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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mapping Out a Successful Content Strategy for 2014

In the words of Winston Churchill, “he who fails to plan is planning to fail”. This is most definitely the case when it comes to online marketing and the implementation of a dynamic content strategy. We see it all the time: a law firm launches a new website and is diligent about adding new content on a regular basis because they know this will help with SEO and make an all around better experience for their site visitors. But then life and the practice of law gets in the way. Suddenly bi-weekly posts turn into bi-monthly posts and as you can imagine, dwindle down to just a handful of new articles per year. Unfortunately, when your content strategy falls to the backburner, your web presence also takes a hit. When it comes to carrying out an effective ongoing content campaign, a bit of planning and brainstorming can make all the difference, allowing you to keep up even during the business times of the year.

  1. Schedule It
    Since your firm’s website requires frequent content updates for success, writing isn’t an option; it’s a necessity and just as with billing, payroll or staff meetings, this task should be a hard and fast responsibility that can’t be ignored. Take a few minutes to schedule a half hour time spot at least once per week to draft a new article or blog post. Do this first thing in the morning, before you have time to get distracted, or during the slowest time of the week for your office (Friday afternoons work great).

  2. Outline Your Topics
    Many attorneys stop writing when they encounter writer’s block. We’ve heard clients say it takes more time to think of a topic than to actually write about it. Knowing that you’re likely to hit a dead end at least some point in the year, make an editorial calendar for your blog posts. Perhaps you will have each month devoted to a different area of your practice. For instance, if you are a personal injury lawyer, you might reserve January for an exploration of car accident issues where over the course of four weeks, you discuss 1) what a website visitor should do immediately following an accident, 2) what no-fault means in your state, 3) how much an injured driver should tell his (and his opponent’s) insurance company and 4) Statute of limitations in your state. You might devote February to medical malpractice, where you discuss four different issues pertaining to that practice area.

    Alternatively, you might consider having a theme each week. During the first week of the month, you write an “ask the attorney” article where you address common questions that you get from clients. For the second week, your post might cover a recent article or case in the news and so on. By outlining topics or even creating a framework with the types of articles for each week, you can make sure that your weekly blogging efforts don’t become a great burden to your firm.

    3) Have a few spares
    For continuity, you need to have a back-up plan. What if you have a trial that keeps you out of the office during your regular writing session for a week or two? As you start up the year, take an hour or so to write at least five spare articles which you can easily post, even if you don’t have the time to write.

    4) Build a content team
    Effective legal marketing is a team effort. When it comes to implementing a dynamic content strategy, bring your colleagues into the mix and invite them to share ideas for articles. You might even consider having a designated “editor” who will ensure all articles are properly edited and added on time and a back-up writer, in case you’re unavailable and your spares have been exhausted.

Carrying out a dynamic content strategy takes dedication and creativity. With proper planning and the right team, however, you’ll likely find that writing and sharing new content each week is less challenging, and you might even come to enjoy your writing sessions.


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