Free balloonSolicitors should give their knowledge away for free.

Before you howl in protest, I’m not talking about the latest cuts to legal aid fees. Giving away knowledge for free is actually a smart marketing move, if you do it in the right way. Your law firm is sitting on a treasure trove of information which can be parcelled into downloadable chunks for potential clients, developing credibility and loyalty to your brand.

Give out free balloons

These downloads work in a similar way to those branded balloons companies hand out to children at big events. They will be pleased, even grateful, for the branded material you have given them. It’s a free balloon!

Your content marketing is aimed at drawing customers to your site and impressing them when they get there. What will lead people to you? Some might go to your site directly, some might be looking for a law firm and find you – but the majority will probably find your site as they search for an answer to a problem. The better you can answer that problem, the more they will like you.

What do you have to offer?

Think of someone looking for a guide to buying a home. The stages of offer, acceptance, exchange and completion can seem daunting to first-time buyers. Your conveyancing team knows this stuff like the back of their hand. They also know the main pitfalls within the process. Putting this information into a downloadable PDF is likely to be of much greater value to potential clients than a blogpost on the latest case law.

When putting together this kind of resource – whether you want it to be a simple one-pager or a full-sized e-book – think about the key questions your client wishes to have answered. Perhaps they are a retailer looking for a guide on changes to consumer law, wanting a practical guide to how it will affect them. Maybe they need the basics, or perhaps they want to know about a new niche area.

How to make your content accessible

Your download shouldn’t be an essay. It’s best to break material down into a variety of formats within the document as a whole: for example, having a ‘top tips’ section, or a flowchart to illustrate a legal process. Use simple, short sentences and avoid legal jargon.

It’s important to ensure your resource is clearly branded and contains a call to action. This should take up a modest amount of space within the overall piece, or it will come across as overly commercial. State how your firm can help the reader with their legal problem and how they should contact you.

A long-term marketing asset

A set of downloadable guides touching on key areas of your practice is a valuable asset. You can link to the guide on social media, email it to new clients, mention it on email footers or highlight it in a pop-up window. Refer to it in blogposts and ensure it is easy to find on your site navigation. Make sure you revisit the resource whenever the law changes, to make sure all the information is still correct.

Content marketing doesn’t have to involve lots of research. Even areas of law that seem basic and obvious to you will be valuable to prospective clients. Once you demonstrate that you can help them understand the main principles of an area, it’s a smaller step for them to retain you to help untangle their own specific problem.

Ben Hollom

October 5, 2015