Content marketing is simple: It’s online material – like blogs, social media, videos, podcasts – that get people aware of your firm. That’s it.
And it’s a big deal. Law firm content marketing gets three times the leads brought in by paid search. Small businesses—including small or solo law practices—with blogs get 126% more lead growth than those without. Moreover, law firm content marketing generates conversion rates six times higher than other methods.
Your clients don’t want schmoozy slimy sales tactics. The average consumer sees around 5,000 ads in a day! An ad is in their face everywhere, waiting to persuade them to make a purchase. Due to the constant noise, the probability of selling a service to a new prospect is only 5-20% when using traditional sales methods. There’s where content marketing comes in.
Your clients are looking for authority and authenticity—they want to feel connected to a business before they buy. This is true for businesses in any niche, and especially in legal services where issues often affect clients on a deeper level. Although online ads and other tactics have their strengths, there’s only one way to offer the connection consumers crave: by creating targeted and useful content.
It’s easy enough to do a bunch of activities — write a few blog posts, send out a couple of tweets — and call it content marketing for your law firm. You might see some results. But to get the most out of your content marketing program and really build your brand, engage your prospects and clients, and drive sales, you need more than activity. You need a strategy.
In this guide, we’ll help you understand content marketing for your law firm and how to take the next steps toward creating content your clients will keep coming back to. We’ll supply you with the tools and direction to develop your inbound marketing plan, along with our advice on keyword research, client personas, creating valuable content, content distribution and promotion, and measuring your ROI.
Armed with the tools available to you and an understanding of the importance of creating quality content, you’ll start speaking to your potential clients in a way they can’t ignore.
OK, So What’s Inbound Content Marketing?
We’ll repeat: Content marketing is the process of creating and sharing valuable and consistent content to attract a target audience. As opposed to traditional advertising, content marketing the art of getting a clear message to your audience without selling. It’s a dance, right? The focus is on creating client-centered content that helps your audience solve their problems. It’s being a client’s advocate, helping them navigate through tough moments, and becoming their trusted guide.
Effective law firm content marketing builds trust and authority in you and your law firm. When your clients need legal assistance, they turn to you because you have the answers.
At the highest level, these steps include:
- Research. Performing research into your target clients, keywords, content topics, and more.
- Creating content. Creating content such as blog posts, website pages, landing pages, whitepapers, webinars, podcasts, and more to generate leads.
- Distribution and promotion. Distributing your content online and promoting it on channels like your social media and website.
- Converting visitors into leads. Capturing those reading your content and turning them into leads through specific calls-to-action.
- Measuring your results. Using lead and conversion data to measure the results and the ROI of your content marketing process.
Putting it together, inbound law firm content marketing is the process of using content to bring in fresh leads to your firm. Its purpose is to draw potential clients in, rather than outwardly pushing your brand, product, or service onto prospects in the hope of generating leads or clients.
See the difference? It’s all about establishing you as a reliable, trustworthy resource so clients will start to feel good about your firm and your brand.
Build Your Marketing Funnel Around Client Personas
Your goal is to attract potential clients via content and inspire them to take a specific lead-generating action, completing the content marketing funnel. In layman’s term: Get your prospects to your content so they can become your new clients.
But you can’t have a successful funnel without understanding the potential clients you want to attract. You’ll want to build your funnel and your content around a client persona – and the more specific, the better.
A persona is a representation of your ideal client. It’s a good practice to create at least one persona for each service you provide, helping you craft targeted content. As you create your personas, include as many details as possible such as:
- Demographics (age, sex, location)
- Background (family, work)
- Goals (personal, work)
- Challenge and specific pain points
For help creating your first personas, use our easy-to-follow persona template.
Perform Keyword & Topic Research
Now that you have your client persona in hand, it’s time to understand what those clients are searching for online. After all, you should create content tailored to fit their specific needs. Through basic keyword and topic research, you can curate enough content ideas to keep your content plan full for months to come.
A keyword is a term that clients enter into search engines to find specific services. For example, if your potential client just got a DUI, they might search for “DUI lawyer.” Easy, right?
Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing these terms, creating a backbone for your content strategy. To find relevant keywords for your content, follow these steps:
- Create a list of relevant topics based on your firm. Take some time to consider relevant topics based on what you know. Think about your client persona and answer this question: “What would they need to search for to find me?” For example, you might use “divorce lawyer” or “criminal defense attorney.”
- Brainstorm keywords based on these topics. Using your main topics, consider what your clients might search for based on each term. For example, using “criminal defense attorney”, a client might search for, “What does a criminal defense attorney do?”
- Use online tools to find related keywords. To find even more keywords to add to your list, use online tools such as KeywordTool.io or simply plug your keyword into Google and see what auto-suggest generates for you.
- Narrow down your list of keywords using SEO tools. The last step is to narrow down your keyword list based on online performance. Use tools such as Google Keyword Planner to see your keyword’s competition and search volume. Choose keywords that have a decent search volume and lower competition for the best results.
Ask yourself what questions or concerns your potential client may have that involve each keyword. Create content that answers these questions. From a strategic standpoint, it’s best to create a spreadsheet for both your keywords and your topics to easily view your keyword strategy.
And a bigger tip: Don’t use lawyer words. Your clients don’t know what an estate planning lawyer does. But they do know their father-in-law needs to get his will written, right? So, focus on simple terms.
Create Valuable, Authority-based Content
With topics and keywords in your content marketing arsenal, it’s time to create your content. The content you create, whether a blog post or a new website page, should be extremely valuable to your client persona and authoritative for your firm. It’s also important to experiment with a wide range of content types and track what resonates best with your audience. Types to consider include:
- Blog posts and articles
- Website pages
- Visuals such as images and infographics
- Email sequences
- Guest posts on other relevant blogs
When we say valuable, we mean don’t just throw content up for the sake of having something up there. Make sure your content will a) draw in clients and b) draw in the type of clients you want.
Domain Authority & Legal Content
It’s a big phrase, but it’s pretty simple. Domain authority is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz. It predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank. In other words, your domain authority is your online reputation.
One sure-fire way to positively influence your domain authority is by producing the highest quality content for your clients. For law firms, domain authority is even more important. Legal services are a part of the “Your Money or Your Life” sector of websites—those that give advice that can greatly affect a client’s wellbeing. Google looks at YMYL websites with greater scrutiny, so you must be generating content that’s informative, valuable, and trustworthy.
Honesty is the Best Policy
It’s a no-brainer, but don’t mislead your clients. They’ll see right through covert or sleight-of-hand sales tactics on your site. You are an expert in your field. You have the knowledge! So, just write what you know.
To create authoritative content, you must do so with honesty and integrity. As you create your content, make sure you remain 100% transparent. And remember to follow legal marketing ethics rules! Use disclaimers where appropriate, as well.
Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
Although an important consideration, high-quality content doesn’t depend on word count or the number of blog posts or pages you put out each month. Say what you need to say and don’t forget to edit. One high-quality and informative blog post is much better than four useless, fluff-filled blog posts. The key is to focus on providing quality, not quantity.
Besides being transparent and focused on quality, your content should also be:
- Easy to digest. Make sure you use your whitespace to combat reader’s fatigue for your clients. Keep paragraphs to 3-4 sentences and use sentences with 20 words or less for easier readability. Use tools to check the readability scores of your content.
- Actionable. Your clients should be able to act after consuming your content. For example, give your clients a set of steps to take to solve a problem. Your content should improve your client’s life in some way.
- Accurate. Any sources you use or quotes that you pull should be accurate. When creating legal content, make sure the advice given is accurate and safe for your clients.
- Edited and proofread. Edit your content so it stays true to your voice and client persona. Proofread for typos and missing punctuation. Content with authority is content written with grammar in mind.
Distribute & Promote for Website Traffic
Content is a tool that helps drive potential clients to the center of your content marketing strategy: your website and, even better, your email and phone number to contact you. To help drive traffic to your website, you need to distribute your content to the appropriate channels and promote it to the right people.
