According to the 2021 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, the average law firm lacks confidence in their marketing effectiveness, reporting that on a scale of one to five, their confidence is about a three. This makes sense since only about 35 percent of law firms receive regular reports on their web analytics. You should be confident in your law firm’s marketing strategy. The way to build that confidence is to understand how to implement effective content marketing, how to measure and evaluate your results, and how to revise your strategy based on what works and what doesn’t. In this chapter, we will learn what law firm content marketing is, why it is important, how to build your firm’s content strategy, and how to optimize that strategy for maximum client conversion.
Your law firm is a resource of knowledge and comprehensive support to people facing a wide range of legal matters. Sharing that knowledge, within the limitations of the compliance requirement set for your organization, is a good way to help people who come to your website get some insight and answers. Content marketing can help with this.
Law firm content marketing is a marketing strategy that brings potential clients to your website. Done well, it increases your firm’s brand awareness and authority in your practice area. Ultimately, we use a content marketing strategy to help with search engine optimization (SEO) to get people to your site, but we also do so to support your brand-building efforts, helping your law firm to stand out even outside of your website.
Law firm content marketing can include a number of tactics and methods to draw in your target audience, such as:
A single piece of content isn’t enough. We need to build out your strategy to include numerous ways to drive people to your site. This content helps draw traffic to your law firm website and improves your search engine rankings in relevant search results.
The ultimate goal is for the increase in traffic to translate into increased leads and client conversions. Though a vital part of your digital marketing strategy, content marketing is a slower and less costly method to reach your target audience compared to traditional advertising. However, with proper research and a strong marketing strategy, you can create evergreen content that continues to drive traffic to your firm long after it’s been published. Ultimately, this method can help you to get new clients effortlessly.
It’s a common question many attorneys have. How does content marketing fit into law firm marketing as a whole?
The short answer is yes, high-quality content marketing that focuses on producing and promoting information that is useful to your target market is an effective way to drive organic traffic to your site. This will ultimately increase your brand awareness — the number of people that know about your company, and establishes your law firm as an authority in your practice area. Marketing campaigns that are done in a strategic manner must head towards providing quality information that is different than the competition in order to stand out from your competition.
Content marketing can bring quality leads to your site organically and convince those leads to convert into new clients.
There are many factors that play a role in this and the success you will have over time. We encourage you to work with a marketing agency to create content ideas and finished pieces that resonate with your prospective clients. It’s not about inferior articles or simple posts on social media that get results. Rather, it is quality content designed with a purpose that can help you get the ideal clients your firm needs to complete.
Whether you are a personal injury attorney dealing with car accident claims or a criminal defense law firm, your law firm’s content needs to resonate with the people who are looking for help in your specific legal area.
There are 10 key steps to making that happen as we develop a content marketing plan to reach those prospective clients.
The first step is to understand who your target audience even is so you can create the right content for those people. Before you write a word, you need to have properly identified your target market and ideal client. Here are some questions to consider as you work to develop this type of useful content.
The goal here is to understand and develop personas, which are detailed breakdowns of your ideal client. We need to understand this well. That includes who they are, but also what their pain points are and how we can help them in order for this form of legal content marketing to be effective for you.
As competitive as the legal industry is, you probably are already aware of your local competitors. Have you visited their website? Are they providing value content online, through a podcast, or in case studies? The key here is to know what they are doing.
We want to focus heavily on a few key areas:
By looking at what your competitors are struggling with, we can see how to top them even more so.
How can you take advantage of the weaknesses in their own SEO strategy to outperform their website? Look beyond the legal services you offer, and focus heavily on the content. Our content creation methods aim to address your prospective clients’ needs and the search engine’s ranking requirements. Yet, ultimately, we want to ensure your site is the best possible one in your practice area.
A component of law firm SEO is understanding keywords. We have a full chapter dedicated to it because it is that important in your marketing efforts. How does it apply to content marketing, though?
It is critical for you to do some keyword research for your practice area as a starting point. You need to know the following.
Who is ranking for the keywords that are most suitable for your law firm? Take a look at your competition by Googling the keywords you’ve listed and see who is ranking in the algorithm ahead of you.
What would it take for your site to start ranking for those keywords? This takes a bit of knowledge about keywords and competition, but it’s the next step in this process.
Keyword research and competitor analysis overlap significantly. The goal is to understand what queries your local competitors are ranking for so that you can target the appropriate keywords. It’s also very helpful to pinpoint gaps in their keyword strategy. Those are openings you can target with great content and start ranking for them faster than having to compete for some of the more competitive keywords your competitors are already ranking for in the algorithm.
