What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing, in a law firm’s context, is a strategic marketing approach involving the creation and distribution of such online materials as blogs, videos, and social media posts. The online material must not explicitly promote the brand, but must instead simulate interest in the law firm’s services.
What are the Benefits of Law Firm Content Marketing?
Content marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing methods today. The fact that prominent organizations like Microsoft, P&G, John Deere, and Cisco Systems are using content marketing is proof that it works. Below are a few benefits:
1. Brand Awareness
Content marketing helps build brand awareness in an industry where marketing one’s services is highly restricted and where law firms are offering legal services that are almost identical. Content marketing that is properly implemented helps you stand out from the crowd. It helps to position your law firm as an expert in its niche and it starts conversations with prospective clients on a scale not possible with traditional networking practices. As Bryan Rhoads, Intel’s head of global strategy puts it in a recent blog, “Today’s web is an endless 24/7 cycle fed by content and social actions. In this cycle, brands are realizing that content is currency and social actions are the transactions in this marketplace for eyeballs and attention.”
2. Targeted Traffic
You can create targeted content aimed at supporting individual departments with their business development objectives. As an example, if the immigration department at your law firm is not doing so well, you could create highly relevant content on immigration and then publish the content on platforms that you know are used by the target audience (such as those wishing to sponsor a spouse, those wishing to immigrate to the country, and so on).
3. Improved Client Engagement and Trust
Content marketing is important in improving client engagement and in building trust. With consistent useful content, potential clients will feel like they know you and will trust you. With buyer personas (client profiles) that are well considered, you will be able to create content that will interest, engage, and be useful to the target audience.
4. Lead Generation
According to a HubSpot study that covered over 13,500 customers, there is a clear link between content marketing, lead generation, and website traffic. The stats showed that companies with 16 monthly blogs and more got 3.5 and 4.5 times more traffic and more leads respectively compared to those with 0 to 4 monthly blogs. A recent BtoB online survey that covered 440 B2B marketing professionals found that 51% of respondents cited thought lead generation was the most significant takeaway from content marketing.
5. Thought Leadership
It is very difficult to come up with advertising that prospective clients will not regard as being “self-serving”. Such advertising is quickly dismissed. By contrast, quality content imparts the same message, but in a way that brings your firm out as a thought leader that can add value to the life of the prospective client. The content needs not be in “lawyer-speak”, but should be conversational and empathetic, showing that you have a real understanding of the problems and issues faced by the target audience, and offering a possible solution that prospective clients should consider. If asked to choose between a specialist who is talking about what he can do or one who is helpful, engaging, and empathetic, most prospective clients will choose the latter.
6. Cost Benefits
You will save money with content marketing compared to traditional marketing methods because content creation is free of charge, as is posting it. According to Search Engine Journal’s Eric Siu, a lead generated through content marketing costs approximately $143 whereas one generated through traditional outbound methods costs approximately $373. More importantly, organic leads have a 14.6% conversion rate, compared to outbound leads such as print advertising and direct mail that only have a 1.7% conversion rate.
There have been very disruptive Google algorithm changes in the past (Google Panda, Penguin and EMD (Exact Match Domain), but one thing that has remained constant is that content and context are still king. Publishing unique, helpful content on your website or elsewhere will help improve the ranking of your website in search engine results pages (SERPs). The increased visibility can only lead to more traffic and consequently greater conversion rates.
8. Social Media
Social media channels allow you to reach thousands of prospective clients. Your social media marketing (SMM) campaign will only succeed if there is consistent quality content to be shared. The more useful the content is, the more loyal and stronger your social media connections.
How to Make Law Firm Content Marketing Work for You
Create different types of content since each type of content has a different reach, target clientele, and effect. Content your law firm content marketing campaign can’t do without include:
- Blogs: Blogs are easy to write, they are effective in passing the message across, and they are manageable. You should have a blogging strategy and you should be consistent in the posting.
- Case studies: Create case studies of landmark, precedence-setting cases that you have been involved in. This is a subtle way of highlighting cases in an industry where you don’t get many opportunities to advertise your big wins. You should, however, be sensitive about client-lawyer privilege.
- Static practice area Web pages: You should create content for every practice area to be placed on the “practice area” section of your website. You should be very specific on practice area Web page content because this is where most visitors will come to see if your services match what they are looking for.
- Static city Web pages: If you practice in more than one city (or different parts of a city), consider having city Web pages. These pages are not only helpful to clients, but they also tell search engines to associate your business with the different cities.
- Press releases: Whenever you have a change in the organization, a new service, an event, or any other major event, consider writing a press release and releasing it to major news outlets.
- Social media content: Other than sharing blogs and other content on social media, you could also create content specifically for social media. These include tweets, Facebook comments, and Instagram posts. Interact with visitors once they respond to your posts.
- Visual content: Many law firms only focus on written content. You should, however, consider diversifying with visual content like photos, Infographics, YouTube videos, and animated tutorials to increase your reach.
- Other types of content: You can increase your reach even further with other types of content such as client-oriented white papers, podcasts, digital brochures, and e-books.
2. Be Local
Most law firms have a local clientele and you should, therefore, focus on the local target audience, local events, local interests, and local everything else. Note that even when visitors are searching for a law firm in your city from outside town, they will still specify the city in the keyword phrase they type in. Going local is particularly important in today’s world where people depend on Google Maps for directions. Google and other search engines also reward local, specialized content.
3. Define Your Target Audience
You should only write to a target audience. If you do not, your content will not be engaging enough for those you are targeting, and the ones who were not interested in the first place will still not be interested. Some of the things you should consider when writing are your target clients’ pain points, their education level, what they are looking for online, whether they are inherently skeptical of lawyers or they trust them, and their motivation when picking between law firms.
4. Have a Consistent Unique Selling Proposition
You should have a consistent Unique Selling Proposition (USP). This is the law firm’s core message that sets it apart from the competition. Having a USP makes writing content easier since you will know the tone that should be maintained for all content. Consistency helps build trust.
5. Create Quality Content
It is not enough that your content ‘reads’ well – it should be well written. Readers will associate poor grammar, plagiarized content, and otherwise poor content with disorganization and lack of credibility of the law firm. The content should be original (no plagiarized or duplicate content), easy to read, well organized, and free of grammatical and spelling mistakes. The content should be eye-catching as this is what will attract interest in the first place. Keyword optimization is good for SEO, but do not use too many keywords since Google looks down upon keyword stuffing and it makes content not so easy to read. Also you should remember that long form content brings additional value.
6. Use Analytics
Use analytics to collect and measure data on how your content is doing. This allows you to make a change if such change is necessary. There are several analytics software programs in the market that you can use.
7. Include a CTA
Avoid the common problem of writing great content but forgetting to tell prospective clients what to do next or where to find you. You should include a CTA (call-to-action) at the end of each piece of content. Examples include “visit our website for more information” and “call us today for a free assessment.”
8. Discuss News and Current Events
As regards producing timely content, lawyers are lucky because of the many built-in news hooks like new laws and regulations and major court rulings that are ripe for their comments. You can post opinion pieces on lawyer websites and their iterations on your own website. Writing on topical issues increases reach through likes and shares.
9. Engage your Employees to Generate and Share Content
You could run an employee advocacy program where employees can generate content (such as blog posts and opinion pieces) and share content on their social media outlets and offline. Offer incentives to ensure everyone buys in.
Let a digital marketing and SEO Agency handle your Content Marketing
Content marketing is not rocket science, but you should leave it to a professional because this allows you to concentrate on running your law firm. A pro will have all the right strategies and monitoring tools.