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Thought-Leadership and Content Marketing for Law Firms [Podcast]

Putting valuable content on your website is one of the best ways to appeal to both search engines and live readers. Selecting the right niche and smart content marketing can take your quality content to a new level and help you get ranked higher in the search engines and gain more traffic as a result. Here’s what you need to know.

John McDougall:  Hi. I'm John McDougall. Welcome to the Legal Marketing Review show on National Law Review. Today my guest is Chris Davis, from the Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis, and workingsolutionsnyc.com.

Welcome, Chris.

Chris Davis:  Thanks a lot, John.

How Can a Law Firm Narrow Down Their Niche?

John:  Absolutely. We are going to be talking today about selecting a niche and content marketing for law firms. How important do you feel it is to have a practice area that you focus on, rather than trying to provide too many services?

Chris:  Just from a business perspective, in terms of a business model, it is important to make sure that the services you provide are, first of all, within the scope of your expertise, for the sake of your obligations as a lawyer, but also in terms of solid business management.

It's important to keep your services focused on a practice area that you can command, and also that you have the most knowledge of, for the sake of providing quality service and attracting the best clients, and the clients that are likely to be able to sustain your practice over a long period of time.

It's an important thing, just from the business, in and of itself, but secondly, for the sake of marketing, in order to establish yourself as someone within a narrow field, within a certain category of legal services, such as litigation.

To establish yourself as a premier litigation attorney, that's a generic and larger category, and it's a little harder to market yourself if you haven't narrowed your focus on one particular area of litigation, such as, for instance, my firm focuses on employment litigation.

It's much easier for us, giving the fact that we're experts in employment litigation, to really promote our credentials and market ourselves within the more narrow subset of employment litigation, because we have fuller understanding of that area of the law.

We won't have to try to get up to speed on whole other content with respect to other areas of litigation that we're not experts on, and water down our services.

We're able to attract clients based on real credibility, given our accomplishments. We're able to promote our accomplishments within one particular narrow field. That gives us a lot more credibility with potential clients, many of whom do actually shop with other generalists in litigation.

If they go to those websites, and they don't get a sense that they have a focused specialty in employment litigation, they often tell us. They say, "We went to your website, and we went with you because we understand your firm to have expertise in employment litigation."

That's true, and that's something we promote on our site.

John:  You've seen firsthand how that narrower focus actually broadens your ability to attract clients.

Chris:  That's true, yes. Definitely. We've seen it.

SEO & Thought Leadership

John:  Does being seen as an authority help your SEO results? Can an SEO company do everything without your involvement, and thought leadership?

Chris:  Yes. Being seen as a thought leader within the narrow focus of our litigation firm is important, because we want to distinguish ourselves from other people who are attempting to also establish themselves in this field and market themselves as experts.

Staying abreast of the case law and the developments in our industry is very important. Also, demonstrating the fact that you have the expertise, awareness, knowledge, and the skill to be able to handle people's cases, is important.

It's important to do that on your website. From that end, we publish content on our website that reflects our awareness and knowledge of current developments in employment law and employment litigation.

Also, we promote our testimonials, clients, and other attorneys on our website who can vouch for our results from their customer experience, or client experience, with our law firm.

Those things are all very important, in terms of promoting our brand, and our message, and also distinguishing us from our competitors.

Working With an SEO Company

John:  What about working with an SEO company? Do you feel that the old days, where you just hire an SEO company that does it in the background, is still valid? Is it much more these days that you need to be a little bit of a part of that to spice up the blog and the content marketing with your own voice, more than just letting people do it in the background?

Chris:  There's unquestionably adding your own voice and adding a personalized touch, and making sure that you have influence over your content. That's extremely important.

Unfortunately, I've had the experience of paying SEO vendors who took a pass over approach to content and to building SEO. It's not uncommon for that type of experience to happen. I definitely paid those vendors, with nominal results, and also without really promoting a strong brand on your website.

As an attorney, you want to have your website and your message to really communicate your trustworthiness. It's very important to have a personal touch with your content, so your potential clients can get a sense for who you are, as a person.

That's something that matters to our clients. They're hiring a lawyer, someone whose personality and character are important. It's important, in terms of their evaluation of our skills, or our credibility, or whether or not to retain us.

I find that paying attention to thought leadership, to content, developing the content on the website in a way that it's consistent, informative, polished, and also adds a good personal touch, is extremely important for developing quality traffic among those potential clients that you really want to attract.

Finding the Time to Blog

John:  How do you find the time to blog, then, or write content? Do you prefer to have people help out to do the writing, good quality people? What's your latest thinking on that?

Chris:  I've struggled with that. In the past, I've written it myself, but I found that in order to ensure that it's done regularly in the way that it should be done, that it's best to outsource it to a company that understands what your brand and message is and is involved in collaborating with you about content.

Or I'll actually bring someone in on an hourly basis, or for projects or something like that, temporarily, or possibly for over the long haul, to write copy and handle our social media and website content updates. That person needs to have an understanding of our brand and potential clients we're trying to market to.

The goal is for that person to write copy that understands our message and how we want to promote ourselves on the website.

John:  Absolutely. That's so common these days, in all kinds of industries. It's a combination, but I think your point about getting it done regularly. It's sometimes wishful thinking to think you can do it all. It's important to have your voice, but it's important also to have people help you, because a combo effort works better than trying to do it solely yourself.

Chris:  I think that's true. Collaboration is important, and understanding what your limits are as a business is too. Lawyers are busy litigating cases. It's important to take time out to focus on marketing, but to do so in a way that allows for a little delegation to the right people.

YouTube Marketing

John:  Absolutely. What about YouTube? Do you feel that that can help carve out a niche as a law firm?

Chris:  Sure. The other firms I've been with, they've had videos that they've promoted on YouTube that were very popular. Videos of attorneys speaking, interacting with clients, or even acting naturally and talking about their services, are very important for promoting your message, because your potential clients want to understand who you are as a person.

Your personality and your credibility as a person and as a lawyer are important. They want to know that you can be trusted and that you have the personality and the skills to hopefully deliver what it is that they're seeking.

It's easier to do that through video, to communicate that, as a part of your brand through video.

John:  Yeah. There's certainly a very powerful impact when people get to hear you speak and see that you're a good guy. Really good tips today, Chris. Thanks for speaking with us.

How can people get in touch with you?

Chris:  It's my pleasure. If you have any questions or comments, legal or otherwise, I can be reached at 646 356 1010, or you can email be directly, and I'll respond to you, cdavis@workingsolutionsnyc.com.

John:  Sounds good. Check out legalmarketingreview.com, as well as natlawreview.com for more information, interviews on legal marketing. I'm John McDougall. See you next time on Legal Marketing Review.

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About this Author

John McDougall, president of interactive strategy, at McDougall Interactive
President

John McDougall is the president of interactive strategy at McDougall Interactive. He's worked in advertising and the creative fields since 1992. Having provided Internet services full time since 1995, John was on the cutting edge of search engine optimization. Originally a media planner at McDougall Advertising, he was asked to head the Interactive Division during the dot-com boom. With local speaking engagements, successful websites, and a book on search engine marketing titled Web Marketing on All Cylinders under his belt, John is committed to the Internet...

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