How Lawyers Can Win Clients by Creating Magnificent Quality Content – Part 1
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to land new clients, effortlessly, and become known as a preeminent authority online in an area of the law that you love?
The right type of marketing content can explode your practice, trounce your competitors in the search engines and create raving fans who will gladly send you referrals.
My name is Adam Kosloff. I’ma Yale University educated writer who specializes in creating online marketing content for attorneys. Since 2003, I’ve written over 36,000 pages of original content; this copy has won awards for my attorneys and, more importantly, helped them land a lot of business.
If you’re like most people, when you get confused about a topic, you go online to research. Imagine what would happen if every time a person with a potential case came across your firm while researching his problems. And imagine if that content inspired him to pick up the phone and call your office.
It happens every minute of every hour of every day. But odds are that you don’t have a content strategy in place to pull in clients in this fashion. As a result, these prospects are finding someone other than you. I’d like that to help fix that.
Attorney Sapochnick has graciously offered me the opportunity to share my observations about content marketing on his blog. Over the next few guest posts, I’ll reveal exactly how the most respected marketers on Earth use content to build multimillion dollar businesses.
If you’ve been struggling with the following issues, this blog series is for you:
- Most of your actual business comes from personal referrals, not from the web;
- Firms that aren’t as reputable as yours are beating you in the search engines;
- You haven’t found the time (or the people) to get your marketing done right;
- You’re on a shoestring budget, and you need the maximum bang for your buck;
The information in these posts is not mere speculation. I’ve used this process, again and again, to get results for my private clients.
So what separates magnificent marketing content from the boilerplate that far too many lawyers use… and what do you need to know to start creating winning copy?
To cover all the “best practices” for how to create stellar content would take several hundred blog posts, so let’s focus on the key fundamentals.
The Pareto Principle (also known as the “80-20 rule”) says that systems in nature are full of imbalances. 20% of causes are responsible for 80% of results. For instance:
- 20% of citizens in any country own approximately 80% of the wealth;
- Likewise, 20% of people are responsible for 80% of divorces;
- 20% of your clients are responsible for 80% of your revenue;
- 20% of your clients are responsible for 80% of your problems!
This post (and my next few guest posts) will give you the “critical 20%” advice about how to create killer legal marketing content.
First, I want you to understand the basic problem:
Creating magnificent marketing content can be hard.
Some content gurus have compared the process to bottling lightning. Nevertheless, I believe it can be replicated: that you can “conjure the muse,” even if you’re not feeling it.
Most attorneys (and online professionals) approach the content creation problem in the following ways:
- They outsource the writing to staff or to freelancers they find on the web. This method can work, but it’s hit or miss. It can consume staff resources and time without enough of a payoff, thus bloating the bottom line of the practice.
- They hire cheap marketing companies. Many web companies sell themselves as jacks-of-all-trades. We’ll create and design your website, add awesome content, get your firm’s site to rank on Google and handle all technical concerns. Just leave it all to us! The downside of being a “jack-of-all-trades” is that you’re also a “master of none.” If you needed heart surgery, would you go to a general practitioner or to a cardiologist who does nothing but heart surgeries all day? This brings us to the next strategy…
- They hire high-end copywriters (or companies that have great writers on payroll). I like this strategy. The only problem is that the content can be prohibitively expensive. The best writers know what they’re worth. I have several friends who provide elite level copywriting services, and they charge $8,000 to $10,000 for just 10 pages of copy. (One experienced copywriter I know charges $20,000 or more for just 8 to 10 pages of content!) Believe it not, this copy can pay for itself and then some. But such an investment may be too much for budget conscious small and medium firms.
- They create their own content. This can work, if you have a gift for writing copy and love to do it. But you need to factor in the value of time. If you bill at $400 an hour, and it takes you 25 hours to write an ebook, you’ve consumed $10,000 worth of your time. Is that worth it? It depends. If you’re writing while billable work sits fallow, you might be better off hiring a high caliber writer.
What happens if you use “fair to middling” content to market your practice instead of stellar content?
If you produce “meh” content, expect “meh” results.
The internet is gushing over with more content than any human being could read in a million life times. Meanwhile, Google and the other search engines are constantly refining their processes to flush out content that doesn’t meet a high bar.
This is why search engine optimization (SEO) writing is kind of a joke. “What Google’s algorithm likes” today could be perceived as spam tomorrow… or six months from now. Trying to chase Google’s tail is a recipe for crazy-making. Just know this: Google doesn’t want to send visitors to junky sites that lure people in with tricks. If it did that, people would stop using Google. The search engines want what everyone wants — valuable, targeted content that meets needs and helps people.
Years ago, this insight was something of a secret. But plenty of marketers today agree that “good content is king.” The problem is that the vast majority of these marketers make a related mistake that causes agony, frustration and wasted effort. The truth is this:
Good content is not enough anymore.
Let me write that again in bigger and bolder typeface:
Good content is notenough anymore.
Just because you “provide value” to a prospect on a website does not mean that the person will want to do business with you. In fact, it could stimulate him or her to do just the opposite. The prospect may read your smart, painstakingly prepared content — enjoy all the information that you’ve provided — and then thank you by hiring a competitor.
Sounds brutal. But that’s how people use the web these days. You do it. I do it, too. We all do it. If someone offers us free information, we’re happy to take it without feeling pressure to reciprocate by buying a product or service from that person.
The internet is just way too crowded. Way too many marketers have grasped this good-content-is-king idea and flooded the web with valuable content.
Most attorneys (and even most attorney marketers) don’t recognize this truth. So when their “valuable” content doesn’t get marketing results, they double down and provide even more content, faster, distributed in more places, hoping against hope that this frantic blitzkrieg will gin up business and lead to better rankings on Google.
Such a strategy might work in the short term. But it dooms you to an ongoing content arms race against bigger firms with more massive marketing budgets. Who will win that war?
More importantly: is there a way to avoid that war in the first place? More on that question next time…