9 tips for making the most of your content marketing

Content marketing is a proven way to attract and retain clients, but it’s also time-consuming and difficult. It’s hard to get attorneys to provide content and marketing departments are stretched to the limit. Fortunately there are a lot of tactics to help you create and promote content more effectively and successfully.

1. Start with a content audit. Gather and assess all the content you already have within the firm – old presentations, articles, newsletters, blog posts, internal and client memos, research, etc. Then think about – What else can we do with this material? Is it still current? How much updating does it need? Is the information still helpful to an audience we want to attract? What feedback did we get when it was first published? There could be a wealth of material already at your disposal, but it just needs to be revised and updated. It’s a lot easier to work with existing content, than to start from scratch.

2. Repurpose every piece of content several ways. There are myriad opportunities to repackage content to get more life out of it. Create shorter and longer versions for different outlets (social media, email, third party publications, etc.) For example, an article can be turned into several blog posts or combine related blog posts or articles into white papers and eBooks. Produce audio/video versions of written content or presentations and edit them to different lengths. Develop a webinar or live event from written content and vice versa. You can also change the tone of the writing/speaking to appeal to different audiences. Content that was written for one market can be revised for a new one by using language that is more or less technical. The great thing about repurposing content is not only that it saves time, but different formats are more appealing to different people. In addition, each time the content is repackaged, it presents another opportunity to market the content and the firm.

3. Include visuals. Develop charts, graphs, images, infographics and video. You can add these components to written content to add impact to the text. However, they can also be used alone to attract interest on your website, social media and emails. A great visual can tell a story in a more engaging way than text and it’s also a way to entice people to want to read more. One study found that articles containing relevant images got 94% more total views than articles without them.

4. Develop content that matches the buyer’s journey. The sales funnel is a core concept of business. You attract lots of people to the top of your funnel and through various activities you draw them further down bringing them closer to buying your services. With content marketing, you want to regularly provide interesting information that will draw lots of attention and make it easily available. Blogging is a great way to do that. However, that’s just to start. Then you want to lead your readers into the funnel. Give them a reason to come back to your site and sign up for something so you can capture their contact information. Offer timely, sophisticated or in-depth information in the form of research/surveys, white papers, events, webinars or eBooks. Once you have their contact information, not only can you follow up via phone and email, but you also have the opportunity to continue to provide specialized content to keep them engaged and stay top of mind with them. This is very challenging; but start with just one topic or issue and focus attorneys around developing deeper content around it. For lead nurturing, going deeper can be more effective than casting a wide net with content.

5. Involve attorneys and staff. Both attorneys and staff can be great resources for content creation as well as help to disseminate the firm’s content. Those who deal with clients about day to day matters – questions, complaints, etc. should be asked for input on what the firm should discuss in its writing and speaking engagements. They can also help with doing research, writing, and editing the material. At many firms, it may be the partner’s name on a piece of content, but there are junior attorneys, paralegals and others doing a lot of the work. Once the content is created, these same individuals can help share the content via their own social media channels, which amplifies your reach and gets you in front of more people.

6. Push out content via multiple owned, earned and paid marketing channels. Owned distribution channels refer to channels you control – i.e. your website, blogs, social media, direct mail and email. Earned channels are public relations and media opportunities. Paid channels are advertising related, including Google AdWords, sponsored content and other outlets. Use all these ways to get your message out. In every case make sure your activities are appropriately targeted. Choose the outlets that are relevant to your audience and change your message accordingly. For example, segment your email lists so you send the right content to the right people. If you are going to pay for advertising, make sure whatever outlet you use is targeting the correct demographic.

7. Use social media to listen, engage and share. Social media has a lot of great uses. First, it’s a tool for listening. Monitor what clients, prospects, industry and media outlets are discussing. Look at what competitors are doing. These will provide potential topics as well as help identify the best ways to reach the firm’s audience. Of course, social media is also a distribution outlet. Promote your content via the social media channels your target audience uses. However, remember when sharing your own content you should repurpose it for each outlet. Don’t post the same content in the same way for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other channels.

8. Incorporate content curation. Sharing helpful information that others produce is a great way to engage in content marketing. It still builds the firm’s credibility and visibility, but it is easier to do than creating new content. However, do more than just “like” a post. Have attorneys add a comment or ask a question. It helps to draw more attention and start a conversation with others. It’s also likely that other people will reciprocate by sharing your content, which will expand your reach. There are content curation tools like Curata to make this easier, but even just joining appropriate LinkedIn groups or setting up Google alerts can help you find content worth sharing.

9. Cultivate relationships with other experts, organizations, influencers and media. You are judged by the company you keep. Identify those already writing and speaking on topics your audience cares about and try to connect with them. In building relationships, it’s always better to give than to receive. Reach out to individuals and groups and help them spread their message. As you build credibility with them, opportunities may arise to work with them, or get them to share your work with their audience. With organizations, get involved in committees and share their work. Look for opportunities to partner. Develop joint events, work together on industry research, and guest blog on each other’s sites. Partnering with others is a great tool to enhance your content as well as expand your reach.

Hopefully these 9 tips will help you make the most of your investment in content marketing. For more content marketing tips, follow my blog at www.rdtcontentmarketing.com/blog.

By: Edie Reinhardt

Originally published in Marketing the Law Firm, April 2016, Law Journal Newsletters. ALM Properties Inc. All rights reserved. To view the issue, visit www.lawjournalnewsletters.com.