Despite the obvious fact that legal prospects are always looking for law firms and attorneys who have built authority online, many lawyers we talk to haven’t ever considered the content on and off their website. What your website says — literally and visually — ultimately makes up a person’s mind over whether or not to contact you.
At the same time, the content you provide outside your website, be it in the form of answering questions on social media groups, writing articles, and/or blog posts that provide valuable information, define you as an expert in your field.
A few years ago, a top-quality inbound & content marketing strategy was a choice — you could use it to improve your online presence or you could choose to stick with more traditional digital marketing methods. Today, providing valuable content is an absolute must. All your competitors do it and if you don’t, you don’t stand a chance.
Anytime you, I or anyone purchases something with considerable value, be it a service or a product, we go through what marketers call “buyer’s journey”. There is a lot to be said about the buyer’s journey, but we’ll just touch on it now for the purpose of better explaining the use of content marketing.
The buyer’s journey consists of 3 stages:
Essentially, because prospects do not reach out to lawyers in the initial two stages, content marketing is the only sensible way for you to connect with them during these stages. This is not the time to sell, but the time to be helpful while showing your expertise. Be a helpful friend and build trust.
In fact, if you make an attempt to sell at this stage, chances are you will hurt the connection between you and a prospect and a sign that you don’t really understand the goals of content marketing.
Creating extra content can not only offer more information that your clients are desperately looking for, but it can also give you more room to rank higher for keywords and draw in relevant traffic. For example, users searching for “how much does divorce cost”, for example, are likely looking for a divorce lawyer.
Valuable content can take several forms. A common one would be a FAQ section placed on a designated page on your site. This FAQ section could contain questions and answers to the inquiries that you hear most often. If you’re able to write answers succinctly, you may even end up having your answer show up in a featured Google snippet and get you high up in the SERPs.
You can also use content marketing to accomplish the same goal. Blogging gives you a way to create ongoing content to stay relevant in search engines while generating new content for relevant keywords. Having a blog that fits in with your brand can also help you earn trust early on if potential clients stick around to check it out.
It’s really not that difficult. The first thing to do is make a list of frequently asked questions: the questions that you answer daily in your email, during phone calls, and in-person meetings with prospects.
Then create videos to answer those questions and write those videos up into blog posts — this is what we do for our business and it works wonderfully. Just get a decent microphone, a tripod for your phone, find a room with satisfactory lighting and start! Don’t let your perfectionism stop you.
The last part is distributing this content — start with your website and social media. Post there first, as it is free and takes little time to do. Next, look for platforms – like local publications, www.quora.com, www.medium.com, attorneys directories that may need your type of content. Write short articles for those platforms and include links to your detailed posts. This enhances your website’s authority, which optimizes your page for higher Google rankings.
It’s worth sharing that while content marketing works wonders for some attorneys, it only works to a limited extent with others. For example, content marketing is a great thing to do if you are a criminal defense attorney, personal injury, or an estate attorney. It doesn’t work that well for DUI and traffic attorneys, as the need there is more immediate and people do not consume content, but rather call law offices.
The way to think of it is, the more time your prospects have to do research and the higher the stakes for them, the more you should invest in content marketing.
If you find that content marketing would work well for your lawyer’s practice, we urge you to start creating helpful, relevant content as soon as possible, because your competitors already are. Don’t forget that you should post new content continuously so that it has the effect you want, so it’s best to create a content creation plan (list of topics and schedule when you’ll produce each piece of content) and stick to it, or else hire an experienced online marketing agency for lawyers to help you.
Comrade is a Chicago-based digital marketing company specializing in website design and marketing for attorneys. Our inbound and content marketing team, for law firms, has developed a specific methodology to help your company stand out from the crowd. We can create or re-work your content to ensure it is simple (your clients do not understand your terminology), well targeted (this could only be guaranteed upon our extensive buyer persona modeling), and written to inspire further interest in your services without going directly for a sales pitch. We are also recognized as a top Illinois Web Design Agency on DesignRush. Contact us for a free consultation, and will get to customizing the best content marketing strategy for your law firm!
Natalie: So the subject that we would like to talk about today has to do with content. We know, especially in the last couple of years, everyone’s talking about content marketing, content, publishing more content, videos, content is the king. You hear it everywhere. So today we wanted to share our thoughts and ideas about, so what content marketing is and what can you do to help your digital marketing with content marketing.
Sasha: Yeah. So as you’re watching this video, you’re actually consuming a form of content right? Content can come in various forms, as long as it’s words that deliver certain meaning and that meaning has to be helpful to whoever is consuming this content, right? So us creating this video should be helpful to you, an attorney to understand how content marketing can or may not work for you because content marketing definitely does not work for every type of attorney practicing in every specialty or not specialty, practice area.
Sasha: So let me tell you who content marketing is not going to work very well for, although it works to a very limited extent. If you practice personal injury, chances are this may work to a very limited extent. If you practice criminal defense, chances are content marketing can work very, very well. If you practice estate law, chances are content marketing is going to work very, very well.
