Content marketing is a strategic approach that focuses on consistently creating and sharing relevant online content (like blog posts, articles, images, videos, and podcasts) to attract and engage your target audience. A well-executed content marketing strategy can help drive traffic, build authority, foster trust, and generate new client leads for your legal practice.
You may wish to use content marketing to establish your law firm in a niche audience or to generate backlinks that support other SEO efforts on your website. Content marketing can also help you organically climb SEO rankings rather than pay more for other SEO options.
If you are a lawyer who wants to use content marketing to attract more legal clients, this article will help you get started.
In contrast to advertising, content marketing is a long-term strategy of nurturing customer loyalty by building relationships through entertaining, educating, and engaging content that is targeted to meet the needs of your chosen audience.
To help you reach potential legal clients through the content on your law firm’s website, here are a few different types of content you could produce:
A webpage that details the services your firm provides. This is often the landing page of most business websites, because service pages inform readers what your business does and why they should choose you.
Blog posts are opinion pieces, generated either by experts or non-experts in a particular industry. Blog posts are a very simple form of online content that anyone can publish to give their opinion on a given topic. However, the most valuable blog posts are in-depth pieces written by those who are regarded as an expert in a given field.
As the name implies, press releases are for mass media consumption. You would most likely want to include this type of content if you are working with a high-profile client or case.
Newsletters provide an update to your readers about what is new with your business. Newsletters can be substituted by daily blog posts, but a substantive newsletter that comes out every month may be more useful to your readers than a blog post every day. Newsletters are often sent out via mass email campaigns, with a sign-up form on your website.
Social media posts help to educate people and redirect them to your website and legal services.
Podcasts are digital audio or audio-video content presented in a format similar to a radio or television program and educate the audience on particular legal matters.
Videos are a great medium for users who cannot read or don’t want to read for any reason. Videos can add a layer of professional production that other websites may not have. They are easier to generate today with the mass production of cellphone videos and online publishing websites like YouTube. You may want to produce a video to reach a larger audience or to impress the ones who are already visiting your website.
Infographics are collections of visual graphics that depict factual information. You may find it useful to display a pie chart or graph showing how often people file lawsuits in your field or the number of cases you’ve settled or won compared to how many cases you have.
Do you have a case or similar set of cases you want to talk about in fine detail? Case studies are a form of content that examines one specific case or data point in detail to help readers better understand conceptual ideas represented by that case study and/or practical applications of more general themes.
You can take shorter content pages like blog posts or service page content and greatly expand to cover more than just surface-level information. Legal topics are often nuanced, lengthy, and hard to cover in short form.
Ebooks are novels in electronic format. They are considered highly substantive, but very time-consuming to write. Due to the amount of time it takes to write an entire ebook, authors often sell their ebooks rather than simply publishing them for free on a website. Alternatively, you can offer your valuable ebook as an incentive for client leads who elect to sign up for your email list or newsletter.
This type of content explains to your reader how to perform an action or service for themselves. While the goal of your website is to have potential clients hire you rather than do it themselves, “how-to” guides can weed out and build your reputation with simple cases that won’t bring in much profit. For instance, most people don’t need a lawyer to draft a notice to pay rent or to apply for a marriage license, but guides on topics like these could encourage users to contact you if the problem grows beyond the reader’s ability to handle the process on their own. Such guides are also effective as “lead magnets,” which reward visitors with discounts or access to special content that interests them in exchange for giving you their contact information that you can use to cultivate leads.
These forms of online content are not mutually exclusive, and many of the above content types can overlap with one another. You can publish a blog post as long-form content, include infographics or a video, or add case studies to a how-to guide or your newsletter. The options are wide open.
Content marketing requires much more than simply putting words on a page or creating other types of content in hopes of, somehow, attracting more visitors to your website and law firm. You need a content strategy and produce quality content that is relevant to specific topics. Quality content can earn good ratings when assessed and rated by Google algorithms and those used by other popular search engines, such as Bing. Better ratings generally add up to better placement on relevant search results.
You also need to be able to promote and distribute your content so that it is more likely to reach a relevant audience of those who have a genuine interest in the content that you have created and are promoting. Those relevant and invested consumers are more likely to become future clients for your law firm.
Here is a convenient step-by-step overview of the elements that comprise effective content marketing:
Refers to planning the creation of a variety of content regarding a topic or a set of topics.
Refers to creating written, visual, audio, and other content that supports the content strategy.
