There are a couple of purposes behind why law firms choose to post content online. Online content demonstrates relevance and niche expertise to your peers for cross-selling opportunities, and it adds meaningful value to prospects and existing clients.
If your law firm doesn’t have a strategy behind posting content, now is the time to rethink what you’re writing, how you’re writing, and how often you’re posting. Whether you post content on a practice-group-specific blog or you’re writing general content for your firm, it’s more important than ever to think about the legal audience and the best way to impart information.
Why Your Content Isn’t Generating Responses
The legal space is notorious for lagging behind other industries in terms of marketing innovation, which is why legal marketing started becoming a popular department in small and large firms several years ago. When law firms started posting content, they often ran into these common pitfalls:
- Not posting regularly enough – Online content must be current to be relevant. The lifespan of content pieces varies, but most articles have a lifespan of about 37 days. That means that if you’re not posting content at least once a month, you could be missing out on opportunities to engage with your audience online.
- Targeting too many demographics – As with any content marketing strategy, knowing your audience is key. In law, this can be particularly challenging, since you may advertise your skills to a wide range of individuals. Always try to choose three or four personas to target in a content marketing campaign, and cater your content to that demographic. For instance, if you primarily work with in-house counsel in a corporate law setting, focus on a few industries to demonstrate legal insight.
- Failing to use online tools – User adoption for online tools is often one of the main problems legal marketers see when they start to develop marketing strategy. Customer relationship management (CRM), Google Alerts, JD Supra, and many other tools that can be developed for legal use offer a world of insight that attorneys can use to target their information. Learn to use them and you’ll never miss an important court decision or industry impact that you can use to generate content.
- Failing to post content on multiple mediums – When you post an article to your blog, that information should automatically be shared on active social media sites. Use dashboard tools like Hootsuite to send out content across multiple platforms simultaneously.
- Talking at readers instead of to them – While it is very important that attorneys maintain a professional online personality, readers want information that is easily digestible. Focus on breaking down court cases, decisions, and the impact of legal decisions on an industry, especially if you’re writing to the general public. If you can take a three-page, content-heavy PR piece and boil it down to a one-half page or one-page synopsis, you can save your audience time while delivering pertinent information.
- Failing to keep your website up-to-date – Your online biography may be the first contact you make with a potential client. If it hasn’t been updated in a year or two, you may not seem as involved as other attorneys. Many prospects and clients check out attorney bios to affirm credibility. Frequently asked questions (FAQs), practice pages, and other site content should have a consistent voice, be easy to navigate, and be current. Update it as often as possible.
- Hanging out in an online “comfort zone” – Attorneys who use popular and innovative techniques online get noticed. Use non-stock pictures, infographics, videos, podcasts, and popular forum websites like Quora to start engaging more. Not everybody likes to read 600-word articles, so diversifying the way you present your content can improve response rates. Try setting up an anonymous poll or quiz that is fun and educational.
- Failing to humanize attorneys – Some law firms do this better than others. Social media is a great way to take an attorney from the stereotypical notion of a hard-nose with a suit and tie and turn him or her into a person. Share photos from the office, attorneys on a sports team, or family portraits. Bringing in non-legal content can enhance responsivity by making attorneys more approachable and can give prospects and attorneys a great conversation starter.
- Not addressing process questions – Prospective clients may know they need an attorney, but when it comes to the actual legal process, there’s not much in-depth information online. The answer is always “it depends,” followed by a call-to-action. If you can answer a question that hasn’t been answered online about the legal process, you may encourage more prospects to reach out for more information.
Making the Most out of Your Firm’s Content without Going Crazy!
There are tons of “do this, not that” articles online. Each one will tell you to focus on a different aspect of marketing and can make even the most ambitious marketer or attorney feel overwhelmed. The best piece of advice you can follow is to try out new ideas a handful at a time. Try one to three ideas for a three- to six-month period. Analyze the metrics, keep what works, and replace what doesn’t with something new.
Use humor, diverse content types and forums, and stay conversational. All content should be specifically designed to promote your firm’s goals. Step away from what other law firms are doing every once in a while and really think about what your brand’s personality should convey. While you can maintain competitiveness by doing what other firms are doing, one of the best ways to get your practice noticed is to do something different.
Don’t forget that your own postings can be the best source of inspiration. If there was a piece that did particularly well, riff off of it to create something new. Not many readers want to go back six to eight pages in content archives to find what they need. If it hasn’t been talked about in a while, repost or reinvigorate content with an update. Take a look at your firm’s content today. Is it time for a new content strategy?
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