Content marketing is a huge piece of your marketing strategy but often gets pushed to the sideline, leading to poor quality posts and infrequent content. Content marketing, done well, is one of the most important things your law firm can do to build an online profile.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing also gets misconstrued as blog posts, and therefore, not important to an online marketing strategy. In reality, it is so much more than that!
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
The key difference in this description are the things I want you to remember for your content strategy are:
- Valuable, relevant, and consistent
- Clearly defined audience
- Drive profitable customer action
We utilize content marketing as part of our clients’ law firm SEO and link-building strategy. You can do a lot with content marketing, from the old standard blog post to journal articles, Pinterest posts, or Instagram Live. the key is to define where your audience is looking by checking your Google Analytics: Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels/Source/Referrals
Evergreen Content vs. Blog Posts
One other key to content marketing is evergreen content. The idea here is that your content doesn’t have an expiration date with statistics that will need updates, posts that focus on news, or posts that focus on trends like this post on Mindful Marketing.
Evergreen content will most likely focus on your practice areas, including the big topics that get the most searches.
Evergreen content doesn’t mean that you have to create a 20,000-word post. In fact, you probably shouldn’t do that. People will definitely not make it through the post.
One other great tip to help readers make it through your longer, evergreen posts is to consider who is reading it and write on their level. If you are a lawyer for other lawyers, go ahead and write like a lawyer. If you aren’t, then write for the rest of the world. Here is a post to help you out with that.
Your content marketing strategy MUST include keyword research to be successful. This will help you understand which keywords to use, the pages that are currently ranking for those keywords and if there are content gaps for those keywords.
We have a few posts that do a deeper dive into keyword research, check those out for more information:
Coming up with new content that distinguishes you and your law firm online is probably the most important part of your web strategy. And yet, even a cursory look around the web reveals that content development is not a very high priority for most attorneys. In fact, what we see most are regurgitated news stories, thin analyses of legal issues, and lawyers telling website visitors how experienced they are.
The good news is that this dearth of quality legal content is an excellent opportunity for those trying to distinguish themselves from their competition.
Better Legal Content
Since our website and blog are now over 10 years old, we have so much content that could help you improve yours! Here is a list of blog posts that we’ve written through the years:
- Updating your old content, how to and why it’s important,
- Balancing creative content with SEO Best Practices,
- Four essential elements of a great content strategy,
- How to perform a content audit, i.e. how to do content research,
- Updating your content to make it better for SEO,
- Creating a Content Calendar & Content Strategy,
- And last, How to create high-quality content that Google wants.
Law Firm Content Ideas
Here are 20 basic content ideas for your law firm’s website/blog that can help you be different:
- Question & Answer Pages – It’s a simple fact that most people don’t have experience with the law. That’s why there are lawyers. And that’s also why when people look for legal information online, it’s generally because they have a question. This makes question & answer pages extremely effective. On the one hand, optimizing for questions is likely to give you an advantage in terms of search position. Further, providing a helpful answer is likely to help you convert a visitor into a potential client inquiry (i.e. consultation request, phone call, email, etc).
- Informational Videos – As universal search results become more prominent, informational videos can help you compete for more competitive search phrases with lower SEO investments. The key here is to keep your videos informational. Don’t make an advertisement! Talk about issues that you see in your practice. Discuss general hypothetical situations and the factors that go into obtaining a particular outcome in a legal matter. Keep your videos short (under 2 minutes) and don’t speak in legalese.
- Podcasts – Podcasts are another personal way to reach your audience. Almost like mini-radio shows, podcasts can also be downloaded so that visitors can consume your content even without access to the Internet.
- Whitepapers, Guides, Downloads – Your web content should be focused on providing a certain amount of free helpful information to your visitors. Providing free whitepapers, guides, and other downloadable content can be an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise and stay in contact with website visitors.
- Checklists – Lists are very popular with Internet users. Checklists provide a quick reference to information that people can actually use. We have found that checklists are particularly useful for people facing injury/accident and criminal legal matters.
- Respond to Blog Comments – In my humble opinion, responding to blog comments is one of the most underutilized web strategies. When someone takes the time to leave a legitimate comment on your blog, it’s almost discourteous to ignore the comment. While lawyers should keep rules of professional responsibility in mind when commenting, there is no blanket rule that prohibits lawyers from leaving responses to blog comments online.
