Content is an essential part of any professional service firm’s marketing plan. Without a consistent and continual flow of new content, your firm will have nothing for the search engines to find. If you feel your content plan could do with a refresh, here are our top 10½ practical content marketing tips for law firms, accountants and patent and trade mark attorneys.
Why should I invest in content marketing?
Content marketing is all about creating (and promoting) quality content that addresses the specific needs of your target market/s.
It is not about summarising the latest legal or legislative change in your practice area. It is about highlighting relevant issues and offering practical, straightforward and easily understandable solutions your readers can action.
It’s also about making taking that action as simple as possible by adding a clear (and hyperlinked) call-to-action at the foot of each piece. After all, why would you create content if it can’t create enquiries?!
However, good content does more than just allow you to showcase your technical understanding. It also provides you with an opportunity to underline why you are the best choice for the reader. Partly this will come down to personality. What tone of voice do you use? What examples are you using? How do you explain the points you’re making so they’re easy to grasp and of practical value?
How does your content make sure you come over as more attractive and more accessible than your competitors’?
If you can develop content that provides both the right technical guidance and the right personal delivery, your content will generate new conversations. We trust the following 10½ practical tips will help you strike that balance.
Our practical content marketing tips for law firms and accountants
1. Quality over quantity
At the moment most firms are pumping out content, but a lot (dare we say) could be filed under ‘for the sake of it’!
If you’re going to be heard (or, rather, read) in such a busy marketplace, your content needs to become synonymous with quality. Always remember one well structured, well written piece tackling a very real and very current issue is always better than a series of rushed pieces knitted together by search terms.
And if you’re worried you don’t have the resources to produce regular quality content, why not outsource the task?
2. Be strategic
As fee earner time is valuable, make sure every piece you produce fits with your current strategy:
Does it speak directly to the market/s you’re targeting?
Does it tackle current issues?
Does it use the right (i.e. most search engine friendly) words/terms/phrases?
Does it cover a topic or service you want to be known for?
Does it follow a structure or format that has proved successful for you in the past?
3. Be consistent
Create a content plan and calendar …
… this is not just another admin task, organisations that use even the simplest calendars are proven to be 313% more successful than those who don’t!
Of course, things will change as stories break and demands change but a skeleton that sets out what you want to write about, when you want to write about it and who’s going to write each piece will prove give you an invaluable anchor.
4. Tellin’ stories
Writing about the vagaries of black letter law or dissecting the minutiae of personal tax allowances are highly unlike to captivate your audience. Instead, use anecdotes and tell stories. Personalise what you want to say in a way that will instantly be recognisable to your readers.
Stories are more engaging and more natural. Better still, they will mark you out from those competitors who still insist on producing impenetrable reams of highly technical, jargon laden dissertation on the very subjects their clients are paying them to decipher!
5. Mix it up
We say it all the time but people like to consume information in different ways.
Some like to read so written content is great. However, not everyone likes reading a whole page so try bullet points and producing single paragraph FAQs you can release over a few days.
Some like pictures so try infographics, flow charts and diagrams.
Some like to watch so try ‘talking head’ videos and motion graphics.
Some like to listen so prerecord parts of webinars or panel discussions that can be downloaded when it’s convenient for your audience. Better still, try podcasts as your audience can then download them to listen to on the move.
6. Promote it across all channels
Even the best content needs more than social media support.
Remember to email your database to tell them what you’ve posted recently and encourage fee earners to send a personal note with headlines and links to their relevant clients, contacts and prospects.
And I know sometimes newsletters are still viewed as a little passe, but some people still like them so if they’ve opted in, include links to relevant recent content in your lay-out.
7. Pay attention to how you look
People are more likely to read content that looks as if it will be easy to read.
Break up your text so there’s plenty of white space.
Use sub-headings so people can immediately pick out what they want without having to wade through all your words.
Add in hyperlinks to more detailed explanations of technical points or to the websites or information sources you’ve included in case people want to find out more.
And try and accompany your blogs with images of infographics that set out your key points so you don’t even have to read the full piece to get the general gist.
8. Boost your audience
While your own channels (your fee earners, your marketing communications and your combined social media accounts) will give your content the reach you need, there are two easy ways to boost your audience:
1. Collaborate with clients, professional contacts and the trade bodies you belong to. Exchange content and work together on creating new content. This allows you to get your finished pieces in front of their audiences as well as your own.
2. Experiment with established third part content aggregators. For written content you could try blogging sites like WordPress. For audio content you could try Apple Podcasts or Spotify. For video content you can use YouTube or Vimeo.
And of course, you can pursue external editorial opportunities but that is a story for another day!
9. Many hands make light(er) work
It is not realistic to leave your content to your marketing team and/or one or two enthusiastic authors.
We’ve found that creating an ‘editorial board’ made up of the regular writers in each department and your marketing manager (plus your digital marketing exec if you have one) is more effective.
Not only does this provide the perfect ‘live’ forum to support your content calendar, a regular opportunity to table the most current issues and match them up with current search trends and engagement figures will make sure your content continues to hit the mark (and generate the desired results).
10. Make ‘next’ as easy as possible
Even if people love your content, they need to know exactly what to do next. You need to tell them so that ‘next’ is as easy as possible.
Always include a clear call-to-action even if it’s just a hyperlinked email address offering ‘more information’ or the chance to ‘talk things through in more detail’.
Or you could also offer something of value; a more comprehensive white paper on the topic or an invitation to a webinar or event exploring the topic in more detail or ‘knikthe option to sign up to your email updates and/or video channels.
10½. Make it as easy as possible for you
And if producing a regular and varied flow of new content is proving challenging in and amongst fee and client demands, why not outsource it to an experienced pair of hands? Like ours!
If you’d like to give your content marketing plan a bit of a refresh or ask us for some more practical content marketing tips for law firms, accountants and patent and trade mark attorneys, please email us and we can find a convenient time to talk. Or, if you’d prefer, please download a copy of our free special report, ‘How could a blog boost your profile and win you work’.