Writing high-quality content for your law firm’s website that addresses your potential clients’ questions and concerns is an effective and efficient way to drive new business to your firm.
To get the most out of your content marketing, you’ll want to develop a solid plan that addresses how and when your content will be written and published.
A content plan helps you discover and produce the kind of website content that is most likely to benefit your potential clients — and, by extension, your practice.
Here’s how to create an effective content marketing plan for your law firm’s website.
Before you start your law firm’s content marketing plan, identify your audience.
Content marketing generally works best when you gear your content toward the kind of potential clients you’d like to attract. When content is too general, it becomes difficult for potential clients to find you. If they do, the content often fails to resonate with them.
It’s best to identify your audience before you begin — what kinds of cases or matters do you want to attract? You may want to consider developing a client persona to help you narrow down the types of individuals that would likely make up your client base.
When you develop a client persona, you can identify:
- Demographics such as age, gender, education level, or geographic location.
- Their goals, objectives, and the problem they’re 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?
This might seem like a lot of information to know about an imaginary potential client, but creating a client persona can help you not only answer the types of questions that a potential client is likely to ask, but also address those questions in a way that your ideal potential client is more likely to understand. To learn more about client personas, listen to our podcast, “Creating Client Personas For Better Online Law Firm Marketing.”
You’ll also want to consider your firm’s brand before you begin — what kind of attorney are you? What does your firm’s tone and voice sound like? For more information on addressing tone and voice, see:
Developing your law firm’s content marketing plan
There is no “one size fits all” approach to content planning. The combination of practice area, geography, potential clients, 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.
However, there are some common threads that exist in most content plans.
Once you’ve identified who your potential clients and/or referral sources are, then you’ll want to consider the kinds of questions that they’re asking. Drawing on past experience can be helpful.
Ask yourself what kinds of questions and concerns your potential clients have; what kinds of things they often don’t know that they should be asking. What kinds of phrasing are they using to describe their problem? (Keep in mind that the vast majority of your potential clients don’t have a legal background and may not be conducting searches by using legal terminology.)
When it comes to online searches, potential clients often think locally, not legally. While something might be governed by state law, for example, your potential clients tend to think — and search — with a local focus. (This is especially true if they don’t have a legal background.)
Let’s use someone who’s considering divorce as an example. Even if divorce is governed at a state level, this potential client may not realize that as they conduct searches for information. As a result, you’re likely to see searches like “Can I get divorced in Phoenix without an attorney?” or “Pittsburgh grounds for divorce.”
Keep in mind that potential clients’ lack of familiarity with the structure of the law will likely influence the way that they conduct searches, and you’ll want to write your content accordingly.
To learn more about how potential clients conduct local searches, see: “Thinking Locally, Not Legally: How Potential Clients Find Law Firm Websites.”
Begin developing your practice area pages
When you first launch a law firm website, you may not have a lot of content. That’s nothing to worry about: So long as a potential client can identify who you are, where you are, and what you do, a law firm website can stand on its own while you begin developing the content that will eventually become the backbone of your law firm’s website.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all plan for law firms, the vast majority of small firms benefit by developing their practice area pages before they move onto a more aggressive blogging strategy.
We often recommend that attorneys develop a “cluster” technique that allows for significant growth in the future. For example, an immigration attorney might begin creating their content by developing a few basic pages covering topics like citizenship, family immigration, visas, and a FAQ page.
The visas page may cover circumstances related to visas or why someone would need one, followed by the requirements to obtain a visa. As the volume of content increases over time, that visas page might expand to include several more pages that explain various types of visas (B-1, B-2, J, and F visas) in much more depth. (For more examples of developing practice area pages, see “How Do I Decide What to Write About on My Law Firm’s Website?”)
You’ll likely want to start with broad topics and then move towards developing content around detailed topics related to your practice area(s).
You may also want to consider prioritizing the content that you write based on a potential client’s timeline for when they need answers. For example, if you’re a criminal defense attorney, your potential client may be in an “arrested yesterday, arraignment tomorrow” situation. If that’s the case, they’re likely to have questions that need immediate answers, and they may or may not realize they need an attorney.
Alternatively, if you work in a field like estate planning or tax planning, there may be a longer time frame for a potential client to make a decision — and, as a result, the potential client may visit a law firm’s website several times to gather more information before deciding to contact your firm.
It generally makes sense to transition to an aggressive blogging strategy after developing a significant number of practice area pages. To learn more about developing blog posts, see: “Attorneys, Are You Blogging Against Your Best Interests?”
Creating due dates and accountabilities for your content marketing plan
A good content plan can (and often should) look well into the future. For content marketing to work well, there needs to be consistent effort placed into publishing new content. While it can be tempting to plan only for the week or month ahead, a long term plan is generally much easier and more likely to keep you publishing new, valuable content for your potential clients.
Be sure to include more than just a basic schedule of what pieces will be published. Include deadlines and details about the content that you plan to publish on your law firm’s website. Be sure to consider how your content plan will account for the detailed pages that you plan to add over time (if you’re using LawLytics, reordering your law firm website’s navigation or pages is drag-and-drop easy).
By adding more details up front, you’ll find it easier to write content and stick to a realistic schedule.
Learn more about how content marketing works for law firm websites
Content planning is an important part of a successful content marketing strategy for law firms. To learn more about content planning and content marketing, see:
- 4 Reasons Why Attorneys Don’t Plan Their Law Firm’s Website Content (And Why They Should)
- How to Implement a Marketing Strategy For Multiple Practice Areas on One Website
- 5 Questions to Ask When Creating a Law Firm Content Plan