How is Content Marketing for Lawyers Effective?
Content marketing. No doubt you’ve heard of it, but do you understand the benefits of content marketing and the role it can – and should – have in your firm’s overall business strategy? If your law firm hasn’t invested in it, it’s past time you did.
It’s important to connect with and influence your potential clients through the content you deliver. People who need legal services, especially for personal injuries, need to feel comfortable, have confidence in your firm, and easily find you and the information they seek. But law firms need more than a simple website and paid ads to compete for clients. They need to build credibility through regularly distributing relevant information based on a content marketing plan. And it can’t be done with minimal effort.
Content marketing takes time and buy-in from the firm. A clear plan, including a content strategy that has a defined audience, goals, and metrics, are all needed to position your firm as a trusted leader with expertise in your practice areas. The search landscape is continually changing and staying on top of and adjusting your content marketing is vital for success.
Understanding how your audience uses search engines, where they go and what they do after arriving on a blog post or website can greatly improve the impact of your law firm’s content and brand. Pillar pages and content clusters are two of the newer but highly important pieces of content marketing. Tools to organize and measure the efficacy of content can help maintain clear direction in your efforts.
There are several moving pieces of a content marketing plan. When done correctly, businesses see increased conversions and business leads, higher traffic, longer site visits, higher search engine rankings, and a loyal customer base. Here are the components that outline how content marketing is effective for law firms and why it’s something your firm should be actively dedicating resources to.
Improving Brand Recognition
Brand recognition is a key component of business success, no matter the industry. Content marketing helps to develop brand recognition through providing regular and quality content that’s relevant to your target audience. Using a variety of communication channels, including websites, blogs, newsletters and social media profiles and pages, firms can increase business exposure and reach the current and potential clients.
The content you deliver should have a purpose, message, goal, and consistent style. Targeted language and readability are important, and when a prospect searches for legal services, being present and easy to find is crucial – but ensuring what the audience learns and that they develop the correct impression comes from the strength of a content marketing strategy.
Businesses need to be accessible and present where it matters; with the role of online communications, what you offer and why they should choose your services needs to be clear. Brand recognition helps achieve this.
Developing Expertise & Authority
In the current online environment, businesses can’t just tell customers they’re the best; they need to prove it. They need to demonstrate their authority and expertise through effective content marketing.
Planned, strategic content builds authority. Providing useful information backed with credible sources and links to other relevant information demonstrates your knowledge and expertise, and further reinforces your place in the legal industry. Content should answer questions your potential leads may have and ultimately, persuade them to choose your firm for representation.
When someone searches for legal information or services, the content they find is what guides what they do next. For a law firm, if someone clicks on your website, you want to have valuable information for them that’s filled with clear messages to reach your audience. Your content should communicate what you do and how you do it, and show you’re a leader, expert, and the best choice.
Content should connect with your audience, make a good impression, and build trust to see them come back for more. Because of the importance of legal services, this process takes time. Hiring a lawyer is a big decision and having an authoritative and strong online presence that truly connects with those who need your services is vital. A few pages on a website and sporadic blog posts without direction and purpose won’t get traction, and your firm will be unable to build authority on the topic.
When done effectively, custom content is more effective at generating leads and creating a loyal customer base than paid search ads. In fact, it creates three times the leads of paid search, highlighting the importance of a good content marketing strategy – and a dedicated investment of time and resources to execute it.
SEO & Long-Tail Search Terms
SEO has changed a lot over the years, along with the online landscape. Effective SEO isn’t about fluff content stuffed with keywords and links so your business can rank well; regular delivery of quality content and a clear purpose is what drives search engine rankings.
When done right, content marketing will improve SEO rankings and your firm will see more leads. While content still needs to include keywords, SEO strategies are most effective when content topics are the focus. Once topics are identified, keywords and phrases – especially long-tail search terms – are included in the content. You need to know what language potential clients are using to find you and learn about what you offer.
Long tail terms are longer search words and phrases and have become increasingly common. Your firm’s content should reflect and address this trend, not only because of how people are searching, but that long-tail keywords often increase conversions. They’re specific and intentional, and ranking for these phrases can provide significant results if properly incorporated in your content.
People are searching in more informal, conversational tones; they ask full questions to find what they’re looking for. Through content marketing, your goal is to research and brainstorm these possible phrases and use them to your advantage. Your firm should implement these long-tail keywords on your website and blogs, through content on pillar pages and content clusters.
It’s simple: the more relevant content with keywords and phrases that you deliver, the more search engines have to index. Covering topics that your potential and returning customers are interested in helps your ranking, while also building brand recognition and credibility. Your goal is for your firm to become the user’s go-to for information and services that you specialize in, the services they’re looking for.
Increased Conversions through Content Marketing
It needs to be easy for your audience to take the ultimate step of reaching out to your firm. Once you’ve shown your expertise, you’ve set the stage for content marketing conversions.
If content successfully engages your audience and builds trust, the message and calls-to-action should be clear. They’re a key component of content marketing and should be treated as such. The goal is conversion – generating business with new and returning clients and positioning your firm for referrals too. Effective content marketing increases site and blog traffic, leading users to several places with clear, current, and targeted content that matters to them and that you specialize in.
Content needs to be planned and strategic to make an impact. An effective content marketing plan for your law firm ensures your business is positioned to not only build credibility and recognition but maintain clear directives and on-topic content that result in clients. It engages your audience and builds trust.
The content used to reach your targeted audience should engage and persuade. While you want to rank on Google, the goal is conversions; if you get someone to your site but they leave without delving further or reaching out, there’s no benefit. Generating content that is valuable, targeted, and builds relationships is an important step and should remain a key focus with each piece of content you deliver.
Pillar Pages, Content Clusters & Internal Linking
Search patterns change all the time, but the most recent trends show the need for and benefit of content clusters and pillar pages. Long-tail search terms are all the more common, demanding content that can answer these queries.
Pillar pages are the main, broad topics you want to rank for. They provide a summary of the many facets of a topic, while linking to related content. Pillar pages stay relevant and are a gateway to the more detailed information that your audience would benefit from.
Once your broad topics are selected, firms need a collection of pages and blog posts that add value and are of interest to your audience. By doing this, firm’s further reinforce authority and credibility on a topic. Using internal links, your audience is encouraged to learn more, all while staying on your site.
Blog posts with the content cluster strategy include more specific keywords and phrases related to the pillar page. They provide additional valuable information right from the source and set the stage for strong calls-to-action. The goal is to create a comprehensive resource of multiple keywords and phrases around a topic that you want to rank for. Simply put, your blog and website become a full-service portal of information without users going back to a search engine.
For example, if your firm specializes in elder abuse cases, you’ll obviously want to rank for related searches. To do so, you’d need a pillar page and links to content clusters on your site and blog. These could include the history of elder abuse cases in the U.S., the process of an elder abuse lawsuit, and important statistics and relevant resources.
The content cluster model can greatly help with building trust, all while indexing more pages on search engines. When someone is looking for legal advice or services, your content should prove your firm’s knowledge and expertise, positioning it as the best choice.
Ideation, Editorial Calendars & Optimization Tools
An important part for content marketing for law firms includes content ideation, a term that reflects the process of identifying topics that will reach and engage your target audience. During this process, you brainstorm based on your audience’s needs and your firm’s goals. These content ideas are followed by research on keywords and long-tail search terms to guide content and improve SEO.
During content ideation, your firm should consider its brand and brand persona – the way you want current and prospective clients to see you.
With the emergence of pillar pages, the ideation process should result in broad topics, as well as more specific topics that relate to and support the broad ones. This process assists in developing a clear and accurate idea of what your firm should focus on and make the planning and execution of content marketing more effective. It provides direction and ensures your firm delivers strategic content for its target audience.
Keywords identified during ideation should be selected based on what your customers want or need. After all, their searches will be specific to them, so your law firm has to understand who your audience is and what they’re looking for.
Benefits and Role of Editorial Calendars
Editorial calendars are a way to organize and plan your firm’s content and help ensure you deliver content regularly and with purpose. Search engines take into account the relevancy and timeliness of content, so planning when and what you’ll publish is important.
Calendars should break down content by type and author, while also setting a clear path to publishing dates and deadlines. They’re an effective way to organize work and easily see what the next week or month looks like. Deadlines for completion, edits, and launches that are laid out through an editorial calendar can do great things for your content marketing plan.
It can be as simple as using an online calendar through an email account or creating a spreadsheet in Excel. However, there are editorial calendar tools, services, and apps available that are designed specifically for content coordination that make creating and following the calendar easy.
Optimizing Content to Reach Your Audience
Content optimization is highly beneficial to the content marketing process. There’s content optimization software that helps identify content topics your audience is interested in, keywords, and results measurement. They find gaps and discover opportunities to build authority and become a leader on the topics you want to rank for.
There’s been a move away from keyword-driven content creation. Instead, law firms should focus on the topics relevant to your targeted audience, with keyword and long-tail search term research being second. Why? Google’s algorithm no longer bases rankings purely on keyword use within content. These days, Google is smart enough to recognize what quality content looks like. It looks for content that’s valuable to the audience.
There are different levels of tools and services for optimization. Many free options provide basic functions, like keyword delivery, but lack the ability to provide topics to focus on. More robust tools can identify which pages on your site need to be optimized and can tell you whether you’re using keywords too much or too little.
There’s a wide range of these tools out there and it can be difficult to decide which is best for your firm. However, there’s significant value in optimization tools and they should be part of your law firm’s content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing is a Comprehensive Process
The fact is, content marketing for law firms is no easy feat, but the benefits are extensive. It takes time and commitment, and it’s rarely done perfectly on your first try. It takes understanding what to look for, who your audience is and what they need, and setting realistic goals. Content marketing involves using optimization tools to get a clear picture of how your content is performing and finding ways to improve it. And you can’t be afraid to adjust the direction of your content if you aren’t getting the results you should.
Knowing this, just like Google’s ever-changing algorithm, your strategy needs to adjust to trends and changing consumer needs as time goes on. These are all key components of effective content marketing for law firms.
Visit the pages below for more comprehensive guides on the various aspects of successfully utilizing content marketing for your legal practice.