Why Your Law Firm Should Be Blogging

Your law firm might already have a Twitter, Facebook, and evenLinkedin set up, but do you guys have an active attorney blog?  The keyword there is “active”.  If your most recent blog post is more than a month old, it doesn’t make the cut.

As an attorney, having up-to-date and thoughtful blog posts are an extremely beneficial tool to your practice and here’s why:

Blogging is like another form of social media, it can be a marketing tactic that helps your law firm get more online visibility. Essentially, creating a short-form article or a “post” (like this post that you are currently reading) is a blog.  You want to blog because it increases online visibility, which is the ability to be found and seen on the internet.

Examples of online visibility are when your law firm’s social media, blogs, and website shows up in search engine results.

One of the basic rules of creating more online visibility is, the more pages your website has, the more likely you’ll have a chance to rank in search engine results.  This doesn’t mean you should thoughtlessly add pages to your website; it would be unfair to your law firm and also unfair to any client trying to navigate through your website.

This is where the glory of blogging steps into place.  Your blog can be housed under a specific section on your website.  You can post as many blogs as you want and it is organized chronologically. Essentially, the more blogs you post, the more pages you get, thus creating more online visibility.

Now that you know the basics of blog and online visibility, keep the blog content relevant.  Not sure how to generate relevant content? Read our previous blog on content. The easiest way is to write about something you specialize in. If you’re a Social Security disability lawyer, write about a question you get asked often like “What to do when your disability runs out?” or if you’re a DUI lawyer a topic like “10 Things That Happen If You Get a DUI” would be another good example for a blog post. Once you decide on a topic and write out the blog, it helps to include a call to action within the post.  Going back to the DUI lawyer example, include a blurb at the end stating something like “If you or someone you know has gotten a DUI and needs help, call us for a case evaluation.”

Why Developing Great Legal Marketing Content Will Beat Out Quantity Every Time

90% of customers find original content useful. Half of consumer time is spent interacting with custom content. 61% of prospects claimed that they feel better about a company that produces original content and are more likely to buy from that organization.

These statistics, provided by Demand Metric, HubSpot, and Custom Content Council, respectively, demonstrate what your law firm may already know: producing and proliferating original content is necessary and influential. It can push new clients into your office, build a stronger brand, and drive traffic to your website. If you are skeptical, consider these reasons that quality legal marketing content development will beat out quantity every time.

Higher Lead Generation at a Lower Cost

One marketing ROI study developed in part by Oracle Eloqua found that content marketing garners three times as many leads as paid search, per dollar spent. In addition, it could cost your law firm up to 41% less than paid search depending on the size of your practice.

The statistics above showcase the true power of organic content creation. Although the quantity of blog posts and articles developed can make a difference, the most important element is the quality of your legal marketing material. If prospective clients find value in the material you post, they are more likely to trust your brand and turn to your law firm when they or their loved ones need assistance.

Original Content Drives SEO and Social Media Engagement

Improving SEO is probably one of your law firm’s marketing goals, and inherent in that mission is social media activity aimed at increasing site traffic and building brand awareness. Did you know that creating original content can improve brand engagement?

Demand Metric reports that one strong reason that social media users follow brands is that these organizations produce enthralling content. Additionally, more than half of users are motivated to search out a product after reading content about it. This means that if 100 social media followers read a post about Miranda warning violations that was created by your criminal defense firm, at least 50 of them may search out more information about your services!

People Love Sharing and Spreading the Word

With the proliferation of social media into our daily lives, people love sharing interesting articles with their friends, family, colleagues, and social media connections. AOL and Nielsen report that we share nearly 30 million pieces of content every day. Shouldn’t some of these articles be original pieces developed by your firm?

This strategy can be particularly effective with younger audiences; the public relations company Edelman states that Millennials don’t just want organizations to produce content for them, they expect it. Their data finds that 80% desire to be entertained and appealed to through content marketing.

Focus on Quality First

With all the research above, it’s clear that developing valuable, intelligent content is the right legal marketing strategy for your law firm. It’s alright if you’re only able to produce one article per week—just be sure to craft a well-written post that readers can’t help but spread to their connections!

Learn how our content development services can boost traffic to your practice!

