If you want to boost traffic, generate leads, and obtain more clients, then it’s essential to develop a content marketing strategy. Many legal marketers find that’s easier said than done. How can you create compelling content that people notice? And what do you do with it once it’s created? We are breaking down the basics of content marketing for law firms right here.
What is Content Marketing?
According to content giant HubSpot, content marketing is the “process of planning, creating, distributing, sharing, and publishing content via channels such as social media, blogs, websites, podcasts, apps, press releases, print publications, and more. The goal is to reach your target audience and increase brand awareness, sales, engagement, and loyalty.”
That being said, content marketing does not mean simply creating and posting singular pieces of content. Effective content marketing involves purposefully tailoring your web pages, videos, and other thought leadership to your target audience so that they can find you via inbound channels vs. outbound. This is key because outbound methods (where you interrupt your prospect) are no longer as successful as they once were. Now, consumers expect brands to reach them in ways that feel organic. Creating content that tells a story, feels authentic, and is customized for your potential audience is the only way to stand out in today’s crowded market.
Does content marketing really matter? The resounding answer is yes, for these reasons:
- You can educate leads and prospects about your services
- Content helps to boost conversions by supplying key information and demonstrating expertise
- It’s important for building relationships across channels and results in increased loyalty
- You can demonstrate how your services solve legal challenges in more detail
- There is a sense of community around your firm and your brand
Types of Content Marketing
What falls under the content marketing umbrella? There are a variety of content marketing types and the most effective strategy likely involves a mix of these:
- Online content marketing – This refers to almost anything you publish online, but more specifically your web pages. A strong strategy in this area will help you to rank better for SEO, which is crucial for online visibility.
- Social media content marketing – Content shared on various social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook. Common types are live videos, pre-recorded videos, stories, etc.
- Infographic content marketing – These images display content, insights, or data in an easy-to-understand, graphic format. By using simple verbiage, short statements, and clear images, you can break down complex concepts that your audience will appreciate.
- Blog content marketing – Blogs are one of the most powerful forms of content marketing. Your blog will help your website to rank higher in search engines, plus it gives you several ways to highlight your services, success stories, your team, and so much more.
- Podcast content marketing – More than 60 million people listen to podcasts. Some of them are bound to have a need for your services, so it’s worth exploring this channel for sharing your knowledge and expertise. Related: The Law Firm Guide to Podcasting eBook
- Video content marketing – According to research, 73% of people say they prefer to learn about a brand’s service through video. Video has become increasingly important in overall marketing, so developing a video marketing strategy is crucial.
- Paid ad content marketing – Paid advertising will help you to reach a broader audience. Paid ads are particularly beneficial when paired with other inbound strategies and shared on social media, landing pages, and sponsored content.
Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing that works requires a proactive plan. Simply creating pieces here and there won’t get the job done. There are specific steps involved in developing an impactful strategy. Start with the following:
- Create SMART goals. Before you can get started, you need to have a detailed understanding of what you want to achieve. Your goals for content marketing should complement your larger firm objectives. SMART goals are specific and achievable, and could include things like boosting revenue by a certain percentage or improving brand awareness measured in social media engagement.
- Document KPIs. Remember SMART goals are measurable. How exactly will they be measured? Find quantifiable data points that you can use to measure actual performance to your goal. For example, for brand awareness goals, you might set a KPI of site traffic and social media followers.
- Choose the types of content you’ll pursue. What types of content are you going to create? To make these decisions, you’ll need to have a thorough understanding of your target audience (client personas are a great place to start). Narrow down which types of content will best reach them by thinking about the challenges they are looking to overcome and how your firm can help. What exactly do they need from you? Where do they spend time? Which formats are they likely to consume? Then choose a few from the list of mediums we mentioned above.
- Select content channels. Once you know the type of content you’ll create, you need to figure out where to publish it. Where do you want content to live and be shared from? For some content, the channel will be obvious and there won’t be a choice – for example, Facebook content will be produced and live on the Facebook platform itself. For other items like infographics or articles, you will need to decide where to upload and publish those items and then where to share them to get the most traction.
- Determine a budget. To get the financial component in order, think about what you’re going to publish and where. Then, think about whether or not you need any tools or technology to create the content. For example, do you need a tool like Photoshop for the graphic elements? What about professionals that you might not have in-house, like designers? Will you be paying for ad space anywhere?
- Create and distribute the content. Even the greatest content won’t do much good unless it’s consumed. In order to move the needle, you need to consistently publish high-quality content. You might want to use an editorial content calendar along with a social media calendar tool to keep you on track and find gaps. It’s a good idea to schedule a bulk of your content publishing ahead of time, while leaving some space for real-time content that’s more timely and relevant.
- Measure results and analyze. Your work isn’t done once you publish content. You need to understand the results and try to gain insights from any patterns you see. Then use those insights to improve performance and reach more people in the future. Start by reviewing your goals and pulling the reporting for all of the KPIs you set. Did you achieve your goals? Can you point to why or why not? There are plenty of free tools available to help you such as Google Analytics.
Characteristics of Successful Content Marketing
You won’t be the only firm that has the idea of improving their content strategy. Content really is king – but not all content is created equal. There are things you can do to make your material stand out. Effective content marketing does the following:
- Adds value beyond talking about your service offerings.
- Targets readers’ at specific stages of the buying cycle.
- Maintains a consistent brand voice and image.
- Is timely and engaging
Capitalize on what you know of your target audience, then tailor your content and meet them where they are.
Content marketing is a key tool for expanding brand awareness and generating new leads to fill your pipeline. It’s also important for other reasons like search engine visibility and nurturing relationships with current clients. If you haven’t spent time on a content marketing strategy yet, we suggest you get started asap. It’s the best way to begin boosting your bottom line right now.