Many argue that a well-designed legal website is the foundation for generating quality traffic. Others say that content is the driving force behind attracting new leads. And let’s not forget those touting SEO and other forms of traffic generation as the secret sauce that ties it all together. So who’s right?
Turns out they all are.
An optimized web presence balances design, content and traffic generation to achieve maximum results. A helpful analogy is to think of your legal website like a car. A strong, user-friendly design would be the chassis - the frame that holds everything else up. Great content - the engine propelling your car forward. And traffic generation? The fuel that keeps the motor going.
From this perspective, it’s easy to see that you need all three elements to make your law firm site work. For example, a ton of traffic is useless without great content - visitors simply won’t stick around. On the other hand, a poorly designed site is an instant turnoff (even if great content is included). And without fundamental traffic building practices, prospects will never find you in the first place.
While each element plays a vital role, today we’re going to focus on our engine (content) and the team behind managing its operation.
Everyone knows content is what builds great legal websites, and producing fresh information regularly is one of the fastest ways to get there. But it’s about more than just pumping out a few random posts, articles or infographics. You have to be smart about what you’re serving up for the world to see.
Your content is what defines you. It’s how customers learn who you are, what you do and why you’re different from all the rest. Therefore, your content should be an extension of the best parts of your firm - service, quality and professionalism. You achieve this outcome by implementing a solid content marketing strategy that addresses the needs of your prospects along each step of their journey.
Just to be clear - it’s not easy. Good legal content requires focusing on your clients above all else. We’re not just talking about professional writing or high-quality design (which are important), but providing information that delivers real value to the reader. Content that helps visitors make informed decisions about solutions to their legal problems.
Bottom line - think SERVICE. The likes of which your prospects have never seen or experienced before.
It’s a no-brainer that hiring a professional writer leads to better content, but a true content marketing team requires more than just putting words on a page. You need a vision for where you want to go with your content. Research to define your ideal customers and address their needs. Strategies for marketing your content and systems in place to keep everything on track.
Can one person do it all on their own? Absolutely. But if you want to focus on practicing law - and not just marketing your firm - then assembling a well-rounded content marketing team is a smart choice. Here are a few key positions to consider when designing yours:
Focused on building your target customer profile and defining their needs. What type of information are clients searching for? What questions do they need answered? How can we help?
The content strategist analyzes where each piece of content fits into the big picture and decides which section of the buyer’s journey it coincides with. They do so by clearly defining each stage of the marketing funnel, which content should be included in it and what the conversion goal is at the end the process.
At the core of your writing process. Good copywriters are expert communicators and understand how to break down complex legal topics into easily digestible information. Copywriters design your content with a friendly tone and ensure it’s readily understood by potential clients.
Streamlining content keeps readers engaged and facilitates creating the biggest impact.
As you might suspect, the editor/proofreader checks the writers work for grammar, typo and spelling errors. But they can also help to develop and strengthen the content itself.
Sometimes the writer gets too “close” to their own work, and has a hard time spotting gaps in the content or problems with the overall readability. The editor/proofreader identifies these trouble spots and ensures each project maintains a high level of quality and consistency.
Although top-notch copywriting is paramount in getting your message across, so are the right visual aids. Designers create custom images and graphics to illustrate the main ideas of your content and help reinforce your underlying message.
Keep in mind that 65% of the population are visual learners, and the right infographic can solidify key elements of the content and help drive major points home. With the explosion of image-based social media platforms (like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram) the demand for graphic design work is only going to increase.
While not directly involved with the creation process, assistants still play a vital role in providing content to your audience. Assistants are utilized to ensure posts are correctly formatted, optimized for search engines and scheduled for distribution.
They’re also involved in adding hyperlinks to content (such as lead magnets) and ensure connected delivery technologies function as expected. Assistants can also monitor social media accounts and respond quickly to user questions or complaints.
An often overlooked, but vitally important part of the team is the promotion strategist. Their job is to define how content can be leveraged to your highest advantage. Perhaps using the most popular content as part of paid traffic or retargeting campaigns. Or using online networking to promote articles via affiliate sites.
A good promotion strategist knows how to get the most mileage from each post. They also sponsor the right content to keep prospects moving along the buying funnel.
Last - but certainly not least - is the project manager. PMs are the glue holding all the puzzle pieces together. Project managers are in charge of delegating/monitoring tasks and following up with appropriate team members to ensure completion.
The project manager addresses any problems that arise so that team members can focus on their most important task - producing amazing content. PMs become increasingly relevant as the size and scope of your projects grow. Otherwise, the ball gets dropped from lack of coordination or individual oversight.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. The same can be said for creating great content. While one person can do everything, the process is time-consuming and must be done correctly in order to produce results. Assembling a content marketing team normally leads to faster, more streamlined operations and higher-quality outcomes.
It all starts with choosing the right people and clearly defining their roles in the process. Let them do what they do best, and support them as necessary. Doing so ensures you’ll be producing exceptional quality content that not only serves the needs of your audience, but helps your business thrive as well.
Matt Byers is a co-founder of Smart Growth Labs and has been working in the digital marketing industry for 8+ years. Matt has developed strategies leveraging a combination of SEO, content, pay-per-click, email, mobile, and display advertising to execute effective lead generation campaigns in the fields of legal, insurance, and non-profit event marketing.