And seven easy ways you can make your law firm’s content marketing a winner
Content marketing for law firms has become one of those ‘buzz terms’ that every SEO and marketing expert tosses about so easily, as if it is a simple element to be added into all the much trumpeted SEO elements you have to do.
But there is content that works – and content that does not.
And there is different types of content, too. What content creation should your law firm be focused upon?
Blog posts? White papers? Case studies? Infographics?
And among the most compelling content used today are podcasts, video and social media posts.
It is not, therefore, as simple as simply saying you need ‘great content’ – of course you do. But you must first prepare a content marketing plan that will permit you to then feed “great” content into your content hopper.
And then you need to decide how best to deliver great content.
There is a balance between your strategic objectives and your creative content.
First Things First
So what content marketing will work best for your law firm?
First, what sort of law firm are you? Small, large, mid-sized?
What is your practice area, or areas? Personal injury? Corporate? Tax?
You need to organize yourself so you have a marketing plan that ‘fits’ your marketing content and that will depend upon your firm and its nature and objectives
You know so things now, so it is not a difficult task to then align the law firm you have with the marketing objectives you want to achieve.
You can read a marketing report on legal marketing strategies from law marketing expert Kevin Vermuelen, who writes specifically about law firm marketing advice.
Your objective should be to ensure you are building trust and authority in your practice area and developing a relationship with both existing and prospective clients with a view towards building business relationships.
How can you best achieve that?
Ascertain Your Target Audience
Knowing your target audience means you can build a road map that will lead you to them.
Having a very clear idea of who your audience are is a key element towards developing the type of content that will lead to prospective clients. Remember that the idea with law firm content marketing is not to gain clients immediately, but to develop a longer term client-build that will payoff down the road.
It need not take a great deal of time, but any content marketing campaign should be with a longer term aim in mind. No content strategy will work if you are simply seeking instant results.
For lawyers, having valuable content that is focused on your target audience is key.
For instance, it is no good writing an expansive piece of online content about ‘major developments in business law’, if your target audience is to build your reputation in (a) bankruptcy law, and (b) in Orange County.
Hence , a piece specifically written that is focused on that practice area and that geographic area is going to achieve far better results than a more generic piece of content, no matter how much valuable information and in-depth research you have undertaken to write your business article.
Produce The Most Engaging Content
For smaller and mid-sized law firms – really any law firm – you will be seeking to achieve the best results as soon as you can. It’s the ‘more bangs for your bucks’ approach, which will see engaging content that attracts potential clients and pleases the search engines, as well as your target audience.
A report in Search Engine Journal looked at seven of the most engaging content pieces, not focused on the law profession, that included –
- Authority Content – focused on building your brand and providing authoritative links and a deep dive into your specialist practice or other areas of law;
- eBooks – which comprise 18 per cent of all books sold although they are not regularly regarded as top content marketing ‘contributors’;
- Opinion Pieces – these are the sort of content that might be contributed to publications like Forbes and the Huffington Post;
- Tutorials – less suited to law firms where there are liability and marketing issues, but ‘how to’ articles relating to specific areas of law are key areas that are completely suited to law firm marketing;
- Research content – these are originally researched or written content and as ‘profiles’ and case studies etc are completed suited to law firm marketing;
- Viral content – easier said than done but with the right timing and content, your content can spread through social media;
- Video – a growing area of highly effective content marketing and well suited to legal marketing initiatives.
The Search Engine Journal article refers to any content marketing, but when it comes to law firms there are some content types that we would highlight as being the very best.
Add An X-Factor To Your Content
To make what might be otherwise tedious and dull content you need to make things more interesting and the X-Factor considerations you need to apply to the best types of content that we’ve outlined (below) is to follow these steps –
First, be aware very clearly of who your audience is and write directly for them. Don’t try and make your content applicable to everyone. Focus on your core audience and their ‘pain points’ so you can provide content (in whatever form) to address those specific issues. Zero in on the audience to target and the specific issue they have.
Check this report on creating a ‘client profile’ that lets you target your audience properly.
Second, make your point clearly with good headlines, article or post intro and subheads. Don’t waste the time of your prospective client by not hitting the key points you need to.
Third, look at the best way to deliver your content. If you have complex content, as legal matters often are, then you may wish to look at publishing a downloadable ebook, or deliver the relevant information through a webinar or video. Digital marketing involves multiple platforms and the best way to convey important information or detailed legal information may not be through blog posts.
Four, develop content that is in tune with what is happening both in terms of law practice, but also with client experience of what is happening in the world too. By highlighting current events or current culture in some way you will create more engaging, relevant new content that will build your audience and also your law firm’s brand.
