Okay, let's face it: attorneys don't learn anything about creating or maintaining a website when they go to law school. Many lawyers don't realize until they have their own firm how critical marketing is to law firm success, and lawyers in surveys list marketing as among their least favorite responsibilities. The days when attorneys could make their website #1 in Google searches just by using a lot of keywords is at an end, so you need to learn how to market your content so searchers can find it. Here are seven different types of creative website content that you can use when re-designing your website to take advantage of cutting edge marketing strategies.
#1: Social Media Status Updates
Social media is a place where many attorneys are doing something, but not really enough to be worth bothering with. If your idea of website content on Facebook and Twitter is putting up an occasional status update and re-posting it to every social network you're part of, you're not really doing social media—you're just going through the motions.
Each of these websites is a community. And like any communities, each has its own set of rules, both written and unwritten. By re-posting content from one social media site to another too much, you're showing an unwillingness to really engage with the community. Try making different posts for each different network you're part of—someone on LinkedIn will likely be interested in a very different aspect of your practice than consumers looking at your firm on Facebook.
#2: Attorney Biography Pages
Research shows that 85 percent of legal clients say that they call a law firm after reading its attorney biography pages—more than any other section on attorney websites. This means that your website content for attorney biography pages needs to be terrific. This isn't a place to skimp or to be generic. Being yourself on your attorney biography page is the right idea: clients tended to respond most to website content that reflected individuality.
Try making your attorney biographies less a rehash of your curriculum vitae and more of a story of who you are and why you practice. This kind of attorney biography is less likely to intimidate and more likely to captivate your audience. You can and should still include relevant details from your educational and work experience, but make it part of a narrative that people reading your website can actually feel involved in.
#3: Online Directory Listings
Many people who are looking for attorneys online don't really know exactly what they're looking for. That's why they turn to website content like online directory listings. Some of these directories may be location based, like Google Places. Others may be more specialized, and may be just for attorneys. Making sure that your online profiles are complete is great, but you should also be prepared to spend some time on your web content on these pages.
Get nice photos of your offices, create good copy for the description of your firm and its attorneys, and try to be as helpful as possible about providing hours and contact information. These online directories are also often used by people looking to validate attorneys who have been recommended by friends or family, which means that the web content you have on these directories can be critical to getting referral traffic in 2013.
#4: Legal FAQs
One area of website content that every attorney should have is a FAQ. No matter what your legal specialty, there are some questions that you undoubtedly hear very often. You can probably also think of a few misconceptions that most people have when they walk into your office for the first time. Using your website content to help answer some of those questions can ensure that your initial visits with clients go more smoothly and people are more likely to call your office to schedule an appointment.
Make sure that you're writing your FAQ for your intended clients, not other attorneys. Other lawyers know the law—clients, on the other hand, need it explained with a minimum of jargon and a maximum of clarity. Try to make sure that you run your copy by someone who isn't a legal professional to make sure that it all makes sense.
#5: Splash Pages
Too many attorneys greet people with too much splash and not enough substance. Today, great website content is the way to get clients to pay attention. You should make sure that even the first page that people see is tailored to their needs. Consider having different website content for the initial page visited by people depending on how they got to your website. For example, if someone comes to your site from an advertisement about no-fault divorce, they can go straight to some basic information about no-fault divorce statutes in your state.
#6: Videos and Audio
Not all of your website content should be text. Consider adding multimedia content to make your efforts at online marketing even more successful. Sites that contain video website content have conversion rates that are up to 50 percent higher than those that don't, according to surveys.
Audio can also be useful. Consider creating a mini audiobook that can help people understand the basics of what your practice is and how you go about solving a client's legal problem. Make this audio available for either download or streaming for maximum effect.
#7: Press Releases
Every time you create a press release and put it on press release websites, you may be missing out on an opportunity to get this type of website content placed elsewhere. Reputation of the websites where your press release is sent matters. Instead of using press releases just for inbound linking, try using them to really get publicity.
One of the best ways to do this is to build in story hooks to your press release. By giving some narrative structure to what you write, you'll be giving other people something to sink their teeth into and write blog posts or other website content about. This is a fantastic way to get links that will really improve your reputation and your search rankings.