Paid ads and word-of-mouth referrals will no longer work on their own to attract potential clients to your law firm. In fact, the average conversion rate for a paid Google Ad is below 4%. Instead of relying on ads alone, you must create and share relevant content that draws in and engages potential clients using an effective law firm content marketing plan.
“Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.” – Seth Godin
Effective Law Firm Content Marketing: What It Is and How to Do It Right
Content marketing is about creating content that matters to your audience. Your content should be valuable, relevant, and consistent with your firm’s brand and message. Research shows that conversion rates for those who focus on quality content marketing are nearly 6 times higher than those who don’t. Why is that?
In 1984, the average person saw an average of 2,000 ads per day. By 2014, they saw around 5,000 per day and the number is climbing steadily. In the age of ad overload, quality content provides value without being intrusive. Plus, according to the New York Times, content is shared most often by consumers to bring valuable content to others. This means that more consumers only share high-quality content on a day to day basis.
When you create an effective content marketing plan, your readers will come back to, share and act on it, effectively marketing your firm.
Create an Effective Law Firm Content Marketing Plan
Above all else, you must create a law firm content marketing plan to do it right. This plan should identify your vision, your audience, and your content goals. A detailed plan will simplify content creation because of its existence.
For example, a detailed effective content marketing plan helps you schedule new content, track your content creation efforts, and find where you’re falling short, so you can stay on track to meet your content goals.
See Your Plan Through
Some attorneys choose to start a blog, but then slowly get off schedule and then stop posting altogether. Others have created social media profiles just to have them sit stagnant.
Content is a living, breathing thing that requires continual updating. You’re responsible for keeping your marketing fresh and vibrant.
See your content marketing plan through. If you can’t, it’s time to outsource to your spouse, a partner, an associate, an office manager, or a marketing specialist. To start, here are some goals for both your blogging efforts and social media:
- Blogging: You should be posting a new, fresh blog on your website at least once a week. Remember, the key is quality, not quantity.
- Facebook: Most experts agree that you should post on Facebook once per day, with three times a week being the minimum.
- Twitter: There are a lot of contradicting studies out there, some suggesting that Twitter posting should occur upwards of 50-80 times a day. The key here is to post at least 3-5 times a day to start and spread your tweets throughout the day due to their low shelf-life.
- Instagram: Post high-quality images and content on Instagram between one to three times per day. Large brands post an average of 1.5 times per day.
- LinkedIn: Aim to post on LinkedIn approximately twice a week.
Remember: with your blog and each social media account, consistency is key.
Engage with Your Audience
Regardless of where you publish your content, engagement is important. Publishing often enough to show potential clients that you stay current with their industry is just the first step in the process. Whether through blog comments, Facebook posts, or other social platforms, you must engage in a dialogue with your audience, providing a personal connection.
A personal connection builds trust. If potential clients trust you, they’re more likely to reach out to you when they need legal services. Believe it or not, 42% of consumers reported not knowing which businesses they could trust. This means that one out of every other potential client is skeptical about your firm. Engaging with them combats the skepticism, generating necessary trust.
Measure Your Efforts
Most measurements focus on numbers, not on effects. While you can measure retweets, likes, and followers, do you know how those numbers affect your bottom line? Ask yourself if your audience is seeing, sharing, and acting on the content you create. If they’re not, use your measurements to fine-tune your efforts by producing more content your audience prefers and reaching out to them via the platforms they’re most engaged in.
It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers and become distracted while trying to reach your goals. Soon, you’re falling into the metric trap, unsure of how to fix what you’re not sure needs fixing. To start, keep it simple and track a few key metrics including:
- Time spent on your website: If your audience spends more time on your site, this is a sign of positive engagement.
- Total leads: Track how many leads you’re receiving from social media posts, blog posts, and other content. This will help you see what content is performing the best, steering your content efforts.
- Total social shares: A lot of your website traffic is driven by your social media. Track how many social shares you receive, and which content is gaining the most shares.
- Client engagement: Track which social media content receives the most retweets or likes. Take note of which blog post generates the most questions, emails, or comments. Client engagement helps you visualize which content your audience prefers.
