Consistently publishing high-quality content that addresses your potential clients’ questions is the most effective online marketing strategy for law firms.
If you are starting to plan your law firm’s online marketing strategy or you’re struggling to create effective and engaging content, developing a content plan can be a good place to start.
Here are some tips that can help you create content that informs and engages potential clients and helps your law firm meet its marketing goals.
Why your law firm should have a content plan
A content plan is a written document that describes the law firm website and blog content you plan to publish. A good content plan should look well beyond the upcoming weeks or months, and ideally covers the content you’ll write in the next one to three years.
A content plan includes your goals and objectives, as well as milestones, deliverables, dates and accountability. It can also break down bigger projects into smaller tasks.
Content plans can be anywhere from 10-50 pages long, depending on how far into the future you are planning, the amount of content you’ll create, the number of practice areas your content covers and other factors.
A content plan helps you identify, prioritize and produce the kind of content that is most likely to benefit your particular practice.
How to develop a content plan for your law firm
There is no “one size fits all” approach to content planning. The combination of practice area, geography, potential clients, personalities and attorney background and experience makes each law firm unique. The kind of content that showcases your law firm’s unique skills and that your potential clients will find engaging will be different for each law firm.
One way to start developing a content plan that supports your law firm’s unique needs is to use the “5 W’s” as a starting point. These “five W’s” will likely be familiar to you if you’ve taken a journalism class: who, what, when, where and why. Below is a law firm content planning twist on those five journalistic W’s.
Who are your potential clients or referral sources?
It helps to define your law firm’s ideal potential client when you are creating a content plan. Ask yourself: Who are you writing to? What kind of people do you want to attract? What do you know about them?
This process is often referred to as creating a client persona. The more specific you can make your client personas, the more likely you are to plan content that will inform and engage your ideal potential clients.
What you choose to include in a client persona will vary depending on your practice area(s), location and other factors. A client persona could include information such as:
- Demographics like age, gender, education level, family status and composition, or geographic location.
- What their goals and objectives are. What problem are they trying to solve?
- How they are likely to consume information. What devices will they use? Are they searching from a home computer or via a mobile device? Are they searching for information themselves? Or will someone else be looking it up for them?
When you create a client persona, focus on specifics. For example, a DUI attorney might think that their potential clients are “anyone arrested for a DUI within our geographic area.” But that description likely isn’t detailed enough to help you build a useful client persona and write content to address that audience.
A DUI attorney may want to focus on things such as whether their firm is located in a college town. If so, they might choose to focus on DUI arrests for college students, or DUI arrests for college students under the age of 21.
A DUI attorney who works in a major tourist destination might target potential clients who are from out-of-state and have been arrested for a DUI. Factors like these can influence how potential clients search for information, what kind of questions they ask and what kind of content will be more likely to engage them.
For more tips on creating client personas, see our blog, “Why Client Personas Help Law Firms Do Better Online Legal Marketing.”
What questions are potential clients asking?
Understanding what your potential clients want to know can help you plan relevant, engaging content for your law firm website and blog.
- What questions or concerns do your potential clients have?
- What words do they use to describe their problem? Many of your potential clients likely don’t have a legal background, so they may not use legal terms when they are searching for information.
- What questions have your clients asked in the past? It is likely that potential clients have similar questions and may use search engines to find answers to those questions.
Your law firm’s potential clients are likely to search for answers to specific, complex questions. The more specific your content is, the more likely it is to appear in your potential clients’ search results for relevant queries. For example, rather than searching for “Houston DUI attorney,” a potential client is more likely to search for answers to specific questions, such as “What happens if I get a second DUI in Texas?”
Informed by your client personas, your law firm can plan content that provides helpful, relevant answers to the types of questions your ideal potential clients are likely to ask. For example, a doctor may ask different questions after a DUI arrest than a college student. A doctor might ask about how a DUI may affect their medical practice. A college student may be underage or affected by their school’s alcohol policies, or they may have a parent who is researching information about the DUI arrest could affect their child.
If you’re struggling to identify the kind of questions your potential clients may be asking, see our blog post, “Creating Law Firm Website Content That Potential Clients Will Read.”
When do potential clients want answers?
Your potential client’s time horizon for making a decision about contacting an attorney will likely vary based on your law firm’s practice area(s).
For example, if someone was arrested yesterday and is being arraigned tomorrow, they are likely to have questions that need more immediate answers, and they may or may not realize that they need an attorney.
If a potential client is interested in tax or estate planning, they may have a longer decision-making time frame and they may visit a law firm’s website multiple times to learn more information about their problem before they decide they need an attorney.
As you develop your content plan, you may want to consider prioritizing content that addresses a potential client’s more time-sensitive questions.
Where are potential clients located?
The location of your potential clients is another helpful component of law firm content planning.
Potential clients are likely to search for local information and to trust local search results:
- According to Google, 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local information.
- Local search results (such as Google My Business listings) are the most relevant and trustworthy search results for over two-thirds of search engine users.
Local content helps demonstrate to potential clients that you are knowledgeable and engaged on a local level. This can make them more likely to choose your law firm over a competitor who hasn’t invested in creating local content.
Planning locally-focused content increases the likelihood that website visitors will be potential clients in your geographic area that you can assist.
Think about how location may affect the kind of questions your potential clients are likely to ask. Are there particular local landmarks, events or functions that your potential clients may have questions about related to their case or matter? For example, if you are a criminal defense attorney, your clients may be looking for information about a local jail or court. Your content plan could include answering common questions about those places.
Search engine results are also affected by geography. Results will vary based on the searcher’s location and the location of nearby businesses. Developing high-quality local content can increase the likelihood that your law firm website will be a relevant result for local search engine users’ queries related to your practice area(s).
Our on-demand Local Pages Clinic can help you identify and plan content that appeals to and engages local clients.
Why should a potential client listen to you, trust you and hire you?
Law firm website content can help potential clients understand what is unique about your law firm’s skills and experience, why you are a knowledgeable and trustworthy resource and why you are well-equipped to help them with their case or matter.
When developing your content plan, think about what makes your law firm unique. How do you stand out from your competition? What is it about your law firm that would help persuade a potential client to choose you over a competitor? How can you reflect that in your content?
Developing high-quality relevant content that answers their questions can go a long way towards helping potential clients find, trust and ultimately hire your law firm.