Taking time each day to market “you” might seem like a waste of time to a lot of people. Others might judge it as being egotistical, narcissistic or self-absorbed.

“Do a good job, and you’ll get noticed,” they’ll say. I reject that concept.

I can tell countless stories of those who have done a good job, and just get passed on by. The job goes to someone KNOWN to be less qualified. The other guy got the speaking gig. You didn’t even get invited to the dance.

Let me begin my saying that I market myself with a plan and a purpose. My goal is to build my standing and to heighten my brand in the legal marketing community. I desire to be KNOWN, LIKED and TRUSTED by those in the marketplace who have the opportunity to hire or refer me. I do this to manage my reputation and my career. It creates opportunities for both me and my firm. And I have found it provides me personal job security.

Here’s why it’s worth it:

  • Several jobs back I was notified that my position was no longer going to be necessary in 60 days. First thing I did was get on the phone. By the end of the day I had lined up three job interviews. Within a few weeks I had three job offers and was able to “quit” well before my “60 days” were up.
  • Two years ago, while on a plane, I decided to quit my job at big-law. I had had enough of the bureaucracy, politics and dysfunction that I felt were keeping me from doing a good job. I sent out a “change of contact information” to my network, which by then included several hundred legal marketers, consultants, and vendors from around the country. I had done enough work “marketing me” through the Legal Marketing Association that I was offered several consulting projects that kept me connected to the community throughout my time off. I never had to ask for work.
  • When it was time for me to go back to work, I had options. I was able to say “no” to several positions that were offered to me, because they were not what I wanted. My current position found me via LMA-LA’s website. I was on their board (again) as a volunteer.

It’s your career and you can manage or not manage it as you like. Just don’t tell me that you don’t have time to market yourself. Find the time.

With the advent of social networking and social media, marketing yourself has never been easier, and I have found that it supercharges everything that I do. Geography doesn’t matter. Titles aren’t important. What is important are the contributions to the conversations you make. Reputations are being built 140 characters at a time.

What other tools out there provide me with these opportunities? Especially since I can do this sitting on my couch on a Sunday morning (like I am now); from the airport waiting for a plane; at 2:00 am when I cannot sleep?

If you’re a member of the legal industry on Twitter and haven’t been following @nancymyrland start now. She is building her reputation amongst legal marketers, and beyond. I’d seen her name before, didn’t know too much about her, yet I now have great admiration and respect for her brand. Same goes for @glambert, @3rddeadline, @rex7, @lancegodard, @vpynchon, @lindsaygriffith. And, don’t get me started about @kevinokeefe and LexTweet. The list can go on and on.

I am building my Twitter network by following those I believe might be interested in something I have to say: legal marketers, lawyers, legal IT/library professionals, PR and social media gurus, press and reporters. I am listening to, and learning from, all of those about me, and having fun while doing it.

I always encourage people to actively participate in the conversation. I don’t care if you do it online, or live at a conference, at an association meeting, next to the water cooler, or amongst friends.

I don’t know what your conversation is about, and it doesn’t really matter. You have to have an opinion, and be willing to stand by it.

I like the opportunities provided by social networking and social media as they allow EVERYONE an equal opportunity to be heard.

If you’re too shy to speak, can’t get away from your desk, can’t travel, you have no excuses. All you need is a keypad and an Internet connection.

So ask yourself these questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you believe?
  • What do you do?
  • Who do you do it for?
  • Who do you want to reach?

Now go out and build your own 2.0 marketing plan.

If you’re not sure where to start … ask. Buy me a cup of coffee, bring a pad of paper, and let’s sketch it out. I don’t care if you’re a competitor, a Luddite or a stranger.

If you’re wondering, “why would she take the time to help me out??” Because part of my brand is that I pass it on.