If digital marketing forms the body of your law firm’s lead generation strategy, content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) are the legs that hold it up. When developing a digital marketing strategy, content marketing and SEO are two of the most effective tools for your firm to generate new client leads. Much like the ingredients of a delicious recipe, these components work hand-in-hand. Using one without the other will greatly diminish the potential reach for your law firm, while ignoring both, quite frankly, will leave you in the dust of your competitors. Before you can begin weaving these tools into your digital marketing plans, you must first understand what they are and how they can work for you.
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, delivers natural, free website traffic from search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. As we all know, when someone enters a word or phrase into a search engine, thousands of results instantly appear. These results are not random. Rather, they are strategically ranked based on their relevance to keywords listed in the search content by the person performing the search and the value other readers place on that content as measured by the time they spend on the page consuming it.
The goal of SEO is to place your law firm at or near the top of the results page in Google or another search engine. Search engine users tend to visit the first few results listed so if your firm is hovering at the bottom or after the first page, chances are you won’t be seeing much traffic to your website. Applying specific keywords and phrases within your content, focused on the search habits and interests of your target audience, can lead to higher search engine ranking. This is where a strategic content marketing plan comes into play.
What is Content Marketing?
As defined by the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Churning out content can play a role in this practice, but it takes more planning and strategy than that to succeed. The key is developing a strategy that identifies your goals and how you intend to accomplish them. Your time is valuable and a content marketing plan will only achieve success when it involves creating intentional, results-driven content. If your firm has never utilized content marketing, it can seem like a daunting task. However, the best way to make progress and show results for your attorneys is by keeping it simple and defining a roadmap that will help you stay on track with your goals.
How SEO and Content Marketing Work Together.
SEO and content marketing show the greatest results when they are combined. At its core, marketing is the promotion of your firm’s services to your target audience. That can still work on its own, but the application of keywords and phrases that mirror a typical client search will take your marketing from mere promotion to to serving as a well-respected resource for prospective clients. This is where you’ll need to do a little research. Think about the questions your current clients are asking and how you can craft well-written content that answers those questions for them. Phrasing is key as well, so be sure to leverage resources that can show what people are actually searching for when seeking a law firm or related legal advice.
With consistency and time, this practice will allow your firm to position itself as a thought leader in your industry. You’re answering the questions that interested parties are asking, and therefore becoming the resource during their time of need in the process. Your SEO research will provide the basis for your content, while the actual production will generate interest in your firm among your target audience.
Getting Started with SEO and Content Marketing.
Now that we’ve established a plan for your SEO and content marketing, it’s time to begin weaving those strategies into your current marketing efforts. Relevant keywords are your main focus. The keywords you researched during your initial SEO background work should be included in all content you produce. However, this is also a delicate process. You want to include enough keywords that you rank higher in search engine results, but you also want your content to flow naturally rather than feel forced. Search engines can actually penalize forced and unnatural content with lower rankings.
To get started, it’s important to audit all your existing content. That includes every blog, social media post, video or other content to make sure it aligns with your strategic plan. Quality and consistency are crucial, and much like the use of keywords, they require balance. The goal is to create content that is refreshing and creative, while providing answers to match some of your clients’ most commonly asked questions. Now is a good time to note that any and all content you produce should live on your website and be shared on all social media portals. Driving all traffic to one central location is vital, because it will ultimately generate more potential leads for your firm.
Producing Effective Content Marketing with SEO.
Now that you understand better what content marketing and SEO can do for your law firm, it is essential that they become part of your strategy across all channels. From social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn to other channels like a blog or a podcast, content marketing and SEO practices can and should be utilized everywhere, all working toward the same goal of reaching and engaging with your target audience.
Armed with the knowledge of what these elements are and how they work, your law firm will be well on its way to producing thoughtful, engaging content that fills a need for your audience. So, what are you waiting for? There’s no better time to get started on your law firm’s new SEO and content marketing plan than the beginning of a new year.