I'd like to take a novel approach with our law firm's newspaper ads by incorporating some humor. My senior partner is putting up stiff resistance. What can I say to put his mind at ease?

Lawyers take themselves very seriously, sometimes to our detriment. When you insert some humor into your advertisement, newsletter, or other marketing tools you set yourself apart and make you seem more approachable. There is nothing wrong with being a little silly, as long as you are tasteful. Knowing this, many attorneys are hesitant to create a "funny" ad.

If you want to create a humorous ad, but you are getting kickback from other attorneys at your firm, the first thing you might mention is that most people completely ignore the ads when they're reading the newspaper. So, it's not as if you're putting your firm's reputation on the line by taking a lighthearted approach—and you may even attract the notice of readers who ordinarily wouldn't give a legal advertisement a second thought.

But the argument that will get you the most traction is that, by hewing to commonly accepted practices for legal ads in newspapers, your firm will get completely lost in the mix. If the headline, body, and small print of your advertisement look exactly the same as everyone else's, why should an interested reader call your number (except because he chose your firm completely at random?)

The fact is that the most commonly accepted practices in lawyer advertising and marketing don't exist because they're particularly effective—or, rather, they may have been effective when only a few lawyers were following them, but now are almost completely ineffective because literally everyone is doing the same thing. The key to a successful advertising and marketing campaign is differentiation: you have to show that your law firm is different from, and better than, the competition, and a touch of originality doesn't hurt, either.

Are you at a loss about how to effectively market your law practice, given that everyone else in your vicinity is doing the same thing? Read through our article library to find more tips about lawyer marketing.

Ben Glass
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Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.