More and more professions are coming round to the idea of inbound marketing. And law firms are among those businesses really embracing the power of content.
At the end of last year, Contently published an article in which they addressed this growing trend. Julia Schur wrote about how John Corey, president and co-founder of communications firm Greentarget, had been speaking to law firms across the US about content. His findings? He predicted that "between 30 and 50 percent of law firms will have a dedicated of content strategy by the end of the year ."
Whether those figures are an accurate reflection of the situation currently, there’s no denying the value of an inbound approach in the legal arena. Inbound marketing is a strategy that fits with the way in which buyers today make decisions on purchasing goods or services from businesses; it reflects how prospective clients move from awareness to consideration to decision – and it is all centred on content.
So, in terms of marketing for law firms, let's consider how you can adopt an inbound approach more in keeping with the clients of today. And, do you already have a head start on others with valuable content writers in your ranks?
Why law firms need inbound marketing
In the past, law practices have garnered most of their business through referrals. This is a tried and tested method – and it still works very well today. However, as is the case across many sectors, the way that people search for legal solutions has changed. Now, more and more individuals are carrying out research online to find the best law firm for their needs. They are looking for educative and useful information that will help them to refine their search and source the best solution.
Therefore, by creating content that will fulfil these needs, firms can broaden their reach significantly, going beyond their current clients and the resulting network that these clients open up for them through referrals. Instead, lawyers can connect with anyone who is searching for their services – provided that they produce valuable content that answers these people’s questions and addresses their problems.
Creating content in the legal arena
Fortunately, when it comes to topics to write about in blog posts, eBooks and the like, law is ripe for the picking. From legal precedents to legal terminology; case studies to changes in legislation; there is plenty of ground to cover, regardless of which area of the law you focus on.
However, in order to stay focused, it’s important to first define your buyer personas. They represent the people that you want to form a business relationship with; your ideal clients. It’s best practice to always have a specific persona in mind whenever you create a piece of content. For more information about their vital role, why not read our post: The importance of buyer personas to your B2B content marketing.
When it comes to writing, it’s important not to adopt too academic an approach or, worse, to descend into jargon. Writing for The Huffington Post, Brian Hughes says: "Fairly or not, lawyers as a group have a reputation for speaking in a lot of indecipherable 'legalese'." Of course, you want to reflect the complexities and seriousness of the issues you are addressing, but it’s important to write in clear language, which is accessible to your audience, without simplifying what you are saying.
Your own team of valuable content writers
It’s likely that you already have valuable content writers at your disposal. How is this possible? Well, any employee who has an in-depth understanding of your business has the potential to be a content writer. They don’t necessarily have to be a natural scribe – if they can discuss relevant topics with knowledge and get to the heart of your clients’ needs, then they have promise. Writing on HubSpot, Gillian Singletary says: "Whether you know it or not, every person that works for you is a potential blogger. You just have to know how to convince them to contribute."
So why not make content a company-wide initiative? Getting everyone involved lessens the burden and draws from a wider pool of knowledge. For instance, partners have many years of experience and intricate knowledge about their area of the law. Meanwhile, your receptionist or legal secretary might be an initial point of contact between your firm and its clients. People in these roles will know what questions people usually ask when they first contact your practice and the kinds of issues they commonly face.
You will still need a main writer or editor, who can mould each piece of content into shape, ensuring it reads well and is accurate. This role may require a new hire, or perhaps you might outsource to an inbound and content marketing agency. Either way, it makes sense to extract meaty, informative content from as many sources as you have at your disposal.
Starting out on your content journey
Inbound and content marketing requires a long-term view; it can take some time to gain momentum and see the results you're seeking. But when marketing for law firms now, it's definitely worth adopting a content-centric approach, in order to connect with more people and gain more clients.
Embracing content doesn't mean you have to hire a group of writers or create a new department within your practice (although these can be good things to do if time and resources allow). In fact, if you delve a little deeper, you will probably find that your firm's current personnel have the appropriate knowledge and skill to produce content that is interesting, informative - and highly relevant to your audience.