The global media industry is in a state of constant disruption. New content formats and experiences are being created and supported by well-funded upstarts. At the same time, more traditional media companies attempt to differentiate their offerings from the growing volume of content being rolled out by an increasing number of competitors.
Law firms are not immune to this disruption. They may feel the effects even more acutely than other businesses, as competition for clients’ attention and spending remains intense. With widespread connectivity, consumers now have access to new content from a myriad of global providers.
In such a competitive landscape, it is essential for law firms to create content that is effective in capturing and holding clients’ attention. But what does that mean, exactly?
What is Content Marketing for Law Firms?
Content marketing can be defined as creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — to drive profitable customer action.
For law firms, this means creating content that helps them achieve their business goals, whether attracting new clients, retaining existing clients, or both.
It’s important to note that content marketing is not a new concept. Law firms have been using content marketing strategies for centuries.
Some of the earliest examples include so-called “pamphlet wars,” in which lawyers would publish their accounts of court cases to sway public opinion.
Another early form of content marketing was the free legal advice columns that started appearing in newspapers in the 19th century. These columns gave lawyers a way to build name recognition and attract new clients.
While strategies and tactics have changed over time, the basic principle remains the same: provide valuable information that helps your target audience solve their problems.
Why Do Lawyers Need a Content Marketing Strategy?
A content marketing strategy is important for any business, but it’s especially critical for law firms. That’s because the legal industry is undergoing a major shift.
Traditionally, the legal industry has relied heavily on word-of-mouth marketing and referrals from satisfied clients. But with the rise of the internet and social media, that’s no longer enough.
Consumers are now much more likely to do their research before hiring a lawyer. They’ll read online reviews, check out the firm’s website, and look for blog posts and articles that address their specific legal problems.
In addition, legal industry experts predict that the traditional law firm model will change dramatically in the next decade. As more clients move to a DIY approach, firms will need to find new ways to differentiate themselves and attract business. That’s where content marketing comes in.
Law firms with a content marketing strategy will be better positioned to weather the coming changes. They’ll be able to attract new clients, retain existing clients, and build a stronger brand in the process.
What Do Law Firms Need to Know Before Getting Started with Content Marketing?
The law industry is complex with its language and set of rules. It is important for law firms to understand some fundamentals before they start creating content. Otherwise, they risk coming across as inauthentic or out of touch.
In addition, law firms need to invest time and resources in research to understand what type of content will be most effective with their target audience. Not all content is created equal, and some types are more effective than others at achieving specific marketing goals.
Finally, it’s important to have realistic expectations about content marketing. It takes time to build an audience and see results. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a successful content marketing strategy.
Here are a few things law firms should focus on as they get started with content marketing:
Understanding the different stages of the sales funnel is essential for law firms. Content marketing should be used to attract potential clients (top of the funnel), nurture them through the consideration stage (middle of the funnel), and convert them into paying clients (bottom of the funnel).
It’s important to note that not all content is suitable for every stage of the sales funnel. For example, blog posts and articles are typically used to attract new leads, while e-books and webinars are more effective at converting leads into clients.
In general, there are two types of clients that law firms can target: individuals and businesses. Each type of client has different needs, so it’s important to create content that’s specific to their interests.
Content marketing for law firms should focus on solving the client’s problems. That might mean providing information about the legal process, offering advice on choosing the right lawyer, or giving tips on how to save money on legal fees.
It should focus on demonstrating the firm’s expertise and thought leadership on relevant issues. And it should be presented in a way that’s easy for the client to consume and understand.
Keywords are the words and phrases that potential clients use to search for information online. Law firms need to choose the right keywords to ensure that the right people see their content.
There are a few factors to consider when choosing keywords, including:
Relevance: The keyword should be relevant to the content and the client’s needs.
Competition: The keyword should have low competition so that the content has a better chance of ranking in the search engines.
Searches: The keyword should be searched for often enough that it’s worth targeting.
Moreover, law firms must consider how their target clients search for information. For example, someone who is just starting the research process is likely to use broad, general keywords. Someone who’s ready to hire a lawyer is more likely to use specific, niche keywords.
As we mentioned above, understanding the needs of your target clients should inform the topics you write about. In addition to answering their questions, you should also focus on topics that are relevant to their interests.
Some law firms make the mistake of only writing about themselves. While it’s important to share information about your firms, such as your history, experience, and awards, this should only be a small part of your content strategy. Most of your content should be focused on solving the client’s problem.
How to Build a Powerful Content Marketing Strategy for Law Firms?
Building a content marketing strategy for law firms can be a daunting task. But with a little planning and some expert advice, it’s something that any firm can do.
