When Walter has a legal problem, his first reaction will be to turn to the internet. At this point he is not looking for a lawyer, he is just looking for information. He might ask, “What is personal injury?” or “What is a power of attorney?” Providing content that answers his questions helps you connect with him early in his search. To be sure that you are on target with your content marketing you need a publishing strategy.
A well-developed law firm publishing strategy improves the firm’s profile and supports business development. The reason to publish great content is to increase business, so make sure your publishing strategy fits and furthers your business strategy.
A Publishing Strategy Includes
Your Market. Your first consideration should be your market. If you are a solo practitioner, you may have only one type of client. Larger firms, however, could have several practice areas with specific client types you want to reach. Try to be as specific as possible when describing a prospective client. For example, if your personal injury cases are limited to motorcycle accidents, you would have to write solely for those readers.
Your Content. Consider the needs of your proposed reader and plan content accordingly. Content can include frequently asked questions, case summaries, discussion of current legal events, how-to guides, or legal business updates.
Your Format. There many ways to publish content online. You can write a blog, a feature article, a newsletter, or an e-book. Other formats include videos and podcasts. Each has its benefits. The format you use depends on your reader and your skill at communicating.
Your Schedule. As was said in Of Mice and Men, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” This is especially true of writing marketing content. To stay on track, set a schedule, put the dates in your calendar, and when the time comes, sit and stare at a blank screen until the words emerge. Keeping a regular publishing schedule is the best way to retain readers and be recognized by search engines.
Your Budget. Your budget will include two types of expenses. First, money spent to hire a staff person or freelance content creator. Second, for the lawyers responsible for producing content, non-billable time in their personal development plans.
Your Team. Someone in the firm must be in charge of the publishing strategy. For large firms, that person is usually the marketing director, but in smaller firms, it would usually be a lawyer or staff member.
Finally, how do you know if the plan is bringing in more business? Try to set goals that are measureable, such as a percentage of new work from existing clients, the number of new clients, or more speaking requests for a particular practice group.
After years practicing law, Roberta Gubbins served as editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides writing services to lawyers ghostwriting content for websites, blogs, and articles. She is editor of The Mentor, the SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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