When your clients are looking for a lawyer, they use Google. That's how we find everything these days, and according to studies, most people searching for legal representation do so online.
This means that if you want to attract more clients, get more cases, and make more money, you need a website that ranks highly in search engines.
In other words, you want Google to like you.
How do you get in good with Google? The quantity and quality of the content on your site. You want to be sure to have more - and more relevant - content than your competitors.
Having the right content in place is of paramount importance. Not only will Google reward you, but clients will, too, creating a cycle that will grow your law firm.
Content marketing for law firms is absolutely critical and it's something a high-performance marketing agency can do for you. Here's what you should know before you hire one.
What is content marketing?
So what is law firm content marketing?
People today are bombarded by advertisements. They're everywhere, and no one wants to feel like they're constantly being sold something.
Content marketing is a form of promotion that gives people what they want.
We know this because they've asked for it. Content marketing uses the keywords people have typed into search engines to find a law firm like yours to create blogs, articles, posts, and other forms of useful information.
This quality content will attract potential clients to your website and keep them there. It will inform and entertain them.
And it's been shown to convert those potential clients into paying clients.
More than 60% of American online consumers have made a purchase based on a blog.
Imagine what that percentage would be if the blog gave them just what they asked for?
That's what law firm content marketing does.
Why is content marketing for law firms important?
You want to attract more clients, make more money, and grow your law firm. That's why you're here.
Content marketing is a perfect way to do that.
It has been proven to attract just the people you are looking for - in your market.
There are a host of reasons it works:
- Increased Website Traffic
Google pays attention to who visits your site, how long they stay, and how many things they click on. The world's most popular search engine uses this data to measure you against other content for lawyer websites and rank you accordingly.
Good legal content creation brings in visitors and keeps them happily reading and clicking through to other links. This makes Google's algorithm happy - and it will push you up those rankings.
- Increased Brand Awareness
Potential clients will see you more often when you rank high in search engines and think of you when they’re ready to hire a lawyer.
That’s how advertising works.
But they won’t think they’re being advertised to; they’ll think you provided them with good information.
- Increased Trust
If your name comes up immediately when people search for the kinds of services you provide, they’ll turn to you. When they click on your site and find high-quality law firm website content that is useful to them, they’ll respect you and instinctively trust you.
And they’ll think of you as a leader in the field.
- Increased Conversions
When people see your brand, associate it with the quality information they need, and put their trust in it, you have them hooked. Who do you think they’ll look to for help when they need a lawyer?
They’ll come to you, of course.
According to a report in Lawyerist, law content marketing creates conversions at a six times higher rate than other forms of advertising.
All for relatively little expense.
Step 1: Understand Your Audience
In order to provide content that is relevant and informative, you need to know your audience.
Who are they?
And more importantly: what are they looking for?
This is absolutely critical information.
You need to have a thorough understanding of your target audience, their wants, needs, challenges, hopes, and the kinds of legal services they are after so you can tailor your offerings to them.
Many firms find it helpful to create a buyer persona, a prototype of their average client. This will include who they are, where they live, their occupation, their interests, and their reasons for searching for a law firm.
To create this character, you can use the information you know about your current client base. You could do surveys of potential clients. You can look at competitor’s sites and see who they’re talking to. You can study what your site’s visitors are clicking on, using Google Analytics. And you can look up keyword searches, which will tell you exactly the terms they’re using to find what they’re looking for.
When you know all this, you can begin to create content that works for them - and for Google.
And then you can study how they respond to that content and keep refining it.
Step 2: Conduct Keyword research for the best SEO results
Keywords are, well, the key to all of this.
In order to perform search engine optimization – creating content that Google likes and responds to – you have to know the right keywords.
These are the words and phrases that most reasonable people would type into search engines when looking for the services you provide. For law firm content marketing, they might be things like “divorce lawyer in [your city]” or “[your city] real estate attorney.”
There are a handful of ways to do keyword research:
Have a session where you and your team think about the most likely terms people will use to find services like yours. Bounce around ideas. Most of these will be pretty obvious. If you do criminal law in Chicago, “criminal lawyer in Chicago” would be on your list. So would “defense attorney Chicago,” “criminal attorney Chicago,” and all the various permutations.
- Look Up Typical Online Keywords
Use any number of online tools like Google or KeywordTool.io to see the actual terms people are using. Make a big list.
- Refine Your List
Type your keywords into Google’s Keyword Planner and see how much competition there is for these words. Your best chance at attracting visitors is to create content for words that are often looked for but have less competition. Hone your findings into a list of premium keywords that you want to use to generate content.
