If getting people to your website and getting ranked on Google is important to your firm then you will want to hear our case for why law firms should produce regular, relevant content – and how it’s a lot easier to do than you think.
Having worked in the legal space for 15 years, we understand that lawyers are already pressed for time and that blogging doesn’t count as billable hours. That said, law firms are operating in an increasingly competitive market, vying for increasingly savvy clients.
If you’re looking for a way to stand out and make a meaningful connection with your target markets then don’t write-off content generation just yet:
When it comes to SEO rankings, content is still king
Although Google has never fully disclosed its algorithm for search engine rankings, it does acknowledge that original, relevant content is one of the most important factors to landing at the top of the results, according to one of their Search Quality Senior Strategists. Search engines are constantly crawling and categorizing web pages for terms that people use to find information. To continually remain at the top of the results for terms that you want to be found for (e.g. personal injury, commercial litigation, real estate law, etc.), your website needs fresh, useful content related to those terms. Basically, Google rewards websites that provide value to the users of their search engine.
Posting regular, high-quality content builds your reputation as a subject matter expert
This is true in the eyes of both Google and actual humans. Once you start generating content that people can use on a regular basis, they will start to see you as a credible source of information. Google will rank you higher in its results and humans will look to you to get them results. Through your content, you have the opportunity to demonstrate to potential clients that you understand their legal problems and that you can provide a solution, which is truly what clients want, according to Lawyerist.com.
Only write about the kind of business that you want to attract
When embarking on this task, first think about what business you want more of and what you want to be known for. For instance, if you are an employment lawyer and want to generate more work from executives who have been wrongfully dismissed, several of your blog posts should cover this topic from a range of perspectives including severance packages or provisions in initial contracts or what to do if someone believes they have been wrongfully terminated. Question whether a topic is aligned with your overall business goals, if the content is valuable to readers, if it will help generate more work in a desired area, and if it will broaden your network. All of these questions will help you stay focused.
You’re probably already generating content without even knowing it
Every time you read about a new piece of legislation and formulate an opinion in your mind or have a healthy debate about it amongst colleagues, you are generating content – you just need to write it down. When a client emails you with a question about their legal situation, your response can form the basis of an FAQ with any specific details removed. If one client is asking about a particular legal issue, it’s likely that there are others out there wondering about the same thing.
Time is literally money for lawyers so you need to be wise about how you spend it. We recommend identifying a few key topics that have enough depth to them (and are in-line with the kind of work that you want to generate) to be used for several different types of content (e.g. a speech or a lunch and learn, a CLE presentation or lecture, a blog or article, an in-depth white paper, or a video or webinar). Typically, the research only needs to be conducted once and the content can be easily repurposed for multiple media. For instance, a paper written for a legal journal can be turned into website content by distilling it down to key bullet points or a lunch and learn can be recorded and posted as a webinar or a video.
Content doesn’t have to be long, it just has to be comprehensive
You don’t need to write a novel stuffed with key search terms in order for Google to recognize and rank you. In fact, the search engine (much like people) places more value on quality than quantity. For instance, a 1000-word article that thoroughly covers a topic in a well-written, easy to understand way has more value than a 2,000-word article that never really makes a point and every third word is a search term. When writing a blog post or an article, be direct, cover all of the important issues including solutions, and be client-friendly (aka don’t use legal jargon and if you do, explain it). In terms of format, Internet readers click away from long, scrolling pages of text and prefer copy that is broken up into sub-sections, lists, tips and tricks, diagrams or graphics, videos, and other easily digestible forms of content. You can even divide a large topic up into a series of posts or articles which will give people a reason to come to your site for more.
Regular doesn’t mean constant
You don’t need to quit your day job to become a writer in order to generate “regular” content. While there aren’t any hard and fast rules on how often companies should create content, HubSpot found that companies with 16 or more blogs in a month got almost 3.5 times more traffic to their site than those with 0-4 posts per month. This, of course makes sense as it is a bit of a numbers game but if you don’t have the time or resources to publish content that often doesn’t mean you shouldn’t publish at all. You just have to choose a schedule or frequency that works for you and be consistent. If you’re unable to commit to running a regular blog, you may want to consider a News or Resources section instead, which still requires fresh content but not quite as often as a blog would. Creating an editorial calendar or schedule will help you plan out the topics that you want to write about as well as keep you on track for posting.
And one final closing remark…
Should you choose to embark on generating fresh content, it is absolutely necessary that you promote it or you will not see any returns on your investment of time and expertise. It’s not enough to post it and forget it. You can simply share the link to the post or article through your own and the firm’s social media profiles (we also strongly recommend that you and your colleagues share each other’s content on social media too), send it by email to any clients who you think would benefit from reading it, include it in your firm’s newsletter, and link to it from other related content on your website.
If you’re up for the task of starting a blog for your firm or practice group, take a look at our post on how to create a great legal blog (see what we did there?). Happy writing!