As Joe Pulizzi puts it, the opportunity to earn new business through “epic” content marketing is there for those who see it. This is certainly true in professional services marketing – notably in the legal field. While businesses and law firms can publish online with the push of a button, traditional content publishers are struggling to produce quality content and make ends meet at the same time. I recall working in the trade publishing field 13 years ago, and you could feel the demise and malaise even back then. With traditional publishers seemingly begging to reprint content from law firms these days, firms should be embracing their role as “brand publishers.”
So how do law firms do that, notably on a firm-wide scale? Here are two ideas, one focused on creating content, and the other on sharing it.
Create Content: Empower the Eager
Professional firms hire smart, highly-educated talent to accomplish important work for their clients. At law firms, your average associate attorney has spent seven years in college, at a minimum, and is often grateful to take on marketing writing projects that can be a refreshing change from the nitty-gritty of client work.
Firms should leverage the talent, drive and experience of the associate ranks and get them writing. Creating content for the consumption of clients and prospects is an excellent way for these young-ish fee-earners to take a strong look at market and business development trends, which can only help them later in servicing clients. Associate-generated content marketing also saves the partners from having to do the heavy lifting of writing. The more that associates are rewarded with their names in the bylines of firm-owned media platforms, such as blogs, the more you encourage them to be serious legal practitioners. And the more associates get used to writing, the more partners will enjoy the value of associate-generated content in their marketing efforts: it’s a virtuous cycle.
Increase Social Sharing: Encourage Internal Curation
Experts in social media sharing understand that you can’t use social platforms to only blast your own message and content out there, treating channels such as Twitter and Google+ like PR Newswire or a firm-focused bullhorn. Rather, engagement and dialogue with one’s audience is crucial – an audience of clients, prospects, media sources, and potential business partners and referral attorneys.
One of the best ways to do this is to share others’ content, notably around a specific topic. And while sharing content from people outside one’s firm is important, firms can exponentially increase their own content distribution by sharing others’ content from within the firm. This means marketing teams should be taking the lead in creating and emailing out regular “digests” of firm content that can be shared by attorneys on their social networks. This will break down the natural inclination for practice groups to silo themselves off from one another.
What would such a digest look like? Every internet link should be shortened into a short link (and preferably firm-branded with a short URL). Sample tweets should be drafted for practitioners to copy and paste into their Twitter accounts. The same for LinkedIn. And all these items can be categorized by industries and practice areas in a simple internal firm email so that they can be shared to appropriate social channels. With content categorized in such a way, a labor & employment attorney should be aware that he shouldn’t necessarily be sharing an environmental attorney’s content. At the same time, an energy attorney in the firm might find an IP attorney’s content worthwhile for her audience, as long as it pertains to her industry. That’s internal curation. And it can vastly expand the reach of the firm’s owned media content.