How to find topics for your law firm blog
When you have a list, come up with content that would answer the questions being asked. Your goal is to create blogs, articles, and posts that would be genuinely informative to a person asking those questions.
You want to think about your target audience and imagine what someone in their situation would be thinking. Why did they type those terms into Google? What was the intent behind their query? (And remember that these aren't lawyers. Think in simpler terms than the legalese you're used to.)
For example, if someone typed in the keyword term “DUI lawyer Maine,” you might do a blog about Maine’s drunk driving laws or penalties for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in the Pine Tree State.
When you're creating topics, look at your competitor's content. What are they writing about? What are they not covering? That too can help generate ideas.
The goal is to provide value, keep people reading and clicking, and not just throw keywords around. You want prospective clients to see you as a leader in the field and not feel duped by visiting your site.
Step 3: Create valuable content for your law firm
Keep in mind that the goal of all this is to provide value and not just throw keywords around. You want to keep people reading and clicking. You want to give them answers and information that they need.
You want prospective clients to see you as an authoritative voice. A leader in the field.
You want them to stay on your site. You want them to linger, share with others, click lots of links, and come back later.
And you definitely don’t want them to feel duped by visiting your site.
It’s crucial that the content you come up with is good. You want it to be as comprehensive, relevant, useful, and compelling as possible.
By now, you should have a handful of topics. Think about the best presentation of the information.
Think of the pillar and cluster model. Pillars are large pieces of content that provide comprehensive answers to a client's question. Clusters are the little spinoff topics that you might find within that larger topic. When you create content, everything is interconnected, making links that keep visitors on your site, happily reading and clicking.
Remember to use approachable language. Don’t use a lot of dates, which can make things age fast. Make it easily digestible. People don’t want to read epics or see huge blocks of text. They want content that they can skim, especially in pillar pieces. Use bullet points. Use infographics.
And make sure it's actionable - you want content that your visitors can interact with. That Google can see them interacting with.
Great content can include:
- Service pages on your website
- Lists of useful links
- Downloadable guides
Any of these can work well. It’s a good idea to create a bunch of each to provide a visitor with a varied experience.
Pick a few topics and prepare some content. Your best bet is to hire a writer who is expert in SEO. It’s important that your content is optimized for search engines. A high-quality digital marketing agency would be ideal.
Step 4: Promote, monitor, and optimize your content
Once you’ve generated excellent legal marketing blogs, you’ll want to begin sharing them. Because you’re creating search-engine-optimized content, people will find it. But you can get it out there yourself – and attract more potential clients – using some of the following steps.
Thanks to technology, there’s a vast array of options for promoting your content. These include free options like social media and paid forms like advertising. Search engines want to see that people are visiting not only your homepage but many other pages on your site, as well. Promotion should be a part of your strategy for driving traffic to your blogs, podcasts, and posts.
- Social Media
Everything these days seems to revolve around social media. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have been proven again and again to be ideal vehicles for spreading information. Others, like LinkedIn, make a huge amount of sense for law firm content marketing. Placing a link with an attention-grabbing headline there can work wonders. Building a following pays huge dividends over time.
Collecting email from interested parties is always important, whatever business you’re in. Having a conversion point – offering a downloadable guide, say, in exchange for someone’s email – is definitely something you want on your site. Once you have built a database of emails, sending out notices of your new content will draw eyeballs and result in clicks.
- Online Forums
Many platforms have online chat rooms where people meet and discuss things. Reddit’s Legal Advice forum, for example. These are great places to interact with others and carefully suggest your content. Promoting content on these platforms can be tricky – you don’t want to come across as a troll or spammer. But it can generate the type of third-party backlinks – references to your site from other sites – that Google loves to see.
Ads on both Facebook and LinkedIn are good avenues for promoting your blogs and podcasts and posts. Because of the high-volume of traffic these platforms see, you can be sure your ad will get noticed and you can target exactly where it goes.
When you’re making all this effort to generate and promote content, you want to be certain that what you’re doing is working. Tracking the effectiveness of your content is vital, and there are a few ways to do this, the most notable being Google Analytics.
This amazing tool gives you real-time data, showing you just exactly how your content is being received. You can see if and what people are reading, how long they’re spending, which links they’re clicking, and where they go from there.
Make sure you’re checking this regularly and using this intel to refine and hone your content.
Updating and optimizing
Not all content ages well. Sometimes that deathless prose you wrote becomes dated. Maybe the law changed. Perhaps you had too many dates. You should check your content periodically to make sure it’s still accurate and up-to-date.
And you should also be studying what kinds of content your audience responds to the most.
