What is Content Marketing?
HubSpot is a powerful digital marketing platform, and they define content marketing as 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.”
Many firms make the mistake of creating and posting singular pieces of content. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not a content marketing strategy. Content marketing that works 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 an important distinction because outbound methods (where the prospect is interrupted) are not nearly as successful as they once were. These days, your future clients expect you to reach them in ways that feel more organic and tailored to their interests. Therefor, it’s important that content is authentic and tells an interesting story, as well as customized for your potential audience.
How much does content marketing matter? Quite a bit, actually, for these reasons:
- You can inform leads and prospects of your services in a non-pushy way
- Content increases conversions by providing important information and highlighting expertise
- It helps to build relationships across channels and results in enhanced loyalty
- You can demonstrate how your services solve real legal challenges in more detail across multiple mediums
- You can create a sense of community around your firm and your brand
Various Types of Content Marketing
Content marketing is a broad term. What types of things qualify as content marketing?
There are a variety of content marketing formats and the most effective strategy likely involves a mix of multiple tactics. You should explore:
- 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.
- 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 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.
The Traits of Successful Content Marketing
Not all content is created equal, and you don’t want to create material just for the sake of doing so. It’s important to evaluate your goals and be thoughtful and intentional when creating original content. There are a few things that make content more impactful:
- Adding value beyond talking about your service offerings
- Targeting people at specific stages of the client lifecycle
- Maintaining a consistent brand voice and image with your other collateral
- Timely, relevant and engaging
Researching your target audience and tailoring content to them will allow you to meet them where they really are.
A 7-Step Content Marketing Strategy
It’s tempting to dive right into creating new content, but if you don’t take a thoughtful and proactive approach, you’re unlikely to create much traction. Developing a strategy for successful content marketing involves several steps:
- Creating 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.
- Documenting 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.
- Choosing 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.
- Selecting 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.
- Determining 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?
- Creating and distributing 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.
- Measuring results and analyzing. 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.
As a law firm, content marketing is one of the most important things for your team to spend time on. Not only does it expand brand awareness and generate new leads, it helps with search engine visibility and nurturing current relationships. If you aren’t working with a proactive content marketing strategy yet, we suggest you get started asap. With a little time and effort, you can develop a winning strategy that creates new business for your firm.