As we all know, the digital and online landscape is transforming at an exponential pace. As a lawyer, your online presence and marketing efforts have a significant impact on your ability to reach your prospective clients. The legal content marketing space is unique in many ways, and lawyers who choose to ignore new developments in the area do so at their own risk.
I recently spoke with Innovative Attorney Marketing‘s General Manager, Shane Kondo, who explained how the legal content marketing landscape is set to change this year. Here’s what I learned:
When it comes to content marketing in the legal space, there are specialized concerns that attorneys and law firms need to be aware of. The fact that attorney websites and blogs are considered advertisements by state attorney licensing authorities and are subject to the applicable state bar’s marketing rules remains one of the most important challenges that sets legal content marketing apart from virtually every other kind of marketing. For this reason, lawyers who engage in online marketing should only work with marketers that specialize in and understand attorney marketing. Some of the major issues that lawyers and legal content marketers should consider this year include the following:
Content is Still King
Google and other search engines are continuously improving their ability to determine whether the content on a particular website is what their users are searching for. For this reason, legal content marketers should focus on creating high-quality and shareable content that is unique. The content should add value and insights, rather than regurgitating a prior blog post or restating the law. One way for lawyers to create quality, shareable, and relevant content is by leveraging local news stories as a springboard for discussing legal issues.
Expect Voice Search to Change Traditional Keyword Analysis Methods
According to the results of a survey commissioned by Google, 41 percent of adults use voice search more than once per day and many observers expect this trend to continue growing. As the technology behind voice search evolves, expect voice searches to follow typical speech patterns. For example, rather than activating Siri™ and saying “personal injury attorney Chicago,” as one would manually enter into a search engine, a user may say something like “I was just in an accident – is there an attorney nearby that can help me?” In terms of content marketing, this will may translate into a focus on long-tail search phrases and complete sentences – rather than specific keywords distributed throughout a website’s content at a certain density.
Social Media is Playing an Intense Role in Content Marketing
In the past, Google and other search engines did not frequently index content that appeared on social media. As a result, it was not particularly important in terms of search engine optimization (“SEO”). It did, however, often have a secondary SEO impact as sharing on social media could result in content being widely shared and result in the organic creation of backlinks, which are inbound links from other sites. Google has recently announced that it plans to index more content from social media, and our research indicates that Google has already increased its indexing of Twitter by 466% in 2015, favoring users with higher authority, discussed here.
What does this mean for legal content marketing? Well, first of all, it means that social media simply cannot be ignored – doing so gives your competitors an easy way to outrank you in the search results. This impacts your lead generation. In addition, attorneys and legal marketers should focus on improving the quality of the content that they are sharing over social media in order to increase the chance that it will be picked up by search engines, which may result in social activity (shares, clicks, likes). Finally, these efforts take a significant investment of invaluable time, which can be mitigated through legal-focused marketing partners.