We extol the written word at Curated Media. Labouring over every sentence until we get it right is what we strive for. For many, that’s web content - the written word; especially so in terms of lawyers and law firms. Long-form evergreen content and insightful whitepapers effectively showcase expertise and knowledge, instilling trust in clients and respect from peers. High-quality, expertly written content is absolutely vital for the legal sector and so all law firms need a bespoke content marketing strategy in order to thrive - and ultimately survive - online.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that ‘web content’ doesn’t begin and end with writing. Anything the user sees and engages with when they arrive on a landing page is content.
Wikipedia defines web content thus:
“ … the textual, visual or aural content that is encountered as part of the user experience on websites. It may include - among other things – text, images, sounds, video and animations …”
Complimenting carefully-crafted copy with multimedia elements increases user engagement by offering meaningful, memorable online experiences, experiences that are almost as memorable as seeing a unicorn. This is what sets great law firm websites apart from the slew of dry and dull ones. Those that establish a genuine connection. And those that offer the chance to see unicorns.
The digital age has changed the way we live for the better (perhaps we’re biased on that assertion) but internet users are savvy and the binary world now needs a more human dimension. Something that the end user can relate to and connect with almost instantly. It is impossible to process entirely the bombardment of information and marketing messages we’re all faced with online. The ones that users chose to are the ones that resonate, those that speak to them.
Different content formats work best for different businesses so in this blog we’ve outlined a range of options that, when well executed, can give your law firm’s site the edge over that of your competitors.
According to Cisco, by 2019 consumer internet video traffic will account for some 80% of all consumer internet traffic. Providing SEO benefits and increased online brand visibility, video is already dominating the online sphere, so including it within an overarching online marketing strategy is extremely wise. Immediacy of message, the human proclivity to watch and observe – as a medium, its appeal is multifarious - which presents great opportunity for law firms. Law firm video marketing is huge business stateside and the trend is steadily growing this side of the Atlantic, too. Whether imbedded on a landing page or hosted on channels like YouTube or Vimeo, legal video guides are excellent vehicles for demonstrating knowledge and expertise in your given practice areas. Interviews or panel discussions with partners and fee earners provide the chance to offer insight as well as adding a more human aspect to legal practices. With video, personality and knowledge can be conveyed at the same time. Delaware firm Richards, Layton & Finger use video marketing to their advantage, with professionally produced, informative panel discussions uploaded through Vimeo and to their own site. Useful, additional information, such as the cases referenced and relevant staff bios, are linked to on the video’s landing page. This is the ideal scenario for the end user: information can be consumed quickly; irrelevant sections can be skipped over and any relevant, related information is easily accessed. We love working with law firms but we’re the first to admit that all too often the overriding impression many users are left with after having visited a firm’s site is one that’s either cold, clinical or both. The reason your law practice exists is because of the highly-skilled professionals behind it. Mobilise your fee earners to get passionate about promoting what they do. Professionally produced promotional videos can be easily shared and communicate the ‘who you are, what you do’ quickly and effectively, like this one from Miller Friel, who have even included ‘video’ on their homepage main menu navigation. Get the tone, story and aesthetic right and you’ve hit gold. Beyond that, homepage video backgrounds like this one from commercial London firm Rosaling King are an ideal way to incorporate video if staff-wide camera shyness is proving prohibitive. The only real limitations when it comes to video are budget and creativity.
Our habits are changing. For most of us, before we go to a new destination, be it at home or abroad, or even just around the corner, we go online to get a preview. A quick head’s up somehow puts our mind at ease and the feeling of familiarity makes the experience all the less daunting. Again, this presents opportunity for a law firm’s marketing tactics. The most confident, high-powered business people can find visiting law firm offices intimidating and the prospect is the same for the majority of private clients. The production values on today’s 360 tours are impressive, allowing for finishing details like branding, calls to action and way finding text to applied throughout. Opening your space up in this way creates transparency and a sense that you’re already welcoming your customers in. Initial perceptions can be invaluable. International firm Slaughter and May take their virtual tours to the next level with interactive elements giving information about what specific floors are used for, interior design details and office artwork. They even include background sound, bringing them to life even further by giving a true reflection of what it’s like to physically be there.
While stock images from sites like Shutterstock are convenient for things like blog posts, their overuse can be detrimental. We’re not suggesting that you hire an in-house photographer, deployed on a daily basis to eagerly run about the office after partners, documenting their every move. But having the same hero image as a raft of other law firms will result in your website getting lost in the ether. By regularly commissioning a photographer to take a suite of current images – be that of staff, offices, locations, events – that can be kept on file, easily accessible, is hugely beneficial. Regularly refreshing your website with visuals unique to your firm reinforces your firm’s unique personality and the attention to detail adds gravitas overall. In many ways, a staff bio page is the first meeting. With this in mind, investing in a professional photographer with corporate experience is a worthwhile outlay. Australian firm Galbally & O’Bryan have struck the balance of personality-professionalism balance perfectly. More and more law firms are beginning to embrace photo blogging platform Instagram, too, such as Danish firm Plesner. At the risk of stating the glaringly obvious, photos bring content alive so place value on good photos and images and use them to your advantage.
65% of us are visual learners, according to Forbes. The legal industry is fascinating for those of us who work in, or, close to it. Can the same be said of everyone else? Maybe not so much. In this time pressured 21st century in which we live, visual content is easier to digest. Furthermore, content accompanied with relevant images is 94% more likely to be viewed and infographics are liked and shared three times more than any other content on social media. Infographics are a concise yet comprehensive way of telling a story. They (usually) incorporate visual interpretations of data with graphic design / illustrations to explain a process or scenario. Infographics are ideal for summing up a legal issue or process succinctly and draw audiences in because they are eye-catching. By positioning an infographic above the fold (visit our sister company Moore Legal Technology ‘s excellent blog for all digital marketing definitions referred to throughpout this post) on a page housing a lengthy article you are more likely to inspire the reader to scroll further down as you’ve summed the contents of the page up, not in an introductory paragraph, but with a striking visual. The Open Law Lab have created numerous graphics for the legal sector, depicting case law and legal processes as you’ve never seen them before.
Varying content formats breaks monotony as well as holding that ever-decreasing human adult attention span (we're now in a lower echelon than goldfish, folks). Two absolutely vital tips worth bearing in mind here: 1) knowing your audience is key – this will inform what formats will resonate most and 2) working with legally qualified content marketing experts will guarantee results – contact us today to discuss what we can do for your site.