Crafting a Four-Week Attorney Marketing Content Strategy

When sitting down to outline a year-long legal marketing content strategy for your law firm, it may seem like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Break that 12-month whopper into smaller chunks, however, and you may find the process to be more manageable and effective.

Whether you are wet behind the ears or a seasoned professional approaching your next annual content calendar, the “how to” guide below can help your practice create the ultimate four-week attorney marketing content strategy to increase web traffic and audience reach.

1.      Determine audience, assess value, and establish goals.

The secret to any successful content strategy is to provide value to the audience. Readers are not going to continuously engage with your firm’s marketing material if it does not help them in some way. Therefore, you must decide two things before ever putting fingers to keyboard and producing content: who your audience is, and what value they can derive from your content.

One example: a bankruptcy law practice wants to appeal to 30- to 45-year-old small business owners who are struggling to determine if bankruptcy is the right path for them and their companies. The firm can supply expert information about the benefits and drawbacks of bankruptcy, as well as stories and case studies about small business clients whom bankruptcy has helped.

After completing this exercise and pinpointing your audience and potential content value, be sure to write out specific goals for your month-long attorney marketing plan.

2.      Vary your content calendar.

Be sure to carve out time to develop various forms of marketing material across multiple platforms. For instance, during week one, focus on producing different types of content each day (don’t forget to keep your particular marketing goal in mind during planning).

  • On Monday, write a blog post to host on your law firm blog
  • Tuesday could focus on Facebook posts
  • Wednesday could involve a LinkedIn campaign
  • Thursday could be the time to craft a brief email newsletter containing social media links
  • Friday could encompass an outline for the next week’s content

Then, week two can center upon iterating and spreading these posts across platforms—take what you wrote for your blog post and turn it into a Facebook teaser linking back to your blog, or even rephrase the blog article and host it on LinkedIn. Week three could focus on engaging new and existing followers using a contest or some sort of incentive that routes participants back to your attorney website, and week four would be the ideal time to repeat week one’s content plan but specifically gear it toward new followers.

3.      Form good habits, and continually experiment.

Going strong for a week or two won’t get you anywhere—a good content strategy is a long-term investment. Think about your four-week attorney marketing plan as a way to develop beneficial habits (which typically take at least 21 days to establish, according to research). Create routines that you can follow week after week until you see results.

And of course, don’t be afraid to analyze feedback and tinker with your plan if you feel that outcomes could be better.

Ask us for a free evaluation of your attorney website to increase web traffic and lead conversion!  

3 Simple Ways to Craft Evergreen Content For Your Attorney Blog

Likes solid testimonials, evergreen content is the marketing gift that keeps on giving. It consistently engages audiences and attracts readers days, months, and even years later.

Additionally, it can heftily decrease the amount of work on your plate, since high-quality evergreen content can be regularly “spun” (rewritten in a unique way for SEO purposes), pushed out again to social media and other marketing avenues, and refreshed when the time is right. Here are three simple ways to craft evergreen content for your attorney blog.

1.      Choose the right topics

If the bulk of your clients come asking about the essential things they need to know before filing bankruptcy, you should know what kind of material regularly interests audiences—content like ‘how do I know if bankruptcy is right for me?’ content. Blog articles focused on current events have their time and place and can be useful in generating buzz, but don’t expect them to demonstrate the same long-term benefits as evergreen ones.

2.      Strive for the classic, not the temporary

Avoid anything having its 15 minutes of fame such as hot new business terms, social media trends, and data with a short shelf life (quarterly unemployment figures, for instance). Instead, opt for a general tone and style that will continue to appeal to all of your attorney blog’s readers for years to come, and be sure to utilize long-term data like that from the U.S. Census Bureau.

This doesn’t mean that your firm cannot take advantage of influential marketing trends such as infographics, or the latest data. Try creating an infographic highlighting the most up-to-date information and post it to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn with a link to the evergreen postings on your attorney blog. The eye-catching infographics can garner attention and redirect it toward your site—an ideal mix of old charm and fresh appeal.

3.      Highlight holidays, seasons, or relevant events

Why do so many singers produce Christmas albums? Because Christmas comes every year, giving them an opportunity to sell their albums over and over while putting in little additional effort.

