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We recently wrote about the editorial issues that are holding back law firms, and how with a proper editorial function, they can make their expertise clear for all prospective clients to see. Now, we want to dig a little deeper and explore how those law firms that are committed to content marketing can apply some editorial thinking to make their campaigns a success. If content marketing is part of your firm’s own plans, you need to act like a law firm but think like an editor, and here’s how.
Start with the who and the what
First, you need to figure out who you will be targeting with your content efforts. This decision should be made based on wider business objectives, so sales and marketing need to come together to make sure efforts are aligned. Next, find out what your target needs in terms of legal guidance. Knowing this is crucial, as without it, you can’t be sure whether you are providing value to someone or teaching grandma to suck eggs.
You can identify what your prospective clients need by looking for trends in what people are enquiring about and recent cases. For example, private clients may be interested in the incoming stamp duty and what it will mean for their tax planning and inheritance plans. Meanwhile, businesses may be seeking counsel on pension auto enrolment to make sure they are compliant before the deadline arrives. Identify these common challenges and you will have a relevant topic as a tool for showing off your expertise.
Resource is crucial
You now know who you will be targeting and what they are interested in, so it’s time to think about what resource you will need to connect with this audience. No matter how ambitious and hard working your team is, a lack of resource will scupper your plans. You either won’t have enough peoplepower to create content on time, or you will, but what is produced will be poor because you rushed it. This is where Stratton Craig and our writers, proofreaders and account managers come in. But enough about us. You can find out if you do have enough resource by developing a content marketing editorial calendar.
Shape your content marketing editorial calendar
The aforementioned calendar enables you to plan all the content you need for a period of time in advance. You can plan content based on key calendar events (such as challenges faced at the end of the financial year), delegate tasks to individuals and scope out precisely what type of content will be released, how and by who. This process allows you and your team to visualise what needs to be done, and it can be shared so everyone is aware of their responsibilities. Knowing all of this allows you to figure out where additional resource is needed by factoring in an individual’s wider responsibilities, such as a solicitor’s client base and their day-to-day responsibilities.
Appoint a dedicated ‘editor’
Before any work is delegated it is key to appoint a dedicated editor, if you do decide to keep the process in-house. This individual will be responsible for reviewing every piece of content before it is published to make sure you are acting like a law firm and delivering relevant, complaint legal guidance. They need to look at:
– written quality;
– tone of voice;
– relevance to audience; and
– what we like to call the ‘Four Cs of legal content’: clear, compelling, compliant cohesive.
Be sure to check out our previous legal opinion piece for more on the Four Cs and their importance to legal content that bridges the gap between compliant and compelling.
Review and learn
Finally, committing to content marketing isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. You need to know the investment of time and money has been worth it, and you can decide this by reviewing the success of your efforts. Look at the social reach of your content, how much traffic it has driven to the website and any comments on blogs, opinion pieces and other publications that you can track. Learn from these insights by doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t, while still following trends to remain relevant and most importantly of all, helpful to your audience.
We know quite a bit about content marketing and what it takes to succeed with this tactic. If you want to talk about your business’s own content needs, please get in touch.