Last week, we looked at two of six content marketing tips from Forbes for 2015, and this week, I want to focus on the two others in their article that I found to be of value for the legal industry.
Tip One: Focus on Social
I’m sure it will come as no surprise to regular readers of Zen that I picked up on this tip, and I stand behind it as a valuable one. Social media continues to be a valuable means of engagement, and helping to disseminate content – both yours and others.
In last week’s post, we talked about becoming a content curator – for me, content marketing is about more than sharing what you’ve written or developed; it’s about identifying what’s of value to the audiences you serve and sharing that with them, so that they don’t have to do the work of finding it.
Social media can be used to help you find that content, as we discussed last week, but the second piece of that is about sharing it – you don’t want to put together all of this valuable information for your audiences and then leave it somewhere, hoping that they discover it, You want to make it easy for them. So you tweet it out, share it on Facebook and LinkedIn, talk about it on YouTube, etc.
Drew Hendricks, the author of the Forbes’ piece, says:
According to Chris Delany, founder of SEMGeeks, a popular digital marketing agency, ‘The top social media platforms being used by marketers are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Use for both SlideShare and Google+ has increased, but marketers are still most likely to put their time