Distribution and promotion are two different things. Distribution involves the process of sending your content out into channels such as social media and email to share with others. Promotion involves the paid elements of your strategy such as putting some cash into a Facebook ad.
To distribute your content, you have many different options. When choosing which option works best, consider things from your client persona’s point of view: where do they hang out online?
- Social media. Every solid content marketing strategy involves social media. A simple link to your new blog post with an interesting tidbit attached to draw attention works wonders for distribution. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all great options for law firm content marketing. Don’t forget to get visual with Pinterest and Instagram.
- Email. An email list is a great tool for those clients who don’t do social media or have clogged feeds. Email lists are one of the most valuable assets to your law firm. An email list is an earned and owned audience whereas social media can change or even disappear at any time. If you don’t have a list, start building one. There are several tools that you can use for free to get started.
- Neighborhood groups. People often ask for referrals, expertise, or advice on places like NextDoor and Facebook Groups. You don’t want to spam these groups, but if you have the answer to a question, feel free to link to that answer on your site!
- Online forums. Answer questions on Quora or remain active on Reddit to help answer potential client questions. This alone can generate traffic back to your website from consumers wanting to know more about you.
Content promotion often generates more views faster than distribution, although it does come at a cost.
- Social media advertising. You can purchase ads on Facebook or LinkedIn, for example, to boost the number of potential clients who see your content. These ads can prove fruitful: a little more than one out of four customers who click on a Facebook ad make a purchase.
- Google Ads. A Google Ads campaign will boost your content across Google, making it easier for target clients to find you in search.
Convert Visitors Into Leads
Now that you’ve earned a list of potential clients with your content, it’s time to move them down your marketing funnel. As they come to your website, you want to convert them from interested, casual readers to qualified leads for your firm. This means creating calls-to-action throughout your website using content.
- Landing pages. If you purchase a paid ad for your content, it needs to go somewhere. Landing pages capture clicks from paid ads. Plus, Google smiles upon them, seeing them as indicators of relevance. A landing page can offer the content you created in exchange for their contact information.
- Page-by-page calls-to-action. Regardless of how your potential client finds you, make sure each page on your website has a call-to-action. Format your CTAs to stand out from the rest of your content. Be direct and tell your readers exactly what you want them to do. For example, “Call us to schedule a consult,” or “Download our free guide.”
- Content upgrades. A content upgrade is bonus content visitors can download in exchange for their email address (or other contact information). Upgrades include checklists, one-sheets, whitepapers, infographics, webinars, and even eBooks.
Measure Results & Your ROI
After you implement a law firm content marketing plan, you’ll need to measure your results and revise often to keep your strategy relevant. If your content is working, it will generate leads that turn into clients for your firm.
To track your firm’s content marketing efforts, there are a few metrics to keep an eye on, including:
- Lead quality. If your ideal clients are downloading your content upgrades or calling your firm to ask questions, your content is generating qualified leads. Ask all leads who call how they found you and mark it on intake questionnaires to keep track. Use tools such as Google Analytics on your website to see which pages website visitors are viewing.
- Sales. As a solo attorney or a part of a small firm, you may be able to see how your content marketing strategy is improving your sales. You can also use Google Analytics to see conversion rates of visitors moving from your content to the goal page you set (such as the Contact page or a specific landing page).
- Website traffic. Assuming you are adding new content on a consistent basis, you should find that your website traffic numbers continue to increase. Use Google Analytics to watch your traffic numbers. If there’s a particular blog post or landing page topic that’s garnering most of your traffic, continue to build out more content on that topic—it’s clearly resonating with your audience!
Let’s be real: Content marketing doesn’t provide an overnight fix to low traffic or minimal leads. It’s definitely a long game. Most experts say that your content marketing plan should start to generate leads within six-to-nine months. Until then, create high-quality content, offer content upgrades, distribute, and promote.
Law firm content marketing is an undertaking that, if done correctly, could result in game-changing lead generation for your firm. By writing content with your client in mind and remembering these tips, you’ll be well on your way towards content marketing success.
Need More Resources on Content Marketing?
Check out Lawyerist’s other resources on a great content marketing strategy: