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Presenters often prepare what they want to tell an audience—without considering what their audience is more likely to want to hear. This was a critique in a blog written by Stanford Graduate School of Businessregarding how panel discussions could improve. And there is a reasonable argument to be made for why this may happen for panels with lawyers especially.
For example, let’s say you’re on a panel discussion for an audience full of single parents. You agreed to be a part of this discussion because you wanted to help parents, whether inside of a courtroom or on their own, be able to amicably decide how to create their child’s visitation schedule so that it works for both parties. During your chance to talk, you share the school where you earned your law degree, what made you interested in family law and why you decided to open your firm in a particular location. You may even bring up your own children to relate to audience members.
There’s nothing wrong with any of the above. Your background is worth mentioning. However, chances are much higher that audience members who see a lawyer on a panel have specific legal questions. And when the moderator of the panel event announces Q&A time, they’re going to ask their burning questions.
One (or more) audience members may stand up and explain her biggest gripe about a child custody dispute. She’s probably looking for an immediate resolution. You provide an answer that is general enough to respond to her and potentially useful to the rest of the crowd, even if they don’t share her exact dilemma. Then another audience member stands up to either tag onto the first audience member’s question or bring up a completely different predicament.
On one hand, you want to give your audience a safe amount of free, legal advice that they can take home with them. However, you also want to make it clear that the tips you’re giving are not to be misunderstood as exact instructions. After all, part of your reason for joining this panel was to potentially increase your own clientele. And you definitely don’t want to be held responsible for legal advice without knowing each person’s full story beforehand.
Why Do SEO Blogs Matter For These Verbal Panel Discussions?
Even though you’re speaking face-to-face with your audience, this is also where SEO blogs come in quite handy. In the tech savvy world we live in, chances are much higher that audience members are already looking up your name and law firm from their seats. Or maybe audience members looked you up the minute they reserved their panel tickets. Ideally your blog has helped them familiarize themselves with you, your associates and your firm ahead of time.
Even taking into consideration audience members who didn’t already check out your firm’s website, they eventually will. You give out your business contact information at the end of the panel discussion. Then those audience members go online to see what your site is about.
The worst thing that could happen is they don’t see enough content to know what your law firm works on. There are no SEO blogs regarding family law, child custody tips or anything related to the topic that the panel discussion was about. Or, your legal blogs primarily focus on other areas of law that you practice. Now your audience is wondering why you even bothered to show up to that particular panel.
When SEO Law Blogs Fall Short
Maybe your logo or the “About Us” page confirms that you practice family law (or another type of law), but SEO content discussing these key terms adds more expertise to your page. Even if you are working on legal cases for multiple industries, it is imperative that your expertise in that panel discussion be the dominant topic on the page before, during and (at least shortly) after the live talk. Audience members (and potential clients) won’t want to dig up your SEO blogs on topics that should be front and center for now.
Making sure you have a reasonable balance of SEO law blogs also helps casual browsers find your site. (Double check that SEO keywords, meta tags and SEO titles include what type of law you’re discussing within the blog.) Of course, you want to make sure even your SEO legal blogs have footers confirming that this blog is not “one-size-fits-all legal advice.” Viewers should see information at the bottom of each blog encouraging them to contact your firm for answers to specific contractual agreements and specific terms and conditions. The idea is to suggest certain tips without breaking down a number-by-number playbook for what to do in a courtroom.
With the right amount of SEO content, online engagement regarding these relevant topics and in-person discussions so they can put a face to a name, panel discussions may be a great way to increase your business.