Five, be visual with the content you are delivering. A picture truly is worth a thousand words and by delivering great visuals (preferably those you have developed yourself rather than stock standard pics, images, graphs, charts etc then you will on your way towards creating a more potent piece of helpful content.
Six, provide your content in a way that is real world and shows your own experiences of how it applies to clients. It can be easy to develop overly technical content that leaves the reader (of a blog post) or viewer (of a video) confused or bored. Try and show how the law works or is applied and if you can do that through stories you are able to achieve much higher conversion rates because stories resonate with the audience.
Seven, junk the jargon. Having too much legal jargon is just a loser in terms of engaging your client or potential client. Use plain English and write or speak in a conversational, relatable manner that will let your audience respond favorably.
Best Content Marketing For Law Firms
The most effective content marketing for law firms is therefore ‘targeted content’ that has a clear audience in mind and can build a law firm’s brand.
To achieve the best results, lawyers are best to consider the following top 5 areas of content for their marketing efforts.
Blog posts are something of a standard for lawyers in terms of lawyers understanding what they are, but too few use them. In the US, a 2021 American Bar Association report showed that 46 per cent of respondents claimed to retain clients because of their blogs but fewer than 30 per cent of law firms actually run a blog.
“Law firms and lawyers maintain a significant presence on social media,” according to the report. “[But] less than half of all lawyers (40 percent) say their firms have a social media policy. That increases to 86 percent for large firms of 500 lawyers or more.”
The ABA report indicated that bigger the firm, the more likely it has a blog, as 74 percent of big firms with 500 lawyers or more have a blog. Only nine percent of solos have a blog, which is literally leaving money on the table for those small firms.
We have written a detailed report on the role of blog posts and other elements in law firm SEO at this page.
Podcasts continue to grow in popularity and are well suited to lawyers, who can explain legal and related matters with knowledge and an ability to ‘talk the talk’ moreso than many in business.
And the podcasting popularity continues to develop. 2021 was the biggest year ever for podcasts with Spotify showing a growth of over 34 per cent year on year and the industry continues to develop and expand, which provides a unique opportunity for lawyers to develop their law firm’s brand by delivery good content, generate good organic search traffic and build authority through direct-to-the-client broadcasting.
In our recent report on how to use podcasts for law firm marketing, we reported that the American Bar Association (ABA) 2021 Websites & Marketing Report, once again showed that smaller law firms are slow on the podcast uptake, just as they are with blogging.
Audio content is easy for consumers (ie your potential or existing clients) to consume. Listening to podcasts on your earbuds has become part of modern life and continues to gain in popularity with one report indicated that 57 per cent of American consumers saying they listen to them.
Video continues its upward trajectory in consumer use also and is one of the most powerful ways lawyers can deploy in legal content marketing.
The variety of video-making and video editing tools is so extensive that the costs in producing video content, including using tools that will produce videos from your blog posts, are well within striking distance of even the most time-poor lawyer.
Our recent report on making video content for law firms explains details on this content tool. Video content has a significantly higher conversion rate in terms of click-throughs than written content with its instant-appeal and visual attraction. As always, high-quality content should always be the objective.
If you want to use videos for your law firm ads you can read about their ability to ‘sell’ your firm here. Just be aware when providing video content that is not pure advertising that your content should be focused on providing genuinely useful content about legal issues, rather than about the wonderfulness of your law firm.
Social Media Content
Using the social media platforms to provide links to relevant content and any useful information is a relatively fast and simple way to reach your ideal clients.
The key here is to leverage the platforms that best suit your requirements, given that around 4 billion people use the various social media platforms.
For lawyers, the most popular are LinkedIn and Facebook, but all social media platforms provide an ability for any legal firm to reach your target audience with the correct content marketing strategies.
Social media provides a way to reach those beyond your geographical reach, build your law firm brand and online presence, while also continuing to grown your network.
They also permit you to expand the reach of your other content – your blog posts, research pieces, videos – to generate heightened website traffic.
You can also use social media platforms to improve your other marketing efforts. You can share your other content, such as blog posts, case studies and podcasts on these channels.
Content Marketing Takeaways
Using content marketing for law firm SEO may be an evolving field, but choosing the target audience and then selecting the appropriate social media platform and content ‘type’ you want to produce is key to achieving the best results.
Building your law firm brand and authority means focusing on your content quality – then delivering that content to the target audience you have selected.
And then, it’s onwards and upwards for your law firm.
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