Before many people enlist the services of an attorney, potential clients browse the internet for specific answers to their case. That’s exactly why content marketing for law firms is such an important part of any comprehensive legal outreach strategy.
Lawyer content marketing allows you to connect with your target audience in an effective, affordable, and measurable process. You can position your legal team as the experts they are while providing helpful information that naturally boosts your rankings on internet search engines like Google.
By learning more about law content and sharing that information, you can create and implement a dynamic plan that builds steady business for your law firm over time.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a communication method professionals use to create and distribute useful and relevant information to a defined audience. This is done to gain more clients. It often involves working with writers and editors to produce articles, videos, social media posts, and other content available to audiences for free.
The strategy behind content marketing for law firms is that if you provide valuable advice that potential clients seek, they will be more likely to connect with you when it’s time to hire a legal professional. When produced with search engine optimization as a priority, the same content will make it even easier for those clients to find your legal practice.
Why Use Content Marketing?
At first, it may seem like you’re giving away valuable information for free. But that’s exactly the point — it's an investment strategy to boost your bottom line. With this method, you are entering into the four-part buying cycle without a hard sell that may send people away:
- Connect with clients: Before anyone will call you for representation, you must first let them know about your firm. In this part of the buying cycle, clients recognize that they have a problem — but they’re not sure anyone can help them with their case.
- Help with research: Clients will naturally start researching what attorneys have expertise in the subject matter of their case. They’re educating themselves, and you can help. Think of it as preemptive to the consultation call.
- Clients recognize your value: If you’ve helped them gain clarity or learn more about their circumstances, your firm will shoot to the top of their list when considering who to hire.
- They’re ready for a free consultation call: Known as a “call to action” or CTA, you can encourage clients with an action. Toward the end of all your content, encourage them to pick up the phone. You can entice them with an offer for a free 30-minute call with one of your attorneys. If it’s a good fit, you’ll gain a new client.
Does content marketing for law firms work? When you follow the process of crafting a comprehensive marketing plan, you’ll be able to measure the return on investment or ROI. If the work isn’t getting noticed, you can pivot the strategy to one that does.
Benefits of Content Marketing for Law Firms
There are many reasons why marketing strategies for law firms include content solutions. The benefits of content marketing include:
- Awareness of your firm to the kind of clients you want to attract
- Increased organic web traffic, rather than through paid advertisements
- Enhanced credibility and trust within the community
- Improved client relations
- Increased client onboarding and retention
Legal marketing content does take time. You’ll want to give the strategy up to nine months before you can expect strong results. But with the help of writers with specialized skills, your legal team won’t have to complete extra work as part of the plan. Plus, expert writers know how to craft quality content that delivers results.
How to Create a Law Firm Content Marketing Strategy
Follow these steps when you’re ready to create a content strategy for law firm growth:
1. Articulate What Sets You Apart
The first step to creating content marketing for law firms is to brainstorm exactly why a client should work with your lawyers instead of others in your community.
A simple start is to answer the question, “What makes you first, better, or different?”
Analyze your competitors and your market to see how other firms position their worth. Look at your values and history. Write out long and short-term business goals. Create a short list that makes your brand identity and messaging clear.
2. Identify Your Audience
Who are you looking to attract with your content? The more defined you can have your target audience, the more successful your strategy will be. Start by gathering demographics about your current client roster. Consider crafting a survey or conducting client interviews to determine similarities and trends.
It also helps to determine who your target audience is not. Go beyond the simple geographic range, household income, and gender. Consider the hobbies, pain points, and professions of your ideal clients. Then, keep your audience in mind while producing your law firm content marketing products.
3. Create a Budget
Marketing professionals recommend that you designate between 25% and 30% of your entire marketing budget to content marketing.
You may typically spend money to publish advertisements in legal journals and newspapers and on the radio and billboards. But law firm content marketing is different. The budget will go toward hiring writers and producers to create blog content, and then you can post it for free. You’ll have to pay for:
- The salary of a content creator
- Work done by editors or other professionals
- Images, video, or audio elements
- Any other outsourced work
4. Set Measurable Goals for Success
Once you know the costs of production, you’ll be able to calculate your ROI. Remember: You may need to also pay for tools and software to create content, and you may want to invest in paid promotions to enhance content distribution.
Your content marketing strategy should include metrics that make sense for you to measure. Make sure your goal is SMART, which stands for:
For example, you can track the number of hits on your website over the six months following your content marketing campaign launch. You can create a survey asking how new clients found you and track how many read one of your blogs before scheduling a consultation.
