As we prepare for the new year in 2018, many of us are looking back at all that we accomplished (or didn’t accomplish) in 2017.

If you spent a lot of time or money this year on marketing that didn’t produce meaningful results for your law firm, you might be frustrated and disappointed. You might also wonder how you’ll turn things around this year.

But the new year is a good time to set new goals for yourself. And, if you arm yourself with knowledge and a good plan, 2018 can be the year that you bring in more viable cases without wasting time or breaking the bank.

This series will show you how to develop a successful content marketing strategy for your law firm. In the coming days, we’ll go over the steps that you can take to build a solid, lasting foundation that you’ll be able to build on this year and well into the future.

Content marketing works better than any other form of SEO with both potential clients and search engines. But to create a strategy that’s designed to go the distance, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind.

Here’s some of what we’ll discuss in this series:

Learning what drives successful online law firm marketing

There’s plenty of misinformation about what drives successful online marketing for law firms.

Some of that misinformation may be spread well-meaning people who don’t know any better. In other cases, some marketing agencies and SEO providers may tell attorneys that online marketing is too complex for them to understand. That can be an effort on their part to keep attorneys dependent on the services these providers offer.

Successful online marketing isn’t complicated once you understand the basic principles involved. But if you can’t separate fact from fiction, you’ll have a hard time trying to execute a plan that actually works and keeps you from wasting time or money. And that can lead you to believe that online marketing is complicated or a waste of time.

In this series, we’ll go over what you need to know before you get started with content marketing so you can maximize your productivity and create a plan that works for your firm.

Building a law firm content marketing plan

Once attorneys understand what makes online marketing work, many of them want to dive right into content creation. But the best way to begin creating content is to have a roadmap — and that means creating a detailed content marketing plan.

A good content plan should look well into the future and should consider the specific needs of your unique audience. It should create specific accountabilities and milestones, even if you’re the only one creating your content, or even if you’re having a ghostwriter work on it.

Making a plan before you begin writing will help you know what you’ll be writing and when, and it helps attorneys stay on track over the long term.

We’ll show you what should go into a content plan and how to use it successfully.

Creating realistic law firm marketing goals

Losing 10 pounds in a week is an unrealistic goal. When people make fitness resolutions that look like this, they’re unlikely to succeed for long.

For attorneys, it’s probably not realistic to write 10 high quality practice area pages in a week, either. And, setting unrealistic goals for yourself puts you in a position where you’re likely to fall behind and get discouraged.

The trick to successful content marketing is to have a detailed, focused plan that you execute over time, and that you can stick with.

In this series, we’ll show you how to create realistic goals that you can keep up with this year and in the future.

Staying on track with content marketing milestones

Law firm content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. And that means it’s important to keep your eye on the progress that you’re making over time.

After you’ve create a plan and begin executing it, you’ll want to periodically check in to make sure that you’re meeting your goals and making any necessary adjustments.

Milestones may shift over time: if you’ve created a plan that’s a little too ambitious at first, you may need to push your milestones farther apart. If you’re getting more done than you thought you could, then you can move the milestones closer together.

But regular check-ins can help you celebrate your successes, make data-driven decisions, and make sure that you’re regularly adding new content to your website.

Where will your law firm’s marketing be in 2018?

The landscape of law firm marketing has changed a lot in recent years, and, in many ways, internet marketing has leveled the playing field for attorneys. But not everyone is adapting to those changes, and some attorneys are falling behind as a result.

For attorneys who understand what this marketing evolution means and who create a strategy around it, there’s a lot of money to be made.

The strategy itself is fairly simple, and attorneys can get started easily and without draining their marketing budget. But it does require either effort on your part or budgeting to pay someone to do it. And the order in which you implement your strategy matters, too.

But whether you do the work yourself, pay someone to help you, or a combination of the two, the attorneys who commit to building a solid marketing foundation in the new year will be far ahead of those who continue falling for empty sales talk or who take wild guesses at how to succeed with their online marketing.

So, if your online marketing isn’t working, it’s likely because one or more of the fundamentals we’ll cover in this series have been ignored or poorly implemented.

If your law firm has been struggling, it’s not too late to learn how to move forward. While there are no shortcuts in successful online marketing, this series will give you the roadmap to make it work in 2018.