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In this episode with John Ruhlin, we talk about the overall theory of gift giving, including when to give and how much, the ethics of giving, what makes a good gift for your clients, and lastly, what makes a shitty gift.

John Ruhlin
John Ruhlin

John Ruhlin is the world’s leading authority in maximizing customer loyalty through radical generosity. He is the founder and author of Giftology and has been featured in Fox News, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc and New York Times.

While becoming the #1 performer out of 1.5 million sales reps for one of the world’s most recognizable brands, John developed a system of using generosity to gain access to elite clients and generate thousands of referrals. John and the Giftology team can help any individual turn their clients into their own personal sales force to drive exponential growth.

You can follow John on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks to Podium, TextExpander, Spotlight Branding, and Ruby Receptionists for sponsoring this episode!

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The post Podcast #233: Giving Gifts to Build Your Business, with John Ruhlin, with John Ruhlin appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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In this episode with Nicole Morris, we talk about the Ti:GER program, what it is, how it works, and how it helps law students after graduation. Nicole shares the vision that the Ti:GER program is designed to help prepare students for and the unique skills the program gives law students that other lawyers might not have.

[Nicole Morris]
Nicole Morris

Nicole N. Morris is a member of the faculty at Emory University School of Law. She is a professor in practice and director of the TI:GER program (Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results), an innovative partnership between Emory and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) that brings together graduate students in law, business, science and engineering to work on ways to take innovative ideas from the lab to the marketplace. 

As a professor in practice, her areas of expertise include patent law, patent litigation, patent prosecution, IP licensing, and strategy. Prior to joining the Emory faculty, Morris was the former managing patent counsel at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, Georgia.

You can follow Nicole on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks to TextExpander, ARAG, and Ruby Receptionists for sponsoring this episode!

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Don’t miss an episode of The Lawyerist Podcast! Subscribe now in your favorite podcast app.

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The post Podcast #232: Training the Lawyers of the Future at Emory Law, with Nicole Morris appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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In this episode with Stephanie Everett, we talk about a few ways you can create micro-experiences for your clients. We cover retainers, graphics and video, and drafting briefs all as ways you can offer your unique value proposition and personal touch to win with your clients.

Stephanie Everett
Stephanie Everett

Stephanie helps small firm lawyers build and grow joyful and successful businesses—because work should be awesome. After launching and running her own litigation boutique, she shifted gears and launched Georgia’s incubator for newer lawyers starting socially conscious law firms. Her path led her to Lawyerist, where she develops exciting new ways for Lawyerist to help lawyers grow their firms and generate results.

You can follow Stephanie on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks to TextExpander, ARAG, and Ruby Receptionists for sponsoring this episode!

Subscribe

Don’t miss an episode of The Lawyerist Podcast! Subscribe now in your favorite podcast app.

Transcript

If you are hard of hearing, please contact us for a transcript of this episode.

The post Podcast #231: Creating Micro-Experiences for Your Clients, with Stephanie Everett appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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Great content should drive traffic and attract visitors to your law firm website. Content is king is an essay Bill Gates wrote in 1996, predicting content would become central to the success of websites.  But what exactly is great content and how can you make content king (or queen) on your law firm website site? 

In short, you’ll want to create high quality content that attracts, educates, and entertains your audience, keeping them on your website as they read your expert articles on how to deal with their legal issues. 

Your website content is foundational to establishing your expertise and authority and building trust with potential clients. As a lawyer, you sell your legal knowledge and experience to people to help them through confusing and difficult matters that they can’t resolve themselves. Legal knowledge is becoming more accessible to everyone, and we’re happy about that. Legal knowledge should be accessible to everyone. But this also means that your potential clients are researching their legal issues before even hiring an attorney. Where they can find the answers to their legal problems should be on your website in the quality content you create. 

Is Content Writing Different For Legal Websites? 

Not really. The biggest difference is in subject matter. Though whatever you write about, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make your content stand out: develop client personas and write with them in mind, have a clearly defined voice and tone, and connect with your audience.

Your content should know its audience and their needs, be targeted towards that audience through your use of keyword strategies and client personas, be helpful, and be easy to understand. It should only focus on one topic at a time to be clear, concise, and not convoluted. Seek to educate (and maybe entertain) in your content, but not to sell. Your content should also start to build trust and establish your firm as an authority in your areas of practice. 

Building trust and authority first comes from having a reputable brand and website, but also by not writing like a lawyer. Writing and speaking in legalese can be off-putting. People want an attorney they can connect with, who will understand their position, and who explains things so the other person can understand. 

