Theories about what constitutes an effective lawyer website have been evolving rapidly over the past several years. Gone are the days when an attorney could design a static brochure website, stick it on a server and then ignore it for months (or years) at a time. Law firm marketing experts and attorneys in the trenches increasingly agree that a good lawyer website must be dynamic, flexible and current.
In order to establish your firm as an expert in your practice area, you must consistently post fresh, relevant content. Posting regular updates also helps drive prospects to your site. But not just any content will do. Content that is overly generic, full of obtuse terminology or clearly written without regard for the audience will turn users off immediately. Developing a distinct style, or voice, for your law firm's content is a good way to set your firm apart from other attorneys in your area, all of whom are competing for the attention of the same pool of potential clients.
This is particularly important for firms that have multiple attorneys responsible for blogging and social media outreach. Your firm should establish a set of content guidelines covering what is and is not appropriate when writing for a public audience. That is not to say that your attorneys cannot be individuals - letting a little personality show through should be encouraged. Just remember that on the whole, your communications with clients, other attorneys and online should consistently speak with a distinct voice representative of your firm's brand.
When developing your firm's content strategy, keep the following three things in mind:
Blog with a purpose. Do not just throw content out into the ether hoping that it will produce results for your firm. Blog with the purpose of attracting clients. Give them useful information that shows off your expertise about a particular topic. Articles that comment on a current event, making it relevant to potential clients, or that provide a list of helpful tips are very popular. This type of content is more likely to be shared and more likely to drive valuable, high-converting traffic to your website.
Write for clients, not your peers. While impressing your peers might lead to occasional referral business, impressing potential clients will lead to a more reliable stream of new cases. People are impressed with attorneys who can distill complex issues into easy to understand articles. Potential clients want to know you will be able to communicate with them, relate to them and help solve their problems.
Be positive. Lists of horrible things that might happen if someone does not call your firm are not generally effective. They are more likely cause visitors to click away. Connect with clients on a positive level by clearly showing how working with your firm will provide a real benefit - how it will make their lives better in a tangible way.
Of course not every style is appropriate for every practice area. Your firm's staff and attorneys are smart people who are well positioned to know that it is probably not appropriate to joke about a serious bus accident. Humor may be appropriate at times, humility at others and seriousness or passion at still others. Whatever your practice area, just remember to be human. People hire attorneys they like. Developing a distinct voice for your firm's website content and social media can go a long way toward making that connection.
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