Should we be creating more content but at a low level of quality, or less content at a high level of quality? For law firms looking to make an impact with their content, this question poses a false dichotomy. There is another alternative, which is to produce a high level of content at a high level of quality. If you are, in fact, hoping to make an impact with content marketing, there is no choice other than to do more, better.
What is Content Marketing?
Smart brands—law firms and otherwise—have come to understand that old-school, mass-market, interruptive styles of marketing, such as traditional advertising, aren’t working any longer. Consumers of all types of products and services, from light bulbs to legal services, are finding new ways to consume information, and are ignoring brands who are interjecting what they want people to hear and see, rather than creating stories consumers want to hear and see themselves.
Rather than one-off ad campaigns and self-centered marketing materials, law firms that produce content that inspires, educates, and entertains members of their target market, while using a consistent, authentic editorial voice, are succeeding in breaking through in today’s challenging and crowded marketplace for content. The best law firm content marketing, be it in the form of website content, articles, video, or audio, focuses on the client’s information needs and not the firm’s own preferences.
As with any marketing initiative, law firm content marketing must start with a smart strategy in place. Here are five best practices, focused on both quality and quantity, that law firms should focus on to build an online brand presence and amplify their content marketing efforts.
Quality: Start with Strategy
1. Become a “Lighthouse” for Your Clients
A law firm content marketer’s principal job is to help its audience discover new (timely and relevant) things they’re interested in via the content they provide. In yesterday’s world, which was one of information asymmetry between law firm and client, it was enough to inform audiences of what was happening at the moment. In today’s world, which is one of information parity, law firms must explore what’s coming next. They must see around corners and help clients gain new insights, identify new solutions to problems, and anticipate new trends in their industries. Law firms that become a “lighthouse” for their clients and prospects, who shine a beacon of light on what’s to come, will gain trust and be perceived as an essential resource. In other words, help your audience meet an essential need (even if they’re not aware of it yet) through your content.
2. Quality First, SEO Strategy Second
SEO changed irrevocably the day that Google released the “Panda” algorithm update in 2015. And for smart, savvy content marketers, it was a change for the better. No longer are brands able to game the system through keyword-stuffed articles and web pages. Google’s stated mission is to make the Internet a better place for people to find the best information possible, which has elevated the importance of quality content in SEO strategy. Today, a law firm’s SEO strategy should not focus on technical exploits, but rather should emphasize quality content that engages and informs its visitors.
3. The Best Content Tells a Story
Elevating quality content over SEO gaming tactics begs a question: How can law firms best engage their audiences? The answer is storytelling. Great content resonates with an audience by helping them meet a need and telling your law firm’s story in the process. What sets a story apart from mere content is its ability to engage someone’s brain like nothing else. Stories connect emotionally, not just intellectually. They convey insights, but wrapped in an interesting narrative. A law firm’s ability to tell stories, through its brand and through its content, is the ultimate differentiator in the crowded marketplace of ideas.
Quantity: Stay Organized and Have a
Vision for the Future
4. Publish on a Regular Cadence
Why do TV shows, podcasts, and radio programs release content on a consistent schedule? Their viewers and listeners have expectations that must be met if content producers expect to hold the audience’s attention. Even if you’re producing high quality content, if you’re doing so sporadically, then you'll be out of sight and soon out of mind. In addition, by producing high quantities of high quality content, then you’ll have a body of work for Google to judge you by as its algorithm tries to determine if your site is an authoritative one.
5. To Stay on Schedule, Use an Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar is at the epicenter of an effective law firm content marketing strategy. Instead of a scattershot, one-off approach to content marketing, an editorial calendar helps you manage and streamline your content workflow, allowing you to map your content to your audience’s needs. A good calendar allows you to look into the future at what content needs are coming down the road, and assign editorial responsibility to those inside or outside of your firm, as appropriate. More than anything, a calendar can help you capture the big picture of your content strategy, and adjust it as necessary to meet market needs.
Content Remains King
My agency designs and develops websites for law firms. During the course of each engagement, we try to impress upon our clients that a website, itself, will do very little to aid in business development, lead generation, or even brand awareness, unless just as much—if not more—attention is paid to content as it is to design and development. Content is king. It’s the fuel that attracts people to your site and keeps them engaged and coming back for more.
Need help evaluating your website copy, creating new copy, or implementing a content marketing strategy that drives lead generation?
We work with law firms to develop content marketing strategies, and design, develop, and write content for law firm websites that generate leads and aid in business development. If you’re interested in increasing the returns on your marketing investments, contact me at 313.432.0287 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a free consultation to discuss how we can work together to define clear goals, create a specific plan of action, and implement content marketing tactics that will help your firm grow. Also, please check out my new book, The Essential Associate, which is now available for purchase.