Refers to optimizing content to enable web pages and websites to earn higher rankings on Google and other search engines so that they appear at or near the top of relevant searches.
Refers to how the content that is created within the parameters of the content strategy is delivered and promoted to reach the relevant audience.
Refers to the schedule for creating and distributing content.
Refers to taking existing content and reusing it for a different purpose.
Refers to the methods used to distribute content to reach an intended audience.
Refers to measurable results that provide insights into the performance and impact of content and its distribution.
Refers to legal requirements that affect legal marketing and ethical considerations to prevent using misleading or deceptive content.
Refers to technology to communicate and collaborate when creating content within the context of the overall content strategy.
Before you begin crafting any type of content, be sure to step back and think about the big picture of what you are trying to achieve. Who is your audience? What do they need, fear, and desire? What is your brand and unique value proposition? Why should a client choose you over one of your competitors? How will you solve their respective problems and pain points?
The following steps will help you to identify your audience members and educate them about your brand:
You can compile data from current and recent clients to learn more about the demographics of clients for whom you recently have provided similar legal services. You also can use Google Analytics and similar research platforms to obtain demographic research on who is searching online for the specific legal services that you offer. You could compare those demographics with U.S. Census Bureau data within your local market area.
You can create a buyer persona that represents your ideal client for a specific type of tort. The persona should include details regarding age ranges, gender, levels of education, and general interests. You can use Google Analytics to help quantify your buyer persona by learning the basic demographics of those who use specific and relevant search terms regarding specific legal matters in your market area.
You can identify the pain points that cause people or organizations to seek your legal services and become clients. You should start by looking back at your more recent clients and compile a list of the reasons why they needed legal help and chose your law firm. Researching current events also can identify pain points that drive specific torts. With the pain points identified, you can focus on presenting legal solutions and marketing them to potential clients.
You should do your best to learn which information sources people use to learn more about legal matters. Fortunately, most of them use Google and other popular search engines to learn about legal matters and who can help them to resolve their respective legal issues. Studies show about 60 percent of client leads go to law firms that appear in the top three of Google search results.
The customer journey is a way of mapping the different process steps by which people become paying customers of any business. Understanding the legal customer’s journey can help you to create different kinds of communication touchpoints and craft distinct messages that meet the needs potential legal clients have at each stage they go through in becoming your paid client. This includes awareness (of both their legal need and your law firm’s brand), research, consideration, purchase, and ongoing support. To reach the maximum number of potential clients, be sure to craft different forms of content through which you can speak to people at each stage. For example, your logo is important for those at the awareness stage but case studies of past client success will matter most to those who are at the research stage. Think of how you will meet the needs of clients at each stage, and for best results do not leave out any part of the customer journey.
Once you have a clear sense of who your target clients are and what will help them identify you as the solution to their problem, you’ll also need to conduct some research before you craft the content you will share online to establish yourself as a trusted expert in your field.
Here’s how to do the foundational keyword research you need to bolster the success of your content marketing efforts:
Consider user intent and draft a list of keywords that makes sense to enhance your SEO efforts. User intent refers to the reasons why people use particular search terms on Google and other search engines. SEMrush offers a tool to provide a keyword intent analysis that you can use for this purpose. Just copy and paste a list of up to 100 keywords to obtain an analysis report of each keyword, the user intent behind it, and current trends. You can also use this tool to find keywords that indicate a high user intent to obtain legal services but that currently have relatively low competition.
The value of content is not always about length or detail. One of the quickest ways to generate backlinks that will increase your website’s profile and strengthen your organic rankings is to create engaging and share-worthy content that you and others promote through social media.
To be considered share-worthy, make sure this content follows these simple rules:
In addition, there are a few qualities that increase the likelihood that your share-worthy content will do well on social media:
In closing, we can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to generate high-quality content at the outset – for two reasons. High-quality content will organically push you up in the SEO rankings, and it will also make updates less necessary. High-quality content is less likely to be considered outdated by the algorithms. If your webpage maintains its organic rankings over a long period of time, it’s likely that content won’t need updating for a longer period of time.
Conversely, lower-quality content may take less time and money to produce, but it will need more frequent updating or more revisions over time. You may find it more cost-effective to invest in high-quality content initially rather than pay further costs over time. Such costs can include editorial costs, writer costs, or just more time out of your busy schedule to produce new content.
Better to pay the extra money upfront and spend more of your time on your legal clients.