Every business needs a blog on their website. That includes law firms, too.
If you find yourself thinking, “How is there even enough to write about to keep it interesting?”, you’re not alone. Trust us. This is a question we hear time and time again, from businesses wondering how they could possibly turn their very specific area of expertise into a thriving blog that clients (and others from around the web) actually want to read.
The answer to that common question and concern? You need to create a compelling content marketing strategy for your law firm blog.
Here’s the thing: let’s say you practice copyright law. Sure, you could write a post about “What is copyright?”. But you know that’s not all there is to your business. It doesn’t have to start and end with the most basic of topics; simply think about the kinds of questions you field on a daily basis from clients.
“How do I go about protecting my work with copyright?”
“Can I sell licenses to people who want to use my work?”
“What about international copyright? Does it protect me, too?”
“Are websites copyrighted material?”
“Why did I receive a DMCA takedown notice? And what does this mean?”
You get the point. A blog for your law firm website isn’t just about answering the same question over and over again. It’s about digging deep into the questions and issues plaguing your clients. It’s also about tapping into other related topics that would be of interest to them.
Still not sure how to go about doing this? Then follow along as we talk about how to create a compelling content marketing strategy for your law firm blog, how to find topics to write about, and what your next steps are.
How to Create a Compelling Content Marketing Strategy for Your Law Firm Blog
Every good content marketing strategy covers the essentials: research, topic generation, writing, optimization, and analysis. In order to do right by your audience, you’ll want to ensure that your strategy takes each of those pieces into account.
Part 1: Research
While you may be able to get by at first with picking topics at random, you will eventually get to a point where you feel tapped out of ideas. And you don’t want that to happen. There’s nothing more discouraging than thinking you have nothing new to say.
Before we give you some ideas on how to go about researching for your content marketing strategy, keep in mind the following:
A blog is not a place to dump random thoughts. This needs to be a well-constructed and consistently-voiced extension of your brand persona. Even if you have multiple writers contributing to it, there should be a style guide that dictates the kind of language to be used and the overall style of writing (e.g. empathetic, professional, authoritative) each should follow. This will ensure a seamless reading experience as visitors jump from blog post to blog post, or blog post to the rest of your website.
It’s also critical that you know your audience before going into this. Consider who exactly you are writing for and what sort of shared pains, obstacles, or questions they face. Your blog can then serve as a sort of expanded FAQ that provides answers to all their questions (and much more).
With that out of the way, let’s look at where you can go to conduct research for your law firm blog:
Read the news. By familiarizing yourself with current events both inside and outside your field, you’ll be surprised by how often you feel inspired to tackle a completely new topic that’s relevant and timely. Use an RSS feed aggregator like Feedly to automate and streamline this process.
Scour the web. Don’t limit yourself to just reading news stories. Interesting conversations are taking place in search, on social media, and on other people’s websites.
Subscribe to the competition. Don’t be afraid to follow your competition everywhere they are online. While you don’t want to write copycat blog posts, you can certainly derive inspiration from their choice of topics. This will also give you a good idea of what works well with your audience.
Check online forums. Want to know what concerns are sitting top-of-mind with your clients? Visit online forums to see what sort of questions are being asked. You can use a general online forum like Quora or something more specialized like ExpertLaw or FreeAdvice Legal Forum.
Survey your clients. For those of you who already have a large base of clients or blog subscribers, think about soliciting new topic ideas from them. You can do this through social media, email, or your website.
Review internal search. If your website has an internal search function, review the search terms your visitors have used. If you don’t have internal search, check Google Analytics to see what the most commonly used search phrases are that direct people to your website.
Part 2: Topic Generation
Next up is topic generation. Once you know where to draw inspiration, the process of generating topics should be a breeze.
Be sure to keep a running list of all topics covered. That way, you can ensure that all topics you want to cover are thoroughly encapsulated within your blog. You can also use this as a way to track your most successful topics so you can build upon those in future posts.
Here are some general topics you may want to consider for your blog. Of course, these will depend on the type of law you practice or who your target audience is, so feel free to adjust according to your specific niche.
- An introduction to the type of law your firm specializes in (e.g. real estate law, international law, etc.)
- An opinion piece on a recent and highly publicized legal issue or new legislation.
- An opinion piece on a verdict passed that may have an impact on your audience.
- Create a listicle (these are always popular since they’re easy to digest). This could be about the top legal stories to follow, the strangest cases to ever hit the news, etc.
- Write a roundup of helpful articles, resources, or videos from around the web that would help your clients in their own legal research.
- Do a “Day in the Life” to give clients an inside glance into how your firm runs, who the people behind it are, and so on.
- Review a movie having to do with a legal matter that’s particularly relevant today.
- Create a list of the most common mistakes you’ve seen people do as it pertains to certain legal matters.
- Solicit a Question of the Week from your blog or email subscribers and then answer it in a short post.
- Share a video. You could answer something on video (shot with just your smartphone) or you could capture part of a recent speaking engagement.
- Create a “Do you need a lawyer?”-type of post. You’d need to compare two scenarios: what it’s like to navigate a situation solo or with a lawyer.
- As a follow up, write a “How to find the right lawyer for you” post.
- Write a post that discusses the impact certain legal scenarios have on someone’s life.