Sasha: If you do, oh let’s say DUIs and traffic, chances are content marketing is not going to work terribly well although it will work to a certain extent.
Natalie: Why not?
Sasha: Well because there’s this immediate need by it. You need someone now because you are in jail or you don’t care because you got a traffic ticket, you’re not going to read or watch videos where an attorney explains how they will get you out of this.
Sasha: However, when you think about estate right, for estate planning attorneys and those that deal with all facets of estate law, like this where people like actually do consume content because they’re looking for information for answers to their questions before they may engage with an attorney because people want to understand before they start spending money right.
Sasha: A lot of people think like can I go to like one of those online platforms and just do it myself for $30, what’s the popular one for law? I forget the name of it. There’s a big website where you can do a lot of legal documents. Legal Zoom. Legal Zoom, right? Like $30, $50, $100 whatever you know. You can do a lot of documents and some consumers may say, okay so the difference between $5000, spending with an attorney and spending $99 with Legal Zoom … I have no idea what it actually costs, like, “Why should I spend that extra $4900?” Right? So you can create content that explains the difference, right?
Sasha: So let’s talk about content marketing, what it actually is supposed to do and what it looks like. So, video is a format of content marketing. Blogging is a format of content marketing, and the goal or the goals for content marketing is number one, it attracts prospective clients. So when people use Google to search for information, they’re not ready to buy, to consume legal services, they’re just looking for information, right? So your goal is to attract. So the more and the better content that you have on your website, and other platforms pointing back to your website, the better, right?
Sasha: Google loves it when you post useful information, and usefulness of information is determined by Google when someone searches for the information. And they see 10 results in Google or 20 results in Google, right? And when they click on your link, that’s the first indicator to Google that the search query matches the listing that they see. And number two indication is when Google … When, not Google, when the user, when they look at the information they stay on that page for a considerable amount of time. And when I say a considerable amount of time, a minute or two can be considered the considerable amount of time, sometimes three minutes, sometimes four minutes, five minutes. The more dwell time … That’s what Google calls it, dwell time, they have on that page, the more relevance and authority Google gives to that page.
Sasha: So, those are very important factors, and the third very important factor is once again, how many other sources, other websites, and directors are pointing to that one page? Google loves that kind of thing, so your first and foremost objective is to attract, right? Get that attention. And as they consume it, your second foremost objective, if it is a suitable piece of content is to get them to raise their hand and say, “I am interested in whatever solution that you may be offering.” And how do you do that?
Sasha: Well, let’s say that you do practice estate law. You can write or film content, and then for more in-depth information or a checklist or some sort of other documents/tool, you can offer it as a downloadable on your website. So a person consumes the information, and you say, “By the way, when you do this, you need a checklist, and you can download it here.” And when they download it, they download it in exchange for their content information. This creates an early stage lead for you, and this time when they download it, you know that John Doe is looking for information on this subject. You can guess what it is they’re going to do next. They will most likely hire an attorney to help them address whatever issue that they’re trying to solve.
Sasha: So, by getting their contact information, you give yourself an opportunity to communicate with them again. And how do you do that? Well you set up an email sequence, and here’s how you do it, let me simplify this process for you really.
Sasha: So think about it this way: whenever you talk to a new prospective client, invariably, when you take a sample of 100 prospective clients that you talk to, invariably they ask you very similar same questions in almost every conversation. Let’s say it’s between half a dozen and a dozen questions that tend to repeat almost every single time.
Sasha: So you can create content in video format, or written format, or best, both formats, and post it in your blog, and distribute it elsewhere, and we’ll address that in another post. And for every suitable post, you can have a downloadable, right? And once they download one thing, you know that invariably, they will be asking similar or same questions as you have already answered in other posts. And what you can do is you can present them this information in a very logical sequence, where they get an email once every two, three days. And they’ll be very, very pleasantly surprised that you actually present them with useful information that they might have not thought about, or that they were going to ask, and there you are. Like a magic genie, you show up with the right content.
Sasha: At this point, you do not appear as a salesperson, but as a very, very helpful provider that can help them solve their problem. Because you continue sending them this useful information, they naturally develop a bias to working with you rather than working with their competitors. And in a nutshell, this is how content marketing works. One, you attract, two, you convert, and when I say convert, once again, you convert them in the early stage when they’re discovering information. You convert them on the website by just getting their content information. And three, you engage with them continuously, engage with them until they’re ready to talk. Until they’re ready to engage with you and say, “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Attorney, I am ready to ask a few more questions to make sure that we have a good fit so that I can hire you to do this thing for me that you do.”
Natalie: I also think we need to talk about the different stages of buyer’s journey, and where the prospective clients are, in which stage those prospective clients are so that your content can match whatever they’re looking for. So if it’s just a question, so, “How do I get my DUI ticket fixed?” for example. So, this would be one stage, versus another stage where someone has had already an accident and they’re trying to find a different kind of information.
