Just as with our legal work, when it comes to law firm content marketing, planning in advance improves the execution. Taking the time to research, map out, and plan every aspect of each piece of content your law firm will produce makes it easier on the lawyers and/or other authors to be consistent with voice, timing, objectives, and effectiveness. If you don’t create a plan to get everything done that needs to be accomplished, the chances of it happening decrease. This is why we recommend and explain below how to create a comprehensive content marketing strategy for lawyers and law firms.
What is a Content Marketing Strategy?
A content marketing strategy is a document (or set of documents) that describes how you plan to attract and engage your target audience with content. It typically includes a description of your existing clients and/or the clients you want to hire you and the information they’ll need as they look for solutions to legal problems you can help them resolve. It should also detail your business goals and how your content will achieve these goals.
Seven Steps to Excellent Law Firm Content
One of the most important components of a content marketing strategy is your editorial calendar. This document maps out a schedule of what content your firm will create and when it will be written, published, and/or distributed. An editorial calendar helps your content production stay on track, allowing you to be more deliberate in your actions. Here are seven steps we recommend for planning, creating, and promoting exceptional and well-ranking law firm content:
- Lay out your goals: The first step in creating a content marketing strategy is to put into words the reasons why you want to create content. While potential benefits include increased website traffic, greater brand recognition, lead generation, and the opportunity to establish a firm’s lawyers as “thought leaders,” in this step you’ll need to explain exactly how your content will help the company meet its goals.
- Identify your audience: One law firm can and often should create content for multiple audience segments. Create content for both a specific purpose and for specific people. Put yourself in the shoes of your desired prospects and former and current clients by thinking of their questions and how you can address them.
- Audit your existing content: While having a lot of pages on your website used to be a good thing, search engines now prefer quality over quantity. This is one of many reasons why it’s important for law firms to undertake strategic content audits on a regular basis. A content audit is a process wherein you analyze the content you have created and published to gain insight into what performs best, which pages should be consolidated, and what pages need improvement and/or can be eliminated and redirected.
- Conduct keyword research: Know your main keyword and three to five variations BEFORE you start writing. Since using relevant keywords and phrases in your content gives your writing the best chance of ranking at the top of search results, research is a critical step in building a successful strategy.
- Create an editorial calendar: As with most data sets, inputting all of your research into an Excel spreadsheet makes for a very organized content calendar. In the editorial calendars we create for our law firm clients, we use the following headings: Date Due, Date Posted, Title, Category, Keyword Phrase, External Link, Internal Link, and Notes. This way we can keep track of when each piece of content is posted, the exact H1 heading or title we want to use, the blog category or categories to select and associate, the keyword phrase for which we are optimizing each piece of content, at least one external or outbound link to include in the article, what practice area page to link to in the post, and any additional notes. Many marketers include the type of content as a column option if they include graphics, video, and other forms of multimedia in their editorial calendars.
- Write, publish, and amplify your content: There are a multitude of steps a digital copywriter must take in the backend of a website in order to ensure a piece of content is ready to publish. Those steps include adding images and metadata, among many other tasks. Once a new webpage is live, you should draft unique social media posts for each channel on which the firm is present; ideally, those channels will include Google My Business and LinkedIn at a minimum, although we also recommend Facebook and Twitter for many law firms. Sharing content on social media gets more eyes on your content, which leads to more clicks. You can and should also share your law firm content in email newsletters and other digital materials.
- Measure your success: The only way to know if your marketing is working effectively is if you track the results. The performance metrics you track will depend on the goals you set. You need to specify these metrics in your plan and start following the results as soon as you begin in order to optimize your content to achieve your goals and continue to improve your results. Free tools like Google Analytics will give you real-time data that lets you track how your content is performing.
Content Marketing for Lawyers
Developing a content marketing strategy for your law firm has tremendous value and is worth the time and effort. While content marketing is something you can do yourself with a little know-how and some dedicated time, our legal marketing professionals can help your law firm create a successful program. While you focus on running your law firm, our team creates content that will drive traffic to your website and convert visitors into new clients. For more info on how we can help, contact us today.