As a law firm, content marketing might be the last thing you’re considering to gain new clients. Maybe you rely on referrals or word of mouth to obtain clients. Or maybe you’re the go big or go home type and have your face plastered on billboards and bus benches. Or perhaps you advertise on the radio.
In any case, all of these types of advertising are costly and can be impersonal and off-putting. How many billboards to you have to buy to ensure your ROI? How many radio spots do you have to purchase to gain just one client?
Inbound marketing or content marketing is a more cost-effective way for law firms to gain leads that turn into new clients.
Why Your Law Firm Should Use Content Marketing
Studies continually show consumers, in increasing numbers, perform online research before making a decision. A 2014 study determined 38 percent of people turned to the internet to help them hire an attorney. That number has likely increased exponentially.
People rely on the internet to point them in the right direction when they’re searching for specific services. From cosmetic surgery to what car to buy, many people get online before they make a purchasing decision.
Create a Content Strategy
You Need a Plan
Your law firm should develop a content marketing plan that outlines your objectives and how you will reach them. Your plan should list and analyze any marketing efforts you’re already using, then list any gaps you need to fill. This is called a SWOT analysis in which you list the strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats to what you’re already doing.
You might want to perform a SWOT analysis on your competitor’s marketing efforts as well. This will inform you about how you can take advantage of their areas of weakness and implement methods they aren’t using.
Your SWOT analysis will reveal help you formulate your content marketing strategy. Will you incorporate video into your content marketing? A podcast? More case studies?
Build an Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar is where you plan what types of content you’ll produce, where you’ll post it and when. You can plan as far in advance as you’d like, although I find a week to a month is best as you’re getting started.
You can use a spreadsheet, a calendar like iCal or Google Calendar, or even a content calendar app or software to plan your content. This way you know exactly what’s coming down the pipeline and you can easily change things as needed. And, you can take advantage of holidays and observances with relevant content.
Optimize Your Pages
The pages on a law firm’s website should give visitors an overview of the types of cases it practices. When a potential client visits your site and sees that you practice business law, they should be able to click a link that takes to them to a page on how you practice business law.
If a potential client is looking for an attorney for mergers and acquisitions, but you only work with small business owners to help them incorporate, your that client should be able to learn that on your website. It would be a waste of their time and yours for them to contact you about a service you don’t offer.
Keywords are the words people enter into search engines as they look for. They’re the words you use on your web pages to get eyes on them.
If a page is titled “Family Law” that phrase should be in the content within the page. For your pages to rank individually in search engines, they should be relevant. The text on the page should be consistent with the title.
Each page should contain a link embedded in your call to action. Usually, it’s the contact page or form. You can also link to other pages on your website or specific blog posts that go into further depth about the phrase it’s linked to.
Don’t Neglect Your Blog
Your blog should be a hub for your current and potential clients to find answers. You should post regularly, weekly is optimal, but monthly works if that’s your preference. The key is to be consistent.
Fresh content will keep your website relevant and help it rank higher in search engines. It also establishes you as an expert in your field. People want to hire an attorney who knows what they’re doing.
Is that you?
I can’t tell you how many law firms’ website I’ve come across where the blog is non-existent or there are a few sporadic posts. There may be one post in two years, then three posts the next year, none the following year and two for the current year.
This type of willy-nilly posting does nothing to help your website or your credibility. Here’s how to keep your blog updated.
Learn What Potential Clients are Searching For
Write about what your clients are searching for. You can do this by using keyword search tools. A good keyword tool can help you plan your blog post topics.
No, you don’t have to give specific legal advice per se. But, you should offer advice on things like how to find a lawyer. Or, how to avoid a bad experience while working with an attorney.
When you understand the types of problems that come with searching for a law firm or legal representation, you can help your potential clients solve them, if not avoid them.
You probably repeated hear some of the same questions on a regular basis. Use your blog to answer these questions.
Create a blog post answering one question in depth. If your potential clients are visiting your blog, they won’t have to ask the question when they meet with you.