9 Steps to Effective Law Firm Content Marketing
It’s true that content marketing is not a one-and-done type of effort. It requires ongoing attention to produce, publish, and engage continuously. It is possible to do it all, you simply need a plan. For the most effective content marketing plan for your law firm, be sure to follow these nine steps.
1. Define Your Firm’s Vision
Your first step is to define your overarching vision for your firm and your marketing efforts. Consider what image you want to portray about your firm and services. Then clearly communicate your vision to everyone involved with your marketing efforts.
A clear vision for your law firm will help you direct your content creation efforts. To start forming yours:
- Consider your values and create a vision using what means the most to your firm
- Be forward thinking and consider where you want your firm to be in the future
- Outline what makes you different from your competitors
2. Set Goals to Help Achieve Your Vision
Next, determine what goals you want to achieve through your content marketing efforts. Your goals may include:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Increasing traffic to your website
- Increasing leads from your website
- Building brand loyalty
- Creating relationships with strategic partners
- Demonstrating your expertise
To each goal, you must tie a specific and measurable metric. For example, if brand awareness is your main goal, then you’ll measure how many shares you receive on social media. If lead generation is your goal, you’ll measure how many leads you receive through your website.
3. Identify Your Target Audience
You’ll have a greater impact online with a well-defined audience. Identify your audience by being as specific as possible, then create content geared directly to them.
Buyer personas make it easy to define your target audience. A persona is a representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
Personas should include as many details as you can gather. For instance:
- Demographics such as age, sex, income, and location
- Background such as family, work, and social
- Motivation and goals in both their personal and work life
- Challenges or pain points they experience
You can use our persona template to create a persona quickly.
4. Choose Your Content Types
Although there are many different forms of content marketing available, you shouldn’t partake in them all. In fact, you should consider which content types work best for your audience and your budget. Choose two or three that you can do well on a consistent basis. These can include:
- Blog posts
Don’t simply create social profiles so you can be present everywhere. If you don’t personalize your pages or update them consistently, you run the risk of sending the wrong message to your potential clients. Choose a few forms of content and stick to the plan.
5. Determine Your Networks
Your potential clients will search for answers to their legal questions online. You need to decide how to make your content visible to these individuals.
Options for places to distribute your content will vary depending on your audience and the type of content you produce. For example, LinkedIn is a great place to seek engagement from other lawyers and professionals. For the more personal side of law such as divorce, Facebook and other social platforms could be a better option.
The key is to choose platforms and networks that tie directly to your goals. Focus on the networks that make the greatest impact on your bottom line.
6. Listen to Your Audience
Before you start publishing content, you should understand what your audience is looking for to tailor your content to their specific needs. Gather this information by:
- Paying attention to pain points. What concerns are your potential or current clients dealing with? What questions do they typically ask? By listening you’ll find patterns across your client base.
- Practice social listening. Although you should listen to your clients on your social media channels and your blog, also listen in other places online. Actively watch conversations around particular terms or phrases to identify opportunities for your content. Tools such as Hootsuite are great for social listening, as are Social Mention and Google Alerts.
7. Finalize Execution Details
Now, it’s time to finish the details to create an execution strategy for your law firm’s effective content marketing plan. There are three essential items to consider:
- Your budget. You’ll need to keep your costs manageable to stay on track. Your budget should include costs for contributors, tools, and other resources you’ll rely on to accomplish your goals.
- Your schedule. A content publication schedule is a must for success. You need to set deadlines and dates for each piece of content you create and publish. Make sure you consider all contributing factors such as how often you want to publish and if your schedule will vary by content type.
- Your contributors. Contributors include parties such as business owners, writers, designers, editors, web developers, and proofreaders. Determine how many contributors you need on hand to keep your publishing on track. You may consider hiring a project manager to ensure content creation and sharing runs on schedule.
8. Measure Your Law Firm Content Marketing Efforts
Tie all your content goals to specific metrics. The metrics you set vary by distribution channel, but tend to fall into the same four categories:
- Brand awareness
- Audience engagement
- Lead generation
- Sales enablement
To capture your metrics, use the following three tools:
- Google Analytics. Use this tool to see how many people have visited, viewed, and left the pages on your website. It can also track downloads and other engagement metrics.
