Don’t Be the Caillou of Legal Marketing
Full disclosure: I can’t stand most children’s television. However, if you have a kid, it’s inevitable. After nearly seven years of parenting, I’ve gotten my fill. Thankfully, I think my era of PJ Masks, The Lion Guard, and Paw Patrol is coming to a blissful end as he’s now reached the age of Pokémon cards and video games.
However, when I was stuck binge-watching Peppa Pig recently, I couldn’t help but notice several parallels between the characters on that show and many law firms’ marketing tactics. Now, this comparison between legal marketing and a children’s television program might seem crazy — but that’s what a combination of sleep deprivation, espresso, and a passion for good legal marketing can turn into at 5:30 AM (at least in my house).
Caillou: The Self-Centered Skeptic
I’ve heard so much about the horrors of Caillou that I’ve intentionally shielded my child (and myself) from its trauma. Apparently, Caillou is a self-centered, whiny little boy who lacks even the tiniest shred of common sense. “Why?” is his standard response, even to the most obvious of situations — like whether or not to itch chickenpox sores.
Luckily, I’ve rarely encountered a legal marketing Caillou. This rare breed refuses to listen and questions every recommendation their marketing agency makes. This includes even simple improvements such as writing content that appeals to their ideal clients and is easy to understand.
If you’ve hired a marketing agency, hopefully you’re working with a team you respect and trust. You want your clients to listen to your expert advice, so return the favor when you’re meeting with your marketing experts.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask hard questions! But if you find yourself skeptical of everything your agency partners say, you should take a quick step back to consider whether you have the right people working for you — or if you have trust or control issues.
Yo Gabba Gabba: Design Heavy and Overstimulating
The melodies of “There’s a Party in My Tummy!” and “Pancakes and Syrup” will forever be etched into my psyche. While Brobee’s and DJ Lance’s hijinks can be fun, the show is just a bit much. Years ago, I heard a child development specialist liken children’s electronic toys to slot machines: they entice them to push a button and keep them docile, but they do not encourage cognitive development.
I think Yo Gabba Gabba does the exact same thing.
If your website visitors are overstimulated by its bells and whistles, you’re the DJ Lance of legal marketing. These potential clients get distracted by all the copy, colors, pop-ups, and animation, but they never really dig into your content. Even worse, your website might be hard to navigate, doesn’t include basic on-page SEO elements, and your content may be poorly written.
A busy website that ignores the essentials of good content marketing and SEO is a bad investment. Instead, try to balance your desire for an on-trend design with your need to include relevant content, strong title and header tags, and user-friendly navigation.
Daniel Tiger: Community-Driven and Empathetic
While nothing compares to the (slightly creepy) puppets of the original Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is a heartwarming, community-focused show that also teaches children wonderful lessons in each episode. In fact, a 2016 study found that children who regularly watch Daniel Tiger demonstrate better empathy and mediation skills.
You’re a legal marketing Daniel Tiger if your tone exudes empathy and a willingness to help. You really care about your clients’ struggles, and you build content that acknowledges their difficulties and empowers them to pursue the justice they deserve.
Your firm also embraces your community and engages with it. This may include a volunteer program, event sponsorships, scholarship offerings, and other community-building activities — but you don’t stop there. Your team also encourages others to give back and build a culture of philanthropy.
At LaFleur, we love these law firms because they reflect our own values. We also know that the unintended side effects of this community engagement include organic link-building and brand awareness.
When a search engine algorithm analyzes your website, it assesses the number and quality of websites that link to it. When you’re giving back to the community, you probably have reputable websites — like news sources, schools, and non-profit organizations — referencing and linking to your law firm. These links help build your domain authority, which then increases your organic page ranking.
Sesame Street: The Gold Standard
Growing up, Sesame Street was one of the few children’s shows I was allowed to watch. (Apparently, I come from a long line of killjoys.) I loved it then, and it’s still one of my favorites.
To me, Big Bird and friends also offer lessons for our legal marketing clients.
My kid’s Sesame Street is not the same as my childhood version. We definitely didn’t sing along with Janelle Monae, Lin-Manuel Miranda, or Ricky Gervais. However, that’s what makes this show so incredible: it evolves with its viewership.
Your website might have been leading-edge in 2005 when you built it, but it probably could use some major improvements today. If you haven’t recently audited your website, give us a call. Our experts can help you identify practical ways you can refresh your aging site.
Speak Your User’s Language
Sesame Street’s genius doesn’t just lie in the fact that it tackles hard subjects like foster care and autism (although that’s certainly part of its brilliance). No, it’s a fantastic and engaging show because it translates these difficult concepts in a way that young children can understand and apply in their daily lives.
Bankruptcy, Social Security disability benefits, and estate planning are also hard to understand. A legal marketing Big Bird takes those intimidating issues and carefully explains them to the reader without talking down to them or relying on legalese.
Being Smart Is Cool
Sesame Street will dedicate an entire episode to a single concept, like the letter “A.” I love long-form, detailed content that gets to the heart of difficult issues for many reasons. It builds trust with your readers and communicates your expertise. It can also boost your organic search ranking for your most relevant root and long-tail keywords.
Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge. Law firms that are willing to explain the nuances of their practice in understandable terms exude a quiet confidence, and your website’s visitors will notice. Even better, those in need of your services will find themselves coming back to your website for guidance time and time again — increasing their likelihood of becoming clients and referring their friends to your site and your firm.
Ask for Help When You Need It
Recently, the team behind Sesame Street created a series of materials called “Sesame Street in Communities.” They suggest ways that parents can talk to their children about traumatic events, resilience, and self-care. One of the program’s overarching messages is “No one is ever alone. It’s brave to ask for help.”
If you work with a vulnerable population, your law firm probably reminds clients of this all the time. But do you follow your own advice? If your team doesn’t have the time or skills necessary to maintain your digital marketing, it’s time to ask for help. Contact a respected legal marketing agency like LaFleur to explore your options.
LaFleur: Customized Digital Marketing for Law Firms
At LaFleur, we’ve been working with law firms since Day One. Our team loves the challenges associated with legal marketing, and we pride ourselves on our personalized approach. If you’re ready to take your website to the next level, please contact us today.
Asking for help (n.d.) Sesame Street in Communities. Retrieved from https://sesamestreetincommunities.org/activities/asking-for-help/
Rasmussen, E., Shafer, A., Colwell, M., White, S., Punyanunt-Carter, N., Densley, R., Wright, H. (2015, May 15). Relation between active mediation, exposure to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and US preschoolers’ social and emotional development. Journal of Children and Media. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17482798.2016.1203806#.V4DnVq5FrnU