I have a few favorite go-to content marketing tricks and tips that help guide every post and article I create that help me engage my target audiences. They also make the content I have work smarter and harder for me and my team, which makes us more efficient and strategic. Incorporating these tips into your content strategy will help enhance lead generation and brand building (but don’t tell eveyrone about them – let’s keep them our little secret)!
- Write for your intended audience. Many lawyers fail to step into their readers’ shoes when they write content and instead write for their peers, meaning lawyers at other firms. While it’s true that you will often have other lawyers in your client mix and they can often be key individuals reading your content, a large subset of many lawyers’ client base are actually non-lawyers. That means thowing the legalese and defined terms out the window and always writing with them in mind.
- Always think client-centric. This takes me to my second point, which is related to the one above and is probably the most important one of all – every single piece of content you create should be value-added, helpful and client-centric. about “why is this important to the client.” If you can’t answer that when you are writing a piece of content, stop and try again or completely scratch the idea. You can reframe just about anything – an award win or a client victory – in a way that will resonate with clients in a more compelling way if you write it thinking about how it will impact the client and why they should care about it.
- Show vs. tell with every post you create. This is the concept of demonstrating that you are a leader in your field versus telling someone. So think about creating less content that is s firm-centric “me, me, me” content and more content that shows who you are, what you do and how you can help clients in a non-boastful way. Humble is the way to go and letting examples tell the story rather than making declarative statements about your greatness.
- Create killer headlines. Did you know that many people share content based on the headline alone? If that’s not a compelling reason to spend the time to create strong headlines, I’m not sure what is! The headlines of all your client alerts and thought leadership copy must communicate a benefit to your readers after reading your article. In order to stand out from the many emails that in-house counsel receive each day and the countless social media posts clogging their feeds, you must create headlines and copy that will draw them in. The subject lines/headlines of your emails (so client alerts, press releases, white papers, CLE programs and anything else that you send via email to clients/contacts) is the very first thing that they see and determines whether someone wants to open your email – or not. Make them clear, actionable, short and succinct and extra points if you can create a “how-to” or “why” piece or use numbers or lists.
- Get visual. Developing a smart and inexpensive visual content strategy is well worth your time in 2019. I’m a firm believer that you should never post anything to social media without an image. Why? Because social media posts with images gain far more views and engagement. Today, anyone can incorporate visuals into their social media strategy, you just need to be creative and resourceful. You can easily reuse and repurpose images that you already have and resize them using tools right on your smartphone. In addition, there are many photo and online design tools that enable you to create images for free or at a low cost. Many firms miss the mark on their social media images, either having no imagery at all, lackluster images or even wrongly sized images. So, for all of you non-designers out there, you can easily create and post a custom image to your social media channels using my favorite online design tool, Canva.com. I have a number of other favorite social media tools that are free or inexpensive and easy to use. Check out my JD Supra article on “17 Low Cost (or Free!) Social Media MarTech Tools to Try” to learn about them. The good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice quality to save time or a buck thanks to these tools that will help you differentiate your firm and give you a competitive edge.
- Reuse and repurpose everything you have. Think headshots, practice area images, bio copy, event images that can be reposted as a #tbt or #fbf campaign, previously published client alerts and thought leadership pieces. Every single image and piece of content you already have can be used multiple times. For example, you can pull out an interesting statistic, create a word cloud, use icons or big numbers to bring important points to life, a quote or just tell the story in a different way, and voilà, it’s a different piece of content! Use an editorial calendar to help you track and manage the posts.
- Incorporate evergreen content into your social media strategy. It’s not always easy to generate a steady stream of good content, and since we know it’s important to regularly post content to stay top of mind with your target audiences, try using evergreen content to your advantage. Evergreen content is SEO-optimized content that doesn’t have an expiration date, or lose its relevancy and value over time. It is high-quality, helpful content that provides value whether it is read today, next week or a year from now (such as lawyer bios, holidays, office openings, firm history, timeless client alerts, case studies on matters/practices, careers, professional development, pro bono, firm life and event recaps can all be used to fill in content gaps in your editorial calendar.) This is what I call your “what you say when you have nothing to say” content strategy – or your evergreen content strategy. A strong evergreen content strategy will strengthen your brand, lead to new business and the true bonus – it will delight your lawyers. This is especially important for those who work at smaller firms where it may be difficult to get top-tier media coverage on a regular basis.
- Post content at the right time. What’s the point of creating great content if you post it when no one is reading it? There isn’t one! What I mean by this is that generally speaking, you shouldn’t post content in the middle of the night or on the weekends when you don’t have a prime audience on professional social channels. Instead, wait to post until you have a captive audience, which is during during the work week. In fact, if you look at many industry studies as well as your own analytics (which I hope you do!) posting/distributing content during the morning and evening commuting hours is the smartest time of day to reach your target audiences via social media and email, with lunchtime being close behind. Again, use your content calendar to help you with managing posts, as well as scheduling tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer, especially if you are targeting audiences outside of your time zone.Read my JD Supra article “What to Do When You Run Out of Things to Say – Your How-To Guide to Creating an Evergreen Content Strategy” for more on this topic.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas to inspire your content marketing strategy – let me know what you think.