Here’s an 8-step process for building an effective content marketing strategy for law firms:
1. Optimize Your Content for Long-Term Organic Traffic
Most law firms either have no marketing team or a very small one. It is best to invest your limited resources in optimizing your website for Google search. This will help establish you as an authority in the eyes of your audience and bring in long-term organic search traffic.
Googling has become an almost reflexive action for many of us. Whenever we have a question, we turn to Google for the answer. The same is true for when people need legal advice. If your law firm’s website appears at the top of the search results, you’ll be in a prime position to attract new clients.
According to Search Engine Land, the first organic search result gets an average click-through rate (CTR) of 31.7%. The CTR declines sharply from there, with the second result getting a CTR of 15.8% and the third result getting a CTR of 11.4%.
This highlights the importance of ranking first in the search results. If you can’t manage to rank first, try to at least get on the first page. Studies have shown that the first page of Google results gets 95% of all web traffic.
As a lawyer, you may not have the time to create content or optimize your website for search engines. In this case, hiring a writer or content marketing agency that specializes in law firm SEO.
2. Produce Content that Satisfies Your Client Needs
Google and other search engines are constantly changing their algorithms. The one constant is that they want to provide their users with the best possible results. Google’s recent helpful content update is a perfect example of this.
Under this update, Google will now prioritize articles that are comprehensive, thorough, and satisfying. In other words, your content must meet the needs of your audience.
To determine what type of content will satisfy your client’s needs, start with keyword research. Find out what words and phrases people use to search for legal information. Then, create content that answers their questions.
Establishing relationships with business development professionals at client companies can also be helpful. They can give you insights into the types of questions clients are asking.
Here are a few other ways to come up with topics for your content:
- Look through old sales calls to see what questions prospects asked
- Check social media channels to see what questions people are asking
- Search on Quora, Reddit, and other forums for questions in your practice area
- Use Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner tool to generate ideas
Joining local Facebook and LinkedIn groups related to your practice area is another great way to come up with ideas for content. Collate the questions and comments you see in these groups and use them as potential topics for your content.
3. Highlight Your Client Experience with Success Stories and Case Studies
Clients want to see that you have experience handling cases like theirs. The best way to show this is through success stories and case studies.
Success stories are essentially before-and-after narratives that focus on your clients’ outcomes. These can be either written or video format, or a combination of both.
If you’re writing a success story, be sure to focus on the client experience. What problems were they facing before they came to you? How did you help them overcome these problems? And what was the result?
Here’s how one law firm should write their client experience in a success story:
Outline your objectives and audience
Understanding your audience is critical to writing a successful law firm success story. After reading the story, you need to know who you’re writing for and what you want them to do.
Start by creating a buyer persona for your ideal client. This will help you understand their needs, wants, and pain points. Once you have a good understanding of your audience, you can start writing your story.
Bring all the materials together
Now that you know who you’re writing for and what you want to achieve, it’s time to gather all the necessary materials. This includes data, quotes, photos, and any other relevant information.
Starting with a blank slate can be overwhelming. Having all the materials in front of you will make the writing process much easier. Ask your client if they have any photos or videos that you can use. If not, see if you can take some yourself.
Decide what is most important to include
You can’t include everything in your law firm’s success story. You need to be selective and focus on the most important information.
The outcome is the most important part of the story. What did your client achieve as a result of working with you?
You should also focus on the pain points and how you helped the client overcome them. What challenges were they facing before working with you? How did you help them solve these problems?
The story should also include quotes from the client. These can be used to support the points you’re making and add credibility to the story.
Use the right structure and formatting
Once you have all the necessary information, it’s time to start writing. The best way to structure a law firm’s success story is to use the before-and-after format.
Start by introducing the client and their problem. Then, explain how you helped them overcome this problem. Finish with the results they achieved and how their life has changed.
When it comes to formatting, use short paragraphs and clear, concise language. You want your readers to understand and digest the information easily. Use visuals, like photos and videos, to break up the text and make the story more visually appealing.
Edit and proofread your story
Once you’ve written the story, it’s time to edit and proofread it. This is an important step in the process as it ensures your story is free of errors and flows well.
Read through the story yourself and make any necessary changes. Then, ask someone else to read it and give you feedback. Once you’ve made all the necessary changes, your law firm’s success story is ready to be published.
Publish your story
Now that your story is ready, it’s time to publish it. You can post it on your website, social media, or both.
If you’re posting it on your website, be sure to include a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of the story. This could be a link to your contact form or a free consultation. Use hashtags and tagging to reach a wider audience on social media. And don’t forget to promote your story once it’s published. Send an email to your list or run a social media ad campaign.
It’s also important to get your client’s permission before publishing their story. You should also remove any identifying or sensitive details to protect their anonymity.
4. Pay Attention to Your Competitors
Competitor analysis is a must for any business, and law firms are no different. There are many ways to get a better understanding of what your competitors are doing and how you can improve your law firm.
