You know it's essential to have a business development plan if you're going to originate any new files. Let's focus on the online marketing equivalent of that. Content is essential to a sustainable online marketing plan, and many attorneys have questions about how to get started with this the right way.
The consistent effort you put in over time is what counts with content -- so, for example, if you write only one blog post a month, or don't regularly add to the substantive pages on your site, that's won't move the needle for your practice.
Many attorneys look at their online marketing as an afterthought. They don't put much effort into it, and this is a big mistake. This perspective starts in law school -- when attorneys aren't focused on the business side of things and how to get clients. And while you can succeed in the short term by creating content as it pops into your head, it's not nearly as efficient or useful as creating a premeditated content plan.
So many different combinations
There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to content. If that were the case, we'd just print up a guide for exactly what to say, how to say it, and what pages you should include for every single attorney. But the reality is that there are so many different combinations of geography, practice area, personality, desired client base, and firm structure that one size doesn't fit all. In fact, one size usually doesn't fit more than one.
When I talk about a content plan, it should really be a written document or a .doc on a word processor. Think of it as a business plan.
Whether you're a solo and calling all the shots, or you're in a firm with several attorneys and you call the shots, it still makes sense to put this in writing.
This way so that you can focus on what's going to be done, and you have a guidebook with milestones and accountability throughout creating this plan.
A content plan, when it's done right, isn't something that can be executed in a week or a month, or even half a year. It's something that can really turn your firm around and benefit you over one to three years. Having this document prevents things like mission creep, and it prevents you from losing focus when someone SEO hack cold calls you and says he can get you to the “top of Google.” This is bogus; having the content plan will help keep you on track.
Your content plan should cover a 1-3 year horizon depending on how fast you think you can get that content created. It should articulate:
- How the content is going to be presented.
- A rough schedule of when that content is going to be produced
- Who's accountable for each piece of content (even includes if you're the only one creating it, because you've got to stick to that schedule, plan the work, and work the plan).
And if you have multiple people writing the content -- for example, maybe you create the plan and then have a law clerk writing the content, or you outsource it to a company like LawLytics to write the content, or you're having someone else in your firm do it and then it comes back to you for editorial revisions -- make sure the plan articulates who will do what and when they'll do it.