Legal Content Marketing 101: Creating content that passes the bar

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The moral force, Lady JusticeLegal professionals tend to be naturally eloquent individuals, intelligently distilling facts and forcefully building compelling cases. As such, it’s safe to assume that many lawyers and solicitors will have a good grasp of what makes great content marketing for law firms, taking the lead on creative ideas that will attract the right clients.

However, having conducted a number of legal content marketing campaigns, we find that in-house teams often fall into the trap of excessive legalese, i.e. creating content that is littered with legal jargon, which doesn’t read well or may come across as slightly intimidating for the general public.

Thus, here we present our guide to content marketing for lawyers and solicitors.

Get savvy with SEO

The starting point for any online marketing activity is to get your website up to scratch, making your service pages as search engine friendly as possible. Dedicating time to comprehensive keyword research is vital if you’re serious about getting noticed in the SERPs, and studying which words and phrases you should be targeting will help you create more focused content that promises to work harder for you.

If you’re a law firm in Bristol, for example, you’ll want to have a good variety of geographically relevant, local search terms dotted throughout your site, and you can use AdWords Keywords Planner to see the most popular phrases that should be incorporated into your text.

Content marketing for law firms, keyword research

Once you’ve compiled your hit list of keywords, you should carefully craft each service page to ensure a good variety of relevant terms are used throughout, increasing the likelihood of Google ranking you highly for said terms.

So, if you want potential clients to find you, your homepage should naturally include a healthy mix of keywords, such as ‘law firms in Bristol’, ‘family solicitors Bristol’, and ‘Bristol lawyers’, within the web copy, paying particular attention to Page Titles, Headers and Meta Descriptions (if these elements are unfamiliar to you, you may want to enlist a specialist SEO copywriting agency to ensure you cover all the bases).

However, the key thing to bear in mind with keyphrases is to use them wisely, i.e. not stuffing every possible variation into your content to the point where it becomes almost unreadable. This approach will likely get you penalised by Google’s algorithm, as it can detect when you’re trying to manipulate search engines with little regard for user experience.

Also, if you’re trying to convince people that you’re the right firm to take on their case, it’s essential that your web copy frames you as a professional outfit, not one which talks gibberish.

Mind your FAQ’s

When seeking legal advice, Google is often the first port of call. As such, if you produce content that directly answers the questions that people will be asking, you stand a greater chance of ranking well in the search results.

You can use Answer The Public to help you visualise exactly what questions people are asking of Google which relate to your particular niche. For instance, if divorce law is your thing, here’s a breakdown of the types of question being asked:

Queries related to divorce law

Google likes to return pages that match the user’s intent, so answering the questions being asked means your page is more likely to be seen as relevant for that specific search query. Plus, users are far more likely to click your way (even if your page isn’t ranking at #1) if you’re obviously answering their question or meeting their need.

Thus, whether you’re writing a blog post or fleshing out a service page, taking time to directly answer questions will increase your search visibility, while also ensuring that you provide valuable content for your audience.

Make your case

This one should come naturally to legal professionals, and publishing case studies should be central to your content marketing because they prove that you can ‘walk the walk’ and get the job done. Detailing the intricacies of people you’ve helped and cases you’ve won may not always be easy, due to their sensitive nature, but wherever possible it’s advisable to publish at least one case study for each area of law in which you operate.

Some law firms are seemingly put off the idea of case studies because they don’t want to pester their clients to contribute, but you may be surprised by how willingly people will sing your praises, especially if you’ve helped them win a case.

By documenting your process – outlining the challenges your client faced, detailing the services you provided and highlighting the eventual outcome of the case – you’re telling a real life story that people can relate to.

Other online marketing activity may attract visitors to your site, but a good case study could be the clincher that wins their business.

Start shooting

It’s no secret that video content is dominating the web, predicted to account for 82% of all consumer Internet traffic by the end of the decade. If you want to catch the eye of someone on social media, then a good video will get help you get noticed.

Our friends at Hurricane Media produced this promotional film for Michelmores, detailing their history and vision for the future.

After Google, YouTube is the world’s second biggest search engine, and Michelmores have extended their reach online by recording short explainer videos to common questions, such as, ‘What is shared parental leave?’.

The human mind is wired to respond to movement, which is why video content is so innately appealing. Thus, if you start shooting, it’s likely that people will press play, and the great thing is videos can be easily distributed across social media, as well as embedded on your site.

A good video will also keep people on your webpage for longer, improving user engagement, which is another important search ranking factor. Essentially, the longer people spend on your site, the better quality Google perceives it to be, and you’ll be rewarded accordingly with a bump up the rankings.

Reach out to industry publications

Submitting guest articles to leading industry publications – such as Solicitors Journal, Criminal Law & Justice Weekly and Practical Law – has multiple benefits.

Firstly, a good thought leadership article on topical events can raise your authority among peers, potentially attracting referral business. Secondly, it gives you great content to share on social media, adding a sense of credibility to your brand. And finally (and perhaps most importantly), you’ll receive an authoritative citation link from a well-respected website.

You should also target publications that your potential clients are likely to be reading, such as sports magazines if you deal with sporting injuries, or parenting websites if you specialise in divorce. Remember to offer valuable information that frames you as an authority on the matter, rather than directly trying to sell your services; if you come across as too advertorial, it’s likely that your article will be outright rejected by the editor.

In a nutshell, Google views citation links as recommendations, so the more you have from high-quality websites relevant to your niche, the greater the authority Google attribute towards your website, again giving you a healthy boost in the organic search results.

We’ve experienced great success in running outreach marketing campaigns for law firms, boosting website rankings and earning referral traffic and direct leads as a result. Regularly updating your own blog simply isn’t enough if you want to stand out from the crowd, so adding writing for a variety of industry publications to your repertoire can really pay dividends.

Courting clients with your content

With any form of marketing, the aim of the game is to attract custom, and following each of the steps listed above will certainly help keep your content strategy on track. If you’d like further advice, feel free to schedule a meeting with our expert team.