Content is important - people only like to spend their time reading content that is of value to them. That is why search engines such as Google reward websites with valuable content – and the reward comes in the form of prominence in search results.
Equally important is to build a strategy covering two crucial aspects of winning online – the creation of quality content and the distribution of quality content. Here we think about the first aspect - creating quality content.
Andrew: "Well everyone, it took a lot longer than we anticipated but I am pleased to say that the new website is now live. We still need a lot more content from you to go on the site – I know you are all very busy, and that you meant it when you said you would come up with something, but it hasn't happened. Can I ask you all to make this a priority?"
Brenda: "Yes, apologies – it's just one of these things that keeps slipping. By the time I get through the day then start to think about what the next day involves, before I know it another day has gone. That was months ago we said we would get something to you..."
Chris: "I know exactly what you mean – I have actually managed to try a few times but I have to admit I found it quite difficult. I know the law, obviously, but it's the "setting it out" and making it read well that I found difficult. I just don't know how to make it something people want to read.
Actually, I had a look at our site and didn't really get much guidance there on how to approach it – we don't actually have a lot of information on most of our areas of work. In fact, for some of our most important revenue streams we only have a single sentence saying that we do that type of work!"
Andrew: "I know, it's crazy when you think about it – think of the returns we could achieve if we showcased our expertise in these areas. I think the difficulty is that what we're told that producing one piece of content isn't enough – we should be producing resources for our site very regularly to get business online. It's a problem, no doubt – we need to create more content and even doing that isn't enough, we need to make sure that if we create it, it actually then gets read, and that is a whole other issue."
Brenda: "Ok, well, why don't we prioritise this, it is too important to let slip. Do we all agree to go away and produce something as a matter of urgency? Once we have done that we can then get our heads together on how we get it read. Agreed?"
Andrew: "Good stuff, but don't forget that fees are important"
3 months later
Andrew: "I know you have all been very busy, which is great, but did anyone manage to get round to producing the content for the website we talked about? We don't seem to be getting any new business from the website and it did cost us quite a lot. "
Andrew, Brenda, Chris, Douglas, Emma, Frank (silence)
From our experience of working with lawyers and law firms throughout the UK, we know the scenario outlined is a common one. In short, creating content is challenging and this often means it simply never happens. Lawyers work very hard and clients' demands easily fill the day – so the prospect of engaging in further hours of concentration and effort can be nigh on impossible. Also, content isn't only restricted to the written word, far from it, yet most of us simply do not have the skills or technical know-how (not to mention the time required) to produce content such as high quality video, infographics and the like. And this is precisely the type of content that prospective clients wish to consume.
The main issue for law firms is usually resourcing content creation – the firms themselves have plenty to say but little or no time within which to attempt to create the content.
I suppose a company with our offering is always going to say that creating content is really difficult and that you should place it in our hands, thus allowing you to focus on your legal work and converting the business opportunities that the content will create. And that is exactly what I am going to say – for the simple reasons that creating content is difficult, time consuming and needs to be done strategically.
Other options such as engaging students, or junior members of staff who don't want to be writing content (or who can't actually write well), have their pitfalls and usually lead to, at best, a piecemeal effort that brings little by way of return.
Massive companies with significant resources now deploy large teams with the sole aim of producing content that builds the company brand and personality. Content is created that seeks to demonstrate the company's excellence, promotes it as a thought leader or develops its image and reputation, all of which are crucial for the future success of the company – companies that do not seek to engage with their customers face uncertain futures.
Most law firms don't have sufficient resources to allocate towards content creation, but they can still take cost-effective steps to produce resources that reach out towards prospective customers. Such resources should be viewed as assets because, if created correctly and repurposed across multiple media formats, the return on investment can be significant - the content will produce business enquiries for months, if not years.
Next time: the strategic distribution of content - read episode 2.
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If you want to know more about how important online content is then please read our Content Odyssey Guide.
Curated Media helps law firms with their online content needs – we make sure you are in with a chance.