You also shouldn’t limit your content to articles or blog posts. Content is more than just words. It can also be downloads, infographics, videos, or live streams. Plus, having a face and voice to put to a name helps you build trust with potential clients before you even meet them. 

Potential clients are researching their legal issues before reaching out to an attorney. They’re also researching you and your firm before contacting you. Make your website’s content a resource for potential clients that answers their questions and addresses their specific concerns in a comprehensive but not complex way. Being that expert that can provide knowledge and guidance helps connects you to your audience and starts cultivating a relationship with those potential clients,  making it more likely those potential clients will reach out to you and not a competitor. 

Having content that is useful and educational for your potential clients isn’t enough. You’ll have to know how to get that content in front of your target audience by understanding and using SEO and other traffic-generating tactics. 

How Does SEO Play a Role in Legal Content Writing 

Generally, search engine optimization (SEO), is how to optimize your webpages to improve its visibility in search results on search engines for organic search. SEO is what helps get your website in front of your ideal client more quickly. 

A study in 2014 suggested that 64% of all web traffic comes from organic search, compared to 6% from paid search (like PPC), 12% from direct, and 15% from other sources. Of that 65%, Google accounts for more than 90% of global organic search traffic. So it’s important to at least know the basics of SEO

Keywords 

Keywords are what your potential clients will be searching for. You’ll want to conduct keyword research to know exactly what those words are. You can use tools like Google Keyword Tool, Keyword Discovery, Bing Keyword Research, and Google Analytics to start with your research. Most of the time, your keywords will come in the form of long-tail keywords, like “Estate Planning Attorney Sheboygan Wisconsin.”

Metadata

Metadata includes information like your title tag, your meta descriptions, and image alt descriptions. The title tag is the title of your webpage, the meta description is a summary or tidbit of information about the webpage, like below:

The alt description is the text descriptions of images that helps search engines (and people with visual disabilities) understand what is going on in a picture.

Link Building

Link building is where you have links to pages on your website either within your website, internal link building, or on other websites, external link building. An easy way to build links externally is to list yourself on legal directories and by claiming your Google Business profile

Writing for Keywords, Images, and Technical Tactics 

But you should strive to write in a way that is good for your audience and search engines to read. This means having a website that is fast, easy-to-use, easy-to-navigate, mobile friendly, and has your contact information on display. Once you have a well designed website, it’s time to develop content to populate it.

As you write content, you should strive to have at least 500 words per post with titles and keywords related to the types of keywords your client personas are looking for. For example, if you’re writing about how to establish a living trust, “Living Trust” could be a keyword, but a Google search shows that “Living Trust” has over 1,300,000,000 results. 

That’s over a billion results. However, simply changing the keyword to “Living Trust Ann Arbor Michigan” lowers the results to just 7,480,000.

So you could have your article be titled, “How to Establish a Living Trust in Ann Arbor, Michigan” with the long-tail keyword “Living Trust Ann Arbor Michigan”

Long-tail keywords are more likely what your potential clients are searching for on Google. Long-tail keywords are more specific and more relevant to what your audience is searching for, so your content should be focused on optimizing for those.

You should try to include your keywords in your titles, metadata, headings, and URL, as well as in your webpage’s copy, but be mindful not to “keyword stuff,” which is overusing your keyword. Your keywords should be used naturally in your web page. 

Including images on your website is another great way to help improve your SEO. Not only does it make your web pages more visually appealing to readers, but you can also add alt text, which is a description that tells search engines what the image is about and also improves accessibility for people with impaired vision using screen readers. For a great talk about accessibility for your law firm website, check out Podcast Episode 202: Accessible Justice with Haben Girma.

Start creating content that points to other content on your website. This is called internal link building, and is a way to get visitors to go to other pages on your website and provide more useful information to other relevant topics. External link building is having other websites link to your site. You can do this by listing your business on legal directories or by writing guest posts on other legal websites or blogs.

Publish consistently.  Once a week is a good start to help build your SEO. While regularly producing content is a great way to engage with and build an audience, you shouldn’t publish for the sake of producing content. Be thoughtful in what you publish and focus on quality not quantity. Thinking about your long term message, short term announcements, or on-going offerings is an excellent way to fill up an editorial calendar. Writing a new post every week that is true to you and not pushy can slow people down. Coming up with ideas for emails, blog posts, and social media will take some thought. There are several credible sources to help if you ever feel like you’re running out of ideas, but if you’re in touch with your prospective clients and the other things they’re finding for their solutions you should be able to come up with lots of additional content over time from tips, to case studies, to law updates, to new ways to think about their problems, etc. 

