Content marketing is a big topic of conversation in legal marketing these days. But the execution of effective content marketing is still elusive to attorneys and firms. When I am working with attorneys, I remind them that attorneys have been “content marketing” even before it was the “in” thing to do. The problem is, attorneys have been developing content to help other attorneys, and most likely attorneys who are practicing in the same area of law who will never give them business.
Not to worry, getting started is easier than you think. A little planning can save lots of time. Here’s a few tips to get started.
Identify Your Target Audience (Who You Like Working with Most)
The first step to content marketing is identifying your target audience. Who is your ideal client and what problems do they face? How does your practice provide solutions to those problems?
These questions can prove to be problematic for attorneys who are spreading themselves across several practice areas. Practicing in 5 different areas (for example, estate planning, family law, personal injury, bankruptcy, and criminal defense) means 5 different potential clients, with 5 completely different sets of problems, that you have to reach with your marketing efforts. (No wonder you don’t have time to market!)
My advice if you fall into this category? Focus on the one type of case or client that, if they could work on that type of file all day, everyday, they would be happy and financially successful (whatever that means for you.) Write for that client. The goals is to build up that area of your work so you can one day drop some of those other areas. But, yes, for now you can still leave them all on your website and bio. If you must.
Conduct a Content Audit (Find Your Old PowerPoint Presentations)
Many of the attorneys I work with have a lot of content already available. Remember that PowerPoint you put together last year for your presentation at the CLE? Chances are you can convert that into 4 or 5 blog posts. Collect all the PowerPoints, articles, presentation notes you have put together in the past few years. What can be repurposed?
Still looking for ideas? Write down the 5-10 questions you answer for clients or potential clients all day long. Better yet, ask your paralegal, legal assistant, or receptionist – whoever in your office is the initial point of contact for potential clients.
One of my clients recently posed this question to her legal assistant and paralegal and they came up with an incredible list. Once you have these questions answered on your website in the form of blog posts (or short videos if you are feeling ambitious), you can easily direct potential clients to that page and save you and your staff time.
Plan 3 Months Worth of Posts
I am all for realistic goals. If realistic for you means one post a month, then plan out what those 3 posts are going to be. One post a week sounds like a nice, easy schedule to get started, but one post every other week is a little more palatable for most attorneys. Whatever your magic number, put it on your calendar and develop a system that works for you. And remember, quality content is much more important than quantity.
My writing is the most consistent when I block one hour on my calendar to write first thing in the morning, one or two times a week. It may work best for you to schedule a block of 3-4 hours to write a few posts at once. Better yet, you can dictate your SFDs while in the car and then plan time to go back and edit.
You may even want to put together an editorial calendar. There are lots of template editorial calendars out there, and many come in the form of spreadsheets. As a “visual person/thinker/learner,” spreadsheets are not my planning tool of choice. If you are in the same boat, consider using a mind mapping tool (like MindMeister) or a project management tool like Trello to track all your ideas for posts.
I recently discovered this article that does a great job of laying out a simple planning process for your content marketing using Trello. The article also provides a template outline for blog posts.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve found to getting started with content marketing? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.