Content Marketing for Law Firms UK – The Complete Guide
The Ultimate Guide to Content Strategy for Law Firms
Content has never been more important for law firms marketing themselves online (which, of course, all firms should be!). At the heart of any marketing plan should be the creation and dissemination of focused, in-depth, authoritative, valuable content. Such content attracts business by demonstrating knowledge, expertise and thought leadership in your particular practice. Not only that, but there are a number of benefits with respect to search engine optimisation and your social media marketing.
Good quality content, aimed at your target market, attracts profitable, desirable business and provides cross-selling opportunities to encourage existing clients to spend more money on more services with you.
If you require advice as to whether your current law firm’s website’s content is performing for the purpose of generating new leads or if it’s aligned with your brand, or even if it’s legally accurate, give us a call and we’ll arrange a free initial consultation with our legal marketing experts – 01923 750353 or fill out our online enquiry form here.
How to create a content strategy for a law firms, sole practitioners, solicitors, Barristers and Advocates
Our guide covers:
- Creating a Content Strategy for Law Firms
- Resourcing your content
- What type of content should lawyers write? The four Rs of content marketing
- How to perform a law firm website content audit
- Why content is so important
Creating a Content Strategy for Law Firms
First of all, your content strategy must align with your overall business goals. You should decide what type of business it is you want to attract. Are you trying to consolidate the conveyancing side of your business, move into immigration law or specialise in family law? Your content strategy should align as closely as possible with your quarterly, six-monthly and annual business goals. Taking these as a starting point and working backwards will allow you to create an editorial calendar, draw up a schedule, implement deadlines and begin to plan and resource the writing of your content.
Next, you should look at your desired client type. It’s understandable in today’s market to cast the net wide to attract as many potential clients as possible. However, it’s best to write with your target audience in mind. If you are aiming for young professionals, write for them – address their concerns, speak their language and write about the things they ask about. First time home buyers have a different set of needs to those who require a divorce. Equally, London-based law firms specializing in white collar crime plainly have a different audience to Immigration Solicitors in Manchester. Content which is tailored to your client’s needs and expectations is much more likely to lead to conversions.
Finally, your content strategy should be informed by your expertise and experience. Too many law firms write about what the law is rather than what they have done. If you have a wealth of reported cases, published articles, industry accreditation or other accomplishments in a particular field then get them up on your site! These act as indicators of trust and help you stand out from your peers.
At ZLT, we use ‘Buyer Persona’ and ‘Expertise & Experience’ questionnaires to tease out the key elements described above. The buyer persona questionnaire, as the name suggests, attempts to categorise the target audience for content to allow their needs to be met. The expertise questionnaire, on the other hand, aims to surmount most lawyers’ inherent modesty and draw out their achievements in their field. In most cases, thinking about content in this way is a valuable exercise for the firm as a whole. It forces a law firm to think about their target market and to think about where their strengths lie.
Lawyers can write. There’s no doubt about that. A facility with written language is the sine qua non of a profession where you can be paid by the word or page. However, there’s a difference between good quality legal writing and great web copy. As Lawyers, we tend to write methodically, write in the passive voice and use technical terms for clarity. However, good web copy needs to be readable and to drive your clients to action. A treatise on the finer points of the law relating to inchoate offences is unlikely to retain the interest of someone charged with attempted robbery, for instance. Your content needs to be punchy, to the point and, most importantly, readable for the layperson. Not only that, but Google seems to find Scots law impenetrable, so use layman’s terms where possible!
At the heart of your content strategy should be analysis – there’s no point generating tens of thousands of words of content if you don’t track its impact. Read our guide to web analytics for law firms for more.
Resourcing your content
In a profession which charges by the hour, it isn’t always easy to find time to write web content. Confronted with the choice of writing 2000 words on divorce or tackling a particularly tricky conveyancing file, most lawyers choose the latter. As suc
h, it can pay to outsource the creation of your content. If you would like to discuss creating a bespoke content strategy, please contact Dave. Our team comprises law graduates, LLM students, Diploma in Legal Practice Graduates and former and current solicitors.
What type of content should lawyers write? The four Rs of content marketing
Web content falls into four main categories. Rather than reflecting what the content is, they reflect what the content is intended to do. By that, we mean the content’s purpose – is it intended to inform existing clients, attract new ones, provide a detailed guide or portray your expertise?
Reach content is intended, as the name suggests, to ‘reach’ out to a new audience. This type of content is unique, keyword rich, search-engine-optimised content which describes the law and promotes your services. This is the ‘traditional’ form of content found on most legal websites. It’s important to make sure that it’s more than a bullet-point list which lays out your areas of practice. Google rewards in-depth, authoritative content and, in our experience, pages which are list or bullet heavy are not given the same weight as prose. This content is low-risk, easy to produce and should be added as permanent landing pages to the site as opposed to blogs or other transient media.
This is content which addresses a particular issue or event which is relevant to your business. This type of content can be harder to plan because, as the name suggests, you are ‘reacting’ to external events. Not only that, you are trying to provoke a reaction in your potential client base. For instance, someone looking to instruct you in a conveyancing transaction has planned ahead and knows that the transaction is happening and that they will need a solicitor.
However, with ‘react’ content you are trying to reach clients who may not otherwise have thought of instructing you. Most commonly, ‘react’ content deals with things which are relevant to your business like a celebrity in court/getting divorced, a judgment being delivered, legislation being passed and so on. This is more typical ‘blog’ type content in that its value is limited over time. This type of content doesn’t stay fresh for long so it’s best posted to blogs or social media channels.