All your content should provide keyword rich information that is helpful and also establishes your authority while drawing in organic search engine results by following SEO best practices.  Showcase your expertise by answering questions and sharing information on relevant topics to your practice area. 

Call-to-Action and Increasing Engagement 

Once you have people reading your content, you’ll want to encourage them to do something to engage with you. A call-to-action, or CTA, encourages people to take a certain action. Your CTAs are a way to increase engagement with your audience and bring your potential client a step closer to hiring you as their attorney. They’re usually placed at the end of a post, but they can be placed anywhere in your marketing.  

A CTA should help guide your audience what to do next after finishing reading your article or watching your video. A CTA  could be to contact you, visit another page on your website, download something, sign-up for an event, or register for a free consultation. 

High-quality content addresses and resolves an issue your client persona is having. It is concise and clear, focusing on one topic at a time and uses long-tail keywords to promote that topic on search engines. Your content should also encourage visitors to engage with your website by linking to related content or through a CTA. 

Effective content marketing is a long-term strategy and should be focused on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality, helpful, and relevant content on a consistent basis, establishing your trust and authority in their eyes, then getting them to engage with you through your call-to-action strategy.

A complete content marketing strategy can be a complex machine, but it always starts with great content that provides value to your audience. For them, and for Google, content is king (or queen).

Originally published April 5, 2010. Updated and republished June 27, 2019.

The post Content is King for Law Firm Websites appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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If you know you aren’t giving your clients the first-class treatment they deserve, here are some ideas for making your office more client-friendly.

1. Give Clear Directions to Your Office

Consider what clients have to do in order to meet with you at your office:

  1. Find your office building. Most people will use Google for this, or a map or transit app on their phone. If they take public transit, they may be in for a hike from the bus or train to your building.
  2. Find parking. If your clients drive themselves (as opposed to taking public transportation or getting a ride), they will need to find parking, which they probably won’t look for until after they arrive. If your building doesn’t have its own parking lot, they may drive around or ask Siri for nearby parking ramps.
  3. Find your office in your building. After they get off the bus or park, they will need to find a way into your building, then find your office in the building. If you are in an office building, they will probably use the lobby signage.
  4. Figure out how your reception area works. Once they have found your office, they will have to come in, let you know they have arrived, and possibly wait until you are ready to meet with them. If you don’t have a receptionist to greet and guide them, they will look for signs or cues around the room.

How easy have you made it for clients to get to your office building, find your office, and get comfortable in your waiting area? Keep in mind that for many clients, visiting a law office is one more stressful step in an already stressful process, and they may be filled with uncertainty.

I once worked in an office where there was no receptionist, just a doorbell. On reflection, that was a pretty unfriendly experience for clients. I regularly visit a professional office where there is no receptionist, just an empty desk, a nice couch, and a Keurig. All the individual office doors are closed. I still haven’t figured out what I’m supposed to do when I walk in. Usually, someone eventually opens a door and comes to greet me.

That’s not the kind of first impression you probably want to make on your clients, though. To help set your visitors’ minds at ease, give clear directions to the nearest parking lot or bus stop, to your office in the building, and then make sure someone greets them when they walk in the door.

2. Improve Your Refreshments

Offering guests something to drink (usually coffee) is deeply embedded in the human psyche. But not everyone wants coffee or soda. Consider setting up a drink station in your waiting area so your guests can serve themselves. Here are some ideas:

3. Offer Snacks

It’s hard to think on an empty stomach, so offer your clients a snack to get them through your meeting. A bowl of fresh fruit is great if you can keep it full. Otherwise, subscribe to a selection of snacks on Amazon to stay well stocked.

Parents with children will be especially appreciative.

4. Plan for Children

If you don’t plan for children, they will always be disruptive. But with a little planning, you can minimize the disruption.

Get a treasure chest filled with toys and let kids choose one to keep. Better yet, fill it with small LEGO sets and you’ll be a legend among your clients’ children. (Don’t just keep a box of toys or LEGO to share. That’s a great way to gross out your clients and spread germs.)

Consider keeping a folding tent around, too, and setting it up for kids so they can play by themselves while you meet with your clients.

It wouldn’t hurt to have a couple of kid-friendly tablets with headphones, although these days many kids will have their own.

