Content marketing is the most effective way to generate new business online. There are a number of ways to approach creating your content, but smart lawyers think about it from a journalistic perspective.
If you've ever taken a journalism class, and I know a number of lawyers who started as journalism majors, this should be familiar to you -- the five W's: who, what, when, where, why.
There are a number of ways to approach creating your content, but smart lawyers think about it from a journalistic perspective.
- Who are your potential clients and referral sources?
- Who is your audience? It helps to really articulate this.
- What kind of clients do you want to attract?
- To whom are you writing?
- What does the ideal new client look like?
Whom you're writing to is very important, both for potential new clients and referral sources. There are different personalities, different education levels, different needs. How do you address those?
Let's say you're a criminal defense attorney and you do appellate work. You have two separate audiences: One is criminal defendants who have lost a trial whom you potentially want to represent on appeal. The other is other defense attorneys who don't do appellate work but who might refer a case to you.
Now -- how do you approach that? A journalistic approach can work here -- you start with the basic concepts, answer the defendant's questions more simply. Then you drill down and get more nuanced: citations, case law, your personal experiences with it, local rules -- however it resonates with you. But in that specific example, the benefit of creating the content this way is that the defendant will probably stop reading when they get the basic information that they need, while the referral source is likely to get into the much more complicated aspects that have been created as you drill down into the content.
Now let's talk about the “WHAT.” What questions are your potential clients and referral sources asking? What questions are they failing to ask but should be asking? This is really the most important thing and it's what's at the heart of some of the most successful law firm websites -- attorneys who get the art of translating the questions that they're asked by clients into content on their website.
The questions that potential new clients ask you during a consult or during the course of their case -- these are the same questions that potential new clients are asking online. In fact, they ask search engines questions in the same way that they do with you.
Pay attention to the questions they're asking; pay attention to the words they're using.
When you look at the questions they're asking, ask yourself whether these questions are relevant to growing your practice. The answer is almost always yes. It takes you 5 to 15 minutes to write the answer to a question on your blog, even if only one person ever asks that. A potential client will conduct a Google search for it, and that content on your website will appear in search results. That person is highly likely to engage you -- as opposed to someone who has never answered that question on their site.
Be sure to provide highly detailed answers; the more details you can provide the better.
Regarding details, some attorneys will say,"Why in the world do I need to provide so much information? Potential clients don't care about the details." In many respects that can be true. The average DUI defendant or personal injury plaintiff probably isn't going to care about the nuances. However, they are going to care whether you know what you're doing and that you're looking out for them. And good content can represent that.
The more content you put online, the more likely you are to engage potential new clients
And the thing is, attorneys don't get to make the call about what resonates with a potential client, just as when attorneys stand in front of a jury. This demonstrates the importance of providing all the details. When potential clients conduct a Google search, and you've written highly detailed content that addresses that particular question, Google gives that content preference in search results because it's answering a question in the way that the potential client is asking.
Want to know more? Read the rest of this post in Get New Clients With These 4 Surprising Techniques.