Advertising your law firm once consisted of a small advert in the local paper, a visible office in a nice part of town, and word of mouth from satisfied clients. Now, however, it is a whole different ball game…
The internet has revolutionised the way we conduct business, how we communicate, and the ways in which we advertise. Modern digital marketing developments now allow businesses to grow their client base on a global scale, build a unique rapport with customers, and showcase specific expertise – all without leaving the office!
Creating digital content for your law firm that is relevant and informative, for both your current and prospective clients, is essential in order to stay ahead of the competition, establish your ‘brand’, build client trust, and improve your rankings on search engines through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques.
Digital content should be developed as a unique marketing tool for your firm; its ability to reach new clients and communicate your firm’s ethos is vital in securing future prospects.
The following information will give an insight into best practice for law firms who wish to capitalise on their digital content capacity:
Website and Blog
Any law firm that desires an online presence must have a website – it is the modern equivalent of the visible office in the nice part of town.
Your website should also contain a ‘call to action’ that highlights how clients can get in touch with you for advice or guidance on specific issues.
Content marketing on websites can be part of your main site, but more frequently nowadays it takes the form of blogs, which are invaluable as a way of investigating issues, exploring common problems, highlighting fields of specialities, and so on. They can be highly specific or more general, and are a superb way of advertising niche expertise and establishing credentials among peers and clients.
Sites, such as LinkedIn, (a networking site) are ideal for showcasing blogs and new digital content. Connections can read, share and comment upon your content, giving you valuable feedback and vital links to new clients who require your expertise.
However you chose to explore digital content (be it via a standard website, online blog, or through professional networking sites) you should aim to update the content at regular intervals. The expected minimum is usually once a month, but the more frequently you update content, the more visible your firm will become.
Always ensure content is accurate, relevant, and appropriate for your target audience, and keep all information up-to-date.
Social Media Content
Social media can be fraught with issues surrounding confidentiality, so must be used wisely as a method of distributing digital content.
Most law firms use social media to build their ‘brand’ and as a means of advertising new digital content that is available on other platforms such as, a new blog, or industry news items.
Twitter is effective for this type of content but tweets should be succinct, relevant and make effective use appropriate images, photos, or videos.
Newsletters aren’t a new concept, they have been used for years as an effective method of keeping clients informed of new developments. However, email has transformed the capacity of the newsletter as they can now be sent anywhere in the world with minimal expense, and at the click of a button.
If you plan to use email newsletters you should tailor them to specific recipients whenever possible. This doesn’t just mean personalising each email by adding the client’s name, but also targeting each client through their needs and requirements. For instance, sending information about new child maintenance laws should only be sent to clients who are divorced parents with children. To do this effectively you will need to store adequate information on a client relationship database, and keep it regularly updated.
Podcast and Video Content
The popularity of platforms such as YouTube, highlight the success of video content online. They are an effective mode of distributing information, promoting services, preserving brand identity, and establishing a ‘human’ element to your firm. Creating quality video content can be expensive and time consuming, especially if you have to appoint a production team to create content, but is invaluable in reaching those internet users who prefer this method of communication.
Podcasts are digital audio or video recording that can be downloaded from your website to any device or media player. They are often cheaper to produce than videos but still appeal to those who prefer not to read online.
According to official government figures the average reading age of adults in England less than 16, with 15% of the population considered ‘functionally illiterate’. Daily newspapers write their content for readers with an average reading age of 12.
If you are writing content for online resources it is vital to keep words to a minimum, use simple sentence structures, write in basic English, and break-up writing with clear headings and bullet points if it is a lengthy article.
Readers often scan read online so write for short attention spans and small screen sizes. Avoid lengthy paragraphs and footnotes, keep it simple!
Finally, ensure content is relevant to your audience, and that tone of voice is constant and effective. SEO considerations are a must for online content so check your writing fits within your SEO constraints.
SEO for Digital Content
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This is the process of boosting your website to the top of the organic search results when potential customers search with specific criteria, for instance, ‘good family lawyer in London’. The more content featured on your website that encapsulates these keywords with quality content, the higher the chances you have of appearing near the top of results.
PPC (Pay Per Click) services such as, Google AdWords, are purchased services offered by search engine providers, and can often be very costly. Organic content that utilises applicable keywords and quality relevant content gives a viable cheaper alternative to PPC and often reflects a truer ranking.
To create SEO friendly content, apply the following points:
• Keywords – the use of specific keywords (linked to your law firm) will boost SEO. Use synonyms and build a keyword glossary to give you inspiration
• Heading & Subheadings – keep text looking structured and readable
• Simple Language – restrict use of ‘legalese’, keep words simple, natural and flowing
• Variety of Content – use differing types of content, especially for blogs; instructional texts, new laws or regulations, specific industry news, advice, and so on, are all ideas for content
• 400 Words – is usually the minimum required length for blogs, content, or articles.