Question: Everybody’s talking about content marketing these days. Is this something we need to incorporate into our marketing? Where does this fit in the law firm?
Katie Gilmore: A content marketing strategy can be effective for law firms. Content marketing is designed to demonstrate expertise and showcase who you are and what it’s like to work with you. Great content marketing educates prospects on the services that you provide, and helps them understand why they need the service and why you are the best resource to provide that service.
B2B marketing automation company Pardot has found that 76 percent of B2B buyers prefer different content at each stage of their research. So law firms should develop content strategies that leverage multiple pieces of content to market a single service effectively. This is especially true for complex services, such as sophisticated transactional work. A library of content may be needed to offer prospects enough information to educate themselves on why they need the service and, more importantly, why they need you.
When it comes to developing content, law firms should also look for opportunities to leverage the content both externally and internally. This means identifying options to support the firm’s marketing mix through content, as well as options to educate colleagues on cross-selling opportunities. Content marketing takes time, energy, and effort, so be sure to maximize your best content across multiple channels.
Katie Gilmore is a strategic marketing professional at KSGilmore Consulting. She has 10 years of experience in marketing communications and in leading teams of creative professionals. As an independent contractor and consultant, Katie helps people align their marketing efforts with their business strategy.Follow her on Twitter @ksgilmore.
Elizabeth Lampert: Content marketing isn’t new. Law firms have been doing it for years on a smaller scale, and many aspects of it have already been incorporated into firms’ public relations and marketing strategies. But in the past few years, content strategy in law firms has been ramped up significantly. Content marketing provides more ways to communicate with potential clients and referral sources across multiple channels. Savvy attorneys use it as a means of increasing brand awareness because it allows them to help shape their firm’s messages in a less intrusive manner.
Firms can easily take the first step and leverage their current content by publishing on blogs, creating video, and distributing on social channels. Take another step and repackage that material and use it in an email alert or expand upon the thought and create a bylined article. Expand your reach.
There are so many ways you can leverage your content: write blog posts, execute videos, host webinars, create infographics, publish e-books, create a series of podcasts, publish articles, generate polls and quizzes that you can embed on your website, upload presentations to SlideShare, create help forms (and templates to house them on your site), and educate through white papers and surveys.
And don’t forget, share amongst the many new channels available.
Elizabeth Lampert is a social media junkie, PR influencer and crisis communications adviser at Elizabeth Lampert PR. She is a former executive editor of LMA Strategies Journal and Chair of the 2005 LMA annual conference. Follow her on Twitter @ELampertPR.
Jeff Scalzi: The simple answer to this question is “yes,” and your firm is likely already doing it.
Professional services firms are like publishers: their thought leadership is their strongest selling tool. After all, the goal of marketing is to predispose buyers of your services to know your firm, its strengths and the expertise of your lawyers. Prospective clients are not likely to engage a firm or lawyer they do not know, and current clients expect value from their outside legal counsel. Content is the ideal vehicle to deliver that value as an integrated part of your larger marketing and public relations efforts and amplify your business development objectives.
No matter how large or small your firm, and regardless of your marketing team’s size and resources, creating a content marketing strategy is simple. Choose key topics your firm can leverage throughout the year to differentiate itself in an extremely competitive marketplace. An annual conference your firm sponsors, a new practice area you’ve launched in response to current industry trends or regulatory developments, and the myriad events, sponsorships and speaking opportunities your firm engages in, each presents an opportunity to generate content and establish and grow your firm’s voice. Extend that voice using every available vehicle — whether a simple tweet, an article byline, infographic or video — and you’ll be well on your way to making your firm’s content stand out from the crowd.
Jeff Scalzi is the associate director of marketing at Goulston & Storrs, where he heads the firm’s marketing, communications and public relations programs. He is a past president of both the New York and New England chapters of LMA. Follow him on Twitter @JeffScalzi.
No, not every lawyer has a professional marketer or business development coach on hand to answer questions. So send us your questions via email or in the comment section below, and we’ll pass them on to the experts at the Legal Marketing Association.
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