There are more than 91,000 lawyers registered in the state of Illinois. And, according to LexisNexis, 76% of people looking for lawyers last year used the web to do so. When you put the two together, it's easy to see why law firms need a digital marketing strategy. Here's what to keep in mind when developing a site and blogging for your practice:
Write With Your Audience's Perspective In Mind
Most law firms rightfully want to boast about their stacks and stacks of credentials and experience. While most attorneys have certainly earned some bragging rights, the focus of your practice’s digital marketing strategy should be showing support to your potential clients. Further, the ethics rules and guidelines governing an attorney's advertising, solicitation, and marketing limit what the law firm can or should say - and it varies by state.
When someone searches for a lawyer, they’re essentially looking for help in solving a problem. Recognize that. Use your credentials as a way of showing how you’ll be the biggest source of help. In this case, being the smartest person in the digital room means being the most helpful, by giving out high quality content marketing materials - for free. Be mindful, of course, that your content could be interpreted as dispensing legal advice. With that in mind, write and edit cautiously, and/or be sure to always add the appropriate disclaimers.
Think about what your audience needs to hear when they’re looking you up on Google, then target your content to reach them (a process we call SEO, or search engine optimization).
And, of course, you'll want to make sure that your website is beautiful, functional, and quick to load... and that it looks good on a mobile device!
Talk Like a Human
Legal jargon might be familiar to you, but it’s foreign to most of the audience who are waiting to become leads for your firm. Break down the language native to the legal field and address it in digestible concepts. How would you explain a deposition to a sibling or parent?
Remember the #1 rule of content production: If you wouldn’t read it, don’t write it.
By producing a blog on a regular basis, you can boost your SEO presence while securing client leads. A good way to attract clicks is the production of content that explains the nuances of your work or talks about the larger context of a legal process.
Maybe you wouldn’t want to be as blunt as “How To Get Divorced” or “How To Sue Your Boss,” but you could dig into those issues sensitively. For example, instead of those two topics, you could write “How To Manage Your Finances During a Divorce” or “Understanding Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.”
Include Social Media In Your Strategy
Profiles on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn serve a variety of purposes. Searchers will use these social media hubs to find information and get a feel for your firm’s culture, using this information to decide whether or not you’re a good fit for their needs. By sharing your content through these platforms, you can invite potential clients to engage with your firm, using a platform that they're already using (and comfortable with).
Social media also adds a human quality that isn’t necessarily available through a website alone. Does your firm do any volunteer work? Have you made any charitable contributions? Are you involved in any kind of cause, such as environmental law? Maybe you just have an opinion a recent ruling or other piece of news? Post that - it will be great social PR!
Share the content that is of interest to your firm, and your followers will feel more confident in their relationship with you, as these nuggets of information and personality show your expertise.
Manage Your Online Reputation
For law firms, reputation management refers to the process of controlling what is said and shared about your brand online. Having a reputation management plan in place comes down to several interrelated parts, including maintaining solid blogging/SEO and social media strategies, as we discussed above. That is to say that when you control what searchers and social users find about your brand on ranking pages, you help control the narrative about yourself – and can guide it in your favor!
But there’s another vital aspect of reputation management that too many brands leave completely to chance. You see, today’s savvy online consumers are also likely to research your brand on review and listing sites, which range from Facebook to Avvo to Lawyers.com.
Fortunately, there are all sorts of solutions you can put in place to optimize these review pages to work for your firm, rather than against it. With Geek’s help, for instance, you can set up a workflow that lets you contact your clients via text or email when you close a case; establishing this line of communication will help you encourage your happiest customers to post glowing reviews on these review sites, and may give less-satisfied clients a chance to vent, preventing them from posting a negative review in the first place.
Sound a Little Time-Consuming?