Effective content marketing is rarely accidental, and it's not usually a matter of “eureka” moments. What makes good internet marketing today is having a good sense of your audience, a knowledge of targeting, and ideas on how to make content that resonates with the people you want to reach. In this guide, we'll explore seven different ways that you can make effective content marketing to reach new clients or referral sources. Keep in mind that the ideas that worked even a few years ago may not work today. The standards for effective content marketing change all the time, and being successful in 2013 depends on creating a good strategy now.
#1: Be A Great Storyteller
Any attorney who has ever gone to trial knows how important it is to be able to tell a good story. Storytelling is in some ways at the heart of the legal profession, but you wouldn't know that from looking at most law firm websites. Many of these websites don't have effective content marketing. Instead of telling a story, they focus on irrelevant details, marketing jargon, and legal terms that their clients may not even fully understand the meaning of.
A great law firm website with effective content marketing will have a clear focus. There's no need to use formal language in front of potential clients—try to keep a conversational but professional tone at all times. Explain any legal terms or concepts in language a regular person in your target audience is likely to be able to understand, because potential clients are likely to hit the “back” button if they see that an attorney is using too many terms they can't understand. Narrative and storytelling make the most compelling and effective content marketing, so you should use it throughout your site, including in attorney biographies and press releases.
#2: Understand Who Your Audience Is
Too many law firms waste a great deal of their marketing budget by making too broad an appeal. In today's market, it's much better to be the market leader in a relatively narrow niche than to be mediocre at a wide variety of practice areas. Depending on what kinds of cases your firm specializes in, you may have different types of clients.
Understanding who your audience is and what they're looking for when they start to look for an attorney is critical. If your website can help people to address common concerns or questions, you'll have effective content marketing that works to convert potential clients.
#3: Be Creative When Choosing Media
Many attorneys are hesitant to change up how they spend their marketing budget, and may think that effective content marketing still looks about like it did a few years ago. Those attorneys are getting left behind as the web changes, and you don't want to get left behind with them. Be willing to be flexible about where you put your effective content marketing.
For example, one place that many people don't think about for content marketing is the app store for Android or iOS devices. If you make an app or advertise your law firm in apps that you believe might be relevant for clients like yours, you'll be doing something most of your competitors don't—something increasingly difficult to do in the very connected social web world.
#4: Share Your Content Widely
Speaking of the social web, it's no longer enough just to create effective content marketing. To really make sure that it has the maximum effect possible, you need to make sure other people can see it, too. Sharing your content on a wide variety of social media platforms makes it much more likely that something you create will become a local or even global sensation.
However, just because you should link to your effective content marketing from several sources doesn't mean you should always use the same description. Facebook allows for a bit more description than Twitter, and LinkedIn has a more professional audience than either. Use your discretion when deciding how to describe your marketing content on each site, but don't make it the same.
#5: Make Your Video Content Viral-Ready
There's no specific formula for video content that goes viral, and it can sometimes be difficult to predict what the web will latch onto as the next major sensation. However, you can help to ensure that your content is viral-ready by making sure that there are no sound or video problems and that your video content is professionally produced.
Attorneys aren't likely to create the next “Gangnam Style,” but that doesn't mean that virality is a lost cause. Sometimes, effective content marketing can be viral in a relatively small group—for instance, other attorneys in your region—and may never really expand beyond that group. However, if you can make something that will be shared among a group of people that you really want to talk to, viral video's a great way to try.
#6: Keep Creating New Content
Some attorneys think that they can simply create an internet marketing blitz, and that their effective content marketing is essentially a one time only purchase. However, effective content marketing depends largely on continuing to have fresh content posted. Google tends to rank websites lower that aren't updated with some frequency.
Some lawyers stop producing as much effective content marketing when they're busy, because they're so focused on helping clients. However, you need to keep in mind that marketing is one of the most important responsibilities you have—without marketing, the boom times won't last forever and you may not have the momentum to carry you through more difficult times.
#7: Analyze Which Content Works Best
Not all content marketing will actually work for your website. That's fine—but you need to know when you've made a mistake so that you can correct it before any more money or time is wasted. This is why it's important to have an analytics tool to help you understand where your web traffic is coming from and whether you're actually getting a return on investment from your content marketing strategies.