- Participate In Discussion Forums – While there is much buzz recently about social media, discussion forums, which have been around much longer than Facebook and Twitter, are another excellent way to interact with people searching for answers online. Depending on your practice, both LinkedIn Answers and Avvo’s Answer areas are certainly worth considering. Again, be sure to consider the limitations of your state’s ethics rules. However, don’t be crippled into fear by ethics rules to the point that you don’t participate.
- Infographics – These are graphic representations of information. They can provide your visitors with complex information in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. Infographics are a great fit for lawyers trying to explain difficult legal concepts to the general public online. And the best part is that not very many attorneys are doing them!
- Attorney Biographical Information – While most attorney websites/blogs contain some biographical information, 9 times out of 10, it’s done very poorly. Again, depending on your practice area(s) most Internet users simply aren’t looking for a laundry list of your credentials. No don’t get me wrong, providing relevant experiential information is critical. However, don’t dedicate prime profile real estate to where you went to law school and whether or not you were on law review. Tie your biographical information to how it makes you particularly adept at solving your visitors’ problems.
- Press Releases – This is another content strategy that can really work. However, it’s very important that your press release is actually newsworthy, as opposed, to yet another advertisement. In addition to writing a great press release, think about using press release distribution services for distribution. If your press release is sufficiently newsworthy, it might actually get picked up by a journalist. This could lead to an interview opportunity.
- Poll Your Readers – Polling readers gives them another way to interact with you and keeps your site interesting. Polling can also give your site gravitas as other readers can see how many people are actually following, reading, and participating on your site (blog comments do this too).
- Guest Blogging – Ok, so perhaps this isn’t a completely unique content strategy, but providing guest posts to other topically relevant blogs is very effective in increasing your readership and attracting links to your own blog.
- Commenting On Other Blogs – Can you tell that I think comments are important? In addition to responding to comments on your blog, go out and comment on other topically related blogs to which you have something valuable to contribute. Don’t comment for the sake of commenting. Use commenting to reflect your expertise, but most importantly, have a conversation.
- Testimonials – Testimonials can be a touchy subject. However, they are probably the most effective way to build trust online. Providing both professional and client testimonials to your visitors is very powerful stuff. You should also let colleagues and clients know that they can easily leave testimonials on sites like Avvo, Google Places, and LinkedIn too.
- Email Marketing – Building email lists of people that have opted-in to receive information from you is a great way to “touch” your visitors on a regular basis over a much greater time period. There’s a lot to talk about with email marketing but here are some quick tips: provide useful information, keep them short, don’t bombard your lists.
- Seminar/Book/Article Reviews – Reviewing the work of others demonstrates your knowledge and familiarity with the subject-matter. The law can be a very technical area and review what others have to say about a particular subject can be very helpful for those researching the subject online.
- Images – Using images on your website/blog may seem simple enough, however, this is another area that many lawyers struggle with. Images can help your content stand out. Clever, humorous, or educational images will not only help your content standout but will also help to attract links and shares.
- Tell A Story – Telling a good story always resonates. Obviously, storytelling can be a difficult skill to develop. My suggestion is that you start with simple straightforward stories about experiences you have had as a lawyer. It should go without saying that you protect client confidences. However, generalizing & changing names can easily be implemented to protect client confidences and identities. If you decide to publish a fictional story, make sure that you don’t mislead readers into believing it to be true.
- Interviews – Interviewing others and getting interviewed is a great format for helping your web visitors know more about you. In fact, the interview style can be very effective in conveying attorney biographical information.
- Create A Tool or Reference – Is there a calculation that your visitors might be interested in making? While the law can be very subjective, murky, and unclear, there are some things that can be calculated. Issues related to child custody, bankruptcy, and insurance come to mind. Providing your visitor’s tools to perform calculations or reference areas where they can look up information are very good at attracting eyeballs and links.
So, there you have it. 20 Law firm web content ideas that can help you increase visitors, engagement, and attract links. And with all your web content, make sure that you keep usability considerations in mind. Always remember the lessons of Jakob Nielsen:
People rarely read Web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences. In research on how people read websites we found that 79 percent of our test users always scanned any new page they came across; only 16 percent read word-by-word. (Update: a newer study found that users read email newsletters even more abruptly than they read websites.)