- Social stats. Track the statistics on your social media channels to see how many people have tweeted, liked, shared, commented, and more. Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer can help you consolidate most of these numbers for easy viewing.
- Clients reports. Use a CRM or other database to tie content to new clients. This helps you visualize which pieces of content gain the most traction, which shows you which content to promote further. If your current law practice management software can’t provide you with these tracking features, you can use Hubspot or Salesforce.
9. Revise & Repeat
All the metrics you gather will help you understand what’s working and what isn’t. You may have to rethink your approach and adjust your content marketing efforts to best fit your goals. You can always publish and try again. For ultimate results, the strategize-create-distribute-measure process should continue as long as your firm does.
How These Must-Have Pages on Your Website Supports Your Effective Law Firm Content Marketing Plan
Your firm’s content marketing plan should include the creation or update of your website. After all, most of your content will live on or link to your site, giving your audience a place to learn more and ultimately reach out.
For the greatest chance at connection and conversion, make sure these six must-have pages on your law firm’s website hit the necessary key messages to connect with your audience.
1. Home Page
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. It only takes 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about someone you meet. Your website is no different. Your Home page is where your potential clients will most likely land first. That’s why it’s critical to include:
- Messaging tailored to your client. Your website isn’t about you, it’s about your client. Acknowledge they are there by identifying how you can help them and showing them the transformation that could occur in their lives if they choose to work with you.
- Calls to action. Make it clear what your reader’s next step is, whether that’s calling you or sending you an email.
- Answers to your client’s questions. Spell out what you do, who you do it for, and where. These are the specific questions your clients want to know when they visit your website.
2. About Page
The second-most visited page on your site is your About page. It should include the following:
- Your USP or unique selling proposition. What do you do differently than anyone else in your practice area? Communicate this USP on your website.
- Your values and mission. What values do you hold dear? This shows who you are as a human and builds trust with your potential clients.
- A description of what it’s like to work with you. How do you interact with your clients? What does customer service look like at your firm?
- An introduction to your team. What does your team look like? How does your staff benefit your clients? It’s also a great idea to add photos so your clients see a familiar face at their consultation.
- Testimonials. This is a great place to insert a testimonial or two and link out to your testimonials page.
3. Attorney Bio
Lawyers are notorious for creating bio pages that simply regurgitate their CVs. Don’t do that. Instead, use your bio to showcase your personality and humanity. Dive into what you do, how you do it best, and what extraordinary things you do to ensure results. Add a recent headshot or photo that shows your personality to help potential clients get to know you even more.
4. Services Page
This page is also known as the Practice Areas page or the What We Do page. It showcases the services you provide for potential clients. It must clearly describe your service areas and how clients benefit from receiving them. For niche practices, you can describe those niches such as Family Law or Business Law.
For a broader practice, your Services page should be an overview, offering highlights of the sub-practice area you cover.
5. Testimonials Page
Online reviews continue to be a lead driver of trust building online. According to BrightLocal, consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business. What this means for your firm is that you must seek out testimonials and you must promote them on your website.
When seeking testimonials, do not provide a list of questions for folks to answer. Instead, approach your request in a more open-ended manner. Let your clients know you’re looking for testimonials and that you’d appreciate their thoughts on what it’s like to work with you and how your services helped them reach their goals.
6. Contact Page
Include a short contact form on your Contact page to make it easier for people to contact you. Include your phone number and office address in NAP format:
Name (Business Name)
Address (City, ST, ZIP)
Also, include a short paragraph that reminds your audience why they want to work with you and specifically ask them to fill out the form or call you.
Whether you’re an attorney hanging a shingle for the first time, or you’re part of a small firm that wants to boost its success, creating a content marketing plan is a great next step.
Take Your Effective Law Firm Content Marketing to the Next Level: Become an Insider
Now that you’ve created your effective law firm content marketing plan, it’s time to take your content marketing to the next level. By becoming a Lawyerist Insider, you have access to the Insider Facebook group of lawyers and