- Write an article about the real costs of hiring a lawyer and pursuing legal action.
- Provide a list of tips on what actions people should take after an incident happens.
- Interview a former client or a lawyer within your firm and present it as a Q&A. You could also present it as a case study or infographic if you garner impressive statistics or interesting facts from it.
- Provide advice to law students, interns, and anyone else interested in pursuing a career in the legal space.
- Invite a guest blogger to contribute something totally new, but still relevant to the blog.
- Cover a seasonal topic. For instance, law firms that specialize in the hospitality space could write about slips and falls during the winter.
- Make predictions for the new year about something in your field.
In general, the more evergreen your content is, the longer shelf-life it will have. In other words, try to stick with always-timely subjects instead of ones that might only make sense in 2017.
Part 3: Writing
With a new topic in hand, it’s time to write your post.
Here are a few things to consider:
- The Writer
The first thing you need to do, of course, is decide who will write it. Writing an article that’s between 600 and 800 words (an easily digestible length) could take roughly an hour or two to write, depending on your familiarity with the topic. But do you have time to write it? And, more importantly, are you confident in your writing skills to do so? If not, you may want to outsource to someone else. Or you could write the post and then hire an editor to clean it up.
Blog posts can come in all shapes and sizes. Think about the following before you set out to write one:
- General structure and layout (e.g. listicle, FAQ, video post, long-form article, etc.)
- Type of Post
A blog doesn’t always have to publish traditional posts. A blog is simply a home for your insightful musings. Here are some other kinds of content you can publish:
- A series of blog posts that build from a single topic and deliver a sequential narrative on the subject matter. This offers a great opportunity for internal linking.
- An ebook that compiles your series of blog posts into a single unit or maybe it’s something you wrote separately about another compelling topic. An ebook is especially great for SEO as this type of informative and actionable content attracts high authority and locally relevant links.
- A topical newsletter that aggregates related blog posts, helping to keep them in steady rotation even as they sink deeper down in your feed.
- You could also write a standard blog post, but append a downloadable PDF at the end with bonus information they can only get by providing you with their email.
- The Shock Factor
Not every post needs to have a huge reveal within it, though it’s great if you can surprise your readers just once. An easy way to do this is by providing shocking statistics, facts, or entertaining quotes from authorities on the subject.
It’s also important to think about the content surrounding your blog content and how those elements will contribute to readers’ engagement with your blog as a whole. Think about things like:
- Categories and tags widgets for easy searching through the blog.
- A newsletter subscription box so they can sign up and stay tuned for more.
- A related posts widget to keep them on your site and devouring more valuable content.
- A Click-to-Tweet featurette that makes the process of sharing your blog post on social media easy.
- A floating social media icons widget so they can personalize how they share your content.
Part 4: Optimization
Usually, when we think about optimizing a blog post, we’re talking about search optimization. However, if you’re going to the trouble of publishing new content to your site regularly, it’s your responsibility to see to it that it’s optimized from every angle. Luckily, there are a number of resources that can help ease the pain of all this optimization work.
Here is what your optimization plan should look like:
- Readability: Unless you plan on hiring an editor to clean up your blog posts, you’ll need a smart tool to do this for you. Hemingway is a good (and free) one to use.
- Keywords: Choosing a focus keyword for your posts isn’t as easy as you might think, especially with how many websites exist. So, use a tool like KWFinder to take some of the guesswork out of it.
- Headlines: Your headlines are what will hook readers first, so make sure they are strongly worded using a Headline Analyzer
- SEO: Doing the three tasks above is essential, but how do you know whether or not they were executed properly? An SEO plugin will give helpful suggestions on this.
- Linking: Search engines look favorably on sites that include high-quality links to both external and internal sources within their posts.
- Images: Every single post should include at least one high-quality and relevant image within it. If you can find a way to integrate an embedded video, too, that’s even better.
- Scheduling: Sharing your blog posts at midnight on a Saturday is probably a bad idea. So, use a scheduling automation tool like CoSchedule to find the best days, times, and frequencies for your content to go out.
Part 5: Analysis
Finally, we arrive at the analysis piece. There’s not too much to understand here as business analytics is a fairly straightforward subject.
For your blog, you’ll want to install Google Analytics on your website if you haven’t already. Then, once you start publishing new content, pay close attention to what’s happening with it. Specifically, identify how your posts are doing in terms of:
- Audience demographics (in case your initial research was off)
- Time on page
- Bounce rate (this should be as close to zero as possible)
- Traffic funnel and conversions
- And more
Once you’ve gathered enough information about blog post performance, look at the trends. Is there a certain topic that your audience particularly likes? Or maybe it’s a blog post type that they respond better to? When you’ve figured this out, you can adjust your plan of attack in the research and topic generation phases accordingly.
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into creating a compelling content marketing strategy for your law firm blog. However, the ROI is huge for law firms that get this right.
Rather than be intimidated by the amount of work required to execute this strategy, focus on the benefits: an improved search ranking, greater visibility as a trusted authority in your space, engagement with new potential clients, and much more. Just remember: you don’t have to do this alone. Trial Law Digital specializes in many aspects of the content marketing process and wants to help you make that phone ring. So, let’s talk.