‪This photo was taken today in 2012 at the LMA conference when my dear friend and mentor Wendy Bernero was inducted into the hall of fame.

Wendy is a true leader and advocate for women. She’s the smartest and kindest person I know. She always believed in me and pushed me to become a better version of myself. I’m so lucky to have her in my life.

I believe everyone needs a mentor— whether you are junior or senior. Sometimes you will have several people in your life who help guide you, and if you don’t, seek one out. Mentors are great sounding boards and provide valuable guidance. Also offer to be a mentor to others if you can – helping each other is the most important thing we can do right now.

The research on the power of mentorship is clear: People with mentors perform better, advance in their careers faster and even experience more work-life satisfaction. And mentors benefit too.

So how do you find a mentor? According to the Harvard Business Review, “mentors can be from anywhere. They can be from your LinkedIn network, professional connections, or people you’ve met at conferences. It’s important to remember that while people are certainly busy, being asked to be a mentor is a massive compliment. People might say no, but it will be a positive exchange and you shouldn’t be shy about thinking big and making the asks, even if you think there is no way the person can find time for you. Let them be the judge of that.”

Please also thank your mentor and appreciate them, especially when they go above and beyond for you. Wendy is incredibly busy, and I am so grateful she makes the time for me while balancing her job as global Chief Marketing Officer of Baker McKenzie and being a wife and mom of two teenagers.

(Also I am actually a brunette as you will all soon find out during this quarantine).

So who can you mentor? And how can you thank your mentors? Don’t wait to do it, especially with the way the world is now.

Everyone is nervous about everything right now, including the economy and how that may affect their employment status. Some companies are doing mass layoffs and salary reductions. You don’t want to be unemployed right now because businesses aren’t going to be as quick to hire – they want to see how the coronavirus pandemic will affect their bottom line – and new projects will likely be put on hold for the foreseeable future.

It’s never been more important to be the model employee and to go above and beyond. Don’t give your company a reason to doubt your commitment or work product.

Here are a few tips to bulletproof your job now that you can carry well into the future.

  • Do not act high maintenance or difficult in any way – don’t ask for a raise right now and do what is asked of you.
  • Even if working from home while homeshooling two kids and having a dog to walk is stressing you out, maintain composure and be as easy going as you possibly can. The benefit with working from home is that you will likely be more productive at off times – such as the time you used to commute and spent catching up with co-workers or in the evening after the kids are asleep. Most employers are understanding of your long list of personal responsibilities because they are in the same boat as you.
  • Be truly exceptional in your current role – work harder than you’ve ever worked before.
  • Make sure your superiors know about your contributions and successes but be careful not to communicate this information in a boastful way.
  • Mentor junior members of the team and be a calming presence to them as so many of them are struggling with anxiety right now.
  • Demonstrate you can do the next role by taking on key responsibilities of that position.
  • Become indispensable to your manager and seize learning opportunities to take projects off their plate.
  • Lead by example by always showing optimism, assuming positive and good intent and helping others – especially through tough times.
  • Don’t complain about problems or air your frustrations with the the current situation – instead design and implement solutions that drive real results.
  • Forget your job description and title – this is the time to what is required for the business – don’t let your current job description hold you back from doing.
  • Handle disappointment with grace and don’t let it hold you back from success.
  • Remember this is just a temporary difficult time – things will get better and go back to “normal” – working at home and under such stress will be a memory in a few years.
  • Do your part to build up internal culture – suggest a virtual happy hour or coffee break, offer to take on creation of an internal e-newsletter if you don’t have one, offer weekly check-in” office hours to your direct reports and anyone else junior to you who could benefit from your advice.
  • Be kind and empathetic to everyone and don’t take anything personally right now. Everyone is stressed and that doesn’t always bring out the best in us – give your colleagues the benefit of the doubt and let it roll off your shoulders.

Stay smart and stay safe – this too shall pass.

Here’s a coronavirus content tip:

Make sure the reporters with whom your lawyers have close connections are added to your client alert lists, especially as you are producing so much timely content right now related to COVID-19.

Several of my clients have gotten media opportunities directly from the alerts they sent to specific reporters, resulting in them being quoted in key publications, which you can then repurpose into a web and social media post.

While it’s great to have key reporters on your firm, practice and industry mailing lists, it’s even better if the lawyer sends personalized notes with a relevant alert to each reporter offering themselves up for commentary, or just even help with better understanding an issue. Everyone, including reporters, appreciates help right now.

