Why Taking Control of Your Law Firm’s Online Presence for Yourself Is the Best (and Safest) Bet

by Jul 23, 2018

Nobody knows your clients and potential clients better than you, the attorney.

You are the one meeting your potential clients for consultations. You are the one walking them through the legal process on a daily basis. You are the one who has seen cases like theirs play out to a conclusion over and over again and, therefore, you are the one who is best positioned to build trust with your potential clients through the content on your law firm website that convinces them to contact your law firm.

In previous blogs, we have written in detail about how third-party marketing professionals need to be thoroughly vetted before they are given the “keys” to your law firm’s marketing platforms, as well as whether or not it is ethically responsible to outsource your marketing efforts and content creation to other parties (in short, so long as you are reviewing the content, it’s probably fine).

Still, the best reason to take control of your firm’s online marketing and content creation efforts is this: Ideally, nobody else is better prepared or positioned to do so.

Nobody else will be able to create more accurate client personas for your target audience. Nobody else is more familiar with the language used by your potential clients or the questions they are most likely to need answers to—in fact, most of these questions probably come up organically during your face-to-face interactions with your clients. Those are the questions you will want to be sure to address as you compose content for your law firm website.

Ethical Dilemmas and Legal Marketing

As an attorney, you are responsible for everything posted on your law firm’s website. This holds true whether you composed that content yourself, or whether you hired someone else to do so on your behalf.

There is nothing wrong with hiring a ghostwriter to write quality content for your law firm website. However, if you’re going to do so, you need to make sure that whoever you hire is familiar with the constraints of legal ethics, that they work within search engine webmaster guidelines, and that they understand the intricacies of your particular area of practice in the geographic area where you practice.

It is important to vet any SEO company you plan to hire in order to ensure that they are well-versed in the intricacies of legal marketing. Unlike attorneys, there is no regulatory body that governs SEO providers, nor is there any kind of entrance exam or fitness examination a SEO provider must take to verify that they are qualified to work in the field. There is also no standard with respect to what amount of experience qualifies a SEO provider as an “expert” in a particular discipline.

Beware the Self-Proclaimed SEO “Expert”

There are plenty of law firm SEO agencies that claim to be “experts” or to “specialize” in law firm SEO, though their experience in the field may be limited to a single law firm (or none at all). These providers may also claim to be “experts” in any number of unrelated fields including plumbing, real estate, or eCommerce in addition to “specializing” in law firm SEO.

Hiring an “expert” that does not have a thorough understanding of the potential consequences of uninformed legal marketing can be disastrous for your law firm. SEO providers could mistakenly refer to you as an “expert” or “the best” lawyer in your area of practice, potentially violating the professional rules of conduct in your state. They could also innocently apply synonyms in your content in ways that alter that content’s legal meaning. And, because you are responsible for any content that is published on your website, you can be sure that it is not the SEO company who will ultimately pay for such an oversight.

Again, as an attorney you are solely responsible for all marketing efforts performed under your law firm’s moniker. Therefore, it might be your license on the line should any unethical marketing take place on behalf of your firm.

For this reason, we highly recommend that attorneys either handle the majority of their online marketing efforts themselves, or that they otherwise make sure to properly vet anyone they hire to do the work for them.

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