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Now that all lawyers and firms are publishers, the demand for quality content has never been greater. And yet serious obstacles remain. How do you feed the publishing beast when you don’t have time to write (or don’t want to waste billable hours writing)? What is the best way to republish content so that it still sounds fresh and new? How do you stand out in the sea of client newsletters covering the same court rulings?
Recently, Jann Dudley, former marketing director of Archer Norris; Clayton Dodds, director of marketing for the Law Offices of Peter N. Brewer; and I conducted a Legal Marketing Association webinar addressing how lawyers and marketers can create and repurpose content when they may have little other support — such as a large group of lawyers with available time to write, a substantive marketing and writing team, or the budget for external writers.
Here are my top 10 takeaways.
1. Give up on producing timely content that’s impossible for you to keep up with, including timely analysis of court decisions or regulation. There is an abundance of that content produced by firms with huge PR and marketing teams, and it often comes out within 24 to 48 hours of the decision or approval of the regulation.
2. Identify what you and your firm are already doing that can be converted into the content you need. Lunchtime client briefings, CLE programs, speaking engagements — even a practice group meeting — can yield topics for stories and help you identify trends in the issues facing clients.
3. Once you learn the platforms, audience and formats for different kinds of content, repurpose everything you create to the fullest extent possible. Leveraging your efforts this way is the most efficient way to produce the amount of content you want.
5. Create client-centric, business-oriented content rather than pure legal content. For example, if you have the budget for it, look at conducting a survey of general counsels’ views on the trends they see at their companies regarding approaches to data breach risk or other hot topics. Interview a friendly client about what he or she sees in the trend in the number of patent applications filed.
6. Use news hooks to quickly and easily put together a Q&A article about a topic important to your clients. For example, the Federal Reserve just agreed to hold interest rates steady, but said it would likely increase them in December. What does this mean for your real estate or corporate clients? A three-question Q&A from a practice leader on how that is likely to affect an industry or sector gives readers interesting, unique information.
7. Create content your clients will want to share with others in their company. For example, produce a checklist of five things to do when a key employee departs. Most GCs will happily forward this to their HR and risk departments.
8. Create client education content that potential and existing clients will find useful, such as what to expect in a mediation, or key elements to consider in settlement negotiations. Share simple sample contracts, such as vendor and licensing agreements, with a short bit of copy explaining when using these is appropriate. This demonstrates your expertise, is welcome content in an increasingly open-source environment, and leads to smarter clients and more efficient working relationships.
9. Look for other evergreen content to fill your pipeline, such as “Five Tips Every Leasing Agent Needs to Know,” or “Trends in Religious Freedom Protection in the Workplace.” Unlike a case analysis, that content will be valuable for at least a year, and can be easily repurposed across many platforms and mediums.
10. Explore new homes for your content, such as guest blogging on industry blogs, increasing publishing on LinkedIn, and using emerging media such as Medium, which is essentially a free blogging platform.
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