Content marketing is important to building your brand, attracting new clients, growing revenue and making your law firm stand out in a sea of other firms. However, effective content marketing is about more than just churning out blog posts, thought leadership pieces and social media posts. The key is putting a strategy in place to establish how and why you are doing what you are doing. These five tips can help your law firm curate better, more results-driven content.
Determine Your Audience
Chances are your firm specializes in a particular service, which also brings with it a specialized target audience. One of the first steps to a successful content marketing campaign is establishing who this audience is, along with their needs and desires. This will help you when it comes to actually producing the content. Occasional broad pieces to improve your status as a thought leader in the industry are good (and needed), but the majority of the content that you are producing should be targeted toward your established audience.
There are many different ways to begin building out your audience and profiling them. Marketing agencies love buyer persona work and putting a face to your prospective client (because they go deep into the mindset of your prospect). But we believe the “jobs-to-be-done” theory of looking at an audience is key to content marketing. This theory looks at what products or services need to be provided to address a specific audience’s challenges, questions and things that keep them up at all hours of the night.
Harvard professor Theodore Levitt was famous for saying, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” In other words, people buy products or services to solve their problem.
This means we need to ask questions of our audience that get to their challenges:
- What does our audience worry about?
- Where do they look for expertise?
- What challenges do they face in their day-to-day jobs?
- Who do they report to in their roles?
The Content Marketing Institute recommends taking five key steps to develop an audience (you can read much more about how they view audience building here).
- Define your target – Detail the total addressable audience. This includes people who are true leads and will buy, those who are networked to future clients, and those who are influencers in the space.
- Discover the social and contextual aspects of a client’s need – Uncover the jobs to be done.
- Decide on your niche – Find your sweet spot.
- Differentiate your content approach – Sweet spot meets your content tilt.
- Design the map of success – Document the audience journey.
Prioritize Quality Over Quantity
There is a plethora of legal topics your firm could highlight in your content, but is what you’re creating beneficial and valuable to your audience? How are you providing answers to their most asked questions? While you certainly want to create consistent content to establish thought leadership, if your content doesn’t offer real value to your audience, you’ll never capture their attention.
Rather than focusing on how often you’re posting or sharing content, focus on what it is that clients need to answer or have a better understanding of and how can you be their go-to resource. One or two thoughtful, engaging, targeted pieces in a week will be much more effective for your firm than daily posts hastily arranged.
Keep It Simple
Although General Counsel clients will most likely understand complex subjects and legal terms, their C-Suite peers may not. Don’t forget that law firms are often talking to decision makers other than their in-house counsel. Keep the legal jargon to a minimum within the content you produce. If prospective clients can’t understand what it is you’re sharing, they will instantly lose interest.
Whether it’s a blog post, copy for social media or a podcast interview, write or speak as if you are communicating with a friend from a completely different industry. Try to use stories or examples to make the subject more relatable to those who may not have the legal background you or their in-house counsel do.
Attorneys are typically strong writers, and often the written word is their go-to means to describe an issue or legal update. But as a legal marketer, you should be encouraging your lawyers to consider more video – a versatile and engaging format that can be an extremely useful tool in attracting potential clients. Video is easy for followers to digest and understand, often entertaining and can be easily shared with more people.
There are many different types of video that your firm can use within its content marketing strategy.
- Live stream someone from your firm during a speaking engagement to colleagues.
- Record an attorney bio (in a fun and engaging way) so that others can get to know your attorneys.
- Create a behind-the-scenes look at your firm showcasing a typical day in your office.
- Create a video that breaks down a recent blog post with three or four quick tips.
- Video a quick 30-second version of your next client alert – the “need to know” elevator speech.
Repurpose and Reuse
Just because you publish and distribute content in alignment with your strategic plan doesn’t mean your work is done. The next step is to analyze how well your content performed (email opens and clicks; social media comments, likes, shares; website leads, etc.) to determine what worked and what didn’t work. If a piece of content generated a lot of engagement and maybe even a new client, use it again. Almost all content that your firm will produce can be repurposed and reused. The key to a solid content marketing strategy is integrating it with your overall marketing plan – ensuring you integrate it in a PESO model (Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned).
If you’re curating content that hones in on the needs of your client base, much of your content will be evergreen, meaning it can be shared more than once without completely changing what was originally written. Over time, this will allow your firm to develop a library of content that can be published over and over again, generating long-term success.