Seven Ways a Blog Can Help Your Law Practice

blogFor many attorneys, maintaining a blog is like eating kale – we know it’s really good for us, but we just can’t seem to get all excited about it. But if eating kale was the best possible way to get your law firm coffers to overflow status, I bet you would be digging into a plate of it every day.

And so it is with blogging, which is one of the best possible ways for you to dramatically increase your lead flow, improve your firm website’s SEO and traffic count, and build a sterling reputation online – all of which can lead to a healthier bottom line for your firm.

Many attorneys I speak with feel they should be blogging, but are not really sure why. Here are 7 ways that blogging can help your law practice:

  1. Increase client engagement. A blog provides an opportunity for you to open a dialogue with prospects and clients and share with them more about who you are, what kinds of legal issues you can help them with, and why they should hire you.

  2. Improve SEO rankings. Blogs are the number one way to add new content to your website, which search engines like Google reward with higher rankings. Over the last few years, Google has favored larger websites with more content over small websites.

  3. Humanizes your firm. People don’t want to hire faceless companies. They want to know they are cared for personally. Blogs provide you with the opportunity to tell the stories of clients you have helped (leaving out their real names and identifying information to protect the innocent), and nothing is better for putting a human face on your law firm. Include videos in your blogs to really humanize your firm.

  4. Showcases your areas of expertise. Regular blog posts keep your website up to date and relevant, letting prospects know you are on the leading edge of emerging legal trends. You can highlight the areas you truly specialize in.

  5. Market segmentation. If your law firm includes more than one practice area, you can segment this more effectively by creating blogs for each specialty area and speak directly to those targeted prospects.

  6. Repurpose content. Your blog posts can be effectively repurposed for free reports, e-books and in your monthly newsletters.

  7. Build trust. Current research shows that 81 percent of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs.

ARTICLE BY Stephen Fairley of The Rainmaker Institute
© The Rainmaker Institute, All Rights Reserved

Digital Marketing and Your Law Firm: Essential Tips for Attorneys

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If you have been in law for a long time, you may never have envisioned having to pay attention to digital marketing to help your practice grow. But the good news is, law firm marketing can benefit tremendously from digital marketing techniques, and there are many you can put into place yourself, without major investment.

The key to succeeding in digital law firm marketing is commitment and consistency. You shouldn’t try to tackle everything at once, because you may be overwhelmed. If you have never done any digital marketing, your first step will be to map out a strategy that’s reasonable for your level of time and resources.

Document a Content Marketing Strategy

A 2014 survey on digital content marketing found that companies that actually write down a content marketing strategy are more effective than those that either have a verbal-only strategy or no strategy at all. Documenting your content marketing strategy helps ensure that all participants are on the same page, so to speak, helps you to remember the tasks you set out for your team, and gives you a baseline document you can use to help you determine the effectiveness of the various digital marketing strategies you use. A documented strategy sets the tone and the pace.

Phase in Social Media Marketing

You might think writing a few Tweets per day, or updating your firm’s Facebook page is a trivial activity. However, consistency is essential for successful social media marketing. Too often, businesses start out with a blitz of social media content that they are unable to maintain, and this can detract from their brand. Quality is more important than quantity. Start small, perhaps on one social media site, ramp up your social media posts, and learn to use the site’s built-in analytics. Once you get into a consistent posting schedule and can use analytics to learn what is and isn’t effective, you can branch out to other social media platforms.

 Essential Tips for Attorneys

Ensure that mobile users can learn about your law firm on the go.

Ensure Mobile Friendliness

Digital marketing today must be mobile-friendly, particularly for local businesses like law firms. There are a number of ways to use mobile platforms for law firm marketing. You can develop a mobile website or an app, for example. People have mobile devices with them around the clock, so if you can reach people on their mobile devices, you have many more opportunities than if you rely solely on them finding your website on their desktop. Thirty-one percent of traffic to law websites is from mobile devices. You don’t want to ignore an audience of that size.

Blogging Can Benefit Law Firm Marketing Significantly

Blogging, like social media marketing, requires commitment. Fortunately, you can outsource blogging to ensure your blog has a steady drumbeat of fresh content. Again, quality trumps quantity, so don’t rush to add a lot of content to your blog without ensuring it is timely, relevant to your practice, and well written. Topics for law blogs can come from any number of places, including government statistics, news stories, and even popular culture. As your blog grows, so does your credibility as an authority source, something that will inspire confidence in those who hire your firm.