5. Make Wi-Fi Available

Set up a guest network (you shouldn’t give visitors access to your primary Wi-Fi network) and post the password in your waiting area.

6. Offer a Charging Station

Let your clients top up their phone battery with a simple charging station and some universal cables.

7. Offer Better Reading material

Have a variety of magazines on hand, selected to appeal to your typical client. Pick three or four subscriptions from Amazon’s list of best-sellers.

Clean up your magazines at least every other month or so. Keeping old issues on hand just makes your office look crusty.

Experiment: Use A “Mystery Shopper” to Find More Opportunities to Improve

Market research companies send “mystery shoppers” into stores to measure quality of service. You can do the same thing to test your clients’ experience while in your office to help you identify areas for improvement.

Ask a friend your staff won’t recognize to play the part of a client. Give them a one-paragraph legal problem and have them make an appointment with another lawyer at your firm (without telling that lawyer, of course). If you can, record their interactions with your receptionist, website, staff, etc. If you can’t, debrief them right away while their memories are fresh and ask detailed questions about what they experienced throughout the process. Ask them how you could improve the client experience.

Related “Ask Your Clients to Help You Improve Your Client Experience

You’re bound to spot at least one or two things you can improve.

If you are a solo with staff (on-site or outsourced) or an office where you meet with clients, you can still use a mystery shopper to see what your client experiences up to the point they would meet with you.

A mystery shopper is a window into the client experience. You may not like what you find out, but every problem you fix will make your clients happier they came to see you.

The post 7 Easy Upgrades to Make Your Office More Client-Friendly appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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Law firm customer service statistics can be frightening:

  • Fewer than 10% of customers who call a law firm will actually get to speak to a lawyer.
  • More than 40% of people who leave a voicemail or fill out a web form wait two or three days before they hear back.
  • 11% of callers hang up within 10 seconds of calling a law firm because they’re frustrated at not getting to speak with the person they ask for by name.

In short: Most law firms are terrible at customer service (client service, if you prefer). This is a big problem as well as an opportunity.

8 Ways to Improve Law Firm Customer Service

A bad law firm customer service experience for your clients means you face the very real possibility of losing a client who could stick with you for years.

1. Learn From Other Companies

Zappos is a great example of a company that offers stellar customer service. Zappos makes it ridiculously easy for customers to return shoes, making them well known for their no-hassle customer service.

Good customer service doesn’t just exist in the business of shoes, either. Law firms can also give their clients award-winning customer service. Sadis & Goldberg won awards from ACQ and Corporate Intl. Magazine, in part for its responsiveness, cost-effectiveness, and customer service.

You can deliver great law firm customer service, too, by making every step in your law firm client focused. Your website, your policies, and your employees should make it easy for your clients to get the information they want and need. Clients should never feel like getting an answer to a question is a hassle. When you make it easy for clients to do business with you, there is no incentive for them to go to another lawyer.

2. Understand Life From the Perspective Of Your Client

It’s the Golden Rule of customer service: treat your client like you want to be treated.

Family law, personal injury, tort law, bankruptcy, criminal law, and even estate planning all have one thing in common: They can bring out the worst in people. Even mild-mannered professionals can suddenly become rabid shells of their former selves when they need a lawyer. You see people at their worst, when they are filled with anxiety and fear about the system, getting on with their life, and their future.

To provide the best law firm customer service, you must have a basic understanding of emotional intelligence and interpersonal communication. Those two skills can help you identify the emotions and feelings of your client so that you and your staff can respond with a professional level of empathy.

Occasionally take the time to touch base with your client to see how they are doing during the case. This one small action goes a very long way toward increasing client satisfaction.

3. Customer Service Starts with First Contact

To create the best possible law firm customer service experience for your clients, you have to examine your entire client intake process. Start with the very first time your clients call or fill out a form on your website.

One of the most important things that you can do is to hire the right person to answer your phone and return emails generated from your web form. It’s more than hiring someone with a pleasant voice for the phone. This person needs to sound friendly, go above and beyond when it comes to doling out patience, and they need to be empowered by you to make decisions that can solve problems. Above all, they need to understand your firm is client-focused.

When interacting with clients yourself, use active listening techniques. Active listening will reduce your client’s anxiety and positively impacts your attorney-client relationship.

4. Embrace the Details

When you were in law school, you learned how to pay attention to the details. Those details could make your break your analysis (and your grade). Take that same detail-oriented attitude and apply it to your clients. Not only will your customer service improve, but your clients will place more trust in you. The more your clients trust you, the more they will tell you. The more they tell you, the better you can help them and their case.