Here’s a quick checklist of things you can do to get started:
Check how they position themselves
What kind of language do they use on their website and social media? How do they position themselves in the market? This can give you insights into their target market, what they’re trying to achieve, and how you can improve your law firm.
Look at their website and social media
What does their website look like? How often are they active on social media? What kind of content do they share? This can give you ideas for your website and social media strategy.
Analyze their marketing materials
What kind of marketing materials do they use? How effective are they? This can give you ideas for your marketing campaigns and help you understand what works well in the legal industry.
Check out their reviews
What do people say about them? Are they getting positive or negative reviews? This will give you an idea of their reputation and how you can improve your law firm.
Perform a full competitive content analysis
This allows you to see how your content compares to others in your industry, identify content opportunities, and find fresh inspiration for your content.
By taking the time to understand your competitors, you can learn a lot about the legal industry and how to improve your law firm. Use this information to your advantage, and you’ll surely see success.
5. Create Powerful Foundational and Informational Content for Your Website
As a law firm, it’s essential to have both foundational and informational content on your website. Foundational content is focused on increasing your visibility and organic search rankings, while informational content helps potential clients select a law firm for their needs.
To succeed with both types of content, it’s important to focus on quality over quantity. This means creating well-written, researched, and informative articles that are relevant to your target market. Each department or location should have its own content hub to make it easier for potential clients to find the information they need.
Use informational content to attract potential clients to your website and support your sales funnel. For example, you can create blog posts, infographics, eBooks, guides, and FAQs. Include a CTA at the end of each piece of content and make it easy for potential clients to contact you.
6. Use Google Featured Snippets to Your Advantage
Google is constantly changing its algorithms, which can greatly impact your law firm’s website. Featured snippets are one example of this. They’re short snippets of text that appear at the top of Google’s search results and are designed to answer a searcher’s query quickly.
According to Moz, featured snippets get clicked on more than 30% of the time. This means that if you can get your law firm’s website to appear in a featured snippet, you’ll likely see an increase in traffic.
Featured Snippets and People Also Ask boxes are two of the most prominent features in Google’s search results. They can have a big impact on your law firm’s organic traffic.
To take advantage of Featured Snippets, ensure your content is well-optimized and relevant to the searcher’s query. This means using the right keywords, including listicles and step-by-step guides, and using structured data to mark up your content.
7. Build Topical Authority with Google’s E-A-T Guidelines
Google’s E-A-T guidelines stand for Expertise, Authoritative, and Trustworthy. They’re a set of guidelines that Google’s algorithms use to rank websites in its search results.
The guidelines are especially important for YMYL websites, which offer products, services, or information that can impact users’ happiness, well-being, or security. This includes websites in the legal industry.
To build topical authority with Google’s E-A-T guidelines, you must focus on creating high-quality, well-researched content relevant to your target market. Your content should be written by experts in your field and be thoroughly fact-checked. In addition, your website should have a good reputation and be trusted by users.
Building content pillar pages is one way to build topical authority. Pillar pages are in-depth, comprehensive articles that cover a specific topic in detail. They’re designed to be a go-to resource for users looking for information on that topic.
For instance, you could create a pillar page on “Divorce in Texas” that covers all the important aspects of divorce in that state. This would be a valuable resource for users looking for information on divorce in Texas.
8. Structure Your Content and Improve Reader Experience
The way you structure your content can have a big impact on your website’s performance. Google favors websites that offer a good user experience, which includes easy-to-read content.
BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) is a journalistic style that ensures the most important information is shared first, and the details come later. This is similar to the inverted pyramid mentioned earlier.
The BLUF style is especially important for mobile users, who are more likely to skim content than desktop users. By structuring your content this way, you can ensure mobile users will still get the main points even if they don’t read the entire article.
You should also use short paragraphs, subheads, and bullet points to make your content easier to read. And be sure to use images, videos, and infographics to break up your text and add visual interest.
Reader experience is important for all types of content, including blog posts, articles, landing pages, and even website copy. By improving how your content is structured, you can improve your website’s performance and increase your organic traffic.
Here are a few tips for improving reader experience:
- Optimize your website for mobile devices
- Use short paragraphs, subheads, and bullet points
- Include images, videos, and infographics
- Write in a clear, concise, and easy-to-read style
By following these tips, you can improve your content’s structure and make it more user-friendly. This, in turn, can improve your website’s performance and increase your organic traffic.
In today’s competitive legal landscape, it’s more important than ever to have a strong online presence. And one of the best ways to build a strong online presence is by creating high-quality content.
Content marketing is a powerful tool for law firms, but it’s important to have a clear content strategy before getting started. An efficient content marketing strategy for law firms can help you attract new clients, build trust with existing clients, and establish your firm as a thought leader in your field.