If you intend to market your law firm online (you would be foolish not to these days), just having a website with a “contact me” form won’t cut it. In the world of internet marketing, content is king. Content is what gets discovered and shared. It’s how you develop an online persona. It’s how you communicate to your prospective customers and stand out from the crowd. And that’s why content marketing is so important for lawyers. However, many firms still fail to effectively leverage content for their benefit. In this post, we run through the basics of content marketing and provide 3 good content marketing strategies for lawyers.
What Does Content Marketing Mean?
First things first…what is content marketing all about? Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing digital content with the goal of engaging a certain target audience.
While content marketing has existed in other formats for a long time, the Internet is now by far the world’s dominant means of distributing content. With the rise of social media, content marketing is becoming one of the primary ways in which businesses and brands communicate their message to customers.
Just about everybody is utilizing content marketing to connect with their customer base, from mega corporations like Proctor & Gamble, to popular brands like Red Bull and Nike. But many lawyers have not caught on to the trend yet
Why Content Marketing Is So Effective
Google is the first place people turn these days when they become aware of a potential legal issue. There is a ton of legal information available for free on sites like Avvo, Nolo, Quora, and others. People can research their issues and even get answers from lawyers without ever having to retain a law firm.
The reason sites like Avvo have established such a dominant presence in the online legal space is because of all their free content. Avvo’s content marketing strategy is masterful, and it’s a major contributing factor to their $100M plus in funding.
But what is it about content? Why is content so powerful? Well, it depends on the context. For brands, it’s often because their content evokes emotion. Think about Nike’s inspirational video content and how it inspires their audience to “Just Do It.”
In the case of legal content, it’s mostly because knowledge establishes trust. When a prospective client reads an article or watches a video, and that content helps them understand their situation better, they inherently develop trust for the person or company behind the content.
If you read our law firm sales guide, you know that developing trust is an essential part of the legal sales process. The idea behind a content marketing strategy should be to deliver “self-help” legal content to show prospective clients that you’re an expert at what you do. Help them see their legal issues more clearly, and there’s an excellent chance they will turn to you when they need more help.
The 3 Best Content Marketing Strategies for Lawyers
If you want to make content marketing a bigger part of your law firm online marketing strategy, here are 3 good content marketing strategies for lawyers:
Strategy #1 – Create Downloadable PDF Guides
One of the most widely used and effective content marketing methods is to offer free guides for download.
Not only is this content good for building credibility, it’s also an excellent way to capture emails. As we explained in our email marketing guide for lawyers, building an email list is one of the keys to online marketing success.
Here’s a quick overview of what to do:
- Write the Guides – use Microsoft Word or another text editing program and write a 2-3 page guide about a common legal issue or question that your prospective clients would be likely to have. Explain what the legal issues are, what problems can arise, and what needs to happen to resolve the issue. Be sure to include your contact information so people can get in touch. Save your guides as PDFs.
- Create Landing Pages – you need to have a page online where you’ll offer the downloads. You should create a separate landing page for each guide with relevant content. For example, if the guide is about “what to do if you get a DUI” you should have some text on the page with DUI keywords, and imagery that is consistent. Basically, just tell people what’s in the guide and why they should download it. We recommend using a tool like LeadPages, which makes it extremely easy to build these types of landing pages.
- Collect Emails – next, you need to integrate the email input fields on the landing pages with some type of email marketing platform to capture the emails into lists. We recommend Mailchimp or Autopilot. Create a different email list for each guide and landing page. That way you know which people are interested in which types of content.
- Get Traffic to Your Landing Pages – once everything is setup, you need to get some traffic! You should share your landing pages on social media frequently, put links to them on your main website, and even consider paying to advertise them. Read our Facebook marketing guide for lawyers to learn more about how to drive traffic using Facebook ads.
