Creating and publishing high-quality legal content that speaks to your law firm’s target audience is just the beginning of the content marketing process. At the heart of any successful legal content marketing strategy is effective content distribution. By targeting the distribution of your content, you guarantee its amplification. All too often, law firms and lawyers take the time to create great blogs, in-depth articles and infographics, for example, yet neglect to strategically think ahead about how, where and when to position these in front of the people that actually matter.
Understanding how to properly leverage strategic distribution techniques is essential in ensuring that the time and effort you invest in your content marketing efforts is worthwhile. Furthermore, Google being the clever search powerhouse that it is, rewards high-quality content by recognising it and thus pushing it up the rankings. Good rankings equal good prospects; poor rankings equal - you guessed it – poor prospects.
In this blog we look at key points to consider for effective content distribution.
Understanding what context your content will perform best in is crucial. Wings help many animals fly but if you swap the wings of an eagle with the wings of a bumblebee, the wings will not perform the job that they are supposed to. Considering the readership, relevance and purpose of your content will help inform your distribution plans. When you begin the process of deciding the subject matter of your content, you should also be thinking about where this content will thrive. Say your firm is a specialist provider of IP services. You decide that you want to write about a recent patent judgement that will be of relevance to your clients / prospective clients. When you understand the niche that you want to operate within, you can research where these audiences spend time online and when. Most areas of law have specialist news sites, regular features on media outlets or dedicated blogs, with writers and marketers poised for fresh material that they can then circulate on their own channels. Having sound knowledge of the opportunities relevant to your field, be it intellectual property, commercial or family law, means that you can target your content accordingly. With a plan in mind before your content is published, you are more likely to stick with it and therefore cover all relevant bases. It’s all too easy to apply an ad hoc approach and then later realise that you have missed some key opportunities and platforms.
Online audiences are savvy. If your content is merely a placeholder or was uploaded purely because you hadn’t posted new material in a while, it becomes irrelevant. Depending on your practice area and specialist expertise, there will be different hot topics relating to your firm and therefore, that will peak the interest of your audience. By having your finger on the pulse of the current conversation, you can guarantee what you publish and distribute will resonate with your desired target audience, who in turn will share it on their platforms with other like-minded, potentially new audiences. Buzzsumo is an excellent online tool for researching trending topics and monitoring what’s being discussed on your LinkedIn and Twitter networks will give insight as to what you should be focussing on.
Although the role of keywords has changed in recent years (with overuse resulting in penalties from search engines) good keyword research is still incredibly valuable. Including relevant keywords and phrases will enhance the reach of your content and inspire your target audience to share it. It is important to conduct keyword research prior to writing. As already mentioned, Google now recognises and rewards well-written content. If after having completed a new piece of content you then try to shoehorn in as many keywords as possible, the overall effect could be that search engines recognise your content as spam. Google’s Keyword Planner is an easy to use and effective way of finding out the right wording to include in your content to enhance impact and performance.
Before you start writing, consider who you are writing for. With this prior knowledge in mind, you will then be able to establish where your audience is likely to spend time online. So again, at the point of creating your content, if you have a clear idea of what your audience's online habits are you can produce content that will sit well on the platforms that they spend time on and distribute content to these channels accordingly.
It’s not enough to create content without giving thought to when it should be published. Depending on your audience, there will be variations in the specific times that they tend to be online. There’s also a pattern of ‘peak days’ that have been seen to result in greater readership (e.g. Mondays are allegedly ineffective) however it’s best to use Google Analytics or Tweriod to get an accurate reflection of your specific audience’s habits. Additionally, many publishing platforms provide scheduling functions meaning you can plan in advance for posts to be made automatically.
Cultivate your following. In the same light as your website being ineffective without good content, it’s not enough to have a presence on social media by merely creating profiles. You must spend time growing these accounts, be it through adding new followers, sharing, liking, retweeting – whatever your channels of choice may be. This seemingly obvious point means that when you come to distribute your content, you can be safe in the knowledge that it is going to reach the right audiences quickly. Additional to this, having a strong contact list and a sound understanding of the media landscape is powerful. Who are the thought leaders and key writers / reporters in your field? Find and make contact with them. Existing relationships with the online media increase the chance of them publishing and sharing your content when it’s good to go. Cold calling at the time of publication can be an incredibly hard sell.
Encouraging your colleagues to invest in content distribution is a straightforward win, too. Rev up your internal communications and share your content with colleagues, requesting that they then share on their own channels. Some lawyers embrace social media more than others, however, those that do will have connections with influential stakeholders, who regularly interact with their desired audience to provide insight and spark discussion. Furthermore, those key players in your firm with an interest in social media are likely to be part of relevant groups on LinkedIn or have been added to ‘lists’ on twitter, broadening the scope of your reach when these individuals share your content.
Legal content will likely include references, mention sources and quotes from various authorities, often more so than content related to many other sectors. When considering your content distribution, these individuals or organisations should be top of your list. Reach out to those mentioned in your post (e.g. using their twitter handle) in the course of your distribution and again, you’ll extend your reach to the key demographics that are desirable to your firm.
The chance of your content being shared online is greatly increased if you include the use of a relevant, engaging image. Including a visual offering, be it a stock image, graphic or infographic for example, will inspire sharing. This is a simple rule of thumb and is especially useful for boosting sharing on social media and generally makes your content more appealing online.
It’s crucial to have distribution at the forefront of your approach to content marketing as even the best online content is rendered obsolete as a result of poor distribution strategy. At Curated Media, we understand better than anyone that for law firms, prioritising content marketing and distribution can detract from catering to clients and running your business. Get in touch today and find out how we can work with you to help your firm’s online presence reflect your offline expertise.