When it comes to establishing an online presence for your law firm, there are few things more important than your content strategy. Yet so many lawyers get this wrong.
Despite its importance, we find that many attorneys underestimate the time and level of skill needed to execute a full content marketing strategy. If you can hire an inexpensive freelance writer to create content for your law firm website, shouldn’t that be enough? You know your firm better than anyone else. Couldn’t you just write your content yourself?
The answer to both questions is no. In this post, we’ll cover the top three myths we hear the most, and how you can improve your legal content marketing efforts.
One of the biggest mistakes we see attorneys make is thinking that law firm content development and content marketing mean the same thing. In fact, we hear these terms used interchangeably even by so-called digital marketing experts.
Content development and content marketing are not the same, and this point is extremely important to understand.
Content development is the creation of content – and this is one piece of the puzzle. Content marketing is comprised of the strategy, development, and promotion of your law firm’s content.
What does that mean, exactly? In order to be successful, your law firm website needs unique content. If you hire a freelance writer and ask them to craft an attorney biography and a handful of pages about your practice areas, you’ll fail to see measurable results from your efforts.
What is your law firm’s unique voice? Who are your competitors, and how do they handle their content strategy? How will you compel your website visitors to pick up the phone and call your law firm? How will your content work with your web design to create a seamless experience for users? How will it look on mobile devices? What pages do you need on your website, and how often do you need to post to your legal blog?
These are all questions that must be answered during the content development stage. Before any content is produced, it’s important that your firm develops a strategic plan to set your content up for success. This takes time, thorough competitive research, and expertise in legal SEO best practices.
So, you develop your plan, create the content, and publish it on your blog or website. The truth is – that’s just the beginning.
Content marketing is not simply creating content. Rather, it’s the practice of promoting your content to create awareness. What other organizations or companies may find your content useful? How can you best promote it on social media? Are there relevant local news outlets or legal industry blogs that you can work with?
Content development is one element of a content marketing strategy. If you simply create content and stop your work there, you’re producing content, but you’re not marketing it. To be successful, you have to do both.
This is partially true. However, what many lawyers don’t realize is that the definition of content is quite broad. In fact, many successful content marketing efforts for lawyers involve newer forms of content.
Your content can refer to your website homepage or a blog article. It also can be a video, an infographic, or your social media content. Any materials your law firm produces can be considered content, and it’s important to diversify your efforts.
The second piece of this myth is that your content must live on your own social media pages or your website. If you only consider your owned digital properties when you create your content strategy, you’re missing a key component.
Your law firm content could be a contribution to a legal industry publication. It may be a legal opinion you publish in a local magazine (print or digital). It could be an interview you do for a news station that is also shared on YouTube. Even client testimonials and reviews can be part of your content strategy.
As a law firm, you should strive to create content that is worth sharing. It must be compelling. In the legal industry, it takes a lot of creativity, but it’s possible. The key is understanding that content can take many forms, and the more engaging and interesting your content is, the easier it will be to market.
How many non-lawyers do you know that subscribe to a law firm’s blog? Do you know many people who actively seek out law firms to follow on social media? It’s unlikely. The truth is that no matter how compelling your content is, it’s unlikely that many people will naturally stumble on it unless it ranks very well in organic search (which can take months).
We often hear recommendations like, “if you focus on creating great content, people will find it.” But you shouldn’t count on this. Most law firms still need to put effort into getting their content in front of people who would find it most useful.
This takes work. It takes consistent research and outreach efforts. If you wait until after your content is produced to consider how you will market it, it’s too late. You should approach every content marketing effort with a strategy of how you plan to maximize its visibility.
How do you justify putting the necessary effort into content marketing? Many lawyers fail to understand the business benefit, so it doesn’t get the investment it deserves.
Let’s use an example to illustrate how content marketing can amplify your law firm’s digital marketing efforts. You are a personal injury law firm and would like to increase awareness that you have the best class action lawyers in your city. You may decide to ensure you have a page on your website about class action lawsuits. To complement it, you also publish a blog article about recent product recalls, many of which happen to be car seats and toys for children.
This may help your SEO or paid search for your law office. But it’s not really content marketing.
A content marketer would approach this differently. They may suggest that you create an infographic about product recalls that parents should be aware of, or maybe even a short video. They would also think about local groups that would benefit from knowing this information, such as local schools or publications geared toward parents.
They reach out to these organizations to share your infographic, and it’s very successful. You become known as the best class action lawyers in your city, which translates into more business for your firm. The buzz created also helps your SEO ranking, and you claim the #1 spot in Google for class action lawyers in your city.
When done right, consistent content marketing efforts can generate new cases for your firm. It takes time, creativity, and experience marketing content in the legal industry. If you’d like to discuss your firm’s strategy, call Postali today at (800) 667-3612, or reach out online.