COVID-19 sent the world scrambling. And not just into their houses.
It’s hard to say how long things will last or how widespread the impact will be. But the information vacuum needed filled…fast. So we’ve taken all the best practices that we’ve refined over the years for content creation, strategy, web development, design, and SEO to quickly craft COVID-19 Website Notices for our clients that were ahead of the curve.
We designed these notices to break through some of the superficial noise that’s currently flooding the inboxes of our clients’ customers to address real, practical concerns related to the legal issues in their lives.
If someone was working with an attorney on a pending legal matter before the COVID-19 outbreak, they aren’t too concerned about ‘social distancing tips’ from every company they ever bought a t-shirt or scented candle from. Instead, they’ll be wondering about the status of their case is, whether or not their lawyer is still in their office, and if there’s anything their attorney can do if the courthouses close.
With the coronavirus pandemic happening so fast, people needed some basic information. So, the first thing we did was craft a list of questions we wanted our clients to answer.
The list included their current office hours, if they were operating remote, and what their capabilities were if the quarantine were extended. We also included proactive things their clients may be wondering about, like if questions related to COVID-19 would impact hourly billing, where they could read more about closures, and what can be done in the meantime.
Once we had a good list of questions, we emailed our clients for their unique responses. We also included a request to add a banner on their websites that would direct users to a blog post that addresses their firm’s availability and case handling during the COVID-19 interruptions.
We made sure to include an example:
We knew from the start that most of our clients were probably busy fielding calls from worried clients. We figured they’d want what we were offering and recognized that writing a post for every client from scratch would take more time.
To get these posts live fast, we drafted a uniform template with sections dedicated to answering the questions we asked.
We kept the introduction engaging and compassionate, but general enough to apply to most law firms. From there, we made the subheadings adaptable to the information we expected from our clients. This was challenging because we needed to adapt to our clients’ responses, but we didn’t know exactly what we’d get back.
To deal with this uncertainty – we developed standard verbiage around continuing to keep clients informed and what tools were available that make remote legal representation just as effective. These can pertain across legal practice areas and used to fill any gaps.
To keep things moving and ensure we are providing unique and useful content to the user, we included some details about local court closures. This was easy enough to research independently and had the added benefit of reassuring clients that their lawyer was on top of the situation. It also directed them to relevant off-site pages about local court and legal updates.
WP Notification and Alert Bars are custom WordPress features like the one pictured above that are ideal for marketing promotions, important alerts, and increasing click-throughs to other pages that you want to highlight.
Finding and installing the WP plugin is pretty straightforward and accessible via the WordPress plugin search tool.
In the backend of WordPress, navigate to the panel on the left labeled Notification Bars and click “Add New” in the dropdown.
At the top of the dashboard you will see a blank space for a title. Name it something relevant, so you can easily identify this banner in the future. In this case, we chose “Covid-19.” Next, there are four tabs labeled General, Style, Content, and Conditions. Start with the General tab.
When we started getting responses from clients, things ramped up. They were eager to provide the information we requested and some really made it their own. This was great to see and added a personal touch that people respond to.
From there, we took their answers and plugged them into the corresponding section of our outlines and added some details when necessary. We added specific firm names, practice area specifics, unique CTAs, links to relevant sections of their sites, and included additional resources and insights the attorneys wanted to offer their clients. Mostly these were supplemental links and advice for those worried about upcoming court appearances or who were waiting rulings.
Once the final copy was approved, we selected appropriate feature images to include and handed it off to SEO for on-page optimization and publication. SEO reviewed the blog and input it with appropriate stylization, formatting, and best SEO linking practices.
The final step was to include the blog’s URL to the plugin and publish. After going live, a user visiting their lawyer’s site could easily see their COVID-19 availability, what they were doing on behalf of clients, and get pertinent information.
With this approach and by finding ways to anticipate your audience’s needs during an unexpected situation – a global pandemic won’t stop you from adding value and gaining ground in the market.