Even for the largest law firms, standing out from the competition can be a daunting task. A simple Google search from a prospective client will yield hundreds of different law firms, likely including many in your jurisdiction. Enter content marketing, your tool to differentiate your firm, generate new leads and achieve measurable results. For legal marketers, your goal is to create relevant content that boosts the reputation of your firm and attorneys. However, without a clear direction that everyone in your firm understands, it will be difficult to reap the benefits of your efforts.
The lack of a clearly defined path is not uncommon for many legal marketers, which is why we created the SAME process to give firms the right tools and a plan that creates results unique to their firm. While every step in the SAME process is designed to increase leads and cases, it all starts with the strategy. Strategy is what establishes the plan, lays the foundation for the rest of the process and puts your law firm on the track to success.
The purpose of the strategy step is to create a planning process that brings about action. It begins with a SWOT analysis, or an outline of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your law firm. This allows us to familiarize ourselves with the ins and outs of your business. We can’t help you get where you want to go without first knowing where you’ve been. By completing a SWOT analysis before anything else, we’re able to gain a complete understanding of all the factors that go into creating an effective legal marketing plan for your firm.
One of the greatest components of the strategy is developing your law firm’s brand story. Your brand story is what shapes your firm, and helps to establish a voice that will be included in all your content marketing efforts. This is how you inject the identity of your firm into your messages to reach your target audience. Like many other aspects of legal marketing, developing that voice is a process and it may require you to make adjustments over time. It’s important to allow yourself room to learn and make changes when necessary if it becomes evident that your brand isn’t developing that connection with your audience.
Getting Down to Business
It may seem that developing a strategy for effective legal marketing is a tedious task, but this is the roadmap for reaching your goals and the results will make the work well worth it. If the initial steps were metaphorically your practice leading up to a big game, then now it’s time to call the plays. This is when decisions on where your content will live are made. Once upon a time, the only decision to be made was advertising on TV or in the newspaper. Now, there are seemingly countless avenues to share content and deliver your message, many of which require no out of pocket cost.
From social media channels like Facebook and LinkedIn to your firm’s own website, where you can publish a blog, podcast or any other thought leadership piece, there’s no shortage of digital channels to share the story of your brand. This part of the strategy step is about understanding your audience and where to meet them. You can’t have an active and engaging presence on all channels, but rather you should hone in on a few specific outlets that will give you the best chance of reaching your target audience. Knowing your prospective clients, having clearly defined goals and taking the time to assess what works and what doesn’t will ensure that your efforts are not wasted. It’s also important to note that when it comes to creating and sharing content, much of it will be evergreen, meaning it can be repurposed and shared time and time again.
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At the end of the day, legal marketing is a results-driven business. Lawyers come from a different background and likely won’t be thinking about the process of building brand recognition through an effective content marketing plan. However, they won’t be able to ignore the results that come from delivering quality content on a consistent basis. Content marketing is worth the investment because it works.
The strategy process is just as much for the lawyers at your firm as it is for legal marketers. If you’re going to reach your full potential as a firm and become a true thought leader in your industry, it’s going to take effort from everyone on your team. Including lawyers in the development of your strategy will allow them to gain a better understanding of the entire process and most importantly, how it can provide the results they crave.