Best Practices for Content Creation and Optimization
It’s 2023, and content is still king. According to Semrush’s State of Content Marketing 2023 Global Report, 97% of surveyed respondents have used content successfully in the past year, and most of those respondents plan to increase their budgets.
For lawyers, content provides an opportunity to increase name recognition and establish a reputation. It helps you earn the trust of potential clients so you’re there when they need a lawyer, whether it’s now or later.
Here’s how to get the most out of this popular marketing tactic.
1. Develop a Strategy
Content needs to be proactive, not reactive. Start by identifying measurable goals for your content marketing. For example, maybe you want to expand your email list by 50% or onboard 10% more clients this year.
Then, determine what content types will help you reach those goals. Options include:
- Social media posts
Figure out how each form of content will lead clients back to your practice and what next step readers will take. From here, create a calendar that details when and how you’ll address particular topics.
2. Create Audience Personas
The best content is relevant and beneficial to the reader. To meet that objective, you need to understand what your audiences want from a lawyer with your background.
First, think about the type of client you represent. Consider their typical age, income level, family status, and lifestyle. Do you want to continue to focus on this demographic or expand to reach different types of clients?
It helps to create personas for each type of client you want to reach. A persona is a profile of your ideal client, written as a fully fleshed-out character. For example, a bankruptcy lawyer’s perfect client may be “George, age 47, whose family business recently failed and who has $10,000 in credit card debt.”
Be as specific as you can, and create as many as you need. Have them ready when you develop content so you’re “talking” to a person instead of a vague general group.
3. Know Your Brand Persona
To speak one to one with your target audience, you also need to understand your firm’s brand. Your brand is the image you convey to clients and potential clients with every touchpoint, from your website to a direct phone call.
Your brand persona helps potential clients understand who you are and what it’s like to work with you. For example, are you gentle and understanding or aggressive and uncompromising? How you come across tells clients whether you’re a good fit.
Your persona will guide you toward the right tone and voice for your content. For example, a firm that relates best to millennials with divorce questions will speak differently than a corporate law firm dealing with Gen X executives.
4. Do Keyword Research
You put time and energy into creating each piece of content, and you want people to see it. For that to happen, you need to optimize your content for the search engines.
Google prioritizes websites that provide the most comprehensive, valuable, and trustworthy responses to searchers’ questions. If its algorithms believe someone will benefit most from reading your blog versus a competitor’s, you’ll show up higher.
Search engine optimization, commonly called SEO, helps your content rank higher. SEO emphasizes your content’s value to a reader or viewer, from the quality of your writing to how comprehensively you answer the question.
Choosing the right keywords is probably a content creator’s most important step. Google will match your article to a search query based on the article’s topic.
5. Research Your Competitors
According to the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Survey, 37% of lawyers have blogs. That number increases for larger firms with 50 or more attorneys.
Understanding the competition is the first step to outranking them. Look at who’s ranking first and second for the keywords you plan to target. Then, work on creating content that’s better than these options — 10 times better, according to industry experts.
This “10x content” outperforms the current top-ranking option on every possible level, including:
- Design and user-friendliness
- Comprehensive topic coverage
- Audience value
- Emotional engagement
For example, if the top-performing blog in your practice area gives a passing reference to a topic, use your post to go into more depth.
6. Use Multiple Media Types
Blogs are valuable elements of content marketing, but they’re not the end of the story. Today’s online environment is multimedia, and your content strategy needs to reflect that.
Video content is essential. According to Wyzowl’s State of Video Marketing 2023, 91% of businesses use videos in their marketing — an all-time high, and an increase of 30 percentage points since 2016.
You can bring video content into your marketing strategy in multiple ways, including:
- “Mythbusters” that disprove common legal misconceptions
- Explainer videos for new or changing legislation
- Compilations of client testimonials
- How-to guides (e.g., “How to create a will”)
Incorporate videos as broadly across your content strategy as possible. Creating a YouTube or TikTok account — or both — is an effective way of reaching eager viewers. You can also embed videos onto your website or include them in your blog.
Image-based content isn’t as “hot” as video content, but it’s still effective. Infographics are handy for attorneys because they help readers process detailed information and make traditionally “drier” topics more engaging.
7. Engage in Conversation
A primary goal of content marketing is to drive engagement with your firm. Turning your content into a conversation is the first step.
Every piece of content should offer opportunities for interaction. For example, when you publish a blog post, use the conclusion to invite questions or comments, either in a comments section or through a direct email. For example, the end of a blog post on divorce could read:
Have questions about getting a divorce in Philadelphia? Our family law attorneys are here to help. Call (555) 555-5555 today to speak with one of our qualified lawyers.
Your social media content can and should be even more interactive. Use the comments section to respond to questions and participate in discussions. The more you participate, the more touchpoints you get with audiences.
Making the Most of Your Content Strategy
As you plan your content strategy, consider how each piece fits into your marketing plan. Martindale-Avvo’s lawyer marketing services can help you generate more leads and convert those leads into more clients. Reach out today and see how we can help you get the best possible results from your content marketing.