by Edie Reinhardt
Content marketing is a big part of overall marketing strategy for many law firms, but unfortunately, limited resources can make it particularly challenging for small firms. The Feb. 24 panel, Content Strategy for the Small Law Firm, hosted by the Metro New York Small Law Firm Shared Interest Group and held at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC, addressed best practices for developing and implementing a content strategy. SIG co-chairs Brandie Knox and Kimberly Connolly moderated the panel, which included Adriana Gardella, Senior Writer, Carlton Fields; Stefanie Marrone, Director of Business Development and Marketing at Tarter Krinsky & Drogin LLP; and Edie Reinhardt, Principal at RDT Content Marketing LLC.
Here are a few of the tips shared at the roundtable:
Developing an overall content strategy
It is crucial to identify what areas you will focus on whether it’s certain practice areas, industries or topics. Your firm may have a diverse practice, but that doesn’t mean they are all equal. Prioritize and choose where to concentrate your efforts.
Also, know your audience. Researching and creating a buyer persona (profile of your ideal client/referral) is essential to your content marketing. It helps guide you in developing content that will be of interest to your audience and also promoting it to them in the right places.
The first step should be to keep a running list of possible ideas. Write down ideas that come up in meetings, set up searches, sign-up for email newsletters, look at competitors, etc. Then use these to start to fill in a spreadsheet that outlines the due dates for each topic as well as the call to action, keywords, and other pertinent information. Once the editorial calendar is populated, it’s important to stay on top of the due dates and the attorneys who need to get you material. You could use Google calendar for that.
You can merge your editorial and social media calendars, but often that becomes overwhelming to review and maintain. Try keeping separate calendars, perhaps adding a basic social media checklist to some of the editorial calendars.
Each piece of content should be reused in multiple ways. Older content can be updated. Shorter and longer versions of a piece can be created. Also consider repurposing into different formats – written, audio, video, webinars and live presentations.
In addition, content can be repurposed for different marketing channels. For example, blog posts can be featured in client newsletters. Research reports (and other long-form content) can be sliced up for social media. When possible, use visuals to enhance the content and give it more impact. Canva is an example of a free tool to create graphics for your social media posts.
Remember that you can market your content more than once. On LinkedIn, content can be posted to the firm page as well as shared by individual attorneys. Attorneys can also post to their LinkedIn groups to expand their reach. On Twitter, you can craft six or seven tweets to go out over several days promoting your content. On any of the social media channels, you can also go back and repromote something that was done a few months ago if it’s still relevant and current. Evergreen content that doesn’t go out of date is extremely helpful in maintaining your content pipeline.
Syndication is another useful way to repurpose your content and expand your reach. The four main syndicators of legal-related content are Lexology, JDSupra, Mondaq and National Law Review. Each has its pros and cons for firms.
It is important to identify your key metrics, keep track of them and report them. Attorneys want to know that people are seeing their content, but the exact numbers may not be as meaningful to them. As a result, you also want to gather anecdotal evidence. It’s great to be able to track business back to an article, but other results are also meaningful (ex. getting positive feedback from clients or colleagues, having media or organizations reach out, etc.)
Edie Reinhardt, Principal of RDT Content Marketing, specializes in helping law firms use content marketing to distinguish their brand and grow their business. She previously practiced law and was a publisher at ALM Media.