You’ve been hearing it for years. Content is king and one of the best (and most cost-effective) content marketing tools at your disposal is a legal blog. The benefits have all been quantified time and again, so we’ll skip that step, and assume you’ve moved onto the next step – preparing your blog or actually actively blogging.
While the act of carving out time in your calendar to write is essential, if you aren’t approaching your blog with the right mindset; you may be wasting your time.
One of the critical elements to the success of your legal blog is identifying your audience and gearing your content directly to them.
Selecting Your Audience
The first step in this process is identifying your audience. What is the end goal of your blog? To get more clients? To get more referrals from your connections? Once you’ve figured out the goal, you can dial in on your audience.
If you’re looking for referrals from professional connections, the content you share, the manner in which you discuss topics, and the approach you take will be vastly different than if you’re speaking directly to your potential clients.
Secondly, if you are targeting clients (or referral sources), which practice area are you targeting your focus. If you practice in more than one area, it may make sense to have two different blog feeds (you may even need two different websites if the practices are disparate enough).
Who is Your Ideal Client?
If you decide that you’ll be writing directly to potential clients, then you need to revisit the age-old question – who is your ideal client? If you have a well-established idea of who your ideal client is, then jot down some similarities. What questions do they consistently ask you? What legal concerns are usually top-of-their minds? These will be the basis for your earliest articles.
If you are at the point in your career where you’re re-evaluating the matters you take on or the type of clients you’re working with, then this will be a longer step.
Take a look at your clients from the last year and identify the best – this can be based on revenue or on another factor like the complexity of the case, the type of work involved, etc. Perhaps you’ve spent years handling a broad area of employment law matters and you look back and realize that you enjoyed the consulting work you did with a few construction companies on setting up their employment handbook and HR processes. Now, you have a new niche to zero in on and a very specific type of client you’re trying to reach.
Speaking to Your Ideal Client
Once you’ve reevaluated your practice and identified your new client, you can circle back to those best clients you’ve worked with and identify the top questions and concerns you know these types of clients had when you worked together.
These questions or topics that they brought to you will be the top items you’ll want to hit in your first few blog posts.
You should have at least your first dozen blog topics sketched out from this process. Continue circling back to look at the top concerns of your preferred clients for inspiration for your blog. They will be the best source for you to glean inspiration.
Who is Your Ideal Referral Source?
This process is similar to identifying your ideal client. You will want to take a look at who referred your best clients in previous years and identify the traits they share.
If you’ve taken a look at your CRM and determined that at least half your best clients were referred to you by real estate agents, then perhaps this is an area you need to focus on. Consider if it makes sense to begin networking with other real estate professionals – mortgage brokers, title companies, etc. (or other professionals within the industry you’ve identified).
If you have several different professionals who are bringing you strong clients, you’ll need to adapt. Consider rotating the audience or looking at topics that would interest each of these professionals – where do they have a crossover.
Speaking to Your Ideal Referral Source
Once you’ve determined who your ideal referral sources are, it’s time to map out the content you’ll be drafting for them. This will differ significantly from the type of content you write to your clients.
What topics within your field would your referral sources find pertinent to their business? Is there a new shift that could be affecting their clients? If so, that’s the kind of information you should be sharing with them. Make sure that the content you’re delivering is something they’ll find valuable – either as a resource for themselves or as a resource for their clients that they can share.
Speaking to Both with Some “Like”
One other facet of content you should be sharing with your referral sources and your clients is the personal or human side of your practice. While most of this can be accomplished through social media feeds – and should, there are some opportunities to be more personal in your blog.
Firstly, the tone of your blog content, in general, will be more informal – even when you’re sharing information. For these posts, though, you’ll be sharing a peek into the people of your firm (or more about yourself if you’re a solo).
These posts can be profiles or little get-to-know-you style Q&As with each new team member (or if you’ve just launched your blog, with each of your team members). These are great to show clients the people with who they’ll be working. It makes them more comfortable.
For professionals, you can share updates about the firm. You’ve added another attorney. You’ve expanded to a new practice area. You won a big case (and here’s how). This will be more news-style content, but much more in-depth and personable than a standard press release.
Delivering Your Blog
Finally, make sure you are getting your updated posts in front of your audience. The ideal ways to do this is via email and social media.
Post your blogs for referral sources to your LinkedIn account, so you can better get in front of your professional network. For your blogs geared toward attorneys, consider sharing them on Facebook or Twitter.
The biggest asset, however, will be generating a newsletter that goes out to your network. If you’re writing content to both audiences, make sure you have two different newsletters – one for referrals and one for clients.
In addition to your blog post, make sure you’re sharing some light-hearted news or updates on your firm (or your accomplishments) in your newsletter and on your social media. Educating through your blog is essential, but make sure you’re slipping in some of that “like” in each newsletter.