To do this, send out emails or make a quick phone call to a client who has expressed some sort of change in their life, such as the birth of a child or any other positive event. Knowing these small details will let a client know you care and increase referrals.

5. Take the Time to Explain Your Policies to Your Clients

During the initial consultation, you should do more than listen to stories and talk about money (although those two things are certainly important). Explain how (and when) your firm returns messages, provides unsolicited updates, and how your client can get their billing questions answered.

This will help set expectations. Bonus points if you include a “cheat sheet” that they can refer to later.

6. Call Clients Back within 24 Hours

Always return calls in a reasonable amount of time. All phone calls should be returned within 24 business hours. This even works if you still don’t have an answer for their question. Just touching base can go a long way.

7. Keep Clients in the Know

The number one bar complaint (PDF) is that clients don’t feel like their attorneys keep them informed. So set expectations by informing your clients during the initial consultation how often they can expect updates. Then follow that policy using email, phone calls, or with help from software.

You should also be careful about the language you use when you talk to your clients. Legal jargon can cause frustration and can even come off as condescending. Use plain english to explain updates or progress of the case. If there are terms that you simply can’t replace, make sure that you explain the concept.

8. Embrace Technology

Since law firm customer service starts with the very first contact, make it simple and easy. Contact relationship management (CRM) software can help you streamline intake, stay in touch with your client, and automate followup during the representation and after you have closed the file.

Other tech-based solutions such as booking appointments through your website or using artificial intelligence could also help improve customer service at your firm

Customer Service is the Key to Growth

It doesn’t matter how great of a lawyer you are if you don’t have any clients. If you want to continue to grow your law firm, you must focus on customer service. Happy clients refer your firm to others, and it isn’t that hard to make sure this happens. It’s just a matter of providing your clients with good customer service.

Originally published June 24, 2016. Updated and republished June 27, 2019.

The post 8 Ways to Improve Your Law Firm’s Customer Service appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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In this episode with Megan Zavieh, we check in on The Playbook  as well talk about her content marketing strategies, including her own podcast is going. Megan shares advice for lawyers thinking about starting podcasts, and a few tips about what has worked in her marketing plan and what hasn’t.

Megan Zavieh
Megan Zavieh

Megan is a lawyer for lawyers—she represents California attorneys facing ethics investigations and prosecutions. She also writes, speaks, and now hosts a podcast on legal ethics issues, as well as advises lawyers who want to incorporate into their practice new methods of delivering legal services.

You can follow Megan on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks to TextExpander, ARAG, and Ruby Receptionists for sponsoring this episode!

Subscribe

Don’t miss an episode of The Lawyerist Podcast! Subscribe now in your favorite podcast app.

Transcript

If you are hard of hearing, please contact us for a transcript of this episode.

The post Podcast #230: Podcasting as a Marketing Tactic, with Megan Zavieh appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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In this episode with Jan Glassman, we talk about her law firm business model, her flexible service options, and what challenges she has faced growing a law firm focused on social impact and innovation.

Jan Glassman
Jan Glassman

Jan Glassman is the founder of Daily General Counsel, a social impact legal startup that delivers highly experienced General Counsel services to small businesses, startups, and nonprofits through two innovative and affordable models. Her goal is to advise, educate and empower business owners so that they can move forward independently, and help them understand that a small amount of legal help can prevent huge legal problems.

One piece of wisdom that Jan would like to share is this:

“Every situation has a solution and an opportunity.”

And:

“Learn to say no. Your future self will thank you.”

You can follow Jan on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks to TextExpander, ARAG, and Ruby Receptionists for sponsoring this episode!

Show Notes

Jan is currently working on two projects to improve her onboarding process called, “The Red Flag Project” and the “Onboarding Decision Tree.” If you’d like to learn more, check out Daily General Counsel’s website or reach out to Jan here.

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Don’t miss an episode of The Lawyerist Podcast! Subscribe now in your favorite podcast app.

Transcript

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The post Podcast #229: Small Firm Profile: Daily General Counsel, with Jan Glassmann appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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Paid ads and word-of-mouth referrals will no longer work on their own to attract potential clients to your law firm. In fact, the average conversion rate for a paid Google Ad is below 4%. Instead of relying on ads alone, you must create and share relevant content that draws in and engages potential clients using an effective law firm content marketing plan.

“Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.” – Seth Godin

Effective Law Firm Content Marketing: What It Is and How to Do It Right

Content marketing is about creating content that matters to your audience. Your content should be valuable, relevant, and consistent with your firm’s brand and message. Research shows that conversion rates for those who focus on quality content marketing are nearly 6 times higher than those who don’t. Why is that?

In 1984, the average person saw an average of 2,000 ads per day. By 2014, they saw around 5,000 per day and the number is climbing steadily. In the age of ad overload, quality content provides value without being intrusive. Plus, according to the New York Times, content is shared most often by consumers to bring valuable content to others. This means that more consumers only share high-quality content on a day to day basis.

When you create an effective content marketing plan, your readers will come back to, share and act on it, effectively marketing your firm.

Create an Effective Law Firm Content Marketing Plan

Above all else, you must create a law firm content marketing plan to do it right. This plan should identify your vision, your audience, and your content goals. A detailed plan will simplify content creation because of its existence.

For example, a detailed effective content marketing plan helps you schedule new content, track your content creation efforts, and find where you’re falling short, so you can stay on track to meet your content goals.

See Your Plan Through

Some attorneys choose to start a blog, but then slowly get off schedule and then stop posting altogether. Others have created social media profiles just to have them sit stagnant.

Content is a living, breathing thing that requires continual updating. You’re responsible for keeping your marketing fresh and vibrant.

See your content marketing plan through. If you can’t, it’s time to outsource to your spouse, a partner, an associate, an office manager, or a marketing specialist. To start, here are some goals for both your blogging efforts and social media:

  • Blogging: You should be posting a new, fresh blog on your website at least once a week. Remember, the key is quality, not quantity.
  • Facebook: Most experts agree that you should post on Facebook once per day, with three times a week being the minimum.
  • Twitter: There are a lot of contradicting studies out there, some suggesting that Twitter posting should occur upwards of 50-80 times a day. The key here is to post at least 3-5 times a day to start and spread your tweets throughout the day due to their low shelf-life.
  • Instagram: Post high-quality images and content on Instagram between one to three times per day. Large brands post an average of 1.5 times per day.
  • LinkedIn: Aim to post on LinkedIn approximately twice a week.

Remember: with your blog and each social media account, consistency is key.

Engage with Your Audience

Regardless of where you publish your content, engagement is important. Publishing often enough to show potential clients that you stay current with their industry is just the first step in the process. Whether through blog comments, Facebook posts, or other social platforms, you must engage in a dialogue with your audience, providing a personal connection.

A personal connection builds trust. If potential clients trust you, they’re more likely to reach out to you when they need legal services. Believe it or not, 42% of consumers reported not knowing which businesses they could trust. This means that one out of every other potential client is skeptical about your firm. Engaging with them combats the skepticism, generating necessary trust.

Measure Your Efforts

Most measurements focus on numbers, not on effects. While you can measure retweets, likes, and followers, do you know how those numbers affect your bottom line? Ask yourself if your audience is seeing, sharing, and acting on the content you create. If they’re not, use your measurements to fine-tune your efforts by producing more content your audience prefers and reaching out to them via the platforms they’re most engaged in.

It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers and become distracted while trying to reach your goals. Soon, you’re falling into the metric trap, unsure of how to fix what you’re not sure needs fixing. To start, keep it simple and track a few key metrics including:

    • Time spent on your website: If your audience spends more time on your site, this is a sign of positive engagement.
    • Total leads: Track how many leads you’re receiving from social media posts, blog posts, and other content. This will help you see what content is performing the best, steering your content efforts.
  • Total social shares: A lot of your website traffic is driven by your social media. Track how many social shares you receive, and which content is gaining the most shares.
  • Client engagement: Track which social media content receives the most retweets or likes. Take note of which blog post generates the most questions, emails, or comments. Client engagement helps you visualize which content your audience prefers.
9 Steps to Effective Law Firm Content Marketing 

It’s true that content marketing is not a one-and-done type of effort. It requires ongoing attention to produce, publish, and engage continuously. It is possible to do it all, you simply need a plan. For the most effective content marketing plan for your law firm, be sure to follow these nine steps.

1. Define Your Firm’s Vision

Your first step is to define your overarching vision for your firm and your marketing efforts. Consider what image you want to portray about your firm and services. Then clearly communicate your vision to everyone involved with your marketing efforts.

