Content Strategy for Law Firms
If you want to drive consistent, high-quality organic traffic to your law firm’s website, you will have to invest in content. Not re-publishing news stories, not sharing press releases about the firm and not 300-word opinion pieces that you wrote in an hour or less. You need deep, well-written legal content that answers the high-volume questions of your potential clients.
Why You Need to Start a Content Strategy Yesterday
Generally, we think it is cheesy to include third-party stats, but these next two are good. According to a 2017 Time Magazine survey of 17,000 individuals across three demographics, 90% of respondents said they trust content from brands more than traditional advertisements. When you mix in the fact that as of 2018, over 30% of internet users use ad blockers in some capacity, content marketing isn’t just a good idea — it’s a necessity. The related strategy here is that a well-oiled content strategy gets your website in front of an audience that is warmer than traditional or digital ads. Why is that? The answer is intent. A content strategy that is designed to specifically answer specific questions that potential clients are searching for attracts visitors that are in what we call the “research phase”. It is during this phase that potential clients and whittling down their short list of law firms to get in contact with. If you make that short list by providing content specific to their issue, you are much more likely to be near the top of that short list rather than a firm that had a more generalized piece of content show up. Couple that visit with the urgency that exists with finding legal representation for most matters, and you have yourself a lead.
It’s simple – law firms that fail to produce original, high-quality resources, guides and blog posts are leaving huge amounts of revenue and leads on the table.
How Do You know what Your Potential Clients are Searching for?
We use our status as a Google Partner and access to raw data in order to find the questions and phrases that people are asking in volume specific to your geography and practice area. This allows use to put together a prioritized and comprehensive list of topics that your potential clients are asking. We can also consult on the individualized mix of content-type and volume so that you can catch up or stay ahead of your competition as quickly as possible. If you would like our skilled team of attorney/writers to assist in the creation of this content, we can also assist in the creation of some volume of content.
How Often Should Your Law Firm be Publishing Content?
This topic deserves its own coverage and it is something that we have addressed several times on our blog. The short answer is that the correct answer is based on an individualized mix of competitive landscape, how far behind you are, budget and practice area. We cannot tell you how many clients start with us that are blogging 3x a week (usually because they attended a seminar or luncheon) only to learn that almost all of their blogging effort has been for naught. That is because no one told them how to select the topics that they are blogging about.
What Kinds of Content Should Law Firms be Publishing?
We mentioned above the need to write content that directly answers users’ questions, but it doesn’t stop there. We also like to create unique content around each of a law firm’s practice areas and sub-issues. Ideally, you eventually will have in-depth coverage of every type of relative issue a potential client could be facing. In short, in order to rank for a term, phrase or question, you need to have a piece of content to rank for it. That piece of content has to be on-topic, original, thorough and well SEO-optimized.
There is a secondary consideration when it comes to topic selection as well. You’ve probably heard it referenced as “authority-building” or a similar term. This can be a great PR and backlinking strategy. We also like to take current events into consideration. Laws or court cases will sometimes become newsworthy, and residents in a particular state or region will start wondering how it will impact them. By creating content surrounding a current issue, you can attract lots of interested potential clients as well as media recognition — if you write a good enough article about a current issue, journalists may reference it in their articles and get in touch.
Do This by Answering the Questions People are Asking
What if you knew the exact legal questions people in your geographic location were asking? What if you had content on your site built to satisfy those questions? We use software and data from Google to see what people are searching for in volume and we can create in-depth, search engine optimized content that will attract potential clients. Better yet, a lead that finds you through helpful content is much more likely to pick up the phone and call — after all, you’re local and have demonstrated knowledge and experience for the specific topic they are researching.
Your Existing Content Also Matters
Remember that short, 150-word blog post from 2008 in which you paraphrased a news article from somewhere else? In the time that’s passed since you (or an intern) wrote that blog, Google’s algorithm has updated several times. If you have any number of duplicative, low word-count, or relatively low-quality pages, your site won’t compete with better websites in your niche. We can quickly crawl your website and check for low-quality pages; the gains our clients have seen from simply adding 500 words or updated facts on key pages are incredible, and we’d love to do the same for you.
Keep Your Content Up-to-Date
Some of the most effective resources you can have on your website are date-specific, such as an article entitled “2019 Guide to Joint Custody in Michigan,” for instance. These types of articles require annual maintenance, though, and if you don’t update your content, you will lose both traffic and credibility. From the traffic perspective, web users will no longer be searching for “2019” terms in a year or two. Secondly, laws and issues change, and if you don’t maintain your resources, you could be providing inaccurate information to your readers.
The Anatomy of Google-Friendly Content for Law Firms
While the most important step is creating an editorial calendar based on intensive user and keyword research, the next step is creating the pages in an SEO-friendly manner. Firstly, the “title” of a page communicates the page’s meaning to Google’s algorithm, and it’s also visible to web users as they scroll through the search engine results pages (SERPs). It needs to contain the right mix of keywords for Google and the right content for your audience. Next, the meta description” tells potential readers more about your page — a well-written meta description will increase click-through rate (CTR), ultimately giving your SEO a boost.
Thirdly, you’ll need to organize your page content with proper subheadings. The most important of these is the H1, which should contain your target keywords as well. Secondary headings, or H2s, help your audience keep the information organized as they read. Lastly, you’ll want relevant images optimized with alt text (used by Google to communicate the image’s meaning to visually impaired readers) present on your page — images can show as a thumbnail in Google’s results pages, and don’t overlook the importance of showing up in an organic image search on Google.
Turning Visitors in Leads – How to Capitalize on Your New Traffic
The third major consideration is what visitors do once they get to your site – in short, how they interact with your content. Attracting website visitors is great, but how do we turn those visitors into paying clients? First of all, we include strategic calls to action (CTAs) in each blog post we write. For instance, if a reader reaches the end of a blog about DUI sentencing guidelines, he or she should see a button that says something along the lines of “Speak to one of our attorneys for free.”
We also have years of experience in the A/B testing of different formats of a page — it’s incredible to see how one button’s copy may perform better than another, or how simply adding a “text now” button might improve your mobile conversion 5x.
Getting a lot of warm visitors to your site is great in another sense as well – it allows you to create a highly-targeted audience to retarget with display ads. Layer on top of this that Google has largely blocked traditional display networks in the legal niche for privacy reasons and the ability to send advertisements directly to individuals who have already interacted with your site’s content is big.
Here’s Why You Need an Attorney Writing Your Content
If readers find your content incorrect, unhelpful, or embarrassingly shallow, you don’t have much hope in retaining them as clients. The whole purpose of writing content is to attract customers by providing them value. Google has also become very good at both promoting comprehensive content and detecting and demoting the visibility of content that it deems ‘fluffy’ or not in-depth. All of our content written for legal clients is created by our full-time writers who are also admitted attorneys and JDs. This is one of the cornerstones of why our clients do so well.
Ready to Get Started?
Advance your content strategy by getting in touch with our content-strategy team today. Content strategy and creation packages require no long-term committment and can be turned on and off at any time.