Remember, being helpful and empathetic should be at the heart of every marketing initiative you undertake right now – and always.

When it comes to content, being sensitive to current market conditions and disseminating content and programs that are designed to inform your clients and help them navigate this unprecedented time should be your only guiding principle. Here are a few things not to do right now during the coronavirus outbreak when it comes to content and digital marketing:

  • Turn off all non-coronavirus related pre-scheduled social media posts, emails and reminders. A firm I know sent out an email about an already cancelled event and then had to send another email explaining their mistake.
  • Don’t post content that is self-congratulatory or launches a new service/product – hang onto these for later. I keep seeing firms post content unrelated to COVID-19 and only does it make you seem tone-deaf, but it also likely means that content will get lost in a sea of coronavirus resources. I’m keeping a running list of these for my clients and preparing the content and visuals for these posts so they’re ready to go at the appropriate time.
  • Don’t name your COVID-19 content the “Coronavirus Resource Center” – nearly every firm that has launched a special online section to help clients navigate COVID-19 is using that same verbiage – make yours stand out with a unique name. This will also help with SEO and Google search results.
  • Don’t use the coronavirus spiky cell structure as the image in all of your visuals, especially with a red background. It can be viewed as quite off-putting to some – and it’s been overused by nearly every firm and news outlet. Again, think outside of the box and come up with a more unique image.
  • Don’t send out multiple COVID-19 alerts to the same email list every day. Instead, aggregate the content and create one newsletter with various articles. You don’t want to bombard your audience with too many emails..
  • Instead of bombarding your clients with emails on webinars and client alerts on coronavirus updates, pick up the phone and ask your clients how they are doing, listen to them carefully and ask them how you can help them right now.
  • Do not pitch or aggressively market yourself. This is not the time to do the hard sell (that’s never a good idea) – or to send formal pitch materials to a prospect. This is the time to be human and use relationships to engage. Your firm bio and LinkedIn profile will let your abilities shine without you drawing attention to them.

And finally don’t do nothing. There are some firms that are pulling back on their marketing efforts and remaining quiet, wanting to flatten the curve first. This is such an important time to be a market leader and to help your clients navigate these unchartered waters.

I hope these tips help you – don’t stop creating smart and helpful content and getting it to market quickly. Stay safe.

 

Stefanie Marrone helps law firms effectively tell their stories and find their unique voices. Over the last 18 years, she has worked with some of the most prominent and innovative law firms in the world, developing and executing global revenue generating business development and communications strategies, including media relations, branding, and multi-channel content marketing and social media campaigns. She is very passionate about using social media for lead generation and brand building. She has a diverse range of experience in both Big Law and mid-size/small-law firms. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her latest writing on JD Supra as well as her blog The Social Media Butterfly.

Stay tuned for an upcoming article on this topic but here are a few quick tips on how to market your firm during a global crisis without seeming tone-deaf or insensitive from my webinar with Jay Harrington.

The worst thing you can do right now is nothing when it comes to client care and marketing. Your clients need you more than ever. Appropriate marketing will help your firm navigate this unprecedented time.

Thanks to everyone who attended – we had a great turnout and discussion regarding thought-leadership marketing, tech tools, connecting with your audience and remote-working tips during COVID-19.

If you couldn’t join us live but would like to check out the webinar, you can view it using this link. And if you have any follow-up questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

I met Renee Branson through friends in the legal marketing industry, and I was drawn to her warmth and positivity.  Since then, she’s been nothing but kind and supportive of me. We share each other’s posts on social media and promote each other, and I really appreciate that she is so giving to others in the community. As someone who has gone through a number of personal and professional setbacks, I also immensely respect what she does for a living, which is teaching others how to be more resilient – a skill we all could use some moee of in our lives, especially right now.

Before the coronavirus crisis broke out here in the United States, I asked Renee to be part of the Women Who Wow series. Learn more about her.

What does Women’s History Month mean to me.

Women’s History Month is an opportunity to amplify the voices and stories of the women who have blazed trails for us. It also is a call to action to me, reminding me to continue to push forward for the equality of all women.

Why did I choose my profession?

In many ways, I feel like this profession choose me; I have always been drawn to helping people thrive. I’ve been an educator, a therapist working with survivors of trauma, and now I am a mental well-being professional working exclusively with the legal profession. The common thread throughout has been my passion for understanding what makes people resilient. As a survivor of trauma myself, I know the critical importance of cultivating resilient practices. It feels like an honor and privilege to be able to share that with others.