It’s safe to say most of your potential clients aren’t law school graduates. So don’t talk to them like they are. Write your blog in plain, easy to read English.
Nothing is worse than going to a blog and needed a dictionary to understand what the writer is trying to say.
Use Case Studies
If you’ve been practicing a for a while, you probably have tales of difficult cases you took on and won. Write about them.
Potential clients want to hear about the cases you’ve won that are similar to theirs. Tell the story of the client who came to you with nowhere else to turn. What did you do to help them? How did they come away from the case, the mediation, the tort on top?
Get on Social Media
So many law firms don’t utilize social media to their benefit. They stay away from it altogether, leaving potential clients for other firms, or they use it incorrectly.
Social media is a place for you to distribute more content. You can share your blog posts, announce events and share news about your law firm. Content marketing on social media is a gold mine when it’s used effectively.
At the least, your law firm should have a Facebook Business Page. Your business page is an extension of your website and a key component in your content marketing efforts.
Here is where you share your blog posts. You also should share a glimpse into your law firm with your potential clients and page visitors using photos and text. You can build a relationship with your visitors that could develop into an attorney-client relationship.
Twitter is another place to share your blog posts. Although posts are limited to 280 characters including hashtags, your law firm can capitalize on Twitter users ability to search. You can also use twitter to search for keywords and find potential clients.
This photo sharing platform is a place for your potential clients to get to know you and your staff. Company events become photo opportunities. Did someone sponsor a lunch for your office? Take pictures and post them on your Instagram page.
It may seem like a lot, but social is where the people who want your services are hanging out. Meet them there.
This professional networking site is also a publishing platform. Here, again is a place you can share your blog posts. Got a particularly stellar post about business law you think entrepreneurs and CEOs should read? Share it on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is where you’ll find more refined, higher-educated clients.
If you’re the founder or owner of the law firm, you will benefit from creating your LinkedIn Company Page. You must have a user account first. Then, you can post from your company page to draw attention to it.
Other Social Platforms to Consider for Content Marketing
Not many law firms use YouTube as a medium for content marketing. If you do it, you’d be ahead of the curve.
You can record short videos to include with your blog posts to highlight the topic you’re discussing in text. You could also use video to explain complex topics, answer questions, and show off your personality to potential clients.
If your clients don’t mind, you can also ask them for client review videos. Just make sure you get releases from them. But, you’re a lawyer, you already know that.
Yes, a podcast. Here your law firm would, again, be ahead of the curve. You can interview other attorneys and discuss legal issues and problems that come up. This will help your potential clients, and audio is easier to digest than text.
It’s relatively easy to start a podcast, and all you have to do is share a link for your listeners to get access to it.
Determine What’s Working
You won’t know what elements of your content strategy are working if you don’t measure your KPIs and evaluate our efforts.
Keep Track of KPIs
Google Search Console is a valuable resource that’s 100 percent free for website owners to use. It helps you monitor your stats in Google search.
There are other tools to monitor website traiffic as well. Analytics tools will show which pages or blog posts are most popular, what search terms people are using to find you, and how you can improve your website’s SEO.
Do What’s Working
Your best course of action is to continue using methods that work and abandon those that don’t. Not all tactics will work for everyone. When used in tandem, these methods will produce great results. However, what works for one firm might not work for the next.
Revisit your strategy in a month and evaluate your progress. Are your Twitter posts falling flat while your Instagram is adding dozens of followers daily? Are your blog posts being shared by multiple users on several platforms? Keep doing that!
What’s Next for Your Content Marketing
It can be difficult for law firms to keep up with content marketing. Attorneys are business people making court appearances, meeting with clients and strategizing about cases. Paralegals aren’t marketers and office staff are taking care of the things attorneys and paralegals can’t.
So, how do you implement your content marketing strategy?
You hire me. I’ll work with your firm or your designated person to build your content strategy, create your calendar and get your posts and ready for posting. They review everything before it goes live and you handle the flow of new clients contacting your law practice.
It’s that easy.
Get in touch with me to chat about your content needs.