Brands, businesses, and even small influencers have one huge misconception: to grow, all you need to do is pump out relevant content, and a lot of it.
Growth and consistency are important. But there has to be a method to the madness, or else you’re creating content for the sake of creating content; not for the sake of growth.
Content strategy is a way for law firms to create content that stands out among the noise.
What is Content Strategy?
In her article, Halvorson includes this diagram by VP of Content Strategy at Brain Traffic, Melissa Rach.
Substance and structure refer to the content itself. Substance is about the message, the voice, the audience. Structure is how the business organizes the content and how the users access it.
Workflow and governance refer to your tasks within the wheel of content creation. Workflow is the management and maintenance of content. Governance includes the policies by which your content should abide. In this case, governance would be abiding to the restrictions in legal marketing.
It makes it easier to give your content purpose, an aim. It allows for a holistic view of content production and distribution to assure its effectiveness.
Why is Content Strategy Useful for Law Firms?
The legal industry is a business like any other. To market your law firm to the world, you need to produce content. As a business, law firms need to determine the ways they can market themselves with the highest ROI (return on investment). This involves researching efficient marketing strategy.
Well, by reading this article, you’re in the right place.
Consumers have outgrown the days of television ads and billboards. While these methods still have value, they are by no means the main form of content consumption anymore. They’re also costly. People get the majority of their information through the internet, on search engines or social media platforms.
The content you produce provices a chance for your law firm to prove your expertise to prospective clients. Content strategy allows you to create, distribute, and promote this content efficiently and effectively.
Let’s explore how you can implement content strategy in your firm.
How to Create an Effective Content Strategy for Your Law Firm
Creating an effective content strategy is no small feat. It encompasses ALL of the content your law firm produces: email newsletters, blog posts, Tweets, Tik Toks, Facebook and Instagram posts.
Each of these different platforms require different content strategies. Keep this in mind while reviewing the steps.
Every law firm’s needs will be highly individual. They depend on your size, practice area, demographic, etc. Because of that, we’ve provided a general outline of steps that any law firm can use!
#1: Outline the Who, the What, the Why, and the How
We don’t want to create content that’s going out into the void.
To prevent your content from drowning in the Explore page, For You page, or the Google search page, you need to create it with intention. You must target it towards an audience.
Create an outline that can answer these questions:
- Who are we making content for?
- What content are we going to make?
- Why are we making this content (i.e. what is it for)?
- How are we going to distribute this content?
This step can also include defining your goals. To determine if a content strategy is successful, it has to meet whatever goals that you believe will help your practice.
#2: Research, research, research
Now that you have determined your demographic, it’s time to do the research on what speaks to them. What kind of content are people of this demographic interested in? What trends do they follow?
This mostly involves field research. Notice the posting and liking habits of the audiences you want to target. To learn about social media and the internet, you must spend time on it.
For example, if you’re a divorce attorney, one of your target audiences would be middle-aged women. If any work in your practice, ask them what they look at on social media, even if they aren’t getting a divorce, or aren’t even married. The general habits alone would be helpful to your research.
As you can tell by now, structuring the foundation for your content strategy requires asking a lot of questions. By answering them correctly, you set yourself up for success.
We have the building blocks in place. We have a thorough understanding of our audience and we have our goals outlined. What’s next?
Time for the action: the what and the how. This is where we plan the content we are going to create. We’re also going to choose which platforms and CMS (content management systems) we are going to employ.
What content is needed for the email newsletters? What needs to be posted on social media? Does your website need updating?
This is the time to create schedules and calendars to stay organized.
Creation is arguably the most important part of the strategy. You can’t move on to the other steps without it!
Set aside times within your practice to create content in bulk. It makes keeping a consistent posting schedule easier, and saves time.
Later recommends repurposing your content amongst all platforms. Here are some examples of content that you can utilize on more than one platform:
Most importantly, make sure that intention and meaning is going into every piece of content you create. It will set what you create apart from the rest, and will ensure your content drown among the sea of content.
This step is self-explanatory. You’re going to refer back to the planning stage, where you created a schedule for each platform.
Distribute your content accordingly. Publish according to the schedule, when and where the schedule has outlined for you.
Owned channels are those where the editorial control is completely in your hands, e.g. blogs, social media platforms, newsletters, site pop-ups, etc.
Earned channels involve others helping to promote your content: reposts from other law firms or legal marketing agencies or journalists, to name a few.
Paid channels are where you get more direct profit, like search ads, social media ads, and sponsored emails.
Being intentional about where and how you promote your content is important. In case we haven’t hammered it into your head enough already, content strategy for law firms needs to be well-thought out and meaningful.
Promote different content depending on the channel you’re utilizing; and to be clear, you should be utilizing all three. Each has their own separate benefits, and when used together, they can be extremely beneficial for your practice.
#6: Measuring your results and restructuring your content strategy accordingly
Between steps #5 and #6, it’s time to let the content do its job. Keep an eye on the metrics and data that comes your way.
Many social media platforms and website builders have these tools readily available to you, without any third parties. If you deem it necessary and more efficient for your practice to use third-party companies, apps, or tools, please use them.
With all these numbers, it’s time to make some decisions. What worked? What didn’t?
Make changes to your strategy accordingly. Keep what works, get rid of what doesn’t!
This step ties into step #6. The work isn’t done once you’ve created and distributed your content. Content strategy is a constant cycle, requiring active monitoring and consistent updating. Audit your accounts. Analyze what clients and followers are engaging with and what they aren’t. Then return to step #1, and start all over again for the next campaign.
Key Takeaways of Content Strategy
We’ve gone over the steps to creating a solid content strategy for law firms. Here are some best practices to keep in mind while implementing it.
Create content that shows how your goals align with your clients’ needs
You want your content to attract the right people, your ideal clients. You need to prove to them why they should choose your law firm, not just assume that they will somehow find you in the void that is the internet. Show them how you can be beneficial to each other.
Understand your audience, and create content tailored to them
While it’s important to produce content you enjoy and content that is relevant to your field, your audience is your main priority. Be sure to use language, imagery, and themes that are relevant to them, and that will encourage their response.
Create content that is useful
We will again reiterate – don’t create content just for the sake of doing so. Create things that your audience will find useful and that they will thank you for. Don’t post without a reason. Post/create with intention. Clients will see this authenticity, and you will get results.
Make sure your content is accessible and will show up on search engines
This requires a good working knowledge of SEO, which can be found in many of our other articles. Some base-level understanding of UX/UI design would be helpful too! This mostly relates to your website, as you have the most control of its technical design, rather than that of Facebook or Youtube.
Upload and send out content consistently
Here at Great Legal Marketing we live by the mantra that consistency is key. Your audience needs to remain engaged and up to date for people to consider your content useful.
Remain informed, honest, and accurate
Lawyers sometimes hold the reputation of being crooks; don’t let this become true, even if by accident. Make sure your content has information that is true, well-informed, and correct. The last thing you want is potential clients to think that you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Focus on quality, not quantity
More content does not equal better results; quality content does. If one week your marketing team has a few really good posts, but they’re taking up a lot of time, let it happen. People want to consume media that they can tell a lot of thought went into.
The easiest way to keep your content organized is to use a calendar. Make separate calendars for social media, content creation, and content distribution. Feel free to take as much creative freedom as you please, with color-coding, design, and more. Here’s an example of what yours could look like:
Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.
Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.
If you want a peek at what successful attorneys use to market their practice, the HERO Starter Kit is your logical next step.
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