Any advice for young women who want to succeed in the workplace?

Be authentic. Ask for what you want. Seek out other strong, supportive women. Always remember to look behind you and pull up other women along the way.

Learn more about Renee and her work on her website.

Join me for the virtual Social Media Master Class!

While we may not be able to gather in person and in groups, online networking and content marketing is still very much available to you to market your firm and yourself. In a time of crisis, the advantage belongs to the nimble, quick and emotionally intelligent.

We may have to physically distance, but we don’t have to social media distance – distance learning is a great tool for all of us.

The program will cover how to use social media for brand building, client retention and lead generation (for professionals of any level and firm size) and will provide actionable tools to enhance your presence on the social media networks and utilize LinkedIn as a business development and thought leadership platform.

Anyone can join – junior or senior, consultants, in-house professionals or lawyers. I’m offering three dates – March 27, April 1 & April 9. Sign up for the one that works best for you. Each session includes a follow-up one-on-one LinkedIn profile audit with me. Message me with questions.

Sign up here.

This is a great example of a lawyer writing a non-traditional client-focused piece of content in these challenging times. 

Thank you to Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP for standing out in a sea of sameness and “me me me” lately.

Remember – always show versus tell – and everything you publish right now should be with your clients in mind – their needs, their challenges, easing their anxieties and concerns.

Keep a running list of your firm successes and unrelated news and post 

them after the flattening of the curve. Your guiding light right now should be to only post helpful, value-added content that ties into the current market conditions.

Stay safe and stay smart.

If you have anxiety or live with someone who does, this can be an incredibly stressful time to cope with and manage those feelings. It’s perfectly okay to not be okay right now.

Here are some reassuring things you can say to help someone with anxiety. Remember, this too shall pass. Stay safe everyone.

  • “I love you and that’s why I’m here”
  • “I’m here for you”
  • “You’re allowed to feel this way, even if you don’t know why”
  • “It makes a lot of sense that you feel this way”
  • “I’m sorry you are going through this right now. You’re doing such a great job anyhow”
  • “You don’t need to explain yourself to me”
  • “You don’t need to feel pressured to stop feeling this way, take all the time you need”
  • “You are not a burden”
  • “It’s okay that you’re not okay right now”
  • “How can I better support you when you feel like this?”

Content marketing and sharing content via email and social media has never been a more important way to communicate with clients and prospects, and to build your brand and business.

You should of course be sensitive to current market conditions, and make your content relevant to what’s happening in the world right now (such as creating coronavirus-related thought leadership and webinars), but this is not the time to disappear from your clients – or to suspend your marketing activities. In fact, this is the time to lean in and position yourself as a thought leader and authority in your respective area of the law.

There are so many things you could be doing right now to better position yourself in the short- and long-term. Here are some ideas on the content marketing front.

  • Step into your clients’ shoes – what are their pain points? What is keeping them up at night? Write about those issues in their language and don’t sit on it – time is of the essence. The content you produce and share should be client-focused, helpful and value-added
  • Read the content (articles from third parties) thoroughly before you share it to ensure the subject matter is aligns with your values and your clients’ interests
  • Turn webinars about the coronavirus into written pieces and turn written pieces into webinars – now is the time to be creative and clever about how you repurpose your materials
  • Always show readers how issues impacts their business – I think every practice area can find a way to tie in the coronavirus to what they do – clients are worried about how this will impact their businesses.
  • Promote your good works – highlight pro bono and community service initiatives related to the coronavirus – if you aren’t doing this, do it now
  • Be visual, repurpose and curate as much as possible
  • Write timeless “Why” and “How-To” pieces that can be promoted multiple times
  • Cross sell practices and capabilities through content
  • Avoid random acts of content/one and done
  • Select your platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram) – ONLY go where your clients are
  • Adjust your content for each medium – do not post the same content to each platform
  • Build an editorial/content calendar to track posts
  • Train your employees on how to use social media to tap into their networks
  • Reuse and repurpose your content to make it work harder and smarter for you
  • Effectively use hashtags to make your content more discoverable – use tools such as Ritetag and Hashtagifyme to find relevant hashtags
  • Include calls to action (CTAs) so that you can capture contact information of those interested in your content
  • Understand how SEO works and use it to your advantage
  • Use analytics and data to help refine your strategy
  • Craft strong headlines for every piece of content
  • Pay it forward by promoting the content of key contacts and clients
  • Use a mix of platforms to engage with your target audiences (video, written content, podcasts, etc.)