You’ve probably noticed that a lot of law firms and attorneys have started blogging about their practice—and there are really good reasons for doing so.
While a potential client may search for an attorney by name on Google, think about how many more people are searching by challenges or problems, such as “construction insurance litigation” or “North Carolina worker’s compensation.” Writing on a matter specific to the potential client’s interests can help you show up higher on a page of search results. Not only that, it demonstrates your expertise and shows that you’re a thought leader in the space.
What Exactly is Content Marketing?
Content marketing goes beyond blogging, but the most critical part of any content marketing program is fresh, regularly posted content. Content marketing is focused on creating relevant content to attract and retain a specific audience. Your goal is to address your ideal client’s problems with the intent of offering them enough knowledgeable information that they want to stay in touch.
Think of it this way—you’re leading them to the solution versus interrupting them with your message (aka, traditional advertising). Consumers (or clients) have gotten really savvy about finding ways to fine tune out the noise in their lives. At the same time, potential clients—in both the B2C and B2B spaces—are turning to Google and other search engines to seek out solutions to challenges.
The first step to content marketing is to get started blogging. Your goal is to attract your ideal customer by creating content that’s valuable to them and easy for them to find.
How to Get Started with Your Legal Blog
Starting a blog can be overwhelming at first. Let’s help break it down into more manageable steps:
1. Determine your focus area and who’s involved.
Rather than a vague, catchall practice area such as business law, what specific area of business law are you an expert in? And what type of cases do you want to work on over the next 2+ years? Start there. Also, are you going to blog solo or would it be helpful to involve another attorney in your firm?
2. Create target personas.
First of all, if you’re marketing to everyone, then you’re marketing to no one. The first step in attracting the right visitors to your blog is to create personas for your ideal customer. Go beyond why they may need your services, but delve into their demographics, what they care about, their goals and challenges. Have fun and get creative. Knowing who you’re targeting when you’re writing makes a huge difference in producing effective content.
3. Develop an editorial calendar.
Rather than writing on a whim, think strategically about what questions your new clients ask about in an initial meeting. Address those questions in a series of blog posts. Try to find out what keywords—how your clients describe their challenges and what they’re searching for—your customers are using and create relevant content around these keywords. We often find that there’s a discrepancy between how an attorney describes their practice area and how their clients describe what they need. For example, an attorney may describe their practice as “family law” when, in fact, many more people are searching for “divorce attorney.” As you expand your blogging efforts, think about the more sophisticated challenges facing your clients and go a step deeper. Look for new developments in the space—such as new legislation—and provide your commentary, which will strengthen your positioning as a thought leader.
4. Get into the habit of blogging regularly.
Your pace of publishing will be determined by your capacity, whether you’re a solo blogger or have co-conspirators and how quickly you want to see results from your efforts. Ideally, your blog will have 3-4 posts per month, or at the very least, 2 posts per month.
You’re Blogging … Now What?
So, if you’re actively attracting traffic to your website, you don’t want that visitor to just be a visitor. Ideally, they’d come back again for more and you can stay in contact with that potential customer, right?
We’re able to do this through calls-to-action (or CTAs). CTAs enable you to capture a website visitor’s contact information and convert them into a database contact whom you can market to now or at a later date. CTAs can simply be a “subscribe to our blog newsletter” or “schedule a consultation.” Some website visitors will fill out a subscribe or schedule-a-consultation CTA. However, for others, it’s just not enticing enough to provide their email address. An even more effective way to capture contact information is to offer something in return for their contact information—for example, an ebook, guide or other information product.
Essentially, you’re offering information that’s valuable enough for a visitor to provide their email address. Having their email address opens up a world of opportunity. You can now send them your blog newsletter, and let them know when you have new ebooks or information products available to download. Capturing visitors’ email addresses allows you to continue to softly market to them, and by doing so, you’ve converted a stranger into a potential lead for your practice.