How can your firm create content to attract new clients and nurture existing ones? In this article we’ll cover what to write, how to write it, how to make sure people read it and how to measure your results.
Content marketing has been a buzzword for many years, but it’s often misunderstood and is, in my opinion, a bit of a misnomer. To me, it suggests that ‘content’ for content’s sake is sufficient. What do we mean by ‘content’ anyway? In my view content suggests filler, not killer. A far better approach is to break ‘content’ down into individual types and purposes. There are many forms written marketing material can take, and each requires its own strategy and tactics.
Clearly, the overarching purpose is to drive traffic to your site, convert leads and win more clients. Below, we’ll explore exactly how to do that.
Making Law Firm Content Marketing Work
Many firms actually oversimplify the content marketing process. It’s very common to see a lot of content piled up on (for instance) a blog without any of the technical aspects that would help it appear in search engines (otherwise known as SEO).
This approach can be resource intensive, burdensome to the firm and almost never generates the type of results we’re aiming for. To make content marketing effective you must publish the right content, for the right purpose, for the right audience at the right time.
As an overview, the process of designing a content marketing strategy should look like this:
- Using tools like Google’s keyword planner or Answer the Public find out what keywords your audience are searching for. This will let you address their needs, and create SEO-friendly titles for the piece you are writing.
- Look at the ‘buying journey’ of your typical client. What information do they need at each stage?
- Are there particular recurring questions or objections they have?
- What information would make YOUR job easier if only your clients knew it?
- Find out which type of content suits which medium - should your article be a blog, a service page, a whitepaper or even an ebook, video or podcast?
- Write the content! Often, we see firm’s create content in a very dense format. The temptation when presented with a blank page is simply to fill it, but that seldom makes for good reading on a screen. Think outside the (a4 word doc-shaped) box!
- Simply putting content on site is unlikely to yield truly excellent results - sharing via social media, email or other channels (such as 3rd party sites) will amplify your message.
- Measure the results of your content marketing efforts using web analytics tools. At a basic level google analytics will do the trick, on a more involved level heat mapping software such as hotjar will shed light on how people are consuming what you put out.
That is the overview, so let’s look into 12 actionable tips that will ensure your content marketing strategy is a success.
1. Know your audience
Many firms try to be all things to all people and in doing so, dilute their message. It pays to think who your ideal client ACTUALLY is. Marketing theory suggests working out buyer personas, but even a rough outline of their demographics and legal challenges is sufficient.
In doing so, you can produce content (and an overarching brand) that resonates with the individual you wish to target.
Even considering the following questions will be helpful:
- What is their age and background? Where do they live?
- What are their main legal issues?
- What other legal issues might they be facing either as a result of this one, or in other aspects of their life?
- What are their goals? What is their intended outcome?
- What might they look for in a solicitor? How can YOU help, specifically?
- How do they find a solicitor? What methods do they use to research their issues?
Thinning these things through will let you produce content that is tailored to, and resonates with, your intended audience.
2. Perform keyword research
We’ve described what is essentially market research above. What’s every bit as important is Keyword Research. This is the act of looking through e.g. Google's archive of data to see what people are actually searching for. You can find keyword volumes (to gauge demand) and keyword suggestions to find other, related (and often surprising) keywords.
Once you have these, you can optimise your content with them, paying special attention to things like titles, headers and ‘metadata’.
3. Assess your competition
As with most aspects of business, it pays to pay attention to what the competition is doing. Obviously you can cast an eye over their site but there are a number of SEO tools you can use like Semrush and Ahrefs to get a bit deeper under the hood.
Have they published content that you haven’t? Do they cover material you don’t? What tactics do they employ (such as lead magnets, video content, email signups) that you can adopt?
4. Work out what goes where
Or, in other words, develop a content funnel. In a basic form, a content funnel has 3 stages - a top, middle and bottom. This is intended to mirror the buyer’s journey from the time they become aware of their issue, to considering how to solve their problem, to considering which firm to instruct.
Top of the Funnel
This is higher-level, thought leadership content that helps frame your readers' issue. This content should be evergreen, easily readable and not overly ‘salesy’. It should guide your user to a greater understanding of their problems and signpost solutions
Middle of the Funnel
This type of content introduces concrete solutions and options (your firm, obviously!) and facilitates comparison between potential solution providers.
Bottom of the Funnel
This is designed specifically to convert. It should be more overtly salesy and contain prominent calls to action to encourage the user to get in touch.
5. Optimize your content
As mentioned above, there’s no point producing content if no one can find it. And that’s where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) comes in. Ensuring that your content is optimised for search engines (and users, don’t forget), will get more eyes on it and thus give you a greater chance of generating new business. The keyword research mentioned above will tell you which words to optimise for, and any content management system worth its salt will make it easy to add them.
6. Measure your results
It’s all well and good developing and resourcing a strategy but unless you are tracking results it will flounder.
You need to know what kind of content is working, and which isn’t. After all, the goal isn’t to simply pile up content - it’s to generate a solid financial return.
The best tool in your arsenal here is Google Analytics. Supported by every CMS, it’s the industry standard tool for tracking web traffic.
If set up properly, it can track traffic, sources and - most importantly - enquiries.
Win new clients with content marketing
Done properly, a content strategy will add tangible RoI to your firm’s bottom line. The above should give you enough to get started on rolling out an impactful content strategy but if you’d like to find out more we’d be delighted to have a chat with you. Email or call 07969336526