Apply this philosophy to your attorney blog by thinking about what types of events or seasons occur once or twice a year that would appeal to your audience. Fall and winter holidays tend to be a busy period for DUI defense firms, for instance, while personal injury practices could focus on summer fire season.

If your firm produces content that can be reused and recycled for these important holidays or time periods, it’s well on its way to cultivating an attorney blog with online appeal all year around.

We can develop custom content for your attorney blog!

Obtaining Maximum Benefit From Your Best Content

This is the sixth installment of our Content Marketing blog series. To view the beginning of the series, go here.

Writing, keywording, titling, and designing good legal content is hard and time-consuming work. Once you have a strong piece you should follow the advice below to leverage its value.

Track popularity and re-purpose the best content

Google Analytics can tell you which of your pages are receiving the most visits and on-page time. Use those statistics to select several popular items of content and then consider these 10 ways to get additional uses out of them:

1. Turn it into a Blog Post

The easiest thing to do with your initial article is post it to your blog. Keep in mind the topics your audience is most interested in. For example, if you’re in bankruptcy law, you could write a post outlining the differences between Chapter 7 and 13.

2. Dive Deeper in an Ebook

For topics that you can only skim in a blog post (the bankruptcy example comes back to mind), consider expanding on the topics and building out an ebook or whitepaper of 5 to 10 pages in length. Here, you’ve got more opportunity to cover all the angles of a topic, provide tips, and explore options. At the end of your ebook, make sure to include a call to action to encourage readers to contact you for a free consultation.

3. Create a Video

Some people learn best by reading articles, while others prefer videos. You can take the same information you covered in your initial article and turn it into an interesting video. There’s no need to read it verbatim; you’ll only sound like a robot. Instead, write a quick script or simply speak from your own knowledge. Post the video to your blog as well as video sharing sites like YouTube.

4. Send an Email

Keeping in regular communication with your clients and contacts is essential for staying top of mind. But there’s no need to write new content every time you send a newsletter. Simply take the blog post you published and use it in the newsletter. Here’s a tip: only include 75% of the post in the newsletter, then include a link to the rest of the article. This gets people clicking to your blog, as well as to your website.

5. Write a Press Release

If your initial article or piece of content involved research, statistics, or news, it can easily be turned into a press release. Just format it appropriately and send it out through a news distribution service. Then post the link for the press release on your web page’s News page.

6. Share on Social Media

The wonderful thing about social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google + is that you can share all of what you’ve repurposed here. If you wrote a blog post, post a quote from the article on your profiles along with the link. If you published a press release, share the headline and link. Share the video. Share a link to sign up for the ebook.

Schedule multiple updates with your piece(s) of content throughout several weeks to maximize the number of people who see them and click to read.

7. Create Conversations in Groups and Forums

If you use LinkedIn Groups or answer questions on Quora, you can use your articles as a launchpad for new conversations. Say you’re a member of a group for small business owners on LinkedIn, and someone asks a question about bankruptcy. You can answer the question, certainly, but you can also share a link to any of your pieces of content.

8. Write Multiple Blog Posts

If your original post was well-received, consider diving even deeper with a series of posts. For the Chapter 7 vs. 13 topic, you could create separate posts weighing the pros and cons of each, as well as posts looking at scenarios where each type of bankruptcy filing worked best.

9. Create a Presentation

Using your content, you can create a slide show or presentation to attract busy people who don’t have time to read an entire article (yes, those people exist). Posting your presentation on SlideShare will help you reach a wider audience, as the presentations often fall under Google search results.

10. Develop a Webinar

Once you have that slide show, you’re one step away from it being a full-fledged presentation. Set up a webinar through Google Hangouts or other service and market it to your target demographic. You already have the content; now all you need is to present it to your audience.

Hopefully our list inspires you to multiply the utility and reach of your best content.

Crafting Brilliant Attorney Blog Post Headlines

Article headlines are like the gatekeepers for your audience; if you can get readers past the article headline and actually reading the article, you’re that much closer to having a conversation and building a relationship. Consider the following five steps a quick reference guide for crafting brilliant article headlines for your attorney blog.

