When it comes to digital marketing, there are three types of law firms. There typically are the early adopters, the late adopters and the laggards. The methodology behind it isn’t new and was defined extensively in the touchstone text, “The Diffusion of Innovations,” and Geoffrey Moore’s, “Crossing the Chasm.” While “content marketing” can hardly be described as an innovation, it is somewhat of a phenomenon that there is so much discussion around at present. “Content Marketing” is literally based on the premise that in the case of a law firm, you have knowledge and information that is worth sharing and there are a myriad of online tools or platforms that will syndicate this content to the masses. Covertly what it is also about, is positioning your firm’s online presence better in Google and other search engines who have a preferential option to those websites that have reveal fresh content updates.
In the context of adoption, in Australia at least, although it is different in the United States, content marketing in law firms is still very much at the early adopter stage. Why? I think it is largely to do with the fact that it requires real effort. In most cases, unless you’re a firm who uses outsourced writers, it can be difficult to engender a culture in a firm that has a commitment to content creation, be it in the form of video, audio or text. There are exceptions. We work with a firm who has it somewhat mandated and it works a treat from a marketing perspective, because when you have great content, you have multiple opportunities of doing something with it. Whether or not the content is being consumed by existing or potential clients is another issue in itself that is worthy of a future post.
So, what if you are a firm that is struggling to get started with content. Here are a few tips.
1. Content is everywhere. I would encourage someone in your firm each day to go through the daily newspapers online or off and identify local issues happening now that would provide an opportunity for a lawyer in your firm to provide a legal opinion on. Today, for example in Australia, a well-known commentator racially vilified a football player. There is a great opportunity there for a firm who does anti-discrimination or defamation work to provide an opinion piece. Better still, is the fact that it is currently topical and if you get a post out quickly, you will draw traffic from people who are trying to find what has happened, or alternatively, a journalist looking to run a follow up story who comes across your post and wants to interview you about the legal ramifications.
2. Think about what you’re doing in your firm at present that could be an opportunity for content creation. We work with a firm that does regular seminars. If you’re doing a seminar, record it, video it and transcribe it. By doing these three things, you now have three different mediums to use to syndicate your message to different audiences.
3. Most firms get stuck on what platform they should use. In other words, they spend all their time in deliberation about whether they should be on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin, rather than what content will they manufacture that will engage. Start with content and then consider what is the best platform. Also, do bear in mind the findings of the Legal Reform Commission of New South Wales in their research on legal needs in Australia. Overwhelmingly, the findings were that people with legal issues by and large do not always engage a lawyer at first juncture. Instead, they will seek out advice from other service providers, friends and acquaintances. So, what is your firm doing today to engage with those places that people may seek initial help from, like allied health services, social workers, counsellors, support groups, online forums etc.
Content creation doesn’t need to be as difficult as it sounds. By following these three tips alone, you will exponentially grow your firm’s online footprint and become a part of the growing cohort of early adopters. However, time is limited, because once the phenomenon crosses the chasm into the mass of late adopters, content becomes ubiquitous, which of course will heighten the need for content to be both disruptive, compelling and of course, unique. Some would argue that we are already there and if that is the case, then more the reason why you need to do something today about generating and marketing your firm’s content.