A clear vision for your law firm will help you direct your content creation efforts. To start forming yours:

  • Consider your values and create a vision using what means the most to your firm
  • Be forward thinking and consider where you want your firm to be in the future
  • Outline what makes you different from your competitors
2. Set Goals to Help Achieve Your Vision

Next, determine what goals you want to achieve through your content marketing efforts. Your goals may include:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Increasing traffic to your website
  • Increasing leads from your website
  • Building brand loyalty
  • Creating relationships with strategic partners
  • Demonstrating your expertise

To each goal, you must tie a specific and measurable metric. For example, if brand awareness is your main goal, then you’ll measure how many shares you receive on social media. If lead generation is your goal, you’ll measure how many leads you receive through your website.

3. Identify Your Target Audience

You’ll have a greater impact online with a well-defined audience. Identify your audience by being as specific as possible, then create content geared directly to them.

Buyer personas make it easy to define your target audience. A persona is a representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

Personas should include as many details as you can gather. For instance:

  • Demographics such as age, sex, income, and location
  • Background such as family, work, and social
  • Motivation and goals in both their personal and work life
  • Challenges or pain points they experience

You can use our persona template to create a persona quickly.

4. Choose Your Content Types

Although there are many different forms of content marketing available, you shouldn’t partake in them all. In fact, you should consider which content types work best for your audience and your budget. Choose two or three that you can do well on a consistent basis. These can include:

  • Ads
  • Articles
  • Blog posts
  • E-books
  • Emails
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Whitepapers

Don’t simply create social profiles so you can be present everywhere. If you don’t personalize your pages or update them consistently, you run the risk of sending the wrong message to your potential clients. Choose a few forms of content and stick to the plan.

5. Determine Your Networks

Your potential clients will search for answers to their legal questions online. You need to decide how to make your content visible to these individuals.

Options for places to distribute your content will vary depending on your audience and the type of content you produce. For example, LinkedIn is a great place to seek engagement from other lawyers and professionals. For the more personal side of law such as divorce, Facebook and other social platforms could be a better option.

The key is to choose platforms and networks that tie directly to your goals. Focus on the networks that make the greatest impact on your bottom line.

6. Listen to Your Audience

Before you start publishing content, you should understand what your audience is looking for to tailor your content to their specific needs. Gather this information by:

  • Paying attention to pain points. What concerns are your potential or current clients dealing with? What questions do they typically ask? By listening you’ll find patterns across your client base.
  • Practice social listening. Although you should listen to your clients on your social media channels and your blog, also listen in other places online. Actively watch conversations around particular terms or phrases to identify opportunities for your content. Tools such as Hootsuite are great for social listening, as are Social Mention and Google Alerts.
7. Finalize Execution Details

Now, it’s time to finish the details to create an execution strategy for your law firm’s effective content marketing plan. There are three essential items to consider:

  • Your budget. You’ll need to keep your costs manageable to stay on track. Your budget should include costs for contributors, tools, and other resources you’ll rely on to accomplish your goals.
  • Your schedule. A content publication schedule is a must for success. You need to set deadlines and dates for each piece of content you create and publish. Make sure you consider all contributing factors such as how often you want to publish and if your schedule will vary by content type.
  • Your contributors. Contributors include parties such as business owners, writers, designers, editors, web developers, and proofreaders. Determine how many contributors you need on hand to keep your publishing on track. You may consider hiring a project manager to ensure content creation and sharing runs on schedule.
8. Measure Your Law Firm Content Marketing Efforts

Tie all your content goals to specific metrics. The metrics you set vary by distribution channel, but tend to fall into the same four categories:

  • Brand awareness
  • Audience engagement
  • Lead generation
  • Sales enablement

To capture your metrics, use the following three tools:

  • Google Analytics. Use this tool to see how many people have visited, viewed, and left the pages on your website. It can also track downloads and other engagement metrics.
  • Social stats. Track the statistics on your social media channels to see how many people have tweeted, liked, shared, commented, and more. Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer can help you consolidate most of these numbers for easy viewing.
  • Clients reports. Use a CRM or other database to tie content to new clients. This helps you visualize which pieces of content gain the most traction, which shows you which content to promote further. If your current law practice management software can’t provide you with these tracking features, you can use Hubspot or Salesforce.
9. Revise & Repeat

All the metrics you gather will help you understand what’s working and what isn’t. You may have to rethink your approach and adjust your content marketing efforts to best fit your goals. You can always publish and try again. For ultimate results, the strategize-create-distribute-measure process should continue as long as your firm does.

How These Must-Have Pages on Your Website Supports Your Effective Law Firm Content Marketing Plan

Your firm’s content marketing plan should include the creation or update of your website. After all, most of your content will live on or link to your site, giving your audience a place to learn more and ultimately reach out.

