Are your law firm content marketing expectations realistic?
Sometimes we see attorneys who expect content marketing to be an overnight process. Or they don’t understand what high-quality content is, or how important it is to publish content on a regular basis.
As a result, they end up frustrated when they don’t meet the goals they set out to achieve with content marketing.
Good content marketing keeps attorneys from wasting time or money. But the trick to good content marketing — and setting realistic goals — is to understand what makes it work.
Here are several things that attorneys need to know about what drives successful content marketing.
Quality law firm website content is crucial to content marketing success.
Sometimes, attorneys don’t realize the importance of quality content in a content marketing plan. There are times that we’ve seen a practice area page that contains just a few sentences. For example, a DUI attorney might have a practice area page on DUIs in which there’s an accident that causes an injury. It might contain only the following:
“Were you in an accident and you’re now facing DUI accident charges? The consequences of a DUI can be serious. Call our experienced DUI attorneys today.”
This page is unlikely to be found by potential clients using a search engine to research their case or problem. There’s too little information there for Google to view it as valuable. And, even if a potential client were able to find it, that content isn’t likely to resonate with them. Your potential clients need actual information — detailed, useful, local information — about their case or problem.
A page like this that contains high-quality information is likely to include detailed content about subjects such as:
- Additional charges for injuries
- Information about the difference between felony and misdemeanor DUI in your geographic area
- Penalties for felony/misdemeanor DUI in your geographic area
- Additional consequences including things such as civil lawsuits, etc.
Once you’ve laid out the important details that your potential clients need to know, you may want to include a compelling call-to-action at the end of the page, giving your potential clients the information they need to contact you.
If you’re wondering whether each page of content you create is a high-quality page, try asking yourself some of the following questions.
Are you taking your geographic location into consideration?
If your content isn’t specific to the geographic area where you practice, potential clients are going to have a harder time finding it and relating to it. How do people address locations and landmarks where you are? What do they need to know about local rules and courts? Challenge yourself: How much detail can you add that has a local focus?
However, be sure that you avoid keyword stuffing. For more on that, see, “Why Attorneys Should Avoid Keyword Stuffing On Law Firm Websites.”
How much detail are you including?
Two sentences on a practice area page — or anywhere else — is unlikely to cut it. What information might you tell a potential client when they sit down with you during an initial consultation or during the course of their case or matter? Think about the details that your potential clients need to know. Think about the questions they ask, and how you’d respond to them. Then go even further beyond that. Think of all the things you’d explain to them and start building a content plan to address all of those topics at a deep level.
Are you adding something new to the conversation?
The content that you create needs a high level of detail, and it needs to add something unique to the online conversation. Copying what already exists on other law firm websites won’t get you where you want to go. Thin content violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and copying someone else’s content doesn’t give potential clients a reason to choose you over someone else with similar content.
For more on what Google expects from law firm websites, see “What Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines Can Reveal To Attorneys.”
The competition in your geographic area is likely to affect the content volume required to succeed.
Another mistake that we sometimes see is when attorneys don’t account for the competition in their geographic area.
When you’re considering how large your site will need to be, it’s important to think about the geographic area where you practice. The geographic location where you practice is likely to give you a sense of how much content you’ll need to compete.
For example, a dominant criminal defense firm in a large city like Chicago might have anywhere between 900-1000 pages. A dominant family law firm in a smaller market such as Wichita, KS might only need between 50-100 pages to compete effectively.
Based on market research, what we continue to see is that the law firm websites that perform highly are also those who have a large volume of pages, each of which contains high-quality content.
If an attorney only has 10 pages in a major city where the competition is fierce, that attorney is likely going to need a much larger volume of content to truly compete with other attorneys in his/her practice area(s) and geographic area.
Publishing new, quality content on a regular basis matters for law firm websites.
When attorneys don’t understand what high-quality content looks like — or how much they’re likely to need based on their practice area(s)/geographic area(s) — they tend not to realize the importance of a regular publication schedule.
Adding one new page a month isn’t likely to move the needle for attorneys. The attorneys who succeed with content marketing generally understand:
- Google’s motivations and the motivations of their potential clients
- What quality content looks like
- The competition in their practice area(s)/geographic location(s)
- That content marketing doesn’t work overnight
When attorneys understand these things, then they also tend to understand the importance of keeping a regular publishing schedule and taking an aggressive, content-centric approach to their web marketing.
Content marketing for law firms is a marathon, not a sprint.
Content marketing is not an overnight process. To succeed with content, it requires a dedicated effort to publishing high-quality content over time.
Here’s an example of an unrealistic content marketing expectation: An attorney publishes five new practice area pages over a few months. Those pages contain poor quality content. This attorney is also in a highly competitive geographic area.
If the goal is to use content marketing as a way to get new clients, this particular strategy isn’t likely to result in the attorney seeing a significant uptick in new business. There’s too little content, the quality is low, and the competition is steep. The attorney isn’t publishing often enough, and isn’t providing anything of value to potential clients.
But when that same attorney has a content plan that keeps the focus on publishing new, quality content on a regular basis, they start building a library of good content.
That content can address the needs of their potential clients in the geographic area where the attorney practices. Google likes high-quality content, and is likely to return that content to potential clients who make relevant searches. Potential clients like high-quality content because it helps them learn more about their case or problem. It also helps them like, trust, and ultimately decide to hire the attorney who writes it. The more high-quality content that gets published, the more opportunities this attorney has to connect with potential new clients.
Creating good content takes time and effort. But the attorneys who make realistic content marketing goals — and stick to a good content plan — often see their investment pay off over time.
For more information on the time investment aspect of content, see our blog post: “How Long Does It Take For Content Marketing To Work For Law Firms?”