Solo/Small Firm March 2023
Content Marketing Made Simple
How to get started and stay on track for success
Written by Zack McKamie
Content marketing involves creating valuable and relevent information aimed to stimulate members of your target audience and, ultimately, drive them to action. At its core—and this is where a lot of people make mistakes—content marketing should educate and provide value, not overtly sell your services. And the content you create should be closely related to your area of expertise and tailored to your audience’s wants and needs.
What Are Some Types of Content Marketing?
Content comes in many shapes and sizes. You’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to what you create. Here are some examples:
Blog Posts A blog post can be a write-up about an important case in your practice area, commentary on a news story that intersects with the work you do, or anything else that offers you the opportunity to show off your expertise and point of view. Blogs are often the “foundational home” for a piece of content to be repurposed across multiple channels (including, but not limited to, social media) and is a great way to keep content fresh on your site and increase your online visibility.
E-books E-books tend to be longer-form narratives on a specific topic. They are well-structured and incorporate images and a more polished design. E-books typically educate versus entertain and provide readers with insightful and valuable information.
White Papers White papers are like e-books in that they are educational. They should provide in-depth information on a specific topic and provide solutions to a perceived need or problem.
Tips and Lists “Top tips” and lists are popular forms of short and easy-to-consume content marketing. As with all online content, be sure to make them easy for readers to quickly scan and use visual callouts for key points and takeaways.
Presentations Presentations or slide decks serve as a great platform for presenting complex ideas in a digestible and practical way. Remember, slides should be simple and to the point. Be sure to sprinkle in images and graphics to keep readers interested and engaged.
Infographics Infographics rely on visuals to tell a story, demonstrate a process, and communicate data or knowledge quickly and clearly. Infographics are all about design and flow, so they should be visually striking. An eye-catching infographic could be one of the more “sharable assets” in your arsenal.
Video Video can be a powerful way to cut through the clutter and make an impact. It has to be done right to be effective, and right doesn’t always mean expensive. The trick to using video as part of a content strategy is to make it interesting, short, and valuable to your audience. Video tends to perform well on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Insight: Don’t feel you need to swing for the fences right away by creating a huge piece of content, such as an e-book. Start with a blog post, work your way to a white paper, and then move on to an e-book or infographic.
Getting Started: Develop a Content Marketing Strategy It’s easy enough to begin writing content and posting it, but you may find yourself veering off the path and struggling to maintain consistency and focus over the long haul without first developing a strategy. Having a clearly defined and structured content marketing strategy is vital. Start by asking yourself these questions:
Who is the audience? Remember, one size does not fit all. What you develop for referring attorneys and peers should not be the same as what you develop for consumers or the general public. Tailor your content to your audience and create something that will resonate with them.
What topics will you write about? You can’t be all things to all people. Identify the topics you want to be known for and focus on those. For instance, if you are an expert in navigating business disputes, you may want to develop content that provides valuable insights to CEOs or business owners for when a disagreement with a business partner arises.
What topics should you avoid?
This may seem obvious, but it’s also important to know what topics you don’t want to be associated with. If you don’t identify these “don’t touch” topics as part of your strategy, you may find yourself straying off your intended path.
How often are you
Structure is key when it comes to content marketing. Establishing a process and schedule for when you will develop and distribute content goes a long way in ensuring consistent, ongoing success. The last thing you want to be is a one-hit wonder.
Who’s writing it?
It could be you, an associate, an outside professional, or all of the above. A mix of resources can be an efficient and effective way to approach the work. What’s important is that you set yourself up for success from a time management perspective and put a process in place that works best for you.
Where will it live?
Before you develop content, consider where it will ultimately end up. Your audience consumes information differently in different venues. Tailor the presentation of your content for each channel, whether it’s your website, social media, or email. This is increasingly important with the proliferation of smartphones. It’s important to consider how your content will look on small-screen devices.
Insight: It’s not enough to just start creating content. Having a purpose behind your content marketing is key. If you don’t clearly define what success looks like and how you plan to get there, chances are you won’t.
Create an Editorial Content Calendar
Create a content calendar and stick to it. Start with one piece of fresh content every month and gradually move to twice a month. You may find that once a month is all you can handle. But even then, in a year, you’ll have 12 solid pieces of content
showcasing your expertise and thought leadership. Example content schedule:
Define and develop a topic on Monday and Tuesday
Finalize by Wednesday
Post and distribute on Thursday
Engage with your audience and review your efforts on Friday
Content Marketing for the Legal Industry
Lawyers can use content marketing in numerous ways to connect with colleagues, peers, referral sources, clients, and the general public. The key to being successful is to write for your audience, provide value, and follow the rules for lawyer advertising and solicitation.
Staying top of mind with peers and other lawyers through consistent and ongoing content generation goes a long way toward establishing your reputation as an expert in your area of the law.
Direct to consumer
If your practice is focused on consumer-facing areas such as personal injury or family law, then your clientele is often looking for information and education. Being the valuable resource who gives them the answers they’re looking for puts you in a position to get their business.
Posting new content regularly to a blog or elsewhere on your website
Publishing articles in legal publications and websites
Sharing content on your social media accounts, such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and SlideShare (consider spending a few dollars on advertising on these platforms to reach an even larger audience outside of your network)
Distributing that content to your network via targeted emails
The “Thank You Factor”
Before you embark on your content marketing journey, keep in mind that it takes time to establish a reputation and make a lasting impression. Be patient and persistent and, whether you’re posting your first blog post or creating your tenth infographic, always ask yourself this question: “Will my audience thank me for it?” If the answer is yes, you’re doing it right. TBJ
This article, which was originally published on Androvett’s Insights blog, has been edited and reprinted with permission.
ZACK MCKAMIE is the vice president of marketing at Androvett, where he leads integrated marketing strategies for legal industry clients, professional services firms, and related businesses. Since joining the agency in 2010, he has helped a wide range of businesses develop comprehensive and impactful marketing strategies to help them stand out, reach the right audiences, and positively impact the bottom line.