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How to Write Great Legal Content

Writing Great Legal Content That Drives Prime Leads

Lawyers are constantly writing documents, briefs, and memos, so they’re familiar with writing great content for the legal sphere. Yet, while you might be a skilled legal writer, marketing content requires a different set of skills. Keep reading to learn how you can improve your website content and generate and convert more client leads below.

Don’t Use Overly Technical Language

Hopefully, you’re not using legalese in your marketing materials, but if you want to create great content for your firm, simply eliminating “herewith” and statutory citations from your website isn’t enough. Most Americans read at a seventh or eighth-grade level or below. And according to the National Adult Literacy Survey, 21 to 23% of participants could only read the simplest words and phrases, while only 13% of adult Americans read at the highest literacy levels. If you fill your blog, site, or advertising materials with longwinded collegiate-level discussions, your readers won’t retain or even understand the information and will move on.

If your website’s bounce rate is especially high, the first step to optimize your content is to assess the complexity of your writing. Utilize online tools that can determine your writing’s readability score and ask non-lawyers to review your website content to assess its clarity and readability. Look for areas where you can substitute complex and esoteric phrasing for more common monosyllabic verbiage.

Related Blog: Your Website Copywriting Matters. Here’s Why—And How to Improve

Understand Your Audience

You’re likely in the market for attractive referrals from other law firms, but in the digital landscape, you should be targeting clients and not soliciting potential business from other lawyers. Lawyers usually enjoy reading a detailed analysis of a Supreme Court decision or discussing the legislative intent of a statute, but your clients don’t. What they do want to read is an explanation in plain English about how certain laws impact their claims, their financial welfare, and their future.

Word choice is important. While a lawyer might be fascinated with how tort reform legislation will impact non-economic damage awards, your clients are not using those terms. Instead, they want to how much they might receive in an insurance claim. Both subjects are on the same topic, but very few prospective leads are going to find or click on the tort reform article.

You also don’t want boring, cookie-cutter content on your blog or website. Get into your clients’ heads. Why are they looking for legal information? What kind of terms or questions might they search? They have serious questions and want accurate answers; answers you and your team are qualified to answer.

Research Your Keywords

When in doubt, conduct thorough research using proven tools. Keywords can help you identify interesting topics and create useful content. They can also help you leverage your firm’s strengths to dominate search engines.

Unfortunately, lawyers rarely take time to determine whether their law firms are using the right words for SEO purposes. Over 96 percent of people searching for legal services use a search engine, so if your firm doesn’t optimize its site for the keywords your leads are using to search, they might never find you. You can use your website’s analytics and tools like Google Trends to identify which keywords your prospective clients are most likely to type when looking for your services.

Related Blog: Learn How to Do Marketing Keyword Research With This Brief Guide

At LaFleur Marketing, we consider keyword research a vital part of our client’s marketing and website development process. If you need help understanding how keyword research could improve your website content, contact us for a helpful, no-pressure assessment.

Use Video and Infographics

Don’t limit your website to long-form blogs and practice area pages. Increasingly, readers want short, digestible, and informative content in the form of video and infographics. According to YouTube data, 25% of people searching for online legal information visit their site as part of their research. And videos featuring a lawyer explaining a legal issue or offering client education have the highest open rate.

Unfortunately, many attorneys are afraid to implement video marketing. There are thousands of poor-quality videos with even worse scripts. When well done, however, video can convert shaky leads into steadfast clients. Click here to read more about our approach to creating and promoting crisp videos with compelling messaging.

Infographics represent another way to transform complicated legal issues into easily digestible and actionable information. While they might seem difficult to create, they can become a valuable part of your marketing strategy — especially if you attach it to a social or paid search campaign. Keep the copy short and the design sharp. Think bullet points and animation rather than lengthy copy blocks and stock images. If you don’t feel like you’re capable of combining text and graphic design elements together for a compelling infographic, contact your marketing partners for assistance.

Focus on Your Clients, Not Yourself

Many of your readers might not be ready to hire a lawyer and are simply searching for information regarding their legal situation. A hard sell can push them away (and into the hands of your competitors). Instead, blog posts should be focused on education and trust-building instead of pushy sales copy.

