If your firm is investing the time necessary to produce quality content, you will want to make sure this content is being read by more people than just your team members. Well-developed content is a key part of a comprehensive marketing plan. However, it only works for your firm if it is seen by as many potential clients as possible.
Firms, brands, marketers and individuals produce volumes of content every hour. Much of it is run-of-the-mill, but some of it can be quite good. Obviously, your firm’s content is some of the good stuff. Often, however, the good stuff is lost in the noise.
Therefore, you want to produce content that people can find, share and follow. And, most importantly, you want to prompt readers and followers to contact your firm and ultimately hire you. Properly optimizing your content for distribution helps keep your firm in the spotlight and builds trust in your team as an authority in your practice areas.
With the exception of paying for ads, there is nothing your firm can do to guarantee people will download or share your content. But there are things you can do to make it more likely your content will be found and distributed.
Take control of your content destiny
Your firm has the power to control numerous avenues for content distribution and optimization from your own blog or website. Following is a checklist you can use to make sure you are doing all you can to achieve content success.
1) Activate social sharing buttons. The most basic mistake a law firm website can make with regard to content sharing is failing to activate social sharing buttons. At a minimum, every post should have a Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn share button. It may also be appropriate to add sharing buttons to some page elements, like videos or infographics.
2) Use the right keywords in the right amounts. Almost everything in a blog post or on a page can be optimized. First, page text should contain a balance of contextually relevant keywords and keyphrases. Do not stuff you page with keywords; if the content is well-written, Google’s algorithm will be able to rank it for compatible queries.
Second, optimize everything else. Name files appropriately, for example, “What-to-expect-from-your-personal-injury-case.pdf” rather than an internal code like “PI_GRSF_18.pdf.” Make sure images and infographics have alt tags that describe their content.
3) Give readers something to do. Include calls to action (CTAs) asking people to share or download pieces of content. Suggest additional articles that may be of interest.
4) Offer a deliverable to which people can subscribe. This is usually an email newsletter, which may be distributed monthly, or a physical quarterly publication that people actually receive. It may be a series of ebooks. Once your firm decides on an option that is feasible, make it easy for people to subscribe with obvious forms and, potentially, pop-up reminders.
Once you move past these basics, there are strategies you can employ during content planning to optimize for sharing and distribution. These include items like picking compelling topics, planning to publish content at certain times, monitoring results and breaking content into easily sharable pieces.
1) Create evergreen content. Evergreen content is so named because it holds its relevance over time. For example, a post explaining what people need to bring to their first consultation with a bankruptcy attorney is likely to be applicable with minor changes over months and years. Think about the questions you are most frequently asked by new or prospective clients and answer them in you posts. This will make your content sharable over long periods of time, giving it room to gain traction.
2) Create topical content. This, obviously, is an opposing tactic but still important. It should, notably, be used with care. Jumping on a popular hashtag can backfire spectacularly if done in poor tase. However, if there is a relevant story — locally or nationally — that someone in your firm could offer a unique perspective on, write about it. Providing provocative or refreshing insight on a topic can earn positive attention.
3) Use tools to help find topics. Let some others do the heavy lifting. BuzzSumo’s free tool, for example, will show you what is getting shared that is relevant to your keywords. Twitter will show you what is trending for any search term. Google Trends lets you explore what people are searching for in any chosen geographical area for your topics.
Choosing your ingredients
Once you have a list of potential topics for the week or month, plan your recipe. What different ingredients should go into the piece to make it irresistible for readers? Here are some potential choices:
1) Create microcontent. Microcontent is a bit of content that explains a concept quickly. Examples of microcontent include short videos, infographics, graphs, memes, text highlights or blockquotes, and even items like headlines or subheads. Microcontent helps keep users’ attention and provides multiple opportunities for sharing within each larger article.
2) Incorporate Click to Tweet. You have probably seen this technology within articles or news stories. A short blurb is highlighted within the page, with the Twitter icon and “Click to Tweet” text. Click to Tweet technology is easy to incorporate — plugins are available if your site uses WordPress — and it allows you to offer easily sharable, smart microcontent without ever having to go to Twitter yourself.
3) Use one piece of content for multiple purposes. A long-form, deeply researched page or a seminar you’ve given can often be repurposed into several smaller pieces of content like slideshows, ebooks, videos, infographics or even an audio clip. Each of these things is now a piece of content your readers can share.
Everyone who publishes content is fighting a battle against saturation and clutter, and law firms are no exception. To get the return on your content investment your firm needs, take control of every factor you can to optimize for distribution. This gives you the best chance to be seen and contacted by your future clients.