A recent study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute found content to be one of the most effective ways to promote a business, with over half of all marketers using content to reach potential customers.
Yet many law firms sleep on content marketing due to common misconceptions, such as that legal content is boring or that content marketing doesn’t work for the legal niche. In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Content marketing is a powerful vessel for sharing your expertise with the world, attracting organic traffic, and converting visitors into clients.
Here’s why content marketing matters for law firms and how to create your own effective content marketing strategy for 2021.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a type of digital marketing that involves using content to generate brand awareness, drive social media engagement, attract website visitors, or otherwise grow your business both online and offline. Content marketing can take on many forms and generate many types of results for businesses.
Law firm content marketing, in particular, is a law firm digital marketing strategy that works through creating and distributing content that draws in potential clients to your law firm. This can include email content, social media content, blog content, video content, ebooks, and beyond.
Benefits of Content Marketing for Law Firms
Law firm content marketing is about much more than publishing a few blog posts or updating a status on social media. Content marketing can take many forms and bring a wide range of benefits for law firms.
Content marketing works to help law firms:
Drive organic website traffic through SEO content
Increase website authority through blog content
Reach more followers on social media
Increase social media presence and engagement
Generate backlinks from outside websites
Grow an email list and run effective email campaigns
Reach potential clients through video content
Grow a referral network through high-value content and outreach
Experiment with different mediums like podcasting, webinars, etc.
How to Create a Law Firm Content Marketing Plan
Developing a content marketing strategy for your law firm may seem like a daunting task, especially if you are starting from scratch.
But, in reality, it’s quite simple as long as you have the right steps in front of you. That’s why we’ve outlined a foolproof process for creating your strategy and getting your content in front of the right people.
1. Research Your Target Audience
All content marketing starts with your audience, as these are the real humans that will be reading your content and, hopefully, making the decision to hire you.
With this in mind, you should conduct market research to understand what your target audience wants, how they search, and what topics they are interested in.
“Market research” can be as casual as taking note of the most common questions clients ask you, to as formal as conducting a research survey around user habits, interests, pain points, and goals.
If you do plan on conducting a survey – or asking your audience directly – here are a few questions you can ask:
What is your #1 legal struggle at the moment?
What resources have you looked into to help you overcome this struggle?
What questions do you still have about this topic?
What issues do you have with the resources/solutions you came across?
What 3 traits are you looking for in an X lawyer?
What is your #1 goal when it comes to overcoming your legal issue?
What topics would you like to learn more about?
Users’ answers to these questions will help guide your brand narrative (Step 2) and come up with thought-provoking content ideas you know your audience will be interested in.
This ensures that you are creating content your audience will love and will actively work to turn passive website visitors into potential clients.
2. Establish a Brand Identity and Narrative
Chances are, you don’t want to be like every other law firm out there. You want to stand out as an authority in your space, have a reputation for landing great results for your clients, and have a content strategy that puts your business on the map.
If this sounds like you, then you need to establish a strong brand identity and narrative that clearly defines what your law firm is about. This identity affirms the types of clients you work with, how you work, your company values, your mission statement, and what kinds of services you offer.
Be sure to create a brand statement that states:
Who your target audience is
What services your law firm offers
How you work and deliver services
Your company values
Your approach to client support
Your mission statement
Your brand voice, style, tone, etc.
Anything else your team should know when it comes to your brand content
This brand identity statement can take the form of an internal document that you, your team, and any contracts you hire can refer to when creating new content. That way, all your content marketing will align with your brand identity so it will work to put your firm’s best foot forward.
3. Conduct SEO Keyword Research
SEO keyword research is necessary to identify the key terms your audience is searching for to find law firms like yours on Google. SEO tools like SEMRush.com or Ahrefs.com are valuable resources in helping you find competitive keywords, related keywords, backlink opportunities, and more.
You should be looking for keywords related to your service area and the legal services you offer. For example, keywords like “seattle pi attorney” or “seattle personal injury law” make sense for a personal injury law firm in Seattle.
Once you have a list of keywords, you can decide whether they are best suited for blog posts or web pages. A keyword like” Denver family law” would be suited to a service page, whereas “How to file for a divorce in Denver” best fits a blog post.
We recommend keeping these keywords organized in a Google Sheet so you can refer back to it, plan out your content, and add to the list over time.
4. Create a Blogging Schedule
When we talk about blogging, many lawyers protest, “I don’t have time to keep up with my blog!”. And that’s okay. It’s much better to write high-quality content than to stress yourself out trying to churn out several articles per month.
That’s why it’s best to use something like Google Sheets to plan out your keywords and blog topics, then set deadlines that fit your capacity to create content. It’s fine if that is only one article per month to start.
Over time, you may have more time or money to invest in content. We recommend aiming for at least two articles per month and then using the rest of your time distributing that content or repurposing it as podcasts, videos, etc.
5. Write with E-A-T in Mind
E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trust) is a concept in SEO that has to do with creating content that builds trust with your audience and with search engines. It’s a way of confirming that your firm is a reputable source of information for users.
Writing for E-A-T means maintaining high standards when it comes to publishing accurate and valuable information. This includes citing your sources, avoiding copyright issues, demonstrating unique value, highlighting your credentials, and more.
Not only will this increase your credibility but make it more likely for search engines to trust your site. And when search engines trust your site, they are more likely to rank your content high in the search results so it can be read by potential clients.
6. Establish a Content Distribution Plan
After you’ve researched, created, and published your content, it’s time to get some eyes on it. While SEO blog content can work to attract organic traffic, passively, you should also have a distribution plan to get your content noticed on other channels.
Software like Buffer can work to push your content out to social media platforms. You can share your content on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social site. You can also reshare your content to your email list, repurpose it as a video, or turn it into another type of content asset.
It helps to schedule out your content distribution efforts so you stay consistent. This will allow you to drive views, attract website visitors, and, ideally, land new clients on a regular basis.
7. Utilize Video Marketing
60% of businesses use video in their marketing – does yours? If not, it’s time to start!
Video has become increasingly popular due to it being a visual medium, highly shareable, and a driver of traffic on platforms like YouTube. As part of your content marketing strategy, it’s smart to use video to generate even more reach with your content.
You don’t have to be a video pro to create great video content. You can get started with someone as simple as Facebook Live or Instagram Reels, or as fancy as making and editing pre-recorded YouTube videos. The opportunities are endless.
9. Experiment with Mixed Media
When most people think about content marketing, they think about blog articles and, sometimes, video content. But content marketing can involve a variety of mediums. It’s fun and effective to experiment with mixed media to see what works best with your audience.
Here are some different ways to repurpose your content:
Try some of these out, add them to your content distribution plan, and see how your audience responds. Take note of the media types that generate the best results so you can be sure to create more of these in the future.
10. Measure Content Marketing Results
The goal of content marketing is to generate tangible results for your business. So, rather than send your content out into the abyss, you should be monitoring the success (or failure) of your content closely.
Use Google Analytics to track website traffic, traffic sources, goal completions, website bounce rate, and more. These will tell you whether users are converting on your site and where they are coming from.
Most social media sites have their own performance metrics regarding engagement, likes, clicks, etc. These will show you how users are interacting with your social media content.
Finally, your email management system should be able to track open rates, clicks, and more to tell you how your email content is performing. And YouTube will track new subscribers, likes, comments, and beyond.
Use these insights to inform your future content strategy so you keep doing what works and nix what doesn’t.
Best Practices for Law Firm Content Marketing
Once you’ve established a law firm content strategy, you will want to do all you can to optimize your content and generate the best results possible. This takes patience, consistency, and a dedication to following today’s content marketing best practices.
Attract Backlinks – Create valuable content that attracts links for other sites. Resource libraries, guest posts, and infographics are great drivers of organic backlinks.
Guest Post – Post articles on reputable third-party sites to generate more traffic, boost your authority, and even earn links.
Create Webinars and Videos – Try your hand at video content and/or conduct webinars to attract more users, subscribers, and clients. You can also use webinars to grow your referral network.
Grow Your Email List – Your email list is one of the few assets you own under your business. Use content to draw in new subscribers, send out a regular newsletter, and gain more clients.
Boost Social Media Engagement – Be sure to respond to comments on social media so your followers feel heard. Share your own content and content from other users, post videos, and increase your online authority.
Content Marketing for 2021 and Beyond
Content marketing is one of the top digital marketing strategies law firms are using in 2021. Follow the steps and best practices above and you will be well on your way to a strong law firm content strategy.
How do you plan on using content to land more clients this year and beyond?