One of the types of content you’ll want to target to optimize your website is a hub. Content hubs are the core portion of your content, the biggest and most important components of your law firm. These tend to be specific to your practice areas. For example, a personal injury lawyer should have a page about personal injury law within the state (i.e., California personal injury lawyer). This hub serves as a good landing page and can also include internal links to spokes or the pages that break down the information further and help you target other keywords.
Hubs help to optimize your website’s on-site SEO. You should organize your content in this type of hub-and-spoke model. That’s one of the core formats for most attorney websites because it helps people in the following ways:
This creates valuable content that helps anyone who needs support and guidance on their journey to solving their legal problem.
When someone visits your website, they should get the same feel as they do when they find you on social media platforms like LinkedIn or read something you write that’s on another site. The goal here is to create a single brand image that people remember no matter where or how they come into contact with your firm.
There may be an attorney in your city, for example, that you know of because of their branding. They may have a catchy slogan that’s on every billboard in the city or a radio message that irks you because you can repeat the entire thing. The goal with your online branding is to keep that same message, style, color pattern, phrasing, and detail the same from one location to the next so that people remember you.
How do we keep your firm’s brand consistent, then, online? We do so in several ways, always creating content that reflects your established goals, values, and identity. Ask these questions, for example.
What tone do you want to use? For example, we often have attorneys who want to stress that they are aggressive defenders of their clients’ rights. Others want to be more laid-back, toned down, and not sales-oriented in any way.
Who is your desired audience and client? The content you create needs to reflect their needs and goals. We want to answer their questions and solve their problems with the content by providing valuable information. What are your clients often asking you?
What is your practice area? The content you create also needs to be clearly representative of your practice area. It should be on point, clearly communicating what you do.
What are your firm’s core values? A simple information-based website is okay, but it is not going to be memorable enough. Instead, aim for a website that’s clear on what your firm’s mission and values are. Allow for your passions to come through to help with branding.
A content funnel is a client-focused marketing model that targets clients at every stage of the buying journey. It helps to guide them to the conversion stage and earns their business. There are three stages of the buying process that your content funnel should serve: awareness, consideration, and conversion.
This is the initial stage of the process when the client is looking for help with their problem. Perhaps they just got a ticket, or they are thinking about suing their doctor. They may not be ready to purchase yet, but they want information on a specific topic. For example, they may want to know if they can fight the ticket or if they have the grounds to sue for malpractice.
In the awareness stage, the goal is to create content that satisfies their questions. Knowing your clients allows you to create content that’s going to answer the most common questions they may have. For example, they may be considering a question like, “How can I fight a speeding ticket?” or they may be asking, “My doctor misdiagnosed me. Can I sue?” Your content, then, should answer those questions for them, helping to instantly show them the value of your law firm.
The second step occurs when potential clients are evaluating their options for solving their problems. They may not only be gathering information at this point but also considering multiple law firms to determine which one is best suited for their needs. They are thinking about it, considering their next move.
To reach them during this stage, the content you produce needs to focus on why they should trust you. Perhaps you have helped to overturn the most speeding tickets in the state. You may be an attorney who can provide them with a free consultation to go over their malpractice case. The content you post in this stage should be very targeted. Blog posts about specific legal questions, posts that explain the value of legal representation, and client reviews and testimonials are all good strategies at this stage of the funnel.
The final stage is the conversion phase. This is when user decides if they are going to hire a law firm and which firm will get their business. At this stage of the process, a person knows they want to do something about their problem, and they may be ready to pull the trigger.
We can use content marketing to help them make the best decision for them in contacting and working with you. Our goal is to convince the client to choose your law firm. To convert them into your client, your site should have pages with a call to action (CTA) on them. Calls to action are a way for you to tell the reader what to do or what action you want them to pursue. This is how they will click that button and get to your contact form.
There are various types of CTAs to use. This could include buttons that allow them to call you, a content form on the pages of your site they can fill out, and links that encourage them to take action. Follow-up emails are another important component of this stage of the funnel.
You should create content that targets clients at every level of this funnel. Doing so helps to maximize client conversion — that means that more people who are visiting your site are going to become clients. Some of your content will be applicable to multiple stages of the funnel.
So far, you’re producing some great content. It’s really resonating with the brand you want for your firm. Now, let’s work on consistency.
