Legal Content: Why Firms Need It and How to Get It Right
I’m fairly certain that I am a rare breed. I’m an attorney and a professional content writer. I have the unique benefit of seeing legal content writing from both a lawyer’s perspective and from a content development point-of-view.
I have learned that attorneys are busy—so busy that content marketing is generally not a priority (or even a consideration in some firms). The fact that we know the law, but not necessarily marketing or business development strategies, plays a huge role in this lack of prioritization too.
Legal websites not only need content, but they need good content. Crafting the right kind of content for a potential legal client can be tricky, but there is a method to it.
Law Firms Need Content Marketing
Developing good content requires a significant amount of time and effort. Attorneys often simply do not have the time or expertise to create the type of content that their website needs. It is hard enough staying up on developing law, let alone emerging SEO practices.
Unfortunately, this is why content marketing is often severely underutilized by lawyers and law firms. Lawyers’ websites that are completely static and simply list contact information and practice areas are unbelievably common in the legal world—and, shockingly, many firms are totally fine with this. They have no idea how much good content marketing could help their business.
Meeting Potential Clients Where They Are
Content marketing is the “new” frontier for law firms, even though it was new for other businesses years ago. [Tweet it] Word-of-mouth has always been the legal field’s greatest tool when it came to marketing. But, times are changing.
Surveys now indicate that many consumers are heading to the web first to find a lawyer. A 2015 survey indicates that over one-fourth of clients go online first to look for a lawyer. As millennials become adults, those numbers are only expected to increase.
Creating Great Legal Content
Potential legal clients come to attorneys’ websites because they are looking for answers. Offer your clients help before they even pick up the phone or walk through your door. This builds confidence in the lawyer’s ability and it starts creating a relationship based on trust between the potential client and the potential attorney. Each way that you can offer help can be transformed into a great piece of content.
- No one looks up attorneys for fun—they have a problem, and they need help. The best way to attract potential clients to your site is to help them solve their problem in a generalized way through your content. Keep in mind, however, that you are never offering legal advice, and you should always direct the reader to get advice about their particular situation from an attorney.
- Clients head online to look up information even before they realize that they need a lawyer. Defining basic legal terms or concepts can be a great way to get new clients to your site and help them realize that the term is complicated enough to retain a lawyer.
- The legal system as a whole is a mystery to a lot of people. Explaining the court system or basic processes in a particular area of the law can also get people to your site. Your content should explain the process in a way that makes sense, but also makes the reader concerned about whether they should be “going it alone.”
- In some areas of the law, explaining what will happen if you lose a case is a big selling point for getting an attorney (i.e., criminal law or going through a foreclosure). Explain what can go wrong in a legal case and why an attorney is going to be an asset in this type of situation.
- Providing content that isn’t completely focused on the firm or the lawyer is vital to developing trust with the client. You can create content that explains what the reader should look for in a lawyer or how the fee structure works, and then point them to your services. That way, they have both information and options.
- Providing summaries of current events and then tying them into your practice can be a great way to associate yourself with the local community. You can explain a situation or accident that is in the local news, and then explain what the reader should do if they are involved in a similar situation. This works well for personal injury attorneys, but can be applied in other areas as well.
For legal websites, it is even more important to not appear “salesy” or too pushy. [Tweet it] Content that only discusses what you can do for the client is not going to be nearly as effective as problem-focused and learning-focused content.
You are attempting to build trust in every single interaction with your client, and it starts with your website. Think about what a legal client needs when they start their search process and create content around those needs. That is what great content is all about.
5-Star writer Jessica U is a licensed attorney and professional writer. She has been content writing and editing since 2011. She has developed SEO skills and a professional voice that businesses often appreciate. She has served as an editor, writer, and designer for newsletters, blogs, web content, and mass mailings. She takes great pride in her work and consistently delivers quality content.
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