If you notice your “how-to” pieces seem to get the most clicks, come up with more “how-to” topics. If you see that no one listens to your audio podcast, you want to figure out why, phase it out, or course correct.
Looking at your content on a regular schedule is wise. You should check that the links are working and not referring to dead pages. And you might want to insert a new link or two if you find something more relevant.
Content requires upkeep. Make keeping everything relevant and engaging part of your content marketing strategy.
Step 5: Convert your visitors to clients
You’ve written some engaging blogs, and people are streaming over to your website. What’s next?
Converting those casual visitors into leads and eventually clients.
The whole point of content marketing for lawyers is to raise the profile of your law firm, attract more clients, and generate more revenue. Conversion is key to all this.
There are a few tools you’ll want to use to create leads from visitors.
- Calls to Action
These are links you ask visitors to click on, and they are crucial to a successful content campaign. They tell Google that people are engaging with your site. Examples are buttons that tell people to contact you for more information, download a free guide (in exchange for their information), or schedule a consultation.
- Landing Pages
Ads and links will funnel your visitors to landing pages. You want to make sure you set these pages up to capture their interest – and their contact information.
- Additional Content
Making more content available in exchange for contact information can generate more leads. These might be additional blogs, downloadable guides, infographics, podcasts, or just about anything else. Just be certain people will value it and not feel duped.
Content marketing for law firms: best practices
Google wants high-quality content, remember? You need to make sure what you’re creating provides visitors with answers to their questions and information they want. But that doesn’t always mean everything has to be brand new. There are ways to refresh older content to have zip and relevance for today – and you should.
Repurposing your content
You should already be making sure your content remains relevant. But you can also repurpose older content, turning it into something new and fresh. This is a great way to utilize what you already have, save money, and keep visitors happy.
If you already have a written piece, consider reading it in front of a camera. In other words, turn it into a video. Or simply make it an audio offering. If it’s a data-heavy blog, hand it to an illustrator and turn it into an infographic.
Use an old blog as the source for a new email, turning it into a promotional piece.
- Third-Party Sites
Offer some of your content to a related site – a law blog, say. Google sees you as an authoritative source when you have numerous backlinks.
If you have a video that provides excellent information, have a writer take the content and turn it into words. Or capture the audio and offer it as a podcast.
- Social Media
Find snippets from a blog – some facts or infographics – and make them into social media posts or items for Twitter.
High-quality content is just the beginning of a content marketing strategy. You want to make sure your blogs have all the search-engine-optimization tools embedded within. Moving your law firm up the Google search results is the whole point of the exercise, right?
SEO is a lot more complex than simply selecting the right keywords. It involves inserting meta titles, writing exactly the right description, and adding cross-links, and Alt text. For this, you’ll want a high-performance marketing agency.
- Keyword Optimization
There are a variety of handy tools to help you optimize your keywords. As a law firm with certain specialties, you’ll find some terms are obviously better than others. Sites like SurferSEO and SpyFu can show you how effective the keywords you’ve selected will be.
- Meta Data
Metadata are little descriptors that tell Google what a blog is about. Done well, a meta title alone can move your content up in rankings. Meta descriptions are longer-form summaries – usually about 150 or so words – that essentially explain what’s in this blog and why people will want to read it.
The URL is the address at which your content is located. It also needs to be carefully written, containing the most important keywords from your content. The shorter the better.
- Alt Text
These are the captions of your images and infographics. It informs Google what the picture shows and how to categorize it and lets visitors know what they’re missing if an image fails to load. Alt Text also helps visually impaired people navigate the web.
Font sizes, paragraph length, and the blog’s overall length are also things to consider. Google – and visitors – like things that are easy to read. You want your content to be as accessible as possible.
Your content should be interconnected, remember, so crosslinks are critical. Google wants at least four links per blog. These can – and should – refer back to content on your site. And they can also direct readers to other authoritative sources.
These valuable links bring readers to your content from other sites. The more you can develop, the more Google will think you are a leader in your field.
Author that builds trust
Google likes to know that your content comes from a real person and not some bot or generator. If it can verify your source, it will move you up higher in the rankings. And if that source is an author with a real bio, a website, and a social media presence, search engines will reward you. Readers appreciate this, too. So, keep bylines in mind. You can even hire a ghostwriter for one of your staff members if needed.
A content marketing program is quite an undertaking. It takes time and effort. But it has proven again and again to reap dividends over time, attracting new clients, raising your profile, and increasing your revenue. As forms of advertising go, it’s one of the best for return on investment.
Be aware, however, that good content marketing for lawyers also takes expertise. You shouldn’t risk your financial future on an amateur. Digital marketing is what we do at Grow Law Firm. Let us help you.