The Influencer Hour: A Q&A with Nicole Abboud of Abboud Media
In the Influencer Hour, we spotlight legal entrepreneurs who are shaking things up in the legal field, driving positive change, and standing out as leaders in their industries. For this first piece in our Influencer Hour series, I had fun chatting with Nicole Abboud, a former attorney, legal content expert, podcaster, and speaker.
AD: Tell us your story! What’s your background, and what are you doing right now?
NA: Hey everyone! I’m Nicole and I’m a leadership speaker, content marketing consultant and strategist, and the host of The Gen Y Lawyer Podcast. I used to be a practicing attorney but after practicing for 5 years, I quit and ventured into the world of entrepreneurship. That’s where I’m at now.
AD: Can you walk us through your journey in starting your company? What initially made you decide to leave practice to start helping lawyers become thought leaders and influencers?
NA: Quitting the practice of law was definitely nuts and quite possibly the biggest risk I had ever taken in my adult life. But I was super unhappy as an attorney. I couldn’t figure out what it was about the practice of law that left me empty but I knew that if I ever wanted to be successful in life, I had to do something I loved. So after many years of complaining to anyone who would listen and much self-reflection, I finally decided to take the leap in 2017. I launched the first iteration of my business, Abboud Media, which focused on video and podcast production. I didn’t wander too far from the legal profession, however, because when I thought about whom I’d like to serve through my business, I knew it would be lawyers.
AD: Why do you think it’s important for lawyers to develop a platform as thought leaders?
NA: Well, it’s no secret that the practice of law and the legal industry as a whole have changed. There is an abundance of attorneys in the U.S., and clients have many options when it comes to selecting someone to help them with their legal matters. And it’s not only lawyers who are competing for clients. It’s other non-lawyer legal service providers like LegalZoom and RocketLawyer.
So knowing that clients have options, the onus shifts to the lawyers to figure out how they can connect on a different level with potential clients. While in the past lawyers relied on their websites and in-person word of mouth to generate business, that’s no longer sufficient. It’s crucial for lawyers to be more proactive about building brand awareness around their knowledge and expertise in order to attract clients. In creating content like blogs and podcasts that showcase what they know, they begin to break down walls that once existed between lawyers and client. More importantly, clients get an inside look into the way the lawyer thinks, how effectively they communicate, and how they carry themselves. That will go a long way in helping clients select the right lawyer.
AD: Do you think podcasting is an effective practice for lawyers? How can it help them grow an audience online?
NA: Yes, definitely! I am a huge believer in the power of podcasting in helping lawyers grow their brands. It’s one of the most powerful ways to share who you are and what you stand for as a lawyer. By its nature, podcasting is very intimate and personal. Listeners get a chance to hear your voice and become familiar with your personality. The voice is a powerful instrument!
If you focus on showing up consistently, delivering great quality content, and then you follow up each episode with a solid promotional strategy, you’ll slowly but surely grow a loyal audience.
AD: If lawyers want to explore publishing video content, start a podcast, or land more speaking gigs, what can they do? How can they get the ball rolling if they aren’t sure where to start?
NA: The best thing to do is to turn to Google or YouTube for tutorials. There are endless amounts of blogs, videos, and podcasts about video and podcast creation. That’s a good place to start your search. Then, once you’ve gotten a better sense of what video and podcast creation entails, you should find people you admire who are creating video or podcast content and follow them on social media. Observe how they create and promote their content.
AD: What are your thoughts on lawyers sharing non-law-related topics on their platforms? Is this an effective approach to marketing and branding?
NA: I believe lawyers should show their human side through their marketing and branding, and that includes posting non-law-related posts. Nowadays, people want to hire lawyers that they know, like, and trust, so in order for lawyers to establish those types of relationships with people, they must be willing to show what they’re all about. If you, as the lawyer, are into snowboarding, then show that. If you spend your weekends at your kid’s soccer game, talk about it online. You never know what a client will connect with. If your potential client notices that you are an avid runner like them, they’ll be more inclined to reach out to you now that they feel like they have something in common with you.
AD:What are three things small firm or solo lawyers can start doing today if they want to start to set themselves apart as thought leaders?
Select one thing you want to become known for.
Get very clear on who it is you want to speak to through your content.
Just start creating! Grab your phone and record a video, start drafting a post, etc.
AD: Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us! Where can we learn more about you and your company?
NA: Thank you for asking! If readers would like to connect with me, the best place to find me (and follow what I’m doing now that I’m not practicing law anymore), you can find me on Instagram @nicoleabboud_. But if you want to really get to know me and my ideas, then I’d love for you to sign up for my weekly #WorkingOutLoud newsletter at www.bit.ly/NAideas