Dec 18 '13
Are you looking to create and write regular blogs to boost your law firm’s profile, referrals and ROI? Whether you’re outsourcing this to a marketing agency, giving the trainee the creative reigns or blogging yourself here are a few tips from The Herd to help you get it right for your firm.
1. Content strategy
We cannot stress enough the importance of knowing what you want to say, to whom and why. Some consultants call this a strategy… we call it common sense. You wouldn’t stand up in a lecture theatre, to talk to a room full of prospective clients, without a plan and you should think about blogging in the same way. You need a good content strategy. Without a content plan and a tactical strategy in place you have no way of measuring, or ever increasing your following and readership.
You need to decide what type of content your audience will want, and need, to read. To understand this you need to know your clients’ issues and problems (please note: that’s not what you THINK they are but, perhaps, ASK and LISTEN?) and give them value by offering enough professional advice to actually add value. Take time to discuss and plan your content strategy with your legal, social media and/or HR/IT team.
By doing this you will create valuable content and your readership will eagerly await each and every blog post… well… that might be a bit far fetched but it’s something to work towards!
2. Engaging content
Know and decide on the style and tone of your blog. Will it be famous for its satirical twist or its humorous tone? Will it be sophisticated in style or simple and easy to read? Think of your existing and prospective clients and how they already communicate – what’s your relationship like? Make these decisions early on to avoid embarrassment and content confusion. More importantly write what you know, it sounds like an old cliché, but it’s really good advice. Blogging for your law firm is serious business and done with the right amount of intellect and forward thinking you could be one of the top 10 law bloggers before you know it.
3. Leverage the power of multiple authors
Many successful blogs have multiple authors contributing regularly and the benefits are multi-faceted. Your site will have more prominence because it’s not all about you – no-one likes a ‘selfie.’ You will benefit from fresh voices and new spins on topics that concern your audiences. Contributing authors will usually promote the content they write for you and as a result will help establish strong professional relationships. Win-win!
In the professional world there is no room for error – harsh as it may sound. If you don’t have a personal editor to hand or a grammatical genius in the office try some of the following: Our PR experts swear by the book, ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves.’ The tech guys seem to like WordRake. (http://www.wordrake.com/) Personally, there is no substitute for getting a real person to proof read your work. Never rush to send out a blog post until it has been proofed, approved and tirelessly checked for human error. The reputation of your professional service is on the line.
ED: That said, we’re all human and however many times you run through things there will always be errors. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Strive for greatness but be realistic.
5. Integrate social sharing
Whether you are creating a blog using WordPress or broadcasting from your firm website, make sure you integrate social sharing plugins to optimise your blog’s visibility. Link your blog page with your company’s Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook accounts and schedule or automate blog posts to go out once you decide it can be authorised as ‘published’. Spend time getting to know the software’s capabilities by studying a new section every week. Take time to discover the potential of your blogging platform, to go from zero to blogging hero.
6. Capture Emails
Like any bricks and mortar business, you want to nurture repeat visitors to your blog. Here’s a fact that most people will never tell you: the majority of people that visit your site will never return. Sorry. So, you must find a way to encourage them to come back. Make sure you promote and plug at every opportunity by making it easy for visitors to sign up and opt into newsletter opportunities and events. Old technology mixed with new can help leverage the power of email and social media.
7. Web Metrics
We started out by stressing the importance of having a master plan. A road map of where you want to go. But once you’re underway you need to measure your progress and success. Metrics can help you learn what topics interest your readers the most, allowing you to fine-tune your content to reader demand. Metrics can also reveal low-performing posts and help guide your overall content strategy. This is one of the most overlooked areas of marketing. In fact, in our recent report with the PMForum (http://www.pmforum.co.uk/) and Managing Partners’ Forum (http://www.mpfglobal.com/) we found that the vast majority of firms don’t share these metrics with Practice Area Leaders (ie. the people setting the roadmaps don’t get to see the influential data – doh!) (https://response.questback.com/pmi/digitalreport2013/).
Don’t fear the word ‘analytics.’ It’s a simple measurement presented in a complicated way. Free analytical software will provide you with basic social media overviews and there are some great ones around such as Tweetreach (http://tweetreach.com/), Hootsuite (https://hootsuite.com/) and Google Analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics/). A good marketing agency will always explain in ‘plain English’ terms and present simple reports the whole board can understand… or even help you to set up your own.
For more tips, comment and discussion on marketing for professional services follow us @ElephantCreate