- Send Follow Up Emails – now that you’re capturing emails, the final step is to follow up with them and keep them engaged. Thank people for downloading your guide, and let them know you’re happy to answer any additional questions they may have. Send each list a periodic newsletter with further updates.
Strategy #2 – Start a Law Blog or Legal Information Website
The web is built on informational content across millions of different blogs, forums, and websites.
When visitors land on your website, it’s often because they have a potential legal issue or legal questions they need answered. A great way to engage with these visitors is to provide helpful content that they can read to learn more.
Think of it like an ice-breaker. Many people may not feel comfortable contacting a law firm immediately, but once they’ve read a few posts and seen that your law firm is knowledgable and works with clients just like them, they’ll feel more at ease. Not only that, but blogging and producing content does wonders for your SEO.
Here’s how to get started:
- Set Up a Blog – we recommend using WordPress. It’s pretty easy to use, even for beginners, yet really powerful. Check out our guide about how to create a WordPress blog for more info.
- Develop Your Strategy – before you jump in, it’s helpful to have a strategy. This should include considerations like what will you write about, how often you’ll publish new content, how you will get traffic, and more. Here are 10 blogging tips to get you started.
- Start Publishing Posts – establish a routine, and start writing! It can be tough at first, but once you get in the habit, blogging is really pretty easy. Every lawyer should have a wealth of good topics too. Just write about questions your clients ask you everyday. Strive to make each post at least 500 words.
- Include Calls to Action – like we discussed in our law firm web design tips, the key to conversions online is having strong calls to action. You should include a contact form, phone number, and/or other contact information along with every post. Make yourself available, and encourage people to reach out if they have any other questions.
Strategy #3 – Publish Posts and Answer Questions On Major Content Sites
The previous two strategies are probably the most proven and effective ways of doing content marketing, but they do require quite a lot of time and effort to implement. This third strategy is a good approach for lawyers who aren’t as comfortable with online marketing and who don’t have the time or energy to put into blogging or email marketing.
The third content marketing strategy we’ll cover is to publish content and answer questions on other major websites such as Avvo, Quora, CaseText, Medium, LinkedIn, etc. It doesn’t require building out your own blog or website to host the content, and these sites already get millions of pageviews, so getting traffic is much easier.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Know Your Audience – the key to using any of these channels is to know who you are writing to. If you’re a DUI lawyer, LinkedIn is probably not your best option. Avvo would be a wiser choice. But if you’re a small business lawyer, LinkedIn might be highly effective. Always have your audience (i.e. your target clients) in mind.
- Focus on Providing Quality Content – many lawyers will just jot down a single sentence with a surface level “it depends” type answer on Q&A sites. That’s not enough. Your goal should be to give the best answer out of everyone. The more helpful information you share, the more credible and knowledgable you look. If your answer does well, it will live on for many other people to read, not just the original asker. So spend some time and put thought into every answer. The same goes for your blogs and articles.
- Have a Completed Profile – on any site that has a social component, like LinkedIn, Avvo, and Quora, you should be sure to have a professional looking profile with all the information filled out, including a photo of you. People who read your content may want to check out your profile to learn more about you, and if you don’t have a photo or completed profile they will be a lot less likely to contact you.
- Link Back to Your Website – you should find ways to include links to your website whenever possible. Links will get people engaging with you, generate more traffic, and help with your SEO. Just don’t make it look spammy. A good tactic is to link back to a related article on your website with more information on the specific topic you’re writing about.
- Content marketing is a powerful means for any business to reach its target customers online
- In the legal industry, content marketing is most effective when used to establish credibility and trust with prospective clients
- Providing downloadable PDF guides about specific topics or legal questions is a great way to engage with prospects and collect email addresses for use in an email marketing strategy
- Blogging is a good strategy for getting traffic to your website, establishing your expertise on various topics, and improving your SEO
- Writing content on major sites like LinkedIn, Avvo, Quora, and others is a less time-consuming, yet still effective way of getting your content out there and engaging with prospects online