Beyond general ideas for creating content and content types, here are some ideas based on practice areas. We’ve spent over 10 years developing great content to get links, clicks, calls, and clients for the law firms we work with, and this is a small sample of some of the content we’ve created.
Practice Area-Specific Ideas:
- 1. Get connected to marriage and family therapists in your area. Do reciprocal guest posting and this could lead to referrals for both of you. Make sure to create a referral page on your website with these experts listed and ask them to do the same for you.
- 2. Discuss healthy fighting methods on your blog or healthy co-parenting methods. Remember that potential clients are often coming to you before they are ready to pursue their legal issue.
- 3. Budget-related articles and suggestions from financial planners. Going from dual to single-income can be a daunting process, so have resources that help someone plan for divorce prior to contacting your firm.
- 4. Lists of parenting books, specific to divorced and collaborating parents. This one could be tricky if your article gets preachy, so make sure to give a variety of options and don’t give personal opinions unless a particular book was personally meaningful for someone in your firm.
- 5. How to handle social media and online visibility during a separation and divorce. Like the idea above, give options that range from deleting profiles altogether to publicly declaring your situation.
- 1. Injury recovery tips and links to local practitioners that can provide healing support to potential clients.
- 2. Do you have a specific area within personal injury law? Write about how to prevent these incidents or protect yourself.
- 3. Organization, therapeutic or relaxation techniques, depending upon your experience. After an injury, someone could be dealing with an overloaded schedule and tons of doctor appointments, so calling attention to your firm’s understanding of this would be extremely helpful. Alternatively, they may be suffering from injury-related PTSD. Post about seeking help and treatment options for injury-related stress.
- 4. We’ve found it particularly beneficial to have an injury map for bike or vehicle-related incidents that occur in your geographical area.
- 5. Steps and checklist for a car accident. Try this as an infographic with icons. Make a checklist for those who caused the car accident and a different one for the victim.
- 1. What to do if you feel wrongfully arrested or accused. Be sure to include steps to be taken that will help someone stay calm and engaged under the pressure of this situation.
- 2. Tips to stay calm after an arrest and while in police custody. Empowering potential clients to know how they can respond while in custody will help them and potentially, your future case.
- 3. Now what? How to take the next step after you’ve made a ‘mistake,’ taken part in a crime, or been accused of a crime.
- 4. How to know if you’re eligible for a sealed record or expungement.
- 5. Breakdown the Miranda Rights- explain what the right to remain silent is, right to an attorney. They’re words, but what does this actually mean?
- 1. Protecting your kids with estate planning. This post can be a series that speaks to a variety of age ranges. If you have young kids, older kids, and adult kids, what are all of the things you need to consider for each age range.
- 2. Financial well-being with a financial planner. This could be a great content swap opportunity.
- 3. How to get your parents to create an estate plan. Giving kids, of all ages, the talking points they can use with aging parents to make sure their assets are protected.
- 4. Getting an inheritance or winning the lottery; how do you handle this to create long-term security?
- 5. Trusts: what to know and how to handle them. (Alternatively, how to access it or get around the ‘rules’).
- 1. Dealing with offshore accounts and how to set them up properly. (leniency reductions, voluntary submissions of accounts)
- 2. Handling debt collection calls and what consumers can do to protect themselves, their finances, and their personal life while dealing with debt collection.
- 3. Chart out the steps a client needs to take before coming into the law firm and working with you. This could include documents to have or notes to take.
- 4. What to consider when filing business bankruptcy– especially how will this affect your personal life and finances.
- 5. Financial scams and how to avoid them. Create a list of known financial scams and tactics that scammers will use to prey on people going through financial troubles.
Immigration law is a hot topic right now. With all of the changes and updates, there is a wealth of immigration law-related blog posts that someone in this practice area could work on. Changes in the law, knowing what to pay attention to and what clients can ignore, and many more topics. This is a great time to dispell myths and calm fears on your blog, social media, or YouTube channel.
Other than the ideas above, consider hot topics, and things in the news. Create a series around those elements and break it down in a way non-lawyers can read or understand the legal jargon. Also, check out our other posts for lawyer marketing ideas and this post on blog post ideas.
Hopefully, you are able to put some of these content strategies to work on your own websites/blogs. Good luck. If you need more than luck and want expert help for your content strategy, contact us!