However, we are living in a digital age today. This is a big advantage for your legal firm. You are not constrained to traditional methods of advertising. Rather, your firm is now open to a new way of reaching out to the market and attracting customers. It includes emails, websites, social media, search engines and much more. Platforms like Google and Facebook have completely changed the way people interact with the web. The digital world offers a unique way for your law firm to reach out to clients and expand its business. To fully tap into the digital world’s potential, you have to start with content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is simply creating relevant and valuable content that engages your audience. While it may sound simple, it’s not.
All of the above are examples of content marketing. A message is being communicated to the reader in an engaging format, and it’s often told in some story form.
When you communicate a piece of information to your audience, you have to ask:
Is it engaging?
Is there a narrative story being told to hook them on?
If you do so, you just began content marketing.
What’s the Objective?
Does your marketing strategy have an objective? For any marketing activity, having a goal helps drive your strategy forward and ensures the objective is met. Is your objective:
Converting leads and getting sales?
Nurturing relationships with your clients?
Your content marketing objective should tie in with your marketing strategy, and your business objectives.
The objective plays a key role in deciding whether your content marketing is successful or not. With an objective in place, you can look back after 3 months and decide whether your content marketing is successful or not.
Identify the Audience
I mentioned that content marketing is “simply creating relevant and valuable content that engages your audience.” The key aspect here is to understand what appeals and engages your audience. So, who is your audience? Only when you know who your audience is will you be able to give them content that is appealing. You can identify the audience by filling in this table.
Preferred Social Media Platform:
Problems they face:
Interests and Likes:
By filling this up, you gain an overview of your customers. However as you fill up each section, you might realize that you have a varying audience set. Your customers might range from 30-60 years, be married and unmarried, are working professionals and retirees. As a legal firm, no doubt, you offer a wide range of services which appeals to different clients. For example, you may offer IP litigation which appeals to entrepreneurs, while your estate planning service appeals to retirees. Now that you have begun identifying your audience, you can start building personas for them. Doing this will only help you create better content for them.
A persona will contain the same information as the above table, except it will be even more specific. Here’s an example.
John – The Retiree
Marriage Status: Married
Preferred Social Media Platform: Facebook & LinkedIn
Problems they face: Need assistance in making an estate plan and writing a will.
Motivations: Driven by a need to protect his current assets and ensure his assets go to the assigned beneficiary.
Interests and Likes: Golfing and reading books
Identify as many personas you can and fill in this sheet. If you’re wondering how this will help your content marketing, this is a point I will come back to a bit later.
Select the Content Medium
Now that you know who your audience is, you need to identify the best mediums to communicate with them. The various mediums available to you are email, social media, blogging, case studies, magazine articles, and so forth.
Selecting the content medium depends on two factors – your objective and your audience.
Ideally, your content should reach the audience through the platform they are mostly on. For example, your audience is: 35-45 years old, entrepreneurs and business owners. The platforms which they’re on are: LinkedIn and Medium.
Here’s how your objective can impact the content medium you select.
If you only wish to create awareness, then sharing your content on LinkedIn and Medium is sufficient.
However, if you wish to build your legal brand as a thought leader, you must frequently share content on LinkedIn, Medium, your website and legal forums.
And, to take it a step further, if your objective is to generate sales, then you are looking at sharing exclusive content on your website in return for personal details and running an email marketing campaign.
Hence, the audience and objective play a key role in helping you select the right content medium.
If you don’t decide on the mediums, you have no delivery mechanism to send across your content to the audience. Furthermore, the medium has a massive impact on the type of content you can create. I’ll be expanding on this in the next point.
Choose the Type of Content
Here’s a quick look at the various types of content you can include in your content marketing.
Expert opinion pieces
How to guides
The type of content you pick depends on the content medium you are selecting. If you are opting for a holistic marketing strategy, then it is critical that your legal firm has a brand presence in as many places as possible. This helps your legal firm a build recall value and thoroughly drive your brand forward. However, if you do not wish to be on all platforms, or have a smaller approach to content marketing, then you should select the most appropriate types of content.
Pick the Subjects
What is your legal firm going to talk about? Your content subjects give engaging content to your audience. Hence, picking the right content matters if you want to engage your audience.
This is where the personas you built comes into play. Your personas have different motivations, interests, and problems. Your content subjects need to target each persona you’ve listed.
Here’s an example for the persona – John – The Retiree. His problems are protecting his assets and estate planning. Here are content subjects that would be perfect for him:
5 things you should know about estate planning
A beginner’s guide to planning your estate
How can you prepare to write your Will?
Should you create a trust to protect your assets?
The basics of estate planning
How to safeguard your family’s wealth
When is it time to write a Will?
These are just some of the many topics that would interest John. Your communication across Facebook and your website need to encompass these points and answers these questions. For obvious reasons, these are subject matters that your persona, John, is thinking about it. This is content that interests him and that will engage him.
Create a list of subjects that will interests and engage each of your personas. You should be able to do this once you’ve identified the persona’s motivation, problems and interests.
An excellent way to engage with your audience is to publish frequently.
If you have a social media page, ensure that you are posting at least 4 times a week.
If you have a blogging platform, ensure that you are posting once a week.
If you have an email campaign, ensure newsletters are going out once a week.
In the beginning of your content marketing, you will get a low response rate or no response at all. However, it is key to frequently post or publish your content. The frequent appearance of your content on your audience’s social media feed or email inbox, will eventually lead to engagement. The frequent appearance of your brand name along with answering your audience’s query will drive forth content engagement.
If you plan on publishing frequently, you need to have a content calendar ready. Here’s a snippet view of a content calendar we created for a client.
With a content calendar, you have all days planned and this ensures that, without fail, you will be posting regularly.
Audit your Content Marketing
Your content marketing has an objective. Are you achieving it? A content audit essentially involves three things:
How is your content performing?
Is it achieving your objective?
What’s the scope for improvement?
How is your content performing?
Depending on which content medium you are working with, here’s what you should look for:
Social media engagement
Social media reach
Social media likes/followers
Social media reach
Website bounce rate
Website average session
Email open rate
Email response rate
Identify how well your content is performing. The above metrics will tell you whether your audience likes the content or not. Metrics like poor social media engagement, low website traffic, and low email open rates tell you that your audience does not like the content. This may because you are giving them the wrong content subjects, or the packaging of the content is wrong.
Rethink the content you are sharing with your audience
Rethink the tone and style of your content
Is it achieving your objective?
If your objective is to increase brand awareness:
Is your social media followers and engagement high?
Is your website traffic increasing?
If your objective is to increase leads:
Does your website have a high average session time?
How many unique and return visitors are you receiving?
How many leads do you have?
What’s the scope for improvement?
By assessing the metrics, you will understand various ways on how you can improve your content marketing. Tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights are treasure troves of information that tell you what’s wrong and right with your content.
Throw away the content that does not work and replicate the content that does work.
For example, compare the metrics of two social media posts.
Post 1: Discover how you can build your IP strategy and protect your invention.
Post 2: Planning on your using your old zombie trademark? Well, you better find out if you can resurrect it first?
Comparing Post 1 & 2, you find out that Post 2 had more likes, interactions, shares and engagement. This tells you that communicating in a conversational tone, inviting the reader to learn something new and adding images to your social media post are things that work. You can now use the same tactic for your other posts.
These are just some of the many elements your legal firm should consider when starting with content marketing. You also need to get started with search optimizing the content (SEO is more than having a blog) and begin creating a content strategy.
If you require assistance, you can reach out to RapidBoost Marketing to help out. We have previous expertise in building law firm growth strategies.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.