For nearly a decade, search engine marketers have been the hailing the blog as the best communication invention since Gutenberg's press. The blog provides an easy way to keep your website active, up to date and filled with good content. It also makes it easy to share your content through various online outlets and social media.
But some law firms believe that their blog is going to become a one-stop resource. That people will cancel their Wall Street Journal subscriptions, turn off NPR, and clear NYTimes.com from their browser's cache, looking solely to the firm's blog for new information. Not only does that not happen, it should not happen.
Our goal is to bring in new cases for our clients. If the majority of web traffic is not new traffic, our clients get concerned. When our clients are reviewing their statistics, we are judged harshly if too many of their website's visitors are returning and not new.
Your website is a marketing tool. It helps bring new clients to you, and it can help you better serve existing clients. Getting the cases in the door involves being found. While your legal marketing team may be focused on the big keywords, your future clients are more creative than that. They are asking questions, Googling sentences or paragraphs, and listing all of their problems in one search query. When they do that, your Google+ Local page doesn't show up; an article on your blog does.
Recently, we reviewed stats for a small handful of law firms, representing at least two law firms per practice area. We found that more than 90 percent of them showed blog content in the top 10 most popular entry pages (that is, the first page a user reads when entering the website). Nearly 75 percent of the sites showed blog pages in the top five most popular entry pages. This data was collected from January 1 – 26, 2015.
The articles within your blog act like tentacles, pulling in visitors from far-reaching keyword searches. Blog articles are short and generally related to current events. They use a variety of keywords, as your blog in its entirety covers numerous topics related to your practice areas. As such, your blog should generally bring in new visitors.
Of course, all client outreach is critical for the success and growth of your firm. You should not rely on your existing clients and past visitors to keep coming back to your website and reading your blog. But you should communicate with existing clients and practice-area enthusiasts in other, more targeted ways. An email newsletter or other direct form of marketing is a solid choice. You can reuse your blog content as newsletter content, and there are even time-tested ways to automate that process. You can read more about this automation.
So, should your law firm's blog attract loyal readers? It happens sometimes, and it's nice if it does. But you should focus on using your blog to reach new clients and rely on newsletters or other forms of direct communication to build loyalty.