Today’s guest post is by content strategist and high-impact copywriter Maria Granovsky, Ph.D., J.D. Maria helps lawyers optimize their use of social media to connect with their target audience in a way that resonates with them and conveys credibility.

Mike O'Horo

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It’s a shouty world out there, especially on social media. We are buried in articles, posts, videos, and podcasts. If you’re creating content in the hopes of being seen by suspects and prospects, you may be forgiven for feeling like you’re screaming into the wind with nothing to show for it.

In fact, it is quite possible that that’s exactly what’s happening, and your content is not being seen by the people you’re trying to reach. For example, if your target audience is dairy owners, but there’s not one dairy owner in your extended LinkedIn network, your LinkedIn posts won’t be seen by the audience you want.

How do we remedy this?  Enter the gatekeepers.

Gatekeepers are people who are plugged into the industry/sector/profession you’re trying to reach. They may fit the description of your ideal client themselves, or they may be people who work or routinely interact with your ideal clients.  

Gatekeepers have strong connections to a number of your potential clients. Therefore, they can open many doors for you as either referral sources or by amplifying your message to the perfect audience. And they’ll be happy to do it, if you observe certain unspoken rules:

  • Do not pitch gatekeepers for business; that’s not their function in your strategy. They may become your clients down the road…or not, and either scenario is OK.

  • Acknowledge their expertise. In this relationship, you’re Luke Skywalker, and the gatekeeper is Yoda.

  • Build a reciprocal relationship by helping them reach their goals – be it with a timely introduction, or with useful information, or with sharing their content.

  • Make it worth their while to share your content by quoting, or tagging, or citing them in your materials.

I cannot stress enough the value of building relationships with gatekeepers. Not only can they open doors and amplify your message, but they are also a fountain of critical information.

Gatekeepers know a lot about your market

They know your audience’s pain points. Thus, while you may be tempted to talk about recent developments in the law, by listening to a gatekeeper, you’ll have the framework and the language that your audience recognizes. Using the right framework and language will allow you to position yourself as an expert who understands the relevant problem and can solve it.

Gatekeepers also know what publications your potential clients read, what organizations they belong to, and what events they attend. Armed with this information, you can start delivering your message in a focused way through the right channels of distribution. By focusing, you have a much higher chance that your content will be seen by the right people, and that it won’t be lost in the cacophony of general marketing noise.   

We, lawyers, are busy people, and the time we spend on business development is time not spent on client work, our personal lives, or sleeping. It’s understandable that our first instinct when we see anyone who looks like a suspect is to pitch – perhaps obliquely, perhaps more directly. I’ve seen this play out countless times, and it almost always backfires because the recipient of our advances feels cornered and sold to.

If you start thinking of people as gatekeepers instead of as potential clients, you’ll see two benefits. First, you won’t have the urge to pitch prematurely and thereby ruin the possibility of a future client relationship. Second, you’ll create opportunities and open doors that most of your competitors will miss.

Gatekeepers are worth your time and attention.

Maria Granovsky