  1. Craft a draft headline

Brainstorm a draft headline that will act as a starting point to tweak in the next four steps. It should broadly describe your topic in a straightforward way. For instance, if a DUI defense firm wants to write an attorney blog post about a motorist’s rights when stopped on suspicion of DUI, it could start with the title “What Motorists Need to Know About Their Rights During a DUI Stop” or something of the sort.

  1. Determine your audience

Next, determine who you’re trying to reach. Who are you hoping to appeal to? In the example above, perhaps the DUI defense firm wants to reach drivers 26 to 35 years old with an interest in protecting their civil liberties, or who feel that their civil liberties may have been infringed upon. Either way, the firm’s target audience determines the tone and language of the title.

  1. Tweak the angle

Once you’ve nailed down your target audience, it’s time to tweak the existing title. In the example above, the DUI defense firm could change the title from “What Motorists Need to Know About Their Rights During a DUI Stop” to “5 Personal Rights to Protect During a DUI Stop.”  Or, the attorney blog writers could take an entirely different route with something like “How to Act at a DUI Checkpoint.”

  1. Tie in SEO however possible

Make your attorney blog article more visible online by bumping up the title’s SEO factor. If the DUI defense firm receives the greatest traction from keyword phrases like “fight DUI” (or would like to rank higher on that phrase), editing the title from “5 Personal Rights to Protect During a DUI Stop” to “Fighting a DUI: 5 Personal Rights to Protect During a Stop” could be helpful.

  1. Chop for email and social media appeal

Where will you be advertising this article? If you’ll be posting on Twitter or sending via email later, you’ll want to make sure that the title fits within space constraints: 140 characters for Twitter (keep in mind that the link to the article will take up some of this space as well) and roughly 50 characters for an email subject line.

If the DUI defense firm’s attorneys wanted to shorten their existing article title, they could chop it down to “Fighting a DUI: 5 Personal Rights to Protect at a Stop” or even “Fighting a DUI: 5 Rights to Protect During a Stop,” which is less than 50 characters with spaces.

We can create custom content for you, titles and all. Chat with us about our content development services today!         

Strategies For Politely Urging Readers to Share Your Attorney Blog Content

Shares, “likes,” comments: these are the new online currency and the lifeblood of any law firm’s social media presence. The higher the number of shares, the bigger your attorney blog content’s reach… and the bigger the reach, the greater your brand recognition.  If you’re wondering how to achieve that end goal, explore the following five strategies for politely urging readers to share your attorney blog content.

1.        Make it personal (in a good way)

Your firm can easily create loyal fans by customizing a handful of Tweets every week like “@twitterfan, we appreciate the retweet! We’re glad you found our post about ‘5 Ways to Get Out of Credit Card Debt’ valuable.” Or, “@twitterfan, thank you for following us! If there’s anything we can help you with, please reach out at 123-456-7891.”
Your firm’s followers will probably feel surprised and honored to receive personal recognition, which could translate into brand loyalty or at least a positive impression of your law firm’s client service philosophies.

2.        Include top-notch calls to action

A call to action is an excellent way to nudge readers toward next steps at the end of blog articles. Click here to read the James Attorney Marketing team’s secrets for writing irresistible calls to action.

3.        Remove obstacles to sharing

One truth of online attorney marketing: If it’s a hassle, people aren’t going to do it.  Therefore, remove obstacles that prevent readers from sharing. Does it take one too many steps to share content? Insert social media and email “share” buttons alongside or at the bottom/top of all posts for one- or two-click sharing.

4.        Dangle a carrot

Ideally, your law firm will create such engaging content that people can’t help but share it online and via email. In reality, however, many readers still need that extra push to share your attorney blog content. Prod them politely by dangling something enticing such as:

  • Exclusive access to special content like an informational video published by your practice
  • An audience seat in a Q & A webinar with an attorney from your firm
  • Their name in a raffle for prizes like gift cards or an iPad Mini

5.        Display the number of shares

This strategy works for a number of websites. Global media company Mashable, for instance, displays the number of article shares alongside the headline and header image on each post thumbnail, as well as directly underneath the headline in each article. It’s a strategic move—we’re hardwired to think “800 other people have shared this article? They have the right idea; I should share it, too!”

