More and more law firms are vying to obtain the best clients and cases via online media. They invest time and money into building websites and developing pay-per-click advertising strategies. But many firms miss out on a big opportunity to improve their visibility, build trust and generate new leads with content marketing.
Content marketing involves producing useful content that positions the author (or company) as a trusted authority and a thought leader in an industry. It’s a way to engage with an audience, build trust and convert them into loyal customers.
Common concerns about content marketing
Law firms and attorneys tend to shy away from this for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they don’t want to give away their intellectual property and empower people to solve their legal issues on their own.
We’re not advocating that you give away your expertise for free. Instead, offer enough useful information to help answer the reader’s basic questions – remember, that’s why they’re conducting a Google search! You don’t need to give them the tools they need to develop their own estate plan (for example). And it’s perfectly acceptable to remind the reader to contact a licensed attorney because every case is unique.
Second, attorneys are often unwilling to make the time (or resource) commitment needed to develop and implement this type of marketing. It’s easier to rely on referrals and word-of-mouth marketing because there isn’t a hard dollar cost associated with that.
But proactive marketing is imperative to building a successful and thriving law practice. You have very little control over the amount or frequency of referral business. It can be feast or famine. However, strategies like content marketing and inbound marketing put you in control of your visibility on the internet.
With content marketing, you can better measure your return on investment (ROI) because you’ll be collecting detailed data to track your progress – things like the number of website visits and leads generated. You’ll be able to see in black and white if a campaign is performing and what needs adjusting. Referral marketing doesn’t have that option.
Why digital marketing matters
Remember that marketing is not about you and what you like. It’s about the consumer. Utilizing a content strategy makes it easier for your potential clients to find you.
- Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less.
- Search engine optimization (internet) leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate.
- 50% of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results, and 61% of those searches result in a purchase.
Once business owners get on board with the concept of creating and publishing content, they often face another hurdle: what do I write about?
Remember that you are incredibly knowledgeable about the legal industry, but your clients are not – it’s why they need to hire you! The opportunity to develop useful content is all around you. Here are seven ways to turn your expertise into lead-generating blog content.
The list article
The list article is pretty straightforward. The article that you’re reading right now is a list. They focus on a particular topic, offer a number of points or tips about the topic, and then provide a brief conclusion.
Consumers love list articles. They are a quick and easy to read, and often packed with great information. According to an in-depth study by Fractl and BuzzStream, they found that list posts were the most shareable – meaning they had the most “shares” and “reposts” on the internet.
Your list articles can be simple, such as 3 signs you need to update your estate plan. Or they can be a more comprehensive list such as 27 things to consider when hiring a personal injury attorney. Either way, the list article will be a great asset to your content strategy.
The Q&A article
The question and answer blog article addresses common questions you’re often asked again and again by potential clients. This is a great way to start positioning yourself as the go-to resource for your niche of law. That’s because consumers often search for answers to specific questions. If they find your answer, you start to build credibility.
The questions don’t need to be complicated. In fact some of the most basic Q&A blog articles have the potential to generate a lot of traffic for your website. And remember, you articles don’t have to provide detailed answers to important legal questions. They will need to hire your for that! But answers to basic questions that arise during the discovery phase are perfect content for your blog.
The how-to article
How-to blog articles are also pretty straightforward. They provide step-by-step details on how to perform a task. While there are many industries where telling readers exactly how to do something is acceptable, that likely won’t work in the legal industry. There are too many variables in each particular case.
But you can still make how-to articles work in other ways. For example, How to hire an estate planning attorney would make a great article for you blog.
The news article
No matter what industry you work in, there are always updates and changes occurring. In many instances, these updates will have an effect on your client and their case. This gives you the opportunity to build expert status by sharing the news article, and providing some commentary on the topic as well.
Remember, your clients don’t follow the legal industry as closely as you do. They don’t read the same trade publications as you. By keeping your clients informed of the latest updates, you’ve become the trusted and reliable resource.
We recommend including snippets of the original news article with a link to the full article. Copying and pasting it word-for-word won’t help with your search engine optimization (SEO). And providing some thoughts or commentary will give more of a reason for people to come to your blog.
The definition article
You probably use a lot of terms and jargon that are unfamiliar to your clients, which can cause confusion. But if your potential clients can educate themselves during their initial research, it will be a lot easier for you to work through the details of their case once they become a paying client. That’s the beauty of content – it has the potential to help all area of your business.
A definition article provides clear meaning for what something is. These don’t need to be very long articles. Explain what the term or concept is and why it matters.
The what article
What articles provide further information on a specific topic, with details surrounding comparisons of one thing to another. Although this sounds similar to the definition article above, in this instance you would go into more detail and perhaps compare it to another concept. For example, you could write an article about the different types of trusts that could be set-up for a client.
The opinion/why article
Opinion or why articles typically provide readers with a reason or purpose and provide details that support a focused position. Why posts are incredibly popular, and generate near as much traction as list articles. Perhaps there is a legal concept that the media or general public doesn’t seem to understand. As the expert, your opinion matters. So share your thoughts and educate your market.
In this article we focused on written blog content, which is by far the most popular form of content. It’s also one of the most important for improving visibility on the internet because a website that isn’t updated with new content regularly will never rank on the first page of search results.
All of these ideas can be applied to other content formats, such as infographics, SlideShare presentations, videos, e-books or white papers, check lists and podcast. So the opportunities to create content are endless. Check out this article for some more insight on creating quality content.
I should also point out that a content strategy (like any marketing campaign) needs to be used in coordination with other campaigns. It’s never enough to have one campaign running. You need multiple sources of leads to build a successful law practice.
The concept of content goes hand in hand with inbound marketing. In addition to the educational content, inbound marketing incorporates social media marketing, email marketing and a strong follow-up system so you are well-positioned to convert website traffic into revenue for your law firm.
Have more questions or need more marketing ideas for law firms? Leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to respond!
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