Strategic legal content? Or just a space filler? (First Published in LawTalk, the newsletter of the New Zealand Law Society)
While most lawyers recognise the benefit to be had from regularly updating their website, many struggle to put their good intentions into practice. Sometimes articles do get written but fail to help improve a law firm’s website’s performance in internet search.
In an article first published in LawTalk, the newsletter of the New Zealand Law Society, Sue Bramall explains how a law firm can ensure that its legal content helps to achieve the marketing objectives – rather than just filling space.
Draft a legal content plan
Within your marketing strategy you should have identified priority services that require promotion based on their potential to generate profitable business. This should influence the content that you require, whether this is new pages for services, sectors, legal developments or know-how.
Any suggestions from lawyers for new content should be measured against your plan. Too often topical subjects are chosen at the expense of finding a new way to write or talk about an evergreen need that has greater profit potential.
How does your content compare with that of your main competitors? It is easy to carry out a quick review of your main competitors’ websites. Is your law firm's website content as comprehensive? Are your credentials obvious? Is it easy to find the relevant lawyer to contact?
USP, core messages and values
If your firm has gone to the trouble of defining its unique selling point, its core messages and values, then these should be expressed in your content.
If you say that you are ‘straight-talking’ make sure that your articles are not full of jargon. If you say that you are friendly and approachable, does the style of writing convey this?
If you say that you are client-focused, does your content speak directly to your clients more than you talk about yourselves?
Mix it up
Content does not always have to be plain text. Could you share a PowerPoint presentation, a flowchart, or a podcast to make it more accessible for your clients?
Whatever the format of your primary content, don’t forget that you should also share it on a variety of social media channels
Writing for the internet
Your content will perform best for you if it is optimised for internet search. This requires an adjustment in writing style and structure, as you need to ensure that your content appeals to technology as well as human readers. For example, creative (journalistic) headlines that do not include any words relating to the topic are wasted.
When writing or checking articles, have a list of your priority search terms to hand. If your aim is to be found for “employment lawyer in Sydney” make sure that you use those very words somewhere.
An approval protocol is also required to ensure that everything that goes out in the firm’s name is of an appropriate standard and in house style. Avoid having everything approved by one partner as this is likely to result in a log jam.
Check that all content goes out with a date stamp and a relevant disclaimer.
If you do not have processes in place, ensuring that your content is distributed across all the relevant channels can be time consuming and inefficient. But, by ignoring one or more channels, you may be ignoring those clients who prefer to receive their communications in that way.
Generating great legal content is only half the story – you also need to make sure it reaches your target audience. A clear legal content strategy will ensure that your content is used to maximum effect.