The Value of a Professional Image

Everybody’s Doing It

When the Shale Boom started, most landmen were required to join AAPL so brokers could say “all our contractors adhere to the ethical standards set forth by AAPL.” It was a marketing gimick. Then we were all required to have our own LLCs. That was a liability gimick. We’re still doing those things but nobody really knows why. It’s 2023. Every landman has a webpage touting 150 years of combined experience, listing all of the services that their “land company” offers, and claiming that they are professional, ethical, honest, etc. Some of them have testimonials from people like “Jake B.” who says that ABC Land Company is amazing and gets everything done under budget. Browse enough of these websites and you’ll start to recognize the same stock photos, the same pages, similar language, and near identical lists of services.

When Dinosaurs Roamed the Internet

Then you can also find some relics of the early days, when simply having a website meant you were more professional than the competition. A lot of these websites haven’t been updated in over a decade, and it shows. You’ll see fewer stock images, often they’ll be pixelated, the websites won’t be optimized to view on a smartphone, and the colors/fonts are going to scream 1990s. Most of these sites don’t even have SSL set up. Obviously, those brokers don’t care.

Technology in Waves

We’ve gone through phases over the last 2 decades as technology has slowly infiltrated our industry. First it was fax machines. Then it was email. After that came webpages. Now we’re in the social media phase. The ever increasing list of things you “have to do” to set yourself apart reminds me a lot of the trends we’ve gone through regarding higher education. When I was in high school, it was simply enough to have a bachelor’s degree. Then 2008 happened. College grads had no prospects for jobs, so they started saying you need a graduate degree from a law school, business school, etc. Now you need 3 degrees, 10 professional designations, 20 years of experience, and 40 references just to get noticed…but you’ll also be “over qualified” for 90% of the jobs out there.

Moving Goalposts

The goalposts are always going to be moving. So…what’s the point? I’ve spent a lot of time working on our website for MYR Land Services. Will that help us find new clients? Probably not. Does it matter? Yeah…but you can’t really put a tangible value on having a professional image. If somebody googles me, they’ll see that we have a webpage and it has some relevant information regarding landman work in the oil and gas industry. You can find my rather bland and damn near inactive LinkedIn page. I’m linking to LandmanLife, where I have been posting for 14 years. We’ve got YouTube videos from the Friday Standdown going back a couple of years. Does any of that matter? Maybe.

What’s the Point?

Probably not. But we’re doing it anyways. We don’t have any choice but to try. When I say “a lot of time,” we’re really talking about hours, not days or weeks. I think that’s worth it. We have nice business cards. There’s an intangible value that goes with having a professional image. Maybe it just makes you feel more professional, and that’s reason enough to put in some effort. Look good, play good.

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