Not all law-firm marketing strategies are created equal, and every day seems to bring a new “it” system that marketing “gurus” swear is the answer to all your business needs. You can’t try them all, but in an effort to cut out the hype and zero-in on effective tools, some site owners overlook one of the most effective tools out there — blogging. Blogging for a law firm website can make a big impact on your attorney Internet marketing goals, brand image and profit margins. But at the end of the day, exactly how important is it? Let’s take a closer look.
The Goals of Blogging for a Law Firm Website
When attorneys make the decision to include a blog on their law firm website, they do it with a list of expectations and goals in mind. A review of these goals can help you understand the importance of blogging in your overall marketing strategy, and it can give you specific signals to monitor, which will help you gauge the ongoing efficacy of your efforts. While each firm may have a unique approach and outlook, most rely on legal blogging for the following reasons:
Positioning Attorneys as Industry Leaders. A quality blog allows you to showcase your technical knowledge, awareness of your clients’ needs and concerns, and commitment to client service and long-term relationships. Your blog really can make a difference in how you’re perceived — 78% of consumers say they see custom content (like the content you’d share in a blog) as a sign that a business or organization is interested in building good relationships. After reading custom content on a website, 60% of consumers say they feel more positive about a company. These statistics hold just as true for a law firm website as they do for other business models.
Increasing Site Traffic. By identifying and targeting a select group of keywords in your blogs (a process most often referred to as “search engine optimization” or “SEO” for short) you’ll be able to improve your site’s search rankings for these important terms. The hope is that your law firm website will appear higher in search results than your competitors’ sites, helping clients land on your site first. This kind of SEO marketing for lawyers is more effective than you might realize — experts rank content creation as the single most effective SEO technique and blogs reward their owners with 434% more indexed pages.
Think of it this way: ranking highly for the right search terms can turn your blog content into a passive lead-generating machine. In that way, your blog can become your biggest asset. Radio and TV ads come and go in 60 seconds, but ranking at the top of the search engine results pages can last for months or more.
Demonstrating the Value of Your Services. Blogging gives you a chance to share in-depth knowledge on relevant topics. Write about subjects that interest your clients and you’ll have a chance to position your firm and your services as the solution to your readers’ needs. By linking to landing pages within your content and creating a compelling call to action in each blog, you can convert your readers into paying clients.
Creating Returning Visitors. A regularly updated blog gives readers a reason to keep coming back. Each time they do, they’ll help boost your web ranking and give you yet another opportunity to convert that visitor into a client.
Developing Content That Markets Itself. One of the reasons blogging has become such an integral part of attorney internet marketing is because, when done correctly, it markets itself. Craft a well-written blog with actionable advice and expert insights and readers will want to share it with their friends on social sites like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. When they do, they’ll be sending more traffic to your site, boosting your brand awareness and even helping to improve your search engine rankings. Blog readers can become something of a virtual “street team,” sharing and marketing content for you at no extra cost — something you can’t say about traditional advertising.
Generating Leads That Convert. Blogging allows you to create targeted content that will attract potential clients to your law firm website. Choose the right topics, and you’ll earn the attention of the exact type of reader who’d benefit from your services. Position those services correctly, and you’ll generate leads that are much easier to close — because they began with your reader expressing interest. This kind of targeted approach isn’t as easy to accomplish through other forms of marketing.
Gauging the Efficacy of Blogging on a Law Firm Website
Knowing what you want to achieve through your blogging efforts is crucial, but how can you be sure you’re accomplishing your goals? Setting up a regular schedule to monitor your blog’s performance can help, and tracking specific values in a spreadsheet makes recognizing trends and adjusting your strategy to maximize results much easier. Try these tips for analyzing blog performance:
If you haven’t already, set up a Google Analytics account. Use Google’s tools to monitor the number of visitors to each blog entry page. For each specific url, pay attention to how long visitors are staying on the page (anything longer than a minute indicates they’re actually taking time to read your content). Also check out the bounce rate for each blog page. The lower your bounce rate, the more engaging your content is, because it indicates that readers saw enough value within your blog that they decided to check out other entries or other pages on your site. These are just a few of the primary parameters you can review through Google Analytics. The more experience you gain, the easier it’ll be for you to use tools to spot trends.
Monitor comments on each blog. The more genuine comments you receive, the more engaging your content is.
Set up social share buttons on each blog page that make it easy for readers to post your content to sites like Facebook and Twitter. Check to see how many readers are sharing your posts and on which sites your articles seem to be the most popular.
Don’t be afraid to poll your clients. When a new contact calls or emails your office, take a moment to ask them how they heard about you. Skip this step and you may not realize how many leads your blog is actually generating!
Though you should begin monitoring your blogs as soon as they’re published, keep in mind that it may take awhile for search engines to recognize your keywords and index your articles. It can take some patience to wait for your results to truly pay off, but keep in mind that once you’ve written 21-54 blog posts, your blog traffic generation will increase by up to 30%.
So How Important Is Blogging?
Like any marketing effort, blogging should represent just one facet of your complete marketing strategy. It shouldn’t be the single tactic you use for attorney internet marketing, but quality content creation should be viewed as a central part of your approach. Ask your colleagues if they view blogging as important, and they’ll likely encourage you to try it yourself. After all, 81% of companies consider their blogs to be “useful,” “important” or “critical.”
Like all marketing strategies, you should evaluate your efforts over time and shape your approach to fit your budget, ability, needs and goals. But first, you’ll need to set reasonable expectations for what you hope to achieve. Doing that isn’t easy if you yourself don’t have years of content marketing experience, so don’t be shy — reach out to experts for some help!
If you’re ready to start blogging on your law firm website, contact MarketJD today. We’ll work with you one-on-one to assess needs, set goals and answer any questions you might have along the way. And with a team of content writers with years of legal blogging experience, we can help you create the kinds of articles you’ll be proud to showcase and share.