Law firms constantly look for ways to improve and enhance their business development to get new clients. Lawyers spend about 33% of their non-billable time on business development, and 41% would spend even more if they could procure new clients. Rather than spending unbeknownst amounts of dollars on print, TV, and online advertising that don’t always work, lawyers should spend more time networking online to get new clients. What does this look like?
Law firms can start by focusing on legal content marketing to promote their firm and individual lawyers in their practice. Lawyers don’t always think about the content on and off their law firm website content and how it can influence a prospective client to contact them. Here are some best practices for you and your law firm to consider before starting your content marketing campaign.
Content strategy for law firms
Many lawyers have no idea how to launch a content marketing campaign. Law school doesn’t teach lawyers about content strategy. Generally speaking, content marketing is the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant, different types of online marketing materials to stimulate interest in a brand, product, or service. Content marketing can include a blog article, short video, Facebook post, Instagram short, podcast, webinars, emails, newsletters, or LinkedIn thought piece. It is an alternative way to attract clients than by advertising the traditional way. For 81% of marketers, content marketing is a core business strategy to engage their target audience.
While they may never reach influencer status, lawyers can start their online networking journey using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for engagement and blogging to start a conversation and connect with their target audience. Just a heads up though—becoming an online networker guru doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and effort. These activities do generate referrals and increase professional networks over time.
Three top content marketing tips for lawyers
Since the pandemic, law firms have had to adjust to the new online world from moving to Cloud-based matter management software, capturing paperless client intake, to conducting depositions remotely and marketing is no exception. Going forward, client experiences will need to be thought of as online first and in-person second, which includes content marketing. Here are three helpful tips for content marketing for law firms.
Tip1: Keep the messaging simple
Content marketing should be easily understandable by your target audience. Keep your messaging simple. Especially for lawyers, there is a temptation to go all legalese. But if you’re trying to recruit new clients and potential referrals using attorney referral network, or social media, your content should be simple, clearly communicated, and easy to understand by a lay audience. Once you have a potential client, be sure your communication with them is clear, so they understand what your legal services entail. Messaging should be done at an 8th-grade reading level for lay audiences. Keep sentences short, use an active voice, and write with brevity and clarity. Remember, your potential client readers and audience aren’t lawyers!
Tip 2 – Do your research
Being strategic is an important part of an effective content marketing campaign. Your law firm should do some research on top SEO keywords (or pay someone to do this step). If your law firm ends up on the second page of a Google search, then your keywords content strategy for law firms aren’t effective enough to make it to the first page of results. According to a 2017 legal trends report, about one-third of potential clients search for their lawyers online, even before the pandemic.
Also, they will need to know who is their target audience (white-collar executives fighting RICO charges, blue-collar workers with a workers comp claim, or those accused needing criminal defense help), their “buyer personas” (who is likely to need their legal services), and any interesting developments in the legal field that would be relevant to your clients, such as changes in the law or legal technology that enables clients to access their files virtually.
Tip 3 – Know your state’s ethics rules
Law firms and lawyers should keep abreast of their respective state’s ethics rules for marketing and advertising, so you don’t violate any ethics. Some key considerations are:
- Post client testimonials carefully to be authentic and not give away sensitive information.
- Always add a disclaimer to every client testimonial because not every case will have the same result.
- Avoid using comparative statements because they often make unverifiable claims.
- Label ads and make sure they are straightforward and not misleading for clients.
- Respect your clients’ wishes not to receive marketing emails or have their case posted online as a success story.
- Check your state’s rules for using certain phrases, images, and photos on your law firm’s website and social media pages.
Law firm content marketing can play a key role in acquiring new clients. Yet not all content marketing is effective. The content must be captivating and engaging, and the execution must be strategic. The internet is an excellent medium for lawyers to get referrals from colleagues, business associates, friends, family, and within their network. With a little direction, law firms and lawyers can have the tools to build an effective online presence to attract new clients and gain referrals with some savvy law firm content marketing strategy.