Content marketing involves creating valuable free content and then posting it to your company or firm’s website, blog, or social media profiles, in order to attract potential clients to engage with the content and be influenced (ultimately) into purchasing your services or products. Despite its success across industries — including big laws firms — we have found that lawyers working in small firms tend to have a difficult time accepting the value of content marketing. In this blog post, we discuss why that is and why this tendency might begin to change.
Why Small Firm Lawyers Don’t Like Content Marketing
The major roadblock for most lawyers interested in pursuing content marketing is time; or more specifically, a lack of it.
In order to work around this issue, lawyers in big and mid-sized firms will sometimes have their articling or summer students blog on behalf of the firm or hire independent writers to write keyword driven articles. Unfortunately, sole practitioners or incredibly small boutiques usually don’t have access to such resources.
Moreover, we find that the appeal of producing content for marketing purposes is often lost on smaller firms. As far as they can tell, they are paying a large up-front cost of time or money for ongoing writing that may or may not significantly affect their position in Google’s search results.
Why Small Firm Lawyers Should like Content Marketing
With the right mindset and the right level of commitment, content marketing works. Further, unlike search engine marketing that delivers similar results for similar amounts of money each and every month, the rewards from investing in content marketing tend to grow over time.
To better explain this point, I’ve included two charts below. These charts indicate the number of organic search results generated by two different websites over the same period. The top chart belongs to the Skunkworks’ website, which has been publishing blog entries at least once a week for a little over a year and a half. The bottom chart belongs to a law firm that pursues absolutely no content marketing.
Consider the increases of the Skunkworks website over the course of 18 months. When the blog was freshly established and relatively content poor (less than 50 uploaded posts), it was receiving a fairly low number of monthly organic searches. Over the course of a year and a half (and the addition of 100 more posts), the website’s monthly organic search traffic increased by over 500%. During the same period, the law firm’s search traffic increased at a marginal rate.
It is important to note that content marketing generally tends to follow the trends posted above. Although Skunkworks blogs less frequently than larger content producing websites, our posts have contributed to an exponential increase in the organic search traffic that lands on our website.
Sometimes You Get Lucky
Another benefit of content marketing is that occasionally you will write an article that unexpectedly generates significant amounts of organic search traffic.
This scenario is exactly what happened to our client Robbie Sheffman — a Victoria-based immigration lawyer — who wrote a blog post on Citizenship & Immigration Canada increasing federal skilled worker’s levels in November of 2011, only to have it pay dividends 7 months later when new legislative developments drew over 500 visitors to the blog post. Keep in mind that if the same amount of visitors were brought to the website through paid search, it would have cost over $1,100 in pay-per-click costs.
Content Marketing Summary
Although many large and mid-sized firms are starting to grasp the importance of content marketing, many smaller firms still lag behind; despite the fact that many small firm lawyers are fairly used to marketing their services through the creation of client bulletins, newsletters, or other forms of print media. In order to effectively adapt to the digital age, these lawyers simply need to begin to switch their content creation away from print and towards blogs and other online resources. The creation of quality online content will attract a broad audience, the SEO benefits are significant, and unlike many other forms of marketing that are ephemeral (paid search, newspaper ads, etc.) original quality content is an investment that will continue to pay dividends over the long term.