When we track our legal clients’ blog data, articles about a partner’s appointment to a bar association board or other professional accomplishments are rarely top performers. If you want to talk about your law firm’s success, frame it around your clients, not your firm’s perceived prestige. For example, have your clients share stories about how you helped them in a time of need or create an infographic with easy-to-read graphs and metrics highlighting the success you’ve achieved on behalf of your clients.

Collaborate with Your Marketing Partners

We know that lawyers are exceedingly busy and your marketing efforts likely aren’t your top priority. While some services churn out cheap, generic, useless blogs for legal websites, their material is rarely well-written or compelling. If you don’t have time to commit to a strict editorial calendar consisting of topic ideation, outlining, drafting, editing, writing, posting, and promoting, maybe it’s time to partner with a high-quality legal marketing partner capable of pushing your firm to the top of search engines for attractive keywords.

At LaFleur Marketing, our team of skilled marketing professionals, designers, and writers can improve your content, strategy, and client roster. If you’re interested in our comprehensive approach, complete this brief form or call us at (888) 222-1512 for more information and a complimentary assessment of your firm’s legal marketing.

Related Blog: Our Editorial Process for Creating Truly Outstanding Website Content

References

Fairley, S. (2015, October 1). Legal marketing stats lawyers need to know. The National Law Review. Retrieved from https://www.natlawreview.com/article/legal-marketing-stats-lawyers-need-to-know

Forbes Agency Council (2017, August 24). Is anyone watching those videos on your law firm’s website? Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/08/24/is-anyone-watching-those-videos-on-your-law-firms-website/#506640014f53

Kirsch, I., Jungleblut, A., Jenkins, A., Kolstad, A. (2002, April). Adult literacy in America: a first look at the findings of the national adult literacy survey. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs93/93275.pdf

The Ancient Origins and History of Modern Marketing and Advertising

To Market or to Advertise?

While many experts attempt to draw a line between advertising and marketing, very few can agree exactly where that line is. Is advertising paid for while marketing is not? Is marketing part of advertising or advertising part of marketing? Is advertising primarily visual while marketing is primarily textual? Does marketing involve preparation while advertising implies execution?

In some ways, each of these distinctions is simultaneously useful and futile, especially as the internet and other technologies continue to blur lines between mediums, platforms, and devices. For our present purposes, marketing and advertising can be considered synonymous because both have long histories in cultures across the globe that have helped them evolve into their modern equivalents.

The “Origins” of Marketing and Advertising

Many agencies seem to be under the impression that marketing and advertising are somehow “new” developments that arose in parallel with the Industrial Revolution and consumer economy of the 19th and 20th centuries. While the origins of “modern” advertising may lie among the changes brought about by the advent of mass production, free public education, telecommunications, and other advances of the 19th century, the simple truth is this: for as long as two people in a village have competed in the same business (or one person has tried to peddle a new innovation), some form of marketing has been a cornerstone of successfully selling (or even bartering for) goods and services.

For example, works from ancient China detail a practice of candy makers playing a bamboo flute in order to attract customers — a practice still used today with ice cream trucks and other vendors, albeit with more advanced and powerful sound mechanisms.

The earliest known printed advertisement also comes from China. Dating from the Song dynasty (960-1279 CE), an ad for needles says “we buy high quality steel rods and make fine quality needles that are ready for use at home in no time.” This sounds remarkably modern — not because the advertiser was a thousand years ahead of their time, but because the primary concerns of consumers of any time period are both timeless and universal. People want high-quality products and services, and they don’t want to wait to get them. The advertisement also contained the image of a rabbit holding a needle, a logo for the brand.

Other advertising methods existed across the ancient world. Hand-inscribed papyrus leaflets and posters were used for purposes ranging from promoting politicians to finding lost objects (or people). Even today, coffee shops in many locales can be found displaying corkboards layered with advertisements for roommates, lost pets, or an upcoming election.

Outdoor advertising was also particularly common in ancient civilizations. Sellers in Egypt, Greece, and Rome would paint or carve advertisements onto prominently featured surfaces such as the sides of buildings or large rocks near paths with heavy foot traffic. In areas with limited literacy among the general populace (or great linguistic diversity among shoppers), vendors would create image-based signs that depicted their primary good or service, which they would then hang outside their door or near their market stall. The mortar and pestle as a symbol for pharmacists; a hammer, anvil, or tongs as a symbol for blacksmiths; and the Rod of Asclepius for those in the medical profession are all examples of symbols from the ancient world that have persisted to the modern era with remarkably similar meanings to their BCE counterparts.

Like modern athletes and celebrities, Roman gladiators and Greek Olympians were commissioned to endorse particular products both in and out of the ring. In fact, a scene from the 2000 film Gladiator’s script was cut where the protagonist Maximus endorsed a particular brand of olive oil, purportedly because modern audiences would have, ironically, found it too far-fetched.

Of course, merchants across the ancient world would also get the attention of passersby through a tactic as old as commerce itself: shouting (or hiring criers to shout) at potential customers and hawking their wares. Today, being accosted by a stranger trying to get you to sign a petition, attend a local event, or come into their establishment is not an uncommon occurrence in even the smallest of towns — and chances are good you’ve even had criers arrive at your very doorstep for similar reasons, like changing your cable or internet service provider.

Digital Marketing: A Modern Take on Ancient Practices

Subsequent technological developments, from the printing press to radio and television, have only increased the efficiency and reach (i.e. invasiveness) of techniques that have been utilized for thousands of years. Even the internet, for all its marvels and paradigm-shifts, has really only changed the context of ancient practices. In fact, if you envision the internet as a physical location, not much has changed at all.

Sites use pop-up ads or, even more annoyingly, automatically enabled sound and video to catch the attention of visitors. Celebrities endorse their favorite products (or their own products) on social media and blogs. Display ads on sites and paid ads in search results offer prime real-estate to extol the virtues of your product or service; search engines are the prominently featured surfaces upon which a great deal of traffic will set their eyes. Instead of physical leaflets in our hands, we now have email inboxes that get hounded with spam and junk, the veritable litter of the internet.

There Is Nothing New Under the Sun — Or Is There?

One primary differentiator does exist in online marketing, however: it gives you the power to attract people to your business without being invasive. It’s called inbound marketing, and it allows you to reach people who already need your help, are interested in your business, and/or who may even be totally unaware that they can benefit from what you have to offer. In short, it brings your ideal clientele to you.

Several core strategies for inbound marketing include the following:

  • Content marketing: Creating interesting and helpful content that will rank highly in search results and bring visitors to your site
  • Social media marketing: Engaging with your target audience on the platforms that they visit and utilize most frequently to build brand awareness, trust, and rapport
  • Opt-in email marketing: Allowing site visitors to opt in and receive regular communications from you, such as newsletters, further information about their specific area of interest, and more

All marketing, from ancient to digital, has attempted to engage with people where they are. If you knew where people gathered or if you knew a heavily traveled route, you could put your message in front of more people, which increased your chances of putting that message in front of the right people.

However, instead of going out to interrupt, inconvenience, and accost (whether tangibly or online), the future of effective marketing will center on 3 things:

  1. Preveniently meeting people’s needs in order to attract those who need you the most
  2. Building trust, credibility, and rapport
  3. Becoming part of your clients’ regular routine so you remain at the forefront of their minds throughout the buying cycle.

LaFleur: Inbound Marketing Experts

Here at LaFleur, we not only have an extensive knowledge of ancient history, but are also experts in inbound marketing. From building search-engine-friendly websites for new law firms, healthcare organizations, or businesses to re-aligning and optimizing digital marketing strategies for well-established entities, we have a diverse team of uniquely talented and qualified staff members who will be specifically dedicated to achieving your unique goals and implementing the online marketing strategies that make the most sense based on your unique needs.

If you want to amplify your online presence and get more cases, call LaFleur at (888) 222-1512 today — or fill out our convenient online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!

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