog as an effective way to generate evergreen content, have provided tips on blogging best practices, and have discussed targeting your content – all things that can help you stay on track of regular blogging. This week we explore how creating an editorial calendar can further help you with managing your blog.

What is an Editorial Calendar?

Editorial calendars have been used for years by journalists to keep track of multiple ongoing stories and articles as they progress from the development stage to the date of publication. They help keep a team of writers and others, on deadline. Importantly, they also help ensure that content is being published at the best and most relevant times.


All of this is applicable to blogging and content marketing. From a blogging perspective, an editorial calendar can help you to keep your blogs and other content organized and on schedule and can ensure that there are no gaps in posting.

Benefits of Having an Editorial Calendar

An editorial calendar can help a firm ensure that blogs are posted regularly. This is particularly useful for firms where more than one lawyer is blogging, but can also be useful where there is a sole blogger.


Regardless of the size of your blog-force, an editorial calendar can help keep you organized, will help you ensure you are addressing seasonal or relevant content, and can help save a significant amount of time. Planning content ahead of time and with your overall marketing strategy in mind allows you to think broadly and ensure your goals are being met.


Editorial calendars also make it easy to generate blog ideas and content concurrently. A well-organized calendar can help you parse through ideas that you may have for the blog and ensure they are published at the optimal time (for instance, a blog about slip and falls or tobogganing injuries in the winter, or a blog about a legislative change on the day it happens). Calendars can also ensure that various aspects of your practice area are covered and that there is no overlap or duplication in subject matter.


When it is time for you to write your blog, an editorial calendar will allow you to have content already planned out in advance and gathered in one place for everyone’s ease of access. You can even plan out your keyword research ahead of time and have it organized, saved, and ready to go. When you are ready to write your blog, you will have all this information at your fingertips.  All of this can significantly streamline your blogging process.

Creating an Editorial Calendar

Editorial calendars can take various forms, from a basic Excel or other spreadsheet, to a Google calendar, to any other format you and your team may prefer.


A well-functioning editorial calendar should include, at minimum:

  • When blogs will be posted;
  • How frequently blogs will be posted (weekly, bi-weekly, etc.)
  • Who will be responsible for each post;
  • When the blog will be posted (which day of the week, and what time of day);
  • General themes or practice areas to be covered;
  • Specific topics within those broader themes or practice areas;
  • Post titles (including keywords);
  • Keywords to use within the posts, including the main title and headings;
  • Post tags and categories;
  • Intended audience;
  • Deadlines;
  • Channels to post to (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)


Editorial calendars should also keep track of whether any posts have been missed or rescheduled to make room for something more pressing or newsworthy.


In addition, you should consider adding your firm’s calendar of events (including speaking or teaching engagements, community outreach projects, and similar) so that the firm can easily keep track of any upcoming events and blog about them at appropriate times.


At Umbrella Legal Marketing, we help lawyers get started with blogging and otherwise maintaining their digital presence. We understand the unique needs of the legal market, the ethical and practice standards that govern the profession, and how to effectively combine these specific demands with the realities of marketing in the social media and online age. With our help, you and your firm can stand out in today’s ever-changing legal landscape. Contact us by email or at 416-356-4672 to learn how we can help.



Employee Social Media Advocacy for Your Law Firm

By now readers of our blog know that having a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media networks is a critical aspect of an effective marketing strategy for your law firm. Given the essential role that social media now plays in consumer decision making (including decision making about service providers such as law firms) it is crucial for firms to have a strong digital presence.


While most law firms are beginning to understand the importance of being online across multiple platforms, few firms are harnessing the full power of social media. One extremely effective but underutilized aspect of social media is employee advocacy.

What is Employee Advocacy?


Fundamentally, employee advocacy is the promotion of an organization by its employees.


Employee advocacy is not new, but social media has made it much easier to have your employees participate in getting word out about your organization.


An employee advocate generates positive exposure for a company (like a law firm) and raises awareness through social media and other digital avenues, can recommend the firm’s services to others, and is a credible spokesperson/representative of that firm.


The Benefits of Employee Advocacy


When used correctly, employee advocacy can have a huge impact on your marketing strategy.


Every post published by an employee reaches hundreds of connections that may not be following your firm directly, and which the firm may otherwise not have gotten exposure to. The average internet user has 155 Facebook friends. That means that a firm with 25 staff members has a potential reach of over 3,800 people.


These posts also simultaneously help to position those employees as thought-leaders and can be used to supplement other marketing efforts, such as a blog.


Employee advocacy is also incredibly important in terms of creating human connections with prospective clients and referral sources. Word-of-mouth posts and messages from family and friends are widely viewed as being more relevant and trustworthy than those from a company’s corporate account. A recent survey indicates that 84% of people trust recommendations by friends and family above all other forms of marketing.


Suggestions for Getting Started


  • Create a culture that employees are excited about: first and foremost, it is important to create a culture and work environment that employees are excited about and want to post about online. This includes involvement in community outreach events, employee appreciation events, and similar activities. At the end of the day, employees will never volunteer to post about a firm where they may be unhappy or do not feel valued as employees.


  • Provide employees with social media training: create a firm-wide social media policy to provide current and incoming lawyers, clerks, and others who will be posting about the firm with key guidelines and best practices. After that, make sure everyone knows how to use social media properly and how to maximize what they are posting. Have refresher training at regular intervals.


  • Create a unified message: make sure that all employees are on the same page in terms of branding, including the tone of the content, the particular elements of your firm’s value proposition and messaging they should be highlighting. Start simple: have employees re-post content the firm is already posting, including blogs and other information. Then expand from there.


  • Maintain the program: much like a blog, once you get started with an employee advocacy program, it is something that should continue and be used regularly. Ensure that any employees that are participating in the program continue to remain engaged and share regularly.


  • Don’t overshare: the impact of employee advocacy will be diluted if your employees’ followers are suddenly flooded with messages about your firm. You risk damaging the trust and credibility that posts from friends and family inherently have, and people may simply tune out. Tread a careful line between posting regularly and posting too much.

At Umbrella Legal Marketing we provide a wide range of services to law firms who want to maximize their online presence. From social media and other training, to PR, to blogging services, we do it all. We also understand the unique needs of the legal market, the ethical and practice standards that govern the profession, and how to effectively combine these specific demands with the realities of marketing in the social media and online age. With our help, you and your firm can stand out in today’s ever-changing legal landscape. Contact us by email or at 416-356-4672.


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