For the greatest chance at connection and conversion, make sure these six must-have pages on your law firm’s website hit the necessary key messages to connect with your audience.

1. Home Page

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. It only takes 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about someone you meet. Your website is no different. Your Home page is where your potential clients will most likely land first. That’s why it’s critical to include:

  • Messaging tailored to your client. Your website isn’t about you, it’s about your client. Acknowledge they are there by identifying how you can help them and showing them the transformation that could occur in their lives if they choose to work with you.
  • Calls to action. Make it clear what your reader’s next step is, whether that’s calling you or sending you an email.
  • Answers to your client’s questions. Spell out what you do, who you do it for, and where. These are the specific questions your clients want to know when they visit your website.
2. About Page

The second-most visited page on your site is your About page. It should include the following:

  • Your USP or unique selling proposition. What do you do differently than anyone else in your practice area? Communicate this USP on your website.
  • Your values and mission. What values do you hold dear? This shows who you are as a human and builds trust with your potential clients.
  • A description of what it’s like to work with you. How do you interact with your clients? What does customer service look like at your firm?
  • An introduction to your team. What does your team look like? How does your staff benefit your clients? It’s also a great idea to add photos so your clients see a familiar face at their consultation.
  • Testimonials. This is a great place to insert a testimonial or two and link out to your testimonials page.
3. Attorney Bio

Lawyers are notorious for creating bio pages that simply regurgitate their CVs. Don’t do that. Instead, use your bio to showcase your personality and humanity. Dive into what you do, how you do it best, and what extraordinary things you do to ensure results. Add a recent headshot or photo that shows your personality to help potential clients get to know you even more.

4. Services Page

This page is also known as the Practice Areas page or the What We Do page. It showcases the services you provide for potential clients. It must clearly describe your service areas and how clients benefit from receiving them. For niche practices, you can describe those niches such as Family Law or Business Law.

For a broader practice, your Services page should be an overview, offering highlights of the sub-practice area you cover.

5. Testimonials Page

Online reviews continue to be a lead driver of trust building online. According to BrightLocal, consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business. What this means for your firm is that you must seek out testimonials and you must promote them on your website.

When seeking testimonials, do not provide a list of questions for folks to answer. Instead, approach your request in a more open-ended manner. Let your clients know you’re looking for testimonials and that you’d appreciate their thoughts on what it’s like to work with you and how your services helped them reach their goals.

6. Contact Page

Include a short contact form on your Contact page to make it easier for people to contact you. Include your phone number and office address in NAP format:

Name (Business Name)
Address (Street)
Address (City, ST, ZIP)
Phone number

Also, include a short paragraph that reminds your audience why they want to work with you and specifically ask them to fill out the form or call you.

Whether you’re an attorney hanging a shingle for the first time, or you’re part of a small firm that wants to boost its success, creating a content marketing plan is a great next step.

Take Your Effective Law Firm Content Marketing to the Next Level: Become an Insider

Now that you’ve created your effective law firm content marketing plan, it’s time to take your content marketing to the next level. By becoming a Lawyerist Insider, you have access to the Insider Facebook group of lawyers and

The post 9 Steps to an Effective Law Firm Content Marketing Plan appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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In this episode with Jan Glassman, we talk about her law firm business model, her flexible service options, and what challenges she has faced growing a law firm focused on social impact and innovation.

Jan Glassman
Jan Glassman

Jan Glassman is the founder of Daily General Counsel, a social impact legal startup that delivers highly experienced General Counsel services to small businesses, startups, and nonprofits through two innovative and affordable models. Her goal is to advise, educate and empower business owners so that they can move forward independently, and help them understand that a small amount of legal help can prevent huge legal problems.

One piece of wisdom that Jan would like to share is this:

“Every situation has a solution and an opportunity.”

And:

“Learn to say no. Your future self will thank you.”

You can follow Jan on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks to TextExpander, ARAG, and Ruby Receptionists for sponsoring this episode!

Show Notes

Jan is currently working on two projects to improve her onboarding process called, “The Red Flag Project” and the “Onboarding Decision Tree.” If you’d like to learn more, check out Daily General Counsel’s website or reach out to Jan here.

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Transcript

If you are hard of hearing, please contact us for a transcript of this episode.

The post Podcast #229: Small Firm Profile: Daily General Counsel, with Jan Glassmann appeared first on Lawyerist.com.

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