Sasha: Okay, so this is expansive, with a subject, right? So, buyer’s journey. We all participate in it whenever we go to buy, consume something that’s not just a daily utility, this is not the grocery shopping, but this is looking for a provider, professional service provider, or buying a vehicle, or anything that’s considerable value and then there are substantial concerns when you hire or when you look at different options, right? So, buyer’s journey has three stages in it, and I’m going to go through this really quickly because this video’s really not about that, but let’s just say this very quickly.
Sasha: So there are three stages. There is awareness, consideration, and decision. In the awareness stage, we know that there is a problem. We can’t quite define the problem possibly yet, we’re not looking for a solution yet, but we know that there is a problem, right? So we’re looking for a definition to the problem, and understanding what it is that needs to be done. An example, for estate planning attorney, an aging parent, right? Who doesn’t have a will, hasn’t done any estate planning, and you know that one unfortunate day they will be gone, and then you and your siblings will need to deal with this. You understand that you need to prepare for this, but you do not know how, so there’s awareness of the problem, that it’s coming up sometime down the road.
Sasha: The next phase where from awareness, you go into consideration, you start actually researching different solutions, right? Different information to the problem. So you start looking, like, “What do I need to do in this case?” Right? And you start looking like, “Okay, so how do I create a will?” Or, “How do I do estate planning?” Or, “Will my parents’ estate be taxed?” Whatever. Right? So you’re looking for answers but you’re not ready to hire an attorney yet, right? So you’re just consuming information, just like in the examples that I used before, right? People are not ready to buy your service yet, they are simply looking for information because they’re considering different options, not different providers.
Sasha: So, and then the decision stage, they already know that they need to hire an estate attorney and now they’re going to be deciding between different providers. So, this is the stage where they will make a decision who they’re going to hire. Now, if you show up early enough in their awareness or consideration stage, you will develop, if your content is good, you will develop-
Natalie: With the right kind of content.
Sasha: … A natural … With the right kind of content, right? Which will deliver that, you need to deliver it repeatedly, it can’t be one-off content, right? If it’s one-off content, the chance of you being forgotten are astronomically high. So, you want to make sure that you deliver that content on an ongoing basis until they’re ready to make that decision until they step into the decision making phase.
Natalie: And if you came too early with your talking about how great your firm is when they’re just in the awareness stage, that’s not gonna work as well.
Sasha: Dealbreaker, yeah. This is not about pitching you, how great you are. This is not pitching your services. This is being a helpful friend, acquaintance, to the person who is looking to solve certain problems or fill certain informational gaps. You’re spot on with this, do not attempt to sell until they’re ready to talk about buying. If you do, it will be an absolute deal breaker, and your content marketing will fail, though it will not be the failure of content marketing, it will be the failure of that specific attempt to sell. So never do that.
Natalie: I think the final piece of information that we haven’t shared yet, okay, “I’m convinced I need to do content marketing, so where do I start? There are so many things I can talk about. I can have a list of those questions prepared that’s the frequently asked questions, but where do I start, and where do I distribute this content?”
Sasha: Okay. So, another great, expansive subject.
Sasha: So, how do you start? Do what we do. We don’t just preach this, we do this, right? So we actually do video production, which we turn into written content, which we distribute on our blog and social media. And then we look for platforms which would be interested in this type of content and write short articles for those platforms. And then we’ll link up from those platforms to our blog posts, so Google sees that we’re reputable because there are a lot of sources that they’re linking up to us.
Sasha: So start by getting a tripod, and a decent, like $50 lavalier mic, and plug it into your phone and make sure that lighting is decent in whatever room that you’re going to record, you don’t have crazy shadows, because a window is right here and your left side is absolutely dark, and your right side is absolutely bright, and then just start recording. Don’t worry about making this perfect. Do not let … Love this quote. Do not let perfection get in the way of publishing.
Sasha: No one’s content is perfect; you don’t need to worry about perfection. Just make it good, and the way you make it good is what you already do every day. People ask you questions, they call you, they ask you questions, or they send you emails, or they send you requests via a contact us form, and you just answer them. Give them the most useful information you can, and that will be a great start.
Sasha: Then, either after you record the video, rewrite it yourself, or hire a ghostwriter or get a marketing company that can do this for you. We do this, but we actually rewrite our video content in a blog format so it’s actually consumable, right? And then a few other tricks that you need to do with the content to make sure that it’s highly searchable, and that it’s highly ranked by Google.
Sasha: But get all of those things done, or don’t worry about it. Just hire a proficient digital marketing company that will do everything but these video recordings. And trust me, you can do these video recordings yourself all day long, it’s as easy as picking up the phone and answering questions to your prospective clients. Yeah?
Natalie: I agree, yup.
Sasha: Cool. I think that’s a wrap, thanks for watching.
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