Key to this type of content is offering some kind of new perspective or insight into the issue at hand. Ensure that you aren’t regurgitating tabloid headlines but are offering a unique legal perspective on events. There will almost certainly be an increased volume of search traffic relating to the event whether it’s a new Act or a celebrity divorce. What you want to do is to contribute to the debate around the matter and engage your existing and potential client base. This type of content increases your visibility online and demonstrates your practical expertise.
This type of content comprises focused, in-depth legal guides. These go into detail on the law, use technical terminology and lay out the process step-by-step. While some lawyers are understandably reluctant to lift the veil on their practice, this type of content is extremely valuable in search. By including technical terminology (such as sections of Acts, Latin and other niche terms) you will attract a much greater volume of ‘long tail’ searches. These are searches for longer queries or which use niche terms. Obviously there will be fewer searches for, say, the section of an act but there will be a great many for different terms. Capturing these searches is the key to succeeding online.
This is old content which is given a new lease of life. This includes older landing pages, externally-posted (or published) items such as journal articles. It also includes non-searchable items like PDFs, ebooks, whitepapers and so on.
This can be a valuable way of quickly generating content at the outset of a content strategy. Providing the law is still current, this type of content can be reworked quickly and easily to provide a solid base from which to start your content marketing campaign.
Auditing – how to perform a law firm website content audit
Before embarking on writing campaign, it’s important to identify what you actually need. A content audit helps you identify duplicated content, gaps in your content and identify similar content to be consolidated.
If done properly, you can also work out how much content you need in terms of words. As stated above, Google accords weight to content around 1000 words in length. Pages which are considerably shorter will have a harder time ranking in search.
At ZLT, we use a number of tools including Screaming Frog and URL profiler to compile this data. While doing it manually can be time consuming, it’s a worthwhile exercise. You can begin to plan to fill gaps, to dispose of outdated content, to rework or repurpose older content and to see where the depth of content falls short.
The best starting point is your site’s sitemap. This (should) display all of your site’s content in a logical structure. Then, it’s a matter of visiting each page and noting down the wordcount, comparing the URL to others to see if any content overlaps then assessing the whole portfolio for gaps.
If you’d like this done professionally, we provide a free content audit for law firms. Contact Dave for more.
To succeed online you require a big digital footprint. Think Yeti.
You may have to read this twice: we’ll draft your content for you.
We want you to spend your time doing what you are good at and unless you specialize in writing content for online marketing purposes, like we do, then we wouldn’t suggest doing it. Let us help you.
Content marketing for law firms – Write, Optimise, Distribute
If your law firm wants to generate business online you need to write (and keep on writing) as much content as possible and ensure that it is properly presented to the search engines with a strong distribution strategy around it. This content should be strategised, structured and based on what people look for, not what you think they might look for – a common mistake.
Think of each piece of content as being like an open door via which a potential customer can walk through. If this content is wrapped within a conversion focused website then you are beginning to get there.
It may be that you have no content, some content, or a lot of content which isn’t working for you. In each case we can help. Contact us on 01923 750353and we can have a chat around your requirements.
Why content is king for law firms and lawyers
We can design and implement a clear and concise content strategy, schedule and measurement framework designed to maximise the business generation potential of your content. We have provided further thoughts below on just how essential effective content marketing is for law firms, lawyers and businesses in today’s online marketing landscape.
For law firms seeking to generate business on the internet, content is king! Once your site is designed, optimised and implemented, the only thing that is going to drive additional traffic is content. If you’ve got it right and you’re generating business online then the more content you add, the better your site will do.
Many firms underestimate the need to keep their website up to date with fresh, relevant and interesting content. We can help.
Each member of our content drafting team is legally educated up to Diploma in Legal Practice level and several have been published in leading academic law journals. And led by published legal authors and former solicitors, our legal content is drafted to an exceptionally high standard.
Our content provision service for solicitors’ websites is designed to ensure that your website, bulletins and newsletter stand out from the rest. Our content is bespoke, optimised for search engine traffic following extensive keyword research and given our teams expertise, guaranteed to be legally accurate and up to the minute.
The written copy on your site is your chance to engage your clients, persuade them of your expertise and convey your ‘brand image’. It is your chance to entice a customer into engaging with your firm and making a call or inquiry. It is an essential part of a modern law firm’s marketing efforts. It’s your chance to get your message across to your customers and to display your expertise.
We also understand that there is a balance between optimised content and content that is useful and informative. Over-optimised, keyword heavy content is likely to drive away users and result in the site being penalised by search engines.
With our monthly reports, you can see how our law firm content marketing efforts are influencing traffic and user behaviour.
We specialise in creating targeted, thorough, accurate content for:
- Press releases
- Blogs & News portals
- Landing pages
With some SEO strategies, your site may appear to rank highly within a short space of time. However, unless your site has informative and engaging content, users are unlikely to return. With our optimised, expertly written content, users are more likely to return to your site and as such, are more likely to engage your services. Our content is part of a strategy designed to convert browsers into clients.
Video on Legal Website Design Best Practices – Think Like an Octopus!
Published back in 2012, our video below is still relevant in terms of best practices when planning your new website:-
Contact us for great content marketing for your law firm
To learn more about how we can help your firm generate more business online, please complete our online enquiry form here or give us a call on 01923 750353.
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