Even if your attorney blog articles don’t receive thousands of views like Mashable’s, your firm may see some positive traction by displaying the number of shares next to the “share” button within each article.

We can help with developing custom content and managing your social media presence. Ask us how today!

5 Qualities of a Sharable Image

On countless websites, blogs, and social media pages, images of all forms abound—from the profound, to the quirky, to the questionable. But from a marketing standpoint, there are key qualities that separate a good image from an effective, highly-marketable sharable image—and your law firm should know the difference between the two.

Let’s take a look at the top 5 qualities of a sharable image that will attract your target audiences’ attention, and encourage them to take action; e.g. namely contacting your firm.

1. Original Images

Many images are glanced over and disregarded because the content has been seen so many times before; e.g generic selfies, mass-produced nature shots, etc. But when an original image is uploaded; even if it’s in a popular format such as a selfie, it can attract and be shared by the masses.

TIP: Images that viewers love to share include images that are inspirational and informative in the forms of how-to infographics, quotes, and slide shows.

2. Consistent Images

Being consistent with the frequency and quality of your images is great for branding. Be the law firm that produces attention-grabbing visual content on a consistent basis. The bonus here is that other folks within the legal industry will likely seek you out on a regular basis for forwards and shares because you’ll establish yourself as a consistent deliverer of quality visual content—which will help them with their audience.

3. Timely Images

Posting real-time images is highly popular, because they engage viewers “in the moment.” This can include images surrounding breaking news or a media event—whether legally-related or not. If the content is legally-related, this gives your firm a chance to show your industry know-how, and provide important and relevant commentary about the topic at hand.

4. Platform Relevant Images

For maximum share value, make sure the content of your images is relevant to the platform you’re using. For example, quotes and personal photos are highly shared on FB, whereas images that do well on Twitter convey quick and short messages, much like the platform’s tweets. On Pinterest and/or Instagram, provide images that give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at your firm, and a sneak peak of who you are and what you do.

5. Snackable Images

Small, “snackable” images that provide a quick snapshot can work as lead-ins to larger pieces of content, but if the quality and value of the image is good enough, a small image can stand alone, and draw traffic on its own.

Top 3 Benefits of Integrating RSS with Your Blog

RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, is a commonly mentioned but rarely touted strategy to increase your firm’s SEO strength and disseminate blog posts to a wider reader base. Essentially, RSS enables websites to publish their latest updated information such as blog posts and news, sending updates to subscribers.

Read on to explore the power of RSS upon your law firm’s search engine optimization strength, and be sure to examine the following instructions in order to integrate RSS functionality into your firm’s blog.

Benefit #1: Readers don’t have to take an extra step to engage with you.

Everyone is busy—it’s just a reality of today’s world. Despite nearly constant access to the Internet and email, people do not want to expend the time and effort visiting different websites in order to source the content they’d like to read. RSS feeds enable users to receive regular updates from your firm without having to actually visit your site.

This may seem counterintuitive, like you’re deterring valuable web traffic that could boost your law firm’s search engine optimization efforts. However, there’s no need to worry. RSS updates can engage readers while maintaining a brand presence in front of clients and prospects, and actually lead readers back to your website.

Benefit #2: Shareability on social media

When subscribers receive updates from your firm’s website, they may be more likely to read posts and share them on social media, particularly when “share” buttons are featured within articles. Ensure that all of your articles include thumbnails to your social media pages—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.—and don’t forget to include a call to action at the end of each post.

For example: “Did you undergo any of the field sobriety tests explained above? Your arresting officer may have performed them incorrectly. Call our DUI firm for a free consultation!  Then, connect with us on social media for more helpful articles.”

Benefit #3: Increased SEO strength

More website traffic and greater social media visibility both generally boost SEO, which can be a self-fulfilling cycle; stronger law firm SEO means a higher ranking on search results pages, leading more people to your website and social media pages, and further increased SEO strength.

How to Integrate RSS into Your Firm’s Blog

One easy way to add RSS to your site—let’s say, WordPress—is to utilize a web feed management provider like FeedBurner to insert a subscription form on your posts and pages. Visit the Feedburner site to create an account, and then consult your blogging platform’s/content management system’s user guides to find the most up-to-date instructions for adding a FeedBurner plugin on your page and posts.

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