Marketing legal services means waging a war for attention. Even if you have something important and interesting to share, the odds are that very few people will read, see, or hear it. Every day, more than 100 billion emails are sent, 3 million blog posts are published, and 500 million Tweets are posted. With all this noise, how can you possibly break through? The answer, put simply, is Visual Storytelling. Creating visual content that tells a story and focuses on what matters to clients is the key to standing out.
What is Visual Storytelling?
When most law firms think about content marketing, they focus almost exclusively on creating written content such as blog posts, articles, and white papers. Written content marketing is important for many reasons, particularly because it’s a great means for firms and their professionals to showcase their expertise to potential buyers. But the written word is only one way to express thought leadership, and if it’s the only format that your firm uses then you’re missing out on opportunities to reach audiences in interesting and engaging ways.
A better approach is to supplement written content marketing with visual storytelling. Visual storytelling consists of graphics, images, and video that your audience can interact with as they consume your firm’s content, including:
Social Media Graphics
Why Visual Storytelling is “Sticky” and Engaging
Visual storytelling is extremely effective because it reflects how people learn, digest information, and consume content online.
For thousands of years, humans have told stories through visuals. In today’s digital world, where users are bombarded with information and attention spans are shorter than ever, it’s hard to break through with written content alone.
Visual stories grab attention—Studies have shown that a significant majority of online users give more positive responses to visual content than text-based content. An MIT study found that the brain can process an image in as little as 13 milliseconds, which demonstrates why posts on social media that include text and images perform much better than posts with text alone.
Visuals are “sticky”—People remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, and 80% of what they see and experience. If you want your audience to retain the information you’re sharing, and not merely scan it and move on, then use visuals.
Why Visual Storytelling Helps Firms Achieve Their Content Marketing Objectives
Smart law firms understand that old-school, mass-market, interruptive styles of marketing no longer work. Consumers of all types of services—from consulting, to accounting, to legal services—are finding new ways to consume information. They are ignoring brands that are pumping out firm-centric content, rather than creating stories that prospective clients 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 their target market, while using a consistent, authentic editorial voice, are succeeding in breaking through in today’s crowded marketplace. Audiences want valuable content that educates and inspires, and visual storytelling assets such as infographics, e-books, animated videos, and social media graphics deliver results.
Ideas for Using Visual Storytelling to Increase Your Content Marketing ROI
Every day, law, consulting, accounting, and other professional services firms work hard to keep up with fast-moving developments affecting the clients and industries they serve. For most, this involves creating and publishing written content for the purpose of positioning their firm and its professionals as thought leaders who not only understand what is happening now, but also what’s coming next. The problem is: How do you stand out when all your competitors are doing the same thing?
Market Your New Content
One of the most effective ways to attract more attention to your ideas is to consider how visual storytelling can play a role in increasing the appeal and attractiveness of every new piece of written content your firm creates. The amount of visual storytelling you employ depends on the importance of the content—there’s an investment involved in telling a compelling story, so you should adapt your approach to your objectives.
Repurpose Existing Content
Content marketers are always racing to create something new. A new post. A new white paper. A new presentation or newsletter. The problem is, aside from a couple of likes and shares on social media, most written content sits dormant on a firm’s website. Creating new content is important, but marketing your firm’s existing content is even more so. We take your firm’s most popular existing, evergreen content, and transform it into engaging, eye-catching visual content such as infographics, animated videos, Slideshare decks, and social media graphics.
Rather than spending all of your time and resources creating new written content, a more effective and profitable use of your firm’s marketing investment is to repurpose your existing, evergreen content into new visual forms in order to reach new audiences. These visual storytelling assets can be shared on social media, via email, and on your firm’s website to gain awareness and drive traffic. When we work with clients to create new visual content from existing written content we call it a “Burst”—because within every existing article, blog post, or white paper, there are visual stories waiting to burst out.
For more information about Visual Storytelling, and how it can be incorporated into what we call a “divisible content strategy,” read my latest post for Attorney at Work: Divide and Conquer: How a Divisible Content Strategy Boosts ROI.
Looking for more? Check out these related posts:
We work with professional services firms to develop content marketing strategies, create visual storytelling assets, and build brands and websites that lead to new business.
If you’re interested in increasing the returns on your marketing investments, contact me 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 marketing tactics that will help your firm grow.