Content Marketing for the Legal Services Industry

Content Marketing for the Legal Services Industry

In summary: Engaging clients with content.

Content marketing adoption
: Global law firms increasingly utilize blogging and content marketing to demonstrate expertise and elevate their profiles.
Tools for efficiency: Lawyers employ tools like Passle and Twitter to balance content creation with their demanding legal workloads.
Tailoring content for audiences: Law firms face challenges in making content relatable and engaging, focusing on personal stories and avoiding jargon to connect with non-legal readers.

Global law firms increasingly use content marketing – particularly blogging – to demonstrate their expertise and raise organizational profiles.

The legal industry doesn’t have a reputation for being an early adopter of new ways of doing things, so it’s surprising how eagerly the industry is getting to grips with content marketing.

Law firms that get good results from their content marketing tend to be ones that have a solid strategy in place.

For law firms, this usually means taking a B2B-style approach, aiming content at decision-makers who must be persuaded to choose one law firm above the others working in the same area.

Law firms need to stretch their skills to encompass writing and digital strategy. Quite often, LinkedIn forms a core part of this strategy. Integrating a content marketing strategy with an understanding of search marketing is also essential.

But Law is a demanding profession, and legal companies also embrace intelligent ways of working that reduce the burden of creating a constant flow of compelling content relevant to their practice area.

They are embracing tools such as Passle, which claims to help users create 100 times more content than their peers. It’s a compromise between writing lengthy blogs and curating content that allows law firms to comment on industry updates no matter how heavy their workload is. Twitter also seems popular: it’s a fast way to stay in touch with legal updates and respond quickly.

The challenge of writing for your audience

Another challenge law firms face is that although their partners may be knowledgeable about their areas of knowledge, this doesn’t necessarily mean they can write coherently about it for a non-legal audience.

Avoiding legal jargon, making the content relatable to the audience and understanding what engages them are often challenging for lawyers used to a formal writing style.

Outsourcing doesn’t always work because hiring copywriters with the required subject knowledge is difficult. Some lawyers find that content marketing comes naturally, while others find it more of a challenge.

No matter how insightful a blog might be, the human interest it offers often makes it stand out from the crowd and become more readable.

Much of the content produced by law firms is attributed to individual lawyers, and adding an element of personality, emotion, and relatable stories can help engage an audience. Legal blogs that do well often employ controversy, humor, and strong opinions, making them fun to read and engage with.

One international blogger that’s managed to take a human approach is Dan Harris, writing the China Law Blog published by Harris & Moure plc. He makes good use of interesting stories and personal experiences, keeps posts short, and understands how to write for the web. He uses techniques such as writing numbered lists and quotes to make his blogs more readable and isn’t shy of expressing his views on clients who take a naïve approach to operate in China.

Content marketing for law firms is primarily for the purpose of finding new clients, although there are also other motivators.

When asked why they blog, 23 lawyer bloggers gave a range of answers which revealed how much they enjoyed and felt compelled to write about their experiences. Many surveyed said they helped them connect to other lawyers and reach new clients. Lawyer Eric B. Meyer said that he liked to use a level of snark he couldn’t use in a pleading; Gerry Oginski said he thought it made him a better lawyer.

International content strategies

International law firms must find ways to implement successful global content marketing strategies.

Covington runs several subject-related blogs, such as Inside Tech Media which tackles legal issues related to media, the internet, and technology. This blog runs on a microsite independent of the main Covington website and covers many jurisdictions across Europe, Asia, and emerging markets. Blog posts are contributed by lawyers drawn from across Covington’s worldwide offices.

This means the blog has international authorship and draws on broad expertise within the subject area. Blogs usually state which jurisdiction they relate to in the header and are organized by various topics. Hence, it’s easier to search on areas of specific legal interest such as IP or social media.

Covington is a little patchy in terms of its performance in social media, with some Twitter accounts performing better than others in terms of engagement, followers, and activity. Covington uses its corporate LinkedIn profile to share posts across all its blogs. Individual blogs also have their own Twitter accounts, such as @InsidePrivacy, a Twitter account related to the blog it runs about global privacy & data security.

Covington’s decentralized approach means that it performs better in some areas than others, and it’s recognizably a corporate approach rather than one driven by a single recognizable personality such as Dan Harris. Some Twitter accounts to make the mistake of acting as a ‘broadcast’ channel, with little interaction with other Twitter users and activity limited to pumping out blog content. This makes it a little less lively to read.

It’s likely that international content marketing is going to be a key element that law firms can leverage to get ahead from their competitors.

Content marketing helps firms and individuals demonstrate their knowledge and advertise their business style to those most likely to come to them with work. With potential clients seeking answers to their legal problems online, it’s a way to connect with clients in specific areas of the law to ensure a good match between lawyer and client.

Law firms that can successfully master expressing themselves in this way will likely gain an advantage over those that are falling behind in this area.

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