What does content marketing have to do with law firms? Just like in any other industries, leading law firms are using content marketing to build their brand, attract new clients, and grow their revenue.
According to the 2015 State of Digital & Content Marketing for Law Firms Survey, the amount of law firm blogs has increases by four times in the last five years
With so many other law firms creating new content every day, how do you ensure your potential clients will choose to read your content over your competitors’ content?
And if your law firm is completely new to content marketing, how do you educate your team, get their buy-in and start driving your content marketing efforts?
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach to attract, engage and ultimately convert your target audience into customers through the valuable, relevant content you create and publish.
So, imagine your firm was the top search result for “How to find a lawyer?” More of your potential new clients would find out about your firm, see it as a trustworthy source, and they would be more likely to chose your firm if your specialties align with their legal needs.
Unlike advertising, content marketing is about connecting with your potential clients without selling. Rather than pitching unwanted marketing messages to potential clients about your services, content marketing is about delivering information and insights to help your target clients make better, more informed decisions with a law firm decision.
Content marketing is about helping your potential clients solve the toughest problems and pain points that are keeping them up at night.
How Content Marketing Can Grow Your Law Firm
You’re probably thinking, if I’m providing free expert insights and answers to the legal questions a potential client may have, wouldn’t that make them less likely to hire my law firm? No. Rather, they are more likely going to hire you.
The fact is that each legal case and issue is unique, and your content cannot, and is not meant to, substitute legal consultation.
But by offering useful information that is just enough to answer a potential client’s initial questions, you’re positioning your law firm as an expert and authority on a given issue or topic, and this effectively builds trust with your potential clients.
Over 80% of today’s consumers conduct online research before making a decision, and one of the first places they go is search engines.
By publishing valuable content, using the relevant keywords your potential clients are searching for, you can help your law firm’s site rank higher in search engine results, which makes it easier for people to find your practice online.
According to this study on the top 10 search engine results, which looked at over 20,000 keywords, it found that websites which rank in the top 10 results on Google for any keywords have at least 2,000 words.
But this doesn’t mean that creating more content, just for the sake of getting your website up to 2,000 words, will automatically help your law firm land in the top 10 search results.
Today’s search engines are sophisticated enough to identify which websites offer real value to people, and which are manipulating search rankings.
By consistently publishing content that delivers valuable, relevant information people are looking for when they do a search, that’s how Google will reward your website with a higher search engine ranking. (Here are some additional tips to help you improve your website’s search ranking.)
By improving the visibility and ranking of your law firm’s website in search results, you can effectively increase your website traffic to generate more leads, which ultimately converts into more clients and revenue for your practice.
It’s been found that inbound marketing approaches like content marketing can save companies as much as $20,000 a year on advertising, and can generate more quality leads that actually deliver real value for businesses.
Some Examples of Law Firm Content Marketing
One of the best ways for law firms to get started with content marketing is to mimic the success of some of the best law firm content marketing examples.
Now most attorneys will be familiar with popular legal websites such as the ABA Journal, the LexBlog, Attorney At Work. Law.com and their sister site The American Lawyer. But these websites are online publishers who sell ads or memberships. They are not law firms.
But here are some real lawsome firms (like what I did there?) blogging, writing, and helping us lay folks understand various aspects of the law:
- BeLaborThePoint by Stearns, Weaver and Miller
- All About Advertising Law by Venable
- Canna Law Blog on legal issue in the cannabis industry
- Trademarkology by Stites and Harbison
- Baker McKenzie
- Covington’s Inside Privacy
- PhillyInjuryLawyer.com by Joel Kofsky will help you understand the liability of texting and walking
- Dennis Crouch’s PatentlyO is a nicely curated site on patent news
How To Get Your Law Firm Started With Content Marketing
So with all these obvious benefits with content marketing, how can your law firm actually get started with it? Here are 5 tips to help you get the most out of your content marketing efforts:
- Document Your Content Marketing Strategy
According to the 2016 B2B Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends study from Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs, 53% of the most effective marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. But the 2015 State of Digital & Content Marketing for Law Firms Survey found that only 13% of respondents have a documented content strategy for their legal content marketing efforts.
Without a strategy that clearly defines your content marketing goals, you’re unlikely going to know if the content you’re creating is truly working and delivering value for your law firm.
An effective content strategy should define and document your key objectives, target audience, content topics and types, publishing schedule, promotion plan and the metrics you’ll use to measure your content marketing results. This simple guide will help you create a content marketing strategy that works.
- Understand And Serve Your Target Audience
Who is the audience you’re targeting? What legal topics and issues are they interested in reading and learning about? What legal challenges, pain points and problems are they facing? What are the latest and emerging issues or trends that will affect your target audience? What content formats (i.e. blogs, videos), channels (i.e. Twitter, Facebook) and platforms (i.e. legal sites, community forums) do they prefer to read content and interact with your law firm?
By developing a deep understanding of your target audience and their content needs and preferences, you can more effectively create content that they actually want, and publish to the right channels and platforms where your content will actually get seen by your target audience.
- Keep It Simple
Law is a complex topic, and there are many legal terminologies and jargons that may be difficult for most people to understand. To avoid alienating your target audience, you want your content to be accessible and approachable.
Write as if you’re speaking to a friend without a law background. When dealing with a complex issue, try to use examples and stories to illustrate the key points you’re making.
The last thing you want your content to do is to drown your target audience in complex legalese and industry speak that they don’t understand.
So when creating content, write with your potential clients in mind. The best legal content marketing simplifies a complex topic and engages potential clients in a conversation, not throwing a legal textbook or lecture at them.
- Lead But Don’t Sell
It’s tempting to promote your services in your content, but again that’s not what content marketing is meant to do. Your goal should be to establish your law firm as a trusted resource and advisor to potential clients, not pushing your services to them.
That’s why Tip #2 is extremely important. Once you have a clear understanding of the topics and issues most important to your target audience, you can create content that addresses those needs and interests with actionable information that they can act on after reading your content. To-do lists and checklists are just some examples of effective action-oriented content formats you can use.
When you’re offering meaningful, relevant and valuable insights that your target audience is looking for, the advertising will take care of itself through the knowledge and expertise you share.
- Measure And Optimize Your Content Marketing Efforts
In Tip #1, we talked about defining and documenting the metrics you’ll use to measure your content marketing performance. This should include metrics such as the number of page views, website visits and social shares, as well as how often readers are converting into leads and clients for your law firm.
You’ll want to know if your content is driving the desired action you want your potential clients to take. And by regularly tracking and analyzing your metrics, you can better identify where you’re succeeding with your content marketing strategy, and the areas you can improve on to optimize your legal content marketing efforts, to help drive more quality leads and convert clients into actual business and revenue for your law firm.
I hope these 5 tips will help you develop a successful content marketing strategy to grow your law firm. If you have any other tips, please share your ideas below!
Are you interested in engaging and converting new customers for your business? Contact me here and let’s talk about how we can help. Or follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook