Editor’s Note: We asked Paula Williamson of McNair to share strategies how to get the most out of your blogs. As she demonstrates below, if executed and tracked correctly your blogs can become a source of revenue in 2018.
Blogs are a useful communication tool for the legal world. Attorneys and legal marketers have grasped this more casual and informative approach to connect with their current and potential clients for years. And why not? This approach is a perfect means by which attorneys can demonstrate their knowledge on a particular topic. Not only can they use blogs to serve as a value-added resource, but, if used appropriately, blogs can also give insight into their personalities outside the formality of the office.
Even so, there is a downside to publishing too much content. According to the Greentarget & Zeughauser Group 2017 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey, 96% of in-house counsel say information overload is a problem. And yet 81% of law firm marketers said they were going to produce more content in 2017 than they did in 2016.
To address this content overload problem, we have to ask the question, “What is my content strategy?” Blogs are still very much a vital tool in the marketing toolbox. Clients appreciate a blog when it is relevant to them and their needs; therefore, a more targeted approach is a more valuable use of time.
The best method to gain and influence readers for a legal blog is to understand your audience. The more you know about who is reading what, the more you can concentrate on specific targets.
For those kicking off a new blog or re-vamping an old one, sit down with your blogging attorney and have him/her tell you five to ten questions they get on a regular basis. Have the discussion with the attorney in person rather than asking them to list topics for you. This way, you’ll have a better idea and understanding of their practice and the core topic. The answers to these questions are then the topics of the first few blog posts!
You can find other inspirations to help if your attorney is in a writing lull:
- PowerPoint presentations the attorney has used in the past are an accessible resource for targeted blog topics.
- Webinars, much like PowerPoint presentations, are a great resource and can be broken apart for a blog series.
- Analytics are a perfect way to capture the most popular blog posts, and questions or comments can be turned into additional posts.
- Content marketing companies such as JD Supra send out weekly trending topics for specific practice groups. Writer’s block? Simply forward to the attorneys these list of topics to get their creative juices flowing again.
- Google Alerts are another tried and true method to discover what is newsworthy to their clients. Simply set up alerts for specific current or potential clients and see what is being said about them in the news. If you see a topic that you know an attorney can expound on, send that on as well.
Is it worth it? You or your attorney may have asked this in regards to writing and publishing a legal blog. In my opinion and based on experience at my firm, the answer is a resounding “yes!” At our firm, we diligently ask new clients, “How did you find us?” and keep a record of new matters resulting from marketing activity. In 2017, we have had four new matters and three additional inquiries from one of our blogs. In one instance, a custom home improvement manufacturer called after reading a blog post on sales tax audits and subsequently engaged us. Tracking results is crucial to measuring the success of a more targeted content strategy.
Although the attorney does the heavy-lifting of writing the blog and sharing his/her knowledge, it is an easier “sell” for the attorney to write if they understand the marketing department does the rest: provides a platform, coaches the attorney, provides marketing, social media, and tech support. Below is a helpful infographic reflecting a content marketing framework:
This graphic illustrates two things: the process overview for content marketing and the internal process for publishing. The idea is to make blog writing as simple and seamless as possible for the attorney and to encourage them to do more.
Another great tip? Venture into video! Filming vignettes takes some of the time pressure off the attorney if they can produce a video quickly in lieu of having to write.
You need not worry about producing too much content if what you produce is relevant to a targeted audience. Everyone is interested in something. The trick is to get that something to those interested. After all, you have been interested enough to finish this blog post!
ABOUT Paula LeGette Williamson
A graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in broadcast journalism, Paula has legal marketing experience working for both a large national firm and a small local firm where she assisted in leading public relations, multimedia content management, and the development of client materials. She has also worked as a video producer and was a photojournalist for the Columbia, SC-based NBC affiliate WIS News 10. She currently manages McNair’s public relations efforts and supports marketing initiatives across all seven locations. Paula is also serving as the Legal Marketing Association of the Southeast’s (LMASE) 2017 Columbia Committee Chair.
Coming in January!
LMA’S Digital & Social Media SIG is launching a benchmarking initiative. It’s designed to give legal marketers comparable data to enable them to assess the effectiveness of their programs and strategies. We encourage all firms to participate in order to make this as useful as possible. Details coming soon!