What is “content”? Content is essentially everything your customer or prospect touches or interacts with.” This pithy and spot-on description comes from Ann Handley, in her excellent book Everybody Writes. She’s the Head of Content at MarketingProfs and knows of what she speaks.
Three steps to a content marketing strategy: GAP – Goals, Audience and Plan. Establish your goals, identify your audience, and create a content plan.
A content marketing strategy for legal tech is part of your overall digital marketing strategy which I’ll reduce to three core concepts that I like to call G.A.P. – Goals, Audience and Plan. Establish your goals, identify your audience, and create a content plan.
Here are five easily identified goals, though the priority may vary based on whether you’re a startup or a more mature legal technology company.
- Build brand awareness
- Drive traffic to your website
- Get more leads
- Convert those leads
- Increase customer loyalty
That’s it. That’s the G in the GAP strategy. This first step is critical but as you can see, not terribly difficult. It can get more much more detailed and complex but you’re off to a good start with these.
The next and super important part is identifying your audience. This is the stage where many marketing strategies go to die. This is where crafting detailed buyer personas and the customer journey comes into play and can confuse or overwhelm a lean, scrappy legal tech team, immediately creating a bottleneck.
Don’t get me wrong, engaging in these exercises is very important if you want to get a deep understanding of your audience and optimize your content so that it’s useful for them while at the same time, help to achieve your goals. Check out Guy Alvarez’s podcast on creating content for the awareness, interest, decision, and action stages of the buyer’s journey.
For now, here are three relatively quick and easy steps you can take to find our more about your audience and their journey to help you craft your content strategy.
Talk to your current customers
Find out what they’re trying to accomplish, their goals, how they go about making a decision to purchase software, their interests, their challenges, where they hangout online.
Talk to your support and customer success teams
I can’t emphasize how important these teams are for legal technology companies. They’re a significant part of why customers stay with you and pay more for additional services and features. They’re on the frontlines and know your customer’s concerns and delights and their day-to-day issues. Include them in your content strategy meeting.
Talk to your sales team
Like your customer service and success teams, your sales team is on the front lines. But they have additional insights, like, why a customer would subscribe to your service, and why they won’t, the questions they have, their experience with competitors. Also Include them in your strategy meeting.
Your next step is crafting a content marketing plan.
Start with an editorial calendar
This is especially useful if you have more than one writer or content creator. Create it in Google sheets so that you can share and collaborate with the team. You’ll need the following columns:
- Publication date
- Due date
- Category (for blog posts)
- Subject or headline
- Target audience
- Call to action
- Type of content (blog post, infographic, case study, webinar, video, podcast, and so on)
In the podcast I go over a webinar format case study. A webinar is a lead magnet and you’ll want to create multiple lead magnets like ebooks and white papers – any piece of content that requires an email address.
But please don’t be tempted to produce content not related to your core service, like marketing, just to get eyeballs.Unless – and this is a big caveat – unless you frame it to address a concern that together with the legal software and service you offer, provides opportunity for growth. Or, if it’s around a corporate social responsibility effort, such as getting involved in access to justice, hackathons, or diversity in the profession.
Social Media and SEO
Part of your content plan should include a strategy around optimization and social media. Your content does no one any good if they can’t find it.
You’ll need an SEO strategy around improving the authority of your site, and optimizing your content. Use social media to build awareness and build relationships. Saying “I didn’t get any leads” after 3 weeks of trying social media is not a strategy or measurement of success or failure. Remember that SEO and Social media long-game strategies. You can fold in some quick-results efforts like paid social, and Google Adwords. As you get up to speed, consider adding marketing automation to the mix to nurture and convert leads into paying customers.
Make sure to measure all of your efforts to see what’s working and what’s not. Each platform provides great insights into how you’re doing, what’s working, and how you can do better.
I’ll leave you with one last bit of advice: don’t just think about your content strategy or talk about it with your team. Document it, put it up on the wall, check it frequently, and refine it as you go along.