Content marketing is propelling forward into a modernized world of high expectations for law firms: to be unique and trustworthy for clients with a crisp and transparent online presence. As rough as the roadmap to successful marketing may seem, it is not impossible. The secret is in the flow. Here is how your firm can tackle content marketing today:
Create Your Plan of Action
Break it down.
The simplest start to new beginnings in 2018 is to realign your law firm’s goals and make sure everyone from your firm's leadership is on the same page with your plan of action. Acknowledging these five points is the first step towards a transparent flow.
- 1. Who you are targeting. It may seem obvious that you want clients who need specific legal help. However, getting to know your audience better with persona creation can lead to honing in on a more specified group of leads. Understanding your audience’s online engagement habits, frustrations and preferences can allow you to redirect your content to what your audience knows rather than tailored to what your marketing manager knows.
- 2. What your goal is. This includes your law firm’s mission statement and brand story. What can your firm bring to the table that other firms might lack? Knowing your goals can allow your firm to align the marketing content with the overarching mission.
- 3. When you want to publish. Many law firms are in a competitive environment, while other may be in an untapped market. If you find that your firm is overwhelmed by competition, you may want to focus on publishing stronger, more original content less often. A firm in an untapped market may want to publish more often to gain further attention while still adhering to their quality guidelines.
- 4. Why your firm exists. In order to create strong content, you need to have a strong reason to back you up and add substance to your marketing strategy. Keep in mind the value of your firm when tackling marketing content.
- 5. How you will strategize. The marketing process is crucial; good content without a strategy will go nowhere. Plan for how you will gauge your marketing performance, understand your firm’s impact and engage in growth potential.
Create your strategy.
As soon as your mission statement is established, begin to align it with your goals in a complete flow chart. The most important part of the strategy is incorporating your entire team and ensuring that everyone has a clear understanding of their tasks. Before any steps of action can be made, however, you must gain stakeholder support from your executive team. At this point, you will have your basic content marketing strategy laid out in a flowchart. Present this with the utmost clarity to your executive team to gain their support and allow them to understand the content marketing strategy just as well as you do. Keep in mind to provide reasonable expectations in alignment with goal creation.
Here are some tips while creating your strategy:
- Focus on one hurdle at a time. It is easier to tackle one challenge at a time rather than to look at the bigger picture of all of the obstacles to come.
- Identify your audience. Create actionable personas that note your audience’s means of communication, past and present behaviors, motivations, goals and challenges.
Fortify your team.
A team is similar to a machine -- the cogs need to be in the right place and must complete their functions for the entire process to work smoothly. Creating a team is by no means easy, let alone empowering it. The best teams will come from the most positive working environments -- one with high expectations for quality work across all of your firm’s platforms and channels.
From the idea stage to distribution, team members need to visualize progress and know exactly what role they play in your content marketing strategy.
Organize your plan.
Take advantage of Google calendar as well as task systems through applications like Slack, Glip, or your practice management software. With these organizational tools, it is easy to check who is in charge of what and to make sure everything is running at the right pace. Make sure to have an adaptable but strict plan to determine what will be published when and where.
Have a complete set of rules for client engagement for each channel. Note:
- Who you will reach
- What your target goals are
- Which topics you plan to explore
- Which formatting you will use
- What your overall tone is
- What your call to action will be
Catalyze Your Plan
If you brainstorm as a team and keep your mission statement in mind, your content will be more on brand and cohesive. Team brainstorms also allow for ideas to bounce off of one another and to expand. It will allow for a unique plan of attack to rise to the surface, such as noticing that a lot of content is being taken off the screen and becoming verbal with Siri and Amazon Alexa.
Live feed is also becoming increasingly popular through social media. Facebook claims that its users spend on average 3x more time on live videos than recorded videos. Comments shoot up to 10x more with live videos compared to recorded content. These innovative ideas are currently underused, and you could be at the forefront of taking advantage of them. If an idea is too mature, it may gain less attention than original research.
Remember that content is the substance of the lead’s journey to working with your firm. Tactics cannot grow without content; even paid advertising relies on content to boost conversion rates.
Develop the content.
Be sure to deliver quality content consistently. Quality and quantity do not necessarily trump one or the other; it depends on the specific firm. Remember, if you have less competition you should focus on more content whereas law firms in crowded markets may want to delve into original and thoughtful ideas. This may lead to less content overall but it will be more detailed and authoritative.
Content can easily go off in tangents. Maintain a system where content is consistently checked against the mission statement as well as held up against the specified rules of engagement. Never forget to fact check and proofread content before it gets sent to the editor or publisher.
Distribute the content.
There is an enormous amount of content being posted on the Internet daily. Make sure you have a place for your content to go. Is this going to be published on a third party platform like Medium, HG.org, or LinkedIn Pulse? Or will this content exist on your website as a blog article? If producing ebooks or videos, where are you going to distribute this content? Great content without an audience is invisible.
2018, Bring It On.
Hannah Felfe is a writer at Custom Legal Marketing.