You should have a schedule that outlines all of the upcoming content you are producing and publishing. This allows you to maintain a consistent flow of new content, which can help to make all your content more effective in improving your website’s ranking. It also allows you to evaluate what types of content work best for you by looking at metrics.
An effective content calendar is not just a list of blog posts with dates. This calendar should include several tools and details, including the following.
How are people going to find your content? You should note which distribution channels each piece of content will use. For example, what content are you sending for:
Next, define who the target audience is for each one of your pieces of content. This is the intended person that will read the content, find it valuable, and land on your website. By definition, this is when you can build out content that is best suited to that specific audience’s needs.
What is your content strategy goal? Clarify your objective and make it as precise as possible. This allows you to measure the effectiveness of the strategy you are using by looking at the metrics — how many leads are coming in, who is clicking on the links, and what action they are taking.
For many law firms, the goal is to generate more leads. In this situation, you could track your performance by measuring the amount of traffic, or visitors, who are coming to your site. For those who have a goal of driving more conversions, you may wish to measure the ratio of your site traffic to conversions.
Outline what your specific goals are here so that you can then know how you are doing. If you don’t see any results, then you may be making changes in the content you’re producing until you get the results you desire.
Your schedule should also give you some ability to make modifications as they become necessary. You may wish to change, for example, how often you publish. Crucially, you should revisit your content calendar regularly to evaluate your effectiveness and make adjustments as needed.
The next step is to find guest posting opportunities or locations on other websites that will allow you to post an article. Reach out to websites that have a good reputation and domain authority, those that rank high in Google’s algorithm. Offer to create a guest post for them.
As an attorney, they are likely to be interested, at least somewhat, in what you have to offer if it is not a sales piece and offers value to their readership. The benefit to you is that it creates quality backlinks that help people find your website and help Google to see its value.
You can also network within your field to find some additional places to post a guest post. For example, you could appear on a podcast with a trusted resource in your field. They’ll include a link to your website on their site when linking to the podcast.
You can also use sites like Help a Reporter Out (HARO). This allows you to respond to reporters and other journalists who need quotes for their publications. You don’t get paid for this, but you do get publicity and backlinks to your website from highly valuable and reputable news sites.
The content you create needs to be so valuable that other websites want to use it. It’s in-depth, well-written, super interesting, and easy to follow. Other websites want high-quality content because, quite frankly, it’s not easy to create it. Yet, they know their clients and readers want and need it.
If you can create really compelling content, this helps you to get backlinks to reputable websites. It helps to boost your own site’s domain rating. At the same time, Google’s evaluation of your content can help to give you yet another boost.
What is the best type of high-quality content that’s linkable?
Thus far, you’ve created some fantastic content, and you’re confident the leads are going to start coming in (remember, this takes time!). If you do not track your results, you have no way of knowing what parts of your content marketing strategy are working. You also don’t know which methods are not generating enough revenue and benefit to support their continued use.
Tweaking content as you go is very common. However, what’s most important here is paying attention to what’s working and what’s not working for your specific website.
Here’s what you should be tracking:
How do we make it all work to create the leads your law firm wants and needs?
By far, the most important goal of content marketing is time. Your content needs to be relevant right now but also for months and years to come. It will continue to work for you throughout that time.
You also need to revisit your content and update it on a regular basis. That should be at least every 12 to 24 months to ensure it’s still relevant and accurate. These types of content updates can help you get more and maintain traffic. You can do this by adding more relevant and up-to-date statistics, incorporating new information to polish the content, and refreshing the look of the page. These changes pay off.
Don’t get stuck in just one area. Many clients just want to produce blogs. That’s not going to be the most effective strategy. Depending on your target audience, you may want to consider new service pages, videos, eBooks, podcasts, email newsletters, and more.
HubSpot’s 2022 Marketing Industry Trends Survey found that short-form video has the highest ROI of any social media marketing strategy.
Short-form video is also something that can be repurposed for use on LinkedIn and other social media platforms, making it a very versatile style of content. Be careful, though, as low-quality video can hurt your chances with customers more than help. What’s most valuable here is creating a video that offers something of real value. If your viewer doesn’t walk away with some added knowledge, you’ve left them without what they need.
Developing highly valuable content takes time and practice. If you want some help with this component of marketing, contact Array Digital. We have a team of professionals that can guide you in content creation ideas and even develop that content for you. Reach out to us to learn more. Just fill out our contact form now or give us a call at 757-333-3021 .