Online marketing has increased the competitive pressure on law firms over the past two decades.
Prospective clients now have access to more legal information than ever before, and your competitors are working harder than ever to make sure they attain more visibility than you do.
Which strategies are worth pursuing?
Which ones are trends?
How should we allocate a limited budget?
Will any of these techniques actually move the needle and generate leads?
If you can only focus on one component of digital marketing, it should be content.
More specifically, you should zero in on blog & content writing.
Content marketing with a quality writing service is one of the most reliable marketing strategies for lawyers because it comes with a number of benefits: a strong opportunity to win conversions, a platform to demonstrate thought leadership, and higher rankings in search engines (assuming you’re following other digital marketing strategies for lawyers).
And we’re going to walk you through exactly how you can generate tangible, long-lasting results that propel your lawyer SEO for years to come.
That said, your success in content marketing depends on your ability to write compelling blog posts.
Blogging isn’t something you do to fill your time and hear yourself talk. It’s an important element of modern digital marketing and something that every law firm should be emphasizing in 2019 and beyond. A blog is important for the following reasons:
A blog isn’t the end-all-be-all of digital marketing, but it’s one of the foundational building blocks that your law firm can’t afford to live without.
A meager investment will yield steady returns.
It’s not enough to fill a blog with empty content.
You’ll need to be clever to get a competitive advantage, and make sure you produce quality content throughout the duration of your campaign.
It’s tempting to write interesting legal content as generally focused as possible; the bigger your target audience is, the more people you could potentially reach. However, it’s almost always better for lawyers to write to a specific audience—one focused niche of potential clients.
Niche targeting helps you in a few ways. Most importantly, it helps you avoid competition; there are thousands of lawyers writing about generic topics, and if you try to compete with them, you’ll end up wasting your time. If you’re writing content for one specific group of people, you’ll have fewer competitors to worry about, and more ranking opportunities. It also gives you a chance to optimize for long-tail keywords that often get overlooked.
If your law firm specializes in multiple areas, you can split your blog into multiple sections, or write for multiple specific demographics. As long as you’re providing detailed information for specific people with specific needs, you’ll have an advantage.
As you’re undoubtedly aware, it’s unethical to provide formal legal advice to someone outside the proper setting. According to the American Bar Association’s Formal Opinion 10-457, “To avoid misunderstanding, our previous opinions have recommended that lawyers who provide general legal information include statements that characterize the information as general in nature and caution that it should not be understood as a substitute for personal legal advice.” In other words, if you’re going to be writing blog posts, you should avoid leaving people with the impression that what you’ve written constitutes legal advice.
At the same time, you need to provide accurate legal details and legitimate recommendations in your posts. To reconcile this contradiction, you can include more phrases throughout your work that imply the nature of your recommendations. For example, stating, “for many clients, the best course of action is…” is more appropriate than saying, “we always advise our clients to…” Adding a disclaimer to your blog can also clarify your intentions, and encourage people to contact you directly for concrete advice.
Active blogs typically outperform rarely updated ones, for several reasons. Search engines tend to favor blogs and publishers who write material frequently, so you’ll see higher rankings. You’ll produce more onsite content, which can give you more pages to rank and more keyword-based territory to dominate. And on top of that, you’ll show your audience how dedicated you are to providing the latest information.
This is also advisable because it allows you to take advantage of topical subjects—i.e., news stories related to your practice in some way. For example, if you’re a divorce attorney and a new law is passed that changes how divorces are treated in your state, you’ll have the chance to write a blog about it. Capitalizing on popular news items should increase your relevance and visibility in search engines, while simultaneously giving you access to a steady stream of new content ideas. And when you write topically, do not forget to acquire both internal and external links to your best content.
Lawyer link building is critical for SEO.
Blogging shouldn’t be treated as an independent strategy. It’s an extremely helpful strategy, and can serve as the foundation of your overall online marketing campaign, but it needs support if it’s going to succeed.
For example, you can write the best blog posts in your legal niche—but it won’t matter if nobody is able to discover them. Very few online blogs become popular without some level of support. Depending on your competitors, your niche, and your goals, you may kickstart the popularity of your blog by distributing it on social media (and building a loyal following), engaging with other professionals and prospective clients on forums and in online groups, or publishing offsite articles on authoritative publishers in your industry, so you can get more brand recognition and referral traffic.
