Think about your legal content marketing. It might be your blog page, direct mail or articles you publish on LinkedIn. Who reads them? Would people be willing to subscribe to your site to access the content? Would they even be willing to pay?
If content marketing is worth doing, then it should produce information that readers truly want, not just background noise that is good for a brief skim read, but nothing more. It should be thought-provoking and insightful – the kind of piece you want to send to friends and associates, bookmark so you can read again or tell people about at conferences. It should give the reader something precious: the feeling of being well informed.
The content marketing transaction
Clients and consumers know that content marketing is basically a transaction. They give you their attention and possibly their email address and access to their social media feed. This is valuable data, and they know it.
In return, you must follow the principles of a good friendship: don’t be boring, don’t be in contact too often or too seldom, understand and respect the other person’s characteristics and preferences. If most interactions with your audience deliver on these points, then your relationship will grow over time and you will build up trust. You are giving the person valued information in an accessible format, and in return they give loyalty and – hopefully – their custom.
Creating premium content
What is the secret to creating this kind of engaging, unmissable content? Most importantly, you need to devote sufficient resource to the marketing. It needs to be fresh and well-researched, not something rushed off by a fee earner with half an hour to spare.
Great legal content should also follow these key principles:
1. Solve the client’s problem
Of course, you can’t solve a legal problem fully through an article, however well-written it may be. However, you can demonstrate an understanding of the issue and the practical consequences it may have for the client, whether financially, operationally or in terms of stress.
2. Provide insight that cannot be found elsewhere
Type the subject of your article into a search engine and what do you find? For the most part it’s a dreary, chatty consensus. See if you can add a perspective that cannot be found elsewhere and write in clear, concise language rather than vague wording which, while sounding eminently respectable, will send your audience to sleep.
3. Develop accessible formats
Once you have an article which is nothing short of superb, you will want to give your audience simple ways to consume, share and save the information. Why not provide PDFs, infographics, even a webinar setting out your argument?
4. Point the way toward your products
Going in for the heavy sell will turn your audience off, but there is no harm in providing a call to action; this might be inviting engagement on the subject on Twitter or another platform, signing up for emails, or providing contact details for the team which handles similar matters in your firm.
Content marketing can be a powerful tool, but you will only see results with quality content which is informed, insightful and tailored towards your audience. Are you hitting the mark, or just adding to the noise?Ben Hollom
May 13, 2016