Congratulations!

You’ve won a prestigious industry award. Maybe you’ve received a recognition from Super Lawyers or picked up a national accolade in your specialty. You’re basking in the glow of what you’ve achieved.

But once you’re done doing that, ask yourself: What am I going to do with it?

In fact, you can, and should, do much more than simply hang that plaque on your office wall. Awards and recognitions are what the marketing world calls third-party validations, and they can be extremely valuable marketing tools for attorneys. Third-party validations make you stand out in an increasingly competitive legal market.

Consider the benefits. Industry recognition establishes trust and confirms your credibility as an attorney. It attests to your services and skill, and it reaffirms your current relationships with clients and others.

Such validations play into a consumer’s psychology. Look at how people make their buying decisions. In the case of legal help, during the evaluation of alternatives stage, consumers are asking: What can I find out on the Internet about this attorney?  Whom do my friends and family recommend? And how is this attorney better or worse than other attorneys I’ve looked at?

A third-party validation tells them that someone else has approved you—and that you’re particularly worthy of a potential client’s trust.

But those benefits don’t mean all that much unless you can leverage them. So when you get the word out about your award, touch all the bases:

Issue a press release. Traditional but still useful, particularly to reach print media. News coverage of your firm can help you be found online in Google’s local business listings.

Include your award in your advertising. Use any logos, badges or branding elements that accompany the award. They tell consumers that an established entity vouches for your firm.

Start blogging. If you aren’t doing so already, announcing your award and the capabilities it recognizes through a blog post is a good way to start. Then start sharing it socially.

In short, a legal award offers you and your firm an excellent way to differentiate yourselves in the marketplace. So take advantage of it. It may feel braggadocios, but in a world where consumers have countless options to choose from, you need to make the strongest case for why they should pick you.

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