5. Plan a Realistic Strategy
You can publish content on many different platforms, so be realistic and focused with your content marketing for law firms. Start by learning the different kinds of content from which you can choose:
A blog is an article that often ranges in length from around 500 words to 2,000 words. This content provides direct solutions to the problems your clients are trying to address. Ask your legal team for common questions they hear from current and prospective clients, and you can create a list of blog topics that directly target your audience. Use an SEO keyword search tool to ensure your blogs rank well on Google and other search engines.
White Papers and E-books
Similar to blogs, white papers and e-books are written content. However, they are much longer and provide more in-depth information. They may be anywhere from five to 100 pages of content, all offered for free.
Sometimes, these are used as part of a sales funnel to create long-term relationships with your clients. Don’t forget to include relevant keywords in these longer files, too.
While written copy is the most common content for a law firm website, videos are another option. You can publish them on platforms like YouTube and embed the clips on your website. With a written script, your attorneys can share information through short video clips that also provide a personal introduction to whoever is watching.
When it comes to social media, content marketing for law firms requires extra planning. It is crucial to maintain the values and reputation of the legal practice with everything posted on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Blogs can serve double duty when shared through social media, and infographics can provide helpful insights to online followers.
6. Delegate the Work
Lawyers are strong writers, but legal writing can differ dramatically from the kind of content you’ll need. Everyday people need to understand blogs and other content for marketing purposes. Besides, your legal team’s goal is to add up billable hours. Most law firms opt to hire freelance writers with expertise and experience in crafting blogs and other content.
Working with an agency like Compose.ly can provide access to high-quality, original content that is SEO-friendly and targeted directly to the people who want to hire your attorneys. By delegating legal writing services work to a group of professionals, your team can focus on other facets of your business.
Often, freelance writers will work as ghostwriters. This means you can add whatever byline you wish. It will take less time for an attorney to review a completed blog than write one from scratch.
7. Make a Calendar
You’ll want to publish valuable content regularly to maximize effectiveness. Sporadic posts or blogs won’t build trust. Plan to offer new pieces of content at least once a week, or more if possible.
To accomplish this, add a spreadsheet to your marketing strategy document. Include columns for:
- Blog topic
- SEO keywords
- Writing/editing deadline
- In-house review deadline
- Post location (for website or social media)
- Post date
It can take time to create a schedule, but it’s worth it. You won’t find yourself scrambling for a content idea at the last minute.
8. Reevaluate the Plan Regularly
Outreach plans — especially ones that include content marketing for law firms — should be dynamic. If the metrics you’ve chosen to measure aren’t meeting your goals, adjust the plan and try another angle. Schedule time to revisit your strategy every quarter.
Always keep your target audience at the forefront of all conversations regarding content marketing efforts. Make sure you’re answering the questions your prospective client may have. That way, you’ll build the connections necessary to prepare them to make that call for a free consultation.
10 Ideas for Law Content
Start with asking your in-house legal team common questions people have to create content topics. Then, look at similar blogs published by your competitors to see if they’ve missed anything.
Here are 10 other ideas for content to further inspire you:
- Share legal advice that highlights expertise
- Discuss recent changes in the law
- Explain how court proceedings work
- Dispel common myths
- Share personal histories of your attorneys
- Provide case studies from recent victories in or out of the courtroom
- Offer common legal strategy — without revealing too much, of course
- Think seasonally, such as sharing statistics to help clients stay safe to avoid holiday DUIs
- Review books or legal journal articles
- Announce special events, like open houses or free informational webinars
Get Started: Legal Marketing Next Steps
To create and implement a successful strategy with legal content marketing, you must first schedule a time to plan with your leadership team. Gather a small group to brainstorm what sets the firm apart, your ideal client and a list of ideas for content production.
To help your marketing team, study the competition. Make notes of some of the content they’ve published that you find especially educational or entertaining. Take note of the tone to see if they’re talking directly to the same target audience. For example, articles filled with jargon and acronyms are too technical for most people.
Create a document to share with the partners and ensure everyone agrees with the plan. Include the calendar spreadsheet so everyone knows when content on specific legal topics will be published.
Create the Most Effective Law Firm Content
Then, it’s time to start writing.
To save time and money in-house, connect with a writing agency with experience in the legal industry. Compose.ly offers content writing services that include writing blog articles, e-books and white papers, and other copywriting needs. This can take the pressure off of your legal team while maximizing your ROI as you attract new clients.
As you publish content, ask your attorneys to share appropriate articles through their personal social media pages. The local newspaper or chamber of commerce may want to share your blogs, too. With a full legal content strategy and the experts to create engaging content, you're well on your way to growing your business and attracting the right clients.