It’s also important to pay attention to what others are doing around you. Follow some of your competitors’ blogs and read their latest posts to get a feel for what they’re writing about (and how their audience is reacting). You may be able to capitalize on opportunities they’ve neglected, or add insights of your own to the conversation.
No lawyer’s blog is perfect in its first iteration. The only way to improve it, and inch closer to perfection, is to closely analyze the data you gather on your blog—and act on the insights you derive from them.
For example, you may find that some of your content topics are vastly outperforming the others; they tend to get more shares, more views, and have more time spent on page. In the future, it would be advisable to publish more content in line with these successful topics, and prune away the topics that are underperforming.
You can also use data to calculate your bottom-line return on investment, or ROI. By calculating how many new visitors you’re getting, your onsite conversion rates, and your increase in brand recognition, you can estimate how much value your blog is bringing you, then compare that to what you’re spending on the strategy. If you’re seeing a positive ROI, it may be a clear sign to step up your spending so you can make even more money from it. If you’re seeing a negative ROI, it’s a sign that something needs to change, such as the frequency, topics, or distribution strategy for your posts.
Okay, you get the picture – blogging is important – but how do you find success? Here are five tips:
Your blog is your brand’s voice. Therefore, you can’t afford for there to be any inconsistencies. The best way to ensure your blog matches up with your law firm’s larger goals is to develop a set of editorial guidelines.
Your editorial guidelines will address things like blog and content objectives, approved topics, brand voice, rules regarding headlines, voice, and tone, formatting, keywords, image guidelines, sourcing/hyperlink requirements, and anything else that you deem important.
You won’t generate positive results by publishing a blog post here and there. Law firm blogging is a long-term commitment that requires consistency and regularity. You can keep your efforts on track by establishing a content calendar.
A content calendar is exactly what it sounds like – a documented calendar that keeps you organized by outlining what you’ll write, when you’ll write it, when you’ll publish, where you’ll share, etc.
There are a lot of fancy tools for developing content calendars, but a classic spreadsheet may be the easiest option. Create columns for writing deadlines, topic ideas, categories, headlines, keywords, calls-to-action, publishing dates, and any other pertinent information that helps streamline your blogging process.
The biggest misnomer about law firm blogging is that you should be writing highly technical topics about new legal precedents or awards that your law firm has earned. But the truth is that your readers don’t care about these things. They want actionable content that helps them in their areas of need.
Your blog will be far more effective if you write on client-centric topics. Start with how-to articles that dig into specific elements of each practice area your firm focuses on. There are hundreds of potential topics just waiting to be covered.
Long-form content is most effective in today’s marketplace. In fact, serpIQ did a study of the average length of content in Google’s top 10 search results and found that the top-rated posts were, on average, more than 2,000 words in length.
The problem is that it’s easy to lose your audience in a 2,000-word blog post. In order to maximize the value of lengthy blog posts, make sure your content is easy for readers to consume. You can make your content more digestible by:
Attention spans are short and people will click away from a blog post if it doesn’t capture their imagination. Keep things simple and straight to the point and you’ll generate better results.
Most law firms don’t have enough website traffic to generate massive results from a blog without some sort of complementary strategy. In order to get more out of your blog, implement a link building strategy that uses your blog posts as linkable assets to enhance visibility and generate leads.
If you’re unfamiliar with link building, it’s merely the process of acquiring backlinks from other authoritative websites and blogs. When you have a wealth of valuable content on your law firm website, journalists and bloggers are far more likely to mention your firm, use a quote, or reference one of your resources.
As your blogging strategy matures, you’ll start to see the value in link building and begin running your content ideas through the filter of what makes your content appealing to other bloggers. You’ll find that data-rich posts with tangible information are more effective than generic content that can be found on any law firm website.
Here’s the thing: Your law firm needs to consistently publish high-quality content in order to generate positive results on the digital marketing front. However, you’re in the business of being a lawyer – not writing marketing content. It doesn’t make sense for you to spend hours of your week writing blog posts when you could be billing clients. That’s where we come into play.
At SEO.co, content is our core business. We regularly work with law firms to help them develop content, build out links, generate brand awareness, and drive leads. Through content writing, link building services, and paid marketing management, we have the knowledge to ensure your blog generates results for your law firm. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you!
If your law firm is interested in learning more about how to perfect your blogging strategy, or if you’re looking to outsource your onsite blogging work, contact SEO.co today. We’ve helped dozens of lawyers polish and popularize their blogs in the past, and we can help you reach new audiences by revitalizing your content strategy as well.
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