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Who’s Your Law Firm’s Online Audience?

by Jan 29, 2014

You’ve heard the online marketing chant. Content is king. But a law firm’s online content is worthless if it’s not tailored for the intended audience. I’m sure you’ve seen it before: a well-designed website with content that doesn’t actually provide value to…well…anyone. Whether it’s commenting on unrelated news stories, off-topic musings, or just fluff, poor content isn’t doing anything to attract visitors. You need to provide readers with a reason to choose (and find) your firm. To start, you need to identify your audience.

Potential clients vs. referral sources

Your law firm’s website (or blog…or both) exists to attract business. Whether you see your content as marketing, it’s a public representation of your brand and people will judge your firm based on your writing. However, a single site does not have to be tailored for both. For example, many attorneys choose to maintain a personal law blog separate from their firm’s main website and blog.

While the firm’s articles and blog would be focused on providing information to current and potential clients, the personal blog may be written for attorneys (and other professional referral sources). However, there needs to be a clear distinction between the two. Both represent you as an attorney, and you cannot afford for potential clients to be confused by finding your personal blog first and never even see your firm’s main site.

Writing for potential clients

Regardless of whether you choose to have a separate personal blog, your firm’s website must target a specific audience. Content that is broad enough to appeal to everyone actually won’t help anyone. It will be too generic to provide actual value. Instead, identify your ideal clients and tailor your content to the information they would find helpful.

The content needs to be specific. It needs to answer questions and recognize the concerns potential clients may have. Adding too much unrelated information will confuse visitors. Do your clients generally come from a specific demographic? It’s no use writing about issues affecting college students in your area if your clients are usually middle-aged. You don’t need to outright specify “this is who I want my firm to attract,” but you should definitely use your content to demonstrate to the ideal client that you fully understand and have experience with their unique issue.

Being specific doesn’t mean you can’t cover many topics. Some attorneys have built massive websites that provide valuable information on hundreds of topics. While this requires a significant investment to content production, it greatly increases search engine visibility and also is impressive to potential clients who may see the large site as a positive representation of the firm’s capabilities.

Writing for referral sources

This is tougher than writing for potential clients. Many attorneys choose not to and build their professional reputations solely on in-person interactions and word-of-mouth. However, law blogging can be an effective way to engage other attorneys and possible referral sources by demonstrating you authority.

It’s just important to keep your current and potential clients in mind and avoid pushing them away or confusing them. Despite this concern, writing for colleagues can be rewarding. It encourages engagement and can foster professional relationships. Above all, if can positively build your reputation, if done correctly.

Identifying other readers

Sometimes your content may be appealing to other audiences. For example, commenting on a relevant news story may attract attention from the general public (and potentially news agencies). You never know who is reading your content, so it is important to ensure it’s a positive reflection of your law firm.

Don’t write just for the sake of writing

Yes, you need content. But even content intended for a specific audience can hurt if it’s poorly written. You can’t simply throw content at your website and hope it sticks. Each article and blog post still needs a purpose. Otherwise, your content is just filler. Words on a page aimed at gaining search engine ranking won’t attract new clients. It’s not just search engines; people can read too. Give them something worth their time and worthy of your firm.

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