How attorneys can publicize awards and recognition to market themselves

Gavel and gold trophy on black surface.

So, you’ve won an award. Congratulations! It took a lot of education and hard work to get to this point. But now, what should you do with that award?

The answer: A lot.

Awards and recognition are an excellent — although often underused or misused — vehicle for legal marketing. In this post, we’ll explain why they matter and how you can use them to appeal to consumers with a legal need.

Why do awards matter?

Before we talk about how you can use and publicize awards to market yourself and your practice, let’s talk about why you should.

First, FindLaw research has shown that clients with a legal need have trouble distinguishing between what they see as comparably qualified attorneys. Awards aren’t the only way to set yourself apart, but they are an excellent means of separating yourself from competitors who would happily take your business. They act as third-party validation of your legal acumen and skill, and that’s exactly the kind of reassurance clients want when making a hiring decision.

Second, awards enhance your reputation in the legal community and may lead to more and better referrals. Fellow attorneys don’t want to send a client with a legal need to just anybody. Knowing that you have been recognized provides a measure of confidence that a referring attorney is sending a potential client to someone who is a standout in the profession.

Third, you deserve it! Awards are granted in recognition of significant work and uncommon accomplishment, and as long as you do it tastefully and ethically, you’re well within your rights to make sure people know when you’ve received an honor.

How should I use awards to market my practice?

Here are some of our best tips for using awards to market your legal services:

1. Provide some context.

When you’re sharing news of your award, be sure to give your audience some context. Don’t do what far too many attorneys do and assume that a reader or listener knows what the award is given for. If your award is for pro bono service, you will want to clarify what kind of pro bono service you provide and how much of it performed, for example. Or, if you’re a SuperLawyers selectee, you’d want to make it known that only 5% of attorneys attain such an honor. It doesn’t have to be much, but providing a little context makes mentioning your award far more effective.

2. Share and share again.

A common mistake is talking about an award once, and then never again. Your award should have a very long lifespan. Let’s start with social media. Depending on how large your audience is, you may want to share news of the award more than once and on more than one platform. For example, you could share a photo of yourself accepting the award the night of the ceremony on LinkedIn and then, a week or so later, retweet a post from the organization that granted the award with a message of thanks. Be careful of overdoing it, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to maximize your mileage.

3. Be comprehensive.

Going along with what we said in the previous tip, don’t make the blunder of publicizing your award only in one place. You should make sure you mention it where talking about it seems natural: On social media, on your website, and in any bio you submit for a speaking engagement or event, at minimum. Also, make sure your alumni publications know about it. They are often happy to run items on their alumni having professional success, and that’s great for exposure and brand awareness.

4. Include it in an ad.

Mention of an award should not take the place of the fundamentals, like your contact information and practice area, but a short, tactful mention can enhance the efficacy of the ad. If you’re running a PPC campaign and space is short, you could say something simple like “Smith County’s 2023 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year” after your name. Or, if the ad is larger and space allows, something like “Voted by Smith County lawyers as 2023 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year.” What this does is add context and color to who you are, which can make a client feel like you’re more relatable.

If there’s one thing we could leave you with, it’s that an award should have a long and multifaceted life as a part of your marketing strategy. You don’t have to shout “I won!” from the rooftops, but you absolutely should make such recognition a part of your comprehensive and multifaceted marketing campaign.

To learn more about various tools for marketing yourself and your legal practice, browse our portfolio of legal marketing services.

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