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Expand your influence beyond your own blog

newsHaving a regularly updated website and attorney blog are both important factors in any search marketing campaign. In addition to the basic SEO value of well-written content, frequent posting helps to establish trust with potential clients, who will come to see you as a reliable source of helpful information. Being the expert who people can turn to for helpful knowledge has good marketing potential.

But there is a whole world out there beyond your own website where people looking for legal services are searching for information about you. The firm Moses & Rooth, curious about opinions from actual consumers not marketing companies, partnered with Mike Blumenthal to conduct a study about the behaviors of those in need of a specialty lawyer. One question asked, if you are searching for a lawyer online, “what is most important to you?” The top choice of respondents was, “Information about them elsewhere on the Internet,” followed by Google reviews at number two. These choices together received over 50% of all responses. Establishing yourself as an authority through your own website is important, and extending that authority beyond your site to the rest of the web is critical. Here are tips for broadening your influence:

Connect with journalists. Some attorneys find the thought of interacting with journalists distasteful. It smacks too much of self-aggrandizement and takes valuable time away from what you should be doing: good work for clients. But having a reporter or reporters who know you are available to add comments to important stories can be an invaluable marketing tool, especially for local SEO. Try to avoid the hard sell, and instead interact with journalists and complement their work. Do not ignore their calls. Networking with journalists is a good way to get articles that support your reputation as a leader in your area distributed online.

Remember: press releases are not dead. At the beginning of the year, Google's Matt Cutts announced that press releases no longer have any SEO value, causing something of an uproar within the search marketing community. While Google may ignore links within press releases posted on well-known sites, like PRWeb, there is still worth in the distribution. Press releases (that contain actual information) may be picked up by other sites with high page ranks, or the release may be written about and linked to by other sources. Both of these things help build Google-approved, quality links. In addition, having your firm appear on highly regarded news websites bolsters your authority among those looking for services.

Take advantage of HARO. The website Help a Reporter Out (HARO) connects journalists with sources and can be a great resource for attorneys wishing to contribute to stories relating to topics of interest to their clients. HARO offers a basic, free account for sources, which is probably all your firm will need. Once you have signed up as a source, you will receive emails, or “Publicity Alerts” informing you of stories that could potentially use your expertise. If you use the site wisely, you can potentially come away with some helpful contacts while spreading the word about your firm.

Solicit reviews. People tend to feel better doing things that others are also doing, and hiring a lawyer is no different. Having good Google reviews matters, and it does influence users' behavior. Simply ask a few select clients if they would mind contributing. If you have done good work for them, they will likely be more than willing to share.

Transition your thinking from keywords to value. If you want your blog posts or press releases to gain traction, they must actually provide information that is worth talking about. No one is going to cite a press release that is full of obvious keyword spam or link to a blog entry that does not add anything to the conversation. When writing content, forget about keywords. Think about what you would be interested in if you were looking for a lawyer and write about that. Speak to people, not search engines. One of the best ways to build natural links is to be recognized for your relevant insights and observations.