In previous articles, we explained how legal consumers have become online consumers. We also explored how for that reason content marketing has become an essential part of the digital marketing campaigns that are designed to engage legal consumers. Content creation is a powerful marketing tool that contributes to generating business revenue. It also helps in establishing a good online reputation. In order to successfully market your content, you need a content strategy. In this article, you will find an introduction to content strategies.
What is a content strategy? Hannah Smith and Adria Saracino defined it as “the high-level vision that guides future content development to deliver against a specific business objective.” What they are saying is that you shouldn’t just provide content, but you need to first define a specific business objective. Once you have done this, you can start planning your content with this objective in mind.
So, how does one plan a content strategy? Where do you start? In essence, defining a content strategy consists of three phases: identifying your business objective, identifying your target audience, and identifying the content that your target audience needs. The first thing to do is to identify your business objective. What does your law firm stand for, and what do you want to achieve with the content you provide? Be as specific as possible. Then learn as much as possible about your target audience and what you have to offer them that sets you apart from the competition. Analyse what information your clients need. Researching all of this will provide you with the data that will show you what to write, for whom, how and where.
The article 11 Steps to create a Content Marketing Strategy to Grow Your Business provides an excellent approach that breaks the process down in 11 steps:
- Set your mission and your goals
- Establish your Key Performance Indexes (KPIs), i.e. establish what the measurable factors are that define your success and that will allow you measure that success
- Know your audience
- If you already have content available, assess your current position by doing a content audit: what do you have, how successful is it, what channels and content types are you using?
- Figure out the best content channels for the content you’re providing (which platforms, social media, etc.)
- Decide on content types: are you going for a text blog only, or will you provide videos and/or static visuals like infographics, etc.?
- Identify and allocate resources: define team roles, i.e. define who will write what, who will create graphic materials, who will create videos? What will the hosting cost?
- Create a content calendar: brainstorm your content ideas in advance, and plan when to publish what, so your campaigns stay on track.
- Create your content
- Distribute and market your content: use more than one channel, write guest articles, bring your content to the attention of ‘influencers’, etc.
- Measure the results. Checking the Key Performance Indexes to measure how successful your content is, is a step most law firms pay insufficient attention to.
In his articles, Jay Harrington from Attorney at work gives several practical suggestions. In the remainder of this article, we’ll have a cursory glance at them.
When it comes to defining the actual content you will be providing, Harrington suggests thinking in terms of “wisdom marketing.” The best way to get your audience’s attention, is to provide them with high quality content. By sharing your wisdom, you can build a foundation of trust, loyalty and respect. Harrington also suggests focusing on ‘Evergreens,’ i.e. on high quality content that has a timeless character, rather than paying attention to current affairs, which typically has a relevance that is limited in time. Evergreens include how-to lists, resource lists (i.e. compiling lists of other articles that are relevant to your audience), and FAQs.
Harrington also advises using a ‘divisible strategy.’ With a divisible content strategy, you strategically and intentionally blend written and visual storytelling for the purpose of more effectively spreading ideas to specific audiences. In this approach you first define a core idea and create a single content asset, typically an article or white paper, that then functions as the foundation from which you create multiple forms of visual storytelling content: infographics, animated videos, SlideShare decks, social media motion graphics, etc.
Finally, Harrington suggests repurposing existing content: “A substantive 1,500-word article can be repurposed to a white paper or e-book or repurposed down to a series of blog posts or infographics. A presentation can be given as a webinar. A blog post can be made into a podcast.”