The chief complaint from the 2017 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey couldn’t be clearer:

In-house counsel are drowning in content, and law firms are piling it on.

“I received a lot of law firm content and I deleted a lot of it,” Barbara Taylor, chief marketing officer at DLA Piper, confirms, recalling her 20-year experience as an in-house counsel.

A full ninety-six percent of in-house counsel say information overload is a problem.

Yet, eighty-one percent of law firm marketers say they will produce more content in 2017. None plan on producing less content.

A lack of content strategy

Only one in four law firm marketers say they have a documented content strategy. Although that number is low, it’s double the number from 2015. So there’s progress and that’s encouraging.

The problem, clearly articulated in the report, is not one of content production, but the lack of a content strategy.

A top complaint from law firm marketing leaders is simply not having to time to document a content strategy. 

Welcome to lean staffing of the 21st century where time is at a premium. 

Law firm content strategy

Getting strategic about content

There is, however, no getting around strategy if you want to see results. 

A recommendation in the report is to follow the 80-20 rule: allocate your greatest energy, resources and creativity to your most strategic practice areas (the top 20 percent).

“Strategy for us will most likely come at an industry sector or practice area level,” says Hogan Lovells’ Chris Hinze. “You need to look at what is relevant to the individual general counsel and their other team members, who may have specialist roles, and make sure what you are producing is targeted to the right people.”

The report referenced Howell Malham’s book, “I Have a Strategy (No You Don’t),” where he offered five strategy pillars: a purpose; a plan, a sequence of actions or tactics; a distinct, measurable goal, and a narrative.

Other bits of advice on content strategy and execution in the report include:

  • A content strategy should differentiate
  • Thinking about the benefit to audiences is a good way to find the purpose for your content strategy
  • Identify the intended audience as early as possible — even before the content is drafted
  • Clients alerts and practice group newsletters are the highest valued. Allocate resources accordingly
  • It’s important to know how to get the right content to the right audiences at the right time
  • It’s important to reach readers on weekday mornings, before and during their commute, starting around 5:30 a.m. Eastern
  • In-house counsel favor LinkedIn where they focus on “experience and relevant client matters” more than any other criteria.

“Fundamentally, the discussion should be about providing the right content to the right people and making sure it is relevant and actionable,” offered Chris Hinze, global head of communications at Hogan Lovells.

There’s a ton of additional great insight to dig through. Check out the report from Greentarget and Zeughauser Group: State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey.

Law firm content strategy

 

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