How to build a content marketing strategy
Content marketing is the art of communicating with your potential customers without directly selling to them.
Through using content marketing you should be striving to positively change and enhance your customer’s behaviour toward your company.
By providing consumers with topical news pieces and informative articles, they’re much more likely to be encouraged to use your services if assured that you’re the best to advise them.
For providers of legal services in particular, demystifying legal services can help to demonstrate your expertise. As well as being of informative value, legal content can also act as a guide for potential clients. If structured in a particular way, it can demonstrate your firm’s experience, whilst helping them reach the decision that they really do need the services of your firm.
Building a content marketing strategy is an essential part of driving traffic to your website and generating enquiries through your online presence.
Instead of simply selling your services and products, if you consistently deliver valuable information to your customers, you will be marketing without interrupting their lives and you could ultimately be rewarded with their business, support and loyalty.
You’ve almost certainly heard of ‘content marketing’ as a catch-all term used to describe the process of creating content and distributing it across different online platforms.
The main types of content used include videos, podcasts and infographics, however the most commonly used marketing material by far is written content in all its guises. Popular types of written collateral include blog posts, long-form content, white papers, e-books, case studies, checklists and templates.
For legal professionals written content can help to explain the conveyancing process, or outline why you need a will. The idea is not to overtly sell your service, but to establish your company as a reliable and authoritative source of information.
If you publish your content in many places such as social media platforms, you’ll see a return in the form of brand visibility, brand reputation, customer engagement, conversions and inbound traffic. You can reuse, repurpose and republish content. If a piece of content has worked effectively for you in the past, then reuse it or construct something new in the same style or approach. This is an effective way to not only save time but ensure you are continuing to use what works.
Here are some top tips from Today’s Media on how to build up your content marketing… these are far from exhaustive but a good place to start
You can end up writing a lot about a whole series of products, services and solutions. The best thing to do is to get focused and write up about something in particular, providing some really useful content around the subject. For example, you might write up some content about why it is important to review your will when you move home, or what to do when a loved one moves in assisted living.
You can make several points as part of one idea, but readers should have a clear idea of what they’re supposed to take away from reading your post. And you may get halfway through writing a post when you realise that your focus is different from the one you intended. That’s fine, and common. When you’re done with your first draft, just go back and make any necessary changes.
Write for your audience
For a successful content marketing strategy you’ll need to be clear about who your audience is so you can create the right content to reach them. It will be useful to understand your client demographics, including age, gender, education and income.
When writing to educate it’s important to understand what you need to educate people about; How they feel about the content you’re currently producing, have you got testimonials or case studies? What their most urgent needs are, and how do your products and services solve them?
By establishing this persona your content can focus on your customers’ pain points, challenges, sources of information, and behavioural motivators. This will ultimately help you to produce content that engages with your target market.
Establish a tone of voice
Legal services lends itself to an authoritative tone of voice, but you don’t need to adopt this if this isn’t your organisation’s style. If you hold yourselves out to be a friendly and welcoming organisation, then write in this style. If you wish to maintain an air of corporatism, then write in this style.
The important thing is to pick a style and remain consistent in your approach.
Avoid jargon and legalese
Write for your audience; and in many ways it’s sometimes best to assume little knowledge. Writing for clients of legal services involves a lot of education of those who aren’t familiar with your services, and using too much industry speak will work against you.
Do not put prospective readers off with overly complicated jargon. Make your content use friendly and useful, which not only helps them in their own lives, but also endorses your expertise, authority and trustworthiness on the subject.Choose where you are going to publish
Most website now have blog or news spaces for you to post regular content. And if you don’t, get one! Content marketing works by sharing content that develops your expertise, authority and trustworthiness. So you need a space on your website which showcases your content and points people in the direction of how you solve those challenges.
The beauty of content marketing is that is can be used across a range of mediums, and you should consider how you can use the content you’re producing in your social media plan, or through partners.
Some practical tips
Longer articles should be c.1000 words and more, blogs can be short, around 300-400 words. Within the body of the content you’ll need to ensure you appropriately identify relevant “h” tags, write in sentences of 20 words or less and ensure the readability is good by keeping paragraphs short and punchy.
Use Google’s “Keyword Planner” in your Google Ads account to look at the sorts of words and enquiries people make of similar subjects that you are writing about an incorporate these into your content.
Make sure your content strategy includes a range of content options like written content (short and long form), infographics, whitepapers, video, case studies, etc.
Whatever you do, do it regularly. Too many websites’ latest news section is filled with the promise of a dedicated content marketing strategy before petering out with the last blog being from 2013!
You will get out of a content marketing strategy what you put in.
Clear call to action
… and finally, make sure you have a clear call to action. Whether you offer a free 1 hour consultation, or offering a quotation, make it clear what you want the reader to do with the information you have just shared with them.
Place your telephone number, email address and/or a form for registration clearly in the body of the content. Adding a personal touch by including the name of a contact can help encourage people to get in touch, with a little more confidence they’re enquiry will be dealt with.