This post was written by our staff SEO writer, Nancy Rapp, who has a law degree and works as a professor of legal studies. Her unique background allows her to view the world of law firm SEO from the eyes of both an attorney and a web consultant.
In 2016, the Huffington Post published an article titled: “Why Legal Firms are Racing to Adopt Content Marketing.” The article was updated this past December as the trend continues to gain momentum. Though the author provided a few marketing tips, further “how-to” information is needed for lawyers to stay competitive while maintaining their law firm’s website.
Content marketing for lawyers is part of a digital marketing campaign. Though many attorneys believe website content is written solely for search queries and to offer contact information, content marketing is more nuanced than just search engine optimization (SEO) practices. Writing for purely SEO purposes won’t necessarily make your writing appealing or easy to understand, for example. This blog post identifies 5 content marketing tactics that every attorney should adhere to when writing for his or her site.
1. Understand the difference between evergreen content and blog posts.
Every law firm needs both evergreen and blog content on their website. Many lawyers are unaware of the distinctions between the two categories, and their practice’s website suffers from impractical structuring and lack of necessary content.
Evergreen content focuses on your practice area and clarifies the laws and processes for your potential clients. For example, a wills and estates attorney would have the page “Why you need a will.” A personal injury lawyer would discuss traffic accidents and slip and fall cases. The list goes on. The point of these pages is to explain to your site visitors why they need an attorney at all and why you are the one they should hire..
Blog posts are the items you share on social media. These are trendy topics that will grab your site visitors’ attention. Is there a new marijuana law? Did you win a case regarding the custody of pets in a divorce? Did you participate in a local law school event?
Lawyers often avoid blog posts as they may feel the content seems unprofessional or unnecessary. Evergreen content is certainly more important, but blog posts are also indexed by Google. These posts will show up in search results, and help gain brand recognition for your firm.
2. Maintain an editorial content calendar.
Content marketing is a digital marketing practice, and ad campaigns get stale. Content needs to be updated frequently to follow keyword research trends as well as to keep up with your competitors. For lawyers, keywords need to be researched to ensure you stay up to date with new laws, court decisions and societal trends.
In order to stay fresh, your law firm needs an editorial content calendar. Set goals for how often you will publish—though monthly is a minimum. Additionally, by creating a calendar, you can view which topics you’ve covered as well as plan ahead for the coming months.
3. Create personas of your current and ideal clients.
Though keyword research is a critical source of inspiration for law firm marketing, you probably already know what areas you need to write about. The trick is to market to your current and prospective clients.
Think of your typical client. What are some questions that are raised at every consultation? What legal issues are typically connected? Are certain procedures more complicated than others? Does your region have unique characteristics that make it a hotbed for legal matters? Attorneys near beaches or lakes may want to discuss boating laws, for example. All of these questions could provide months of content marketing topics that need discussion on your website.
Your ideal client is just as important as your typical client. Most attorneys use content marketing to expand their practice, so be sure to target the issues your potential clients may have. In order to break into a new practice area, sound keyword research and competitive analyses are necessary. As your clients take priority, hiring a digital marketing firm is likely the more efficient approach to attracting new clients.
4. Make your content relatable.
Many clients are going through a traumatic event if they are browsing for an attorney. Death, divorce, accidents and job loss are all reasons to hire an attorney. As such, content to make you sound approachable is often more important than sounding like a know-it-all. Keep evergreen content in a conversational tone that will keep you reader engaged. How-to’s and lists also keep content readable and less intimidating.
Your bio page, testimonials and blog posts can demonstrate your legal prowess. Here, you can and should brag about your awards, successes and education. Nevertheless, a line or two about your family and interests are still necessary to appeal to nervous, potential clients.
5. Have a non-lawyer preview your content.
In truth, lawyers don’t write for non-lawyers. We learn a writing style in law school that becomes our new norm. We also take our legal knowledge for granted. We can spout off a law quickly but that doesn’t mean our audience understood what we just said.
Hiring a professional content writer is the easiest solution to this issue. An experienced writer can research any topic and present the information from a marketing standpoint. If you choose to compose the content yourself, ask your spouse or anyone outside of the legal field to be sure that your explanation is detailed and easy to understand.
Paramaya Web Consulting has managed legal websites for years and has an attorney on staff to craft legal content that is informative and SEO friendly. Contact us today for a free consultation as to how we can help expand your legal practice with digital marketing techniques.