Use Your Blog To Support Your Local Search Efforts Through Community Involvement
In the legal profession, your blog is a powerful tool. Used properly and creatively, it can add great benefits to your local search efforts. The strategies listed below work well in small to medium sized communities. Each of these strategies creates organic opportunities for natural link building and public relations.
Think about the last event you attended. How many times did you see sponsor signs or hear announcers mention the sponsors during the event? Event sponsorship is a great opportunity for your law firm, made even stronger if you already have started focusing on the message of your law firm’s brand. Having a consistent image and message, spread across every marketing initiative, makes it easier for people in your community to recognize (and remember!) your firm. When you sponsor an event, your brand is reinforced and is connected with something the attendees find valuable, which means when they need to contact a law firm, your firm already has been a part of their daily life and is top-of-mind.
Sponsored events give you an opportunity to get your brand in front of prospective clients on signage, websites, event pages and, depending on the size of the event, perhaps radio or TV. The event does not have to be huge. Smaller community events are effective. Farmers’ markets, marathons, charities, really any kind of community event where there is broad interest, offer great opportunities to present your law firm to the local community.
As for the marketing of these events, there is value in event planners promoting you, but there are also opportunities to maximize the benefit for your firm’s Web presence. Go out and do some of your own marketing. Is the event posted to major event listing sites? Did the event organizer get it listed in the local newspapers or on their website calendar? Did they include a link to your website? What about the local news and TV networks? In smaller communities these are all viable options, and even in larger communities it is possible but requires a little extra work. Find ways to further leverage your charitable giving. You deserve it.
Your blog can play a prominent role in promoting these events. On the most basic level, post the event to your blog. Let your readers know that you’re sponsoring an event and use the post as a call to action to get them to attend and show support. List the event location, date and time information. Post directions. This type of blog post is a good example of where you should list your business information for marketing purposes. At the end, add in your business name, address and phone number as the sponsor and say, “For additional details contact us,” so your readers can reach out if they have questions. Next, share this post across your social media networks. Run a small budget ad to drive people to the post on Facebook and target the local community. Get creative!
You Are an Expert, So Speak!
There are always opportunities to be an expert speaker on a topic that is important to you, but it requires getting out and meeting the people who can give you the platform. Texting and driving, drunk driving and domestic violence are key example topics that often have need for expert speakers. You are an expert in the field; if the opportunity presents itself, take advantage. If opportunities don’t come to you, go out and look for them. Schools often host safety rallies where you could speak on texting and driving or drunk driving. Legal conferences and safety conferences are additional places you can speak.
If you’re going to do a speaking engagement, make sure to write about it. Post it to your blog (as described above) in the sponsored events section and give all the details. Run additional ads to drive targeted visitors to the post to pull in additional attendance. Reach out to local reporters–they love writing about people making a difference.
Local Community Events
A little different than the previous two strategies, this one specifically targets your blog activity. Use it to inform your readers about local community events. While some community events may not be related to your law firm or your legal niche, local events are relevant to your readers. Provide the event details to your readers such as:
- Sign-up links
Add a photo or two of past events if the event is recurring. Often, major happenings provide opportunities to offer packages to your customers if they sign-up through a special page for your business. Some event types to consider are:
- Holiday Events
- Food Drives
- Blood Drives
- 5Ks and Fun Runs
Get Involved In Your Community
While there are advantages to sponsored events, speaking engagements and community events, you might also consider holding your own event. Host a local meet-up around a specific topic. If you are part of a non-profit organization, then host a fundraiser or participate in an event and promote it on your blog. Are your children in school? They are likely involved in extracurricular activities. Find ways to further promote their hobbies for the good of the community.
Be creative. Let loose! Anything you can think of that involves the local community can be used to benefit your local search efforts via blogging, social media and marketing. Hold a holiday party and have a Santa on site for pictures and then promote it for the local community. Try having a toy drive around the holidays. Host a blood drive at your location. These ideas are a bit outside the norm, which will help draw additional attention. Additionally, they are items you can write about on your blog and promote via press releases and social media.
Promoting On Your Blog
You do not want to run only promotional or event-oriented posts on your blog. While doing promotions and writing about events on your blog is great, your readers will want more. Legal-related educational posts and how-to posts will draw attention and establish your firm as an authority.
A common strategy for blogging is to write about promotional topics 20-25% of the time. Another 20-25% can be dedicated to company publicity. The remaining posts should be industry-related content. Write about legal processes that will help things go more smoothly for your clients. Provide posts on resources for different case types. If you are writing a car accident post, consider writing about the steps victims should take after an accident, whom they should call first, what they should say, and what forms might need to be filled out. You can also add good references for a local tow company or auto body shop.
Let The Search Engines Know What You’re Talking About
This final tip is not about local community or a blog post. This is a technical tip on how to let the search engines know about what you are writing. Your Web developer will be able to implement the items discussed below.
Schema.org is a set of markup code used to tell the search engines what certain pages, posts or pieces of information are about. Some of the key schema markups are article markup for your posts, which lets the search engine know it is viewing an article; person markup to tell the search engine it is viewing information about a person; and attorney (local business) markup to tell the search engine that it is viewing information about a law firm business location. This is especially important for local search rankings since it defines the business name, address and phone number –often referred to as NAP.
Blogging is a powerful tool. When you combine blogging with community involvement, you are building a foundation for success. If you are not currently writing about the items discussed, you are missing out on some easy topics for your blog. Involvement in your community is a must these days for success, especially in the legal industry whose lawyers may have a bad reputation due to outdated stereotypes. Taking advantage of your blog and community involvement allows you to strengthen your brand and give it more exposure in the community and local search.