When it comes to online marketing of law firms, the inclusion of a legal blog or news section within their website is one of the easiest and most effective, yet often ignored, tools. The main reason I find that they are ignored is that law firms are populated by lawyers – who are rarely online business experts.
The inclusion of a news section, which we will call a ‘blog’ because, as you will discover evergreen content can be added as well as news, can contain relevant tips, general advice, frist-steps, how-tos etc on appropriate legal topics, along with any news (company or topical) that is significant for your target market. This market might comprise a range of stakeholders, including current and potential clients.
Importantly though, because really well-managed legal blogs are updated frequently, search engines, which love fresh, unique and relevant content, tend to rank sites with blogs well – the more frequently they are updated, the more often the search engines will crawl the site and index new pages. Visibility in search engine results pages for identified searched-for terms will attract ‘window shopping’ clients, and visibility for your Company speaks to your Authority.
By employing this content marketing strategy, it is very often possible for small and medium law firms to outrank those from the top end of town. Internet-savvy law firms and practitioners are increasingly using legal content writers to help feed a growing online audience, and to keep the search engines interested.
Benefits of legal blogs
Expertise and skills are basic qualities that clients and potential clients value in lawyers and word of excellent service or referrals are every lawyer’s best advertisement. A positive online reputation and engaging, relationship-building written content boosts the priceless word-of-mouth marketing that is vital to growing a solid law practice. Good (and bad) reputations travels fast these days: a comment on facebook or an online forum mention here, an email link forwarded there…..
Legal blog strategy for law firms
Anyone nowadays can create legal blogs but the ones that succeed use a strategy of staying alert to trends, listening to their stakeholders, engaging them in conversations and remaining visible online. This strategy is achieved in several steps.
- Define practice areas: Lawyers must identify the field of law and type of work they wish to perform for clients. By defining the practice areas of the firm, lawyers can identify the type of clients who will need their services.
- Select a target audience: Due to the social component of blogging, a legal blog’s target audience might consist of not just clients, but influencers such as reporters, publishers and independent industry-related bloggers. Influencers help spread the word online and amplify word-of-mouth through social media sites.
- Listen: Building relationships online requires listening skills to learn about the needs, wants and common issues plaguing clients and prospects. Through listening, a lawyer can determine relevant subjects for legal articles and content for blogs. Listening can also lead to the development of new legal services.
- Invest time: Building relationships online can yield faster results than traditional offline marketing but time remains a significant investment for any legal blog to succeed. Rather than adding ‘article writing’ to the workload of current staff (it WILL go to the bottom of their list!), many firms, legal and others, outsource their content writing. This ensures that they are delivered well-written material to an identified schedule.
My Tips For Assembling Content For Regular Publication
Effective blogs publish 1-2 times each week – the more the better as long as the content is relevant to your site. An ideal way to ensure a constant flow of content to your legal blog, is to include a mixture of topical/newsworthy articles and ‘evergreen’ niche-related articles.
Have the evergreen articles prepared in advance (I have great packages that I can offer for these!), and set up news alerts to help identify news topics. Don’t forget to include firm/staff news as well – people love to read about people, and it gives your firm’s website a ‘human’ element. Consider staff appointments and promotions, marriages/births, participation in charity events etc.