Non-Text Content Broadens Your Reach

Digital law firm marketing doesn’t have to consist solely of text content. Visual elements can take digital marketing to a higher level and make a measurable impact. You can add visual content in many ways, such as creating a video holiday card for your clients and business partners, creating captivating infographics (using free sites like piktochart), or hosting online webinars that you publicize on your blog and social media. If you create a YouTube channel for video content, create a Google+ profile as well to help boost your content in Google results.

Don’t be afraid of digital marketing for your law firm. With the ability to target audiences on social media and take your content to a potentially huge audience, digital is the future of law firm marketing. You need a defined strategy, commitment to maintaining it, and the ability to use web analytics to determine what works best.

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Fix These 4 Problems on Your Blog to Maximize Search Engine Optimization

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1.   Make It Useful

Write about something that will provide value to the person reading it. Write with your audience in mind. Keep the writing simple but professional. Remember: Your clients do not have a law degree and if your writing confuses them, they will look for answers elsewhere.

Legal MarketingThink about your client base. Are they middle aged woman, seniors, mostly male, individuals with physical handicaps? Target your posts to their interests, needs and questions. Avoid general articles that could be for anyone. Have the reader in mind when you are writing content and show your expertise. Answer the reader’s unasked questions.

Targeting a specific demographic will help with the social signals as it will probably be shared more and will earn links. Fluff content may get you some rankings for staying relevant and regularly updating your website, but if an actual human goes on your site and does not find value in what you have posted, chances of a return visit are slim—and your ultimate goal should be people returning to your site based on the quality of its content.

2.   Make It Local

Think about your local area and any news or hot topics that you can cover in blog updates. Can you add unique value to these stories? The more your topics and writing speak to your local audience, the more engaged they will be with your site. Write about charities or events you are involved in.

3.   Engage the Audience

How does the page look? Content is not just words. Content can be text, images, videos, charts, graphics and data. Use video and image assets to help tell your story. Visual content engages the user and instills respect for the quality of the information presented on the page.

Also, long blog posts allow you to fit a lot of good information and keywords onto the page, but you will need to divide it in to short sections or into an FAQ format to enable visitors to scan the page for the information they seek.

Use your employees for feedback. Ask them to share your content. If three months have passed and no one has shared anything, it is time to start asking why.

4.   Get the Technical Details Right

Effective title structure is key to generating good organic traffic and a high-quality user experience. Utilizing headings (H1, H2, H3), alt text and description tagging is important for user experience (UX) and for search engines to understand and optimally display your content.

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Google Sticks a Fork in Guest Blogging for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

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Last month, Google’s Matt Cutts, who heads up the search engine giant’s webspam team, wrote this on the Google Webmaster blog:

So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a link building strategy.

So should you halt your guest blogging efforts?  Well, in a word, no.  Because SEO is not the only reason you guest blog – either on other blogs, or hosting guests on your own blog.  Which is why Cutts later updated his original post to say this:

Google SEO Search Engine Optimization

It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context. I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future.

Guest blogging used to be ONE way to develop quality links back to your own website or blog. Unfortunately, those trying to game the system with low quality content have made it – as Cutts says – a spammy practice.  Those that use guest blogging as their sole source of link building will now be out of luck and may even be penalized.

But I would still recommend guest blogging as a way for attorneys to spread their authority to other audiences that may not have otherwise been engaged by your own blog or website.  It can also still be a great way for you to improve the visibility of your firm and, when shared on social media, can help your SEO efforts from that standpoint.

As this blog post and other recent developments at Google demonstrate, you can’t go wrong when it comes to SEO if you pay attention to these 3 things:

1.  Designing a website that provides users with a superb experience – from the way they navigate the site to the information they find there.

2.  Developing high quality, relevant content for your area of practice that people want to read to help them solve the problems they would hire you for, populated with relevant keywords.

3.  Being an active participant on social media networks that your prospects and clients frequent, sharing all that great content you’ve developed for your website and your blog and engaging online with your target market.

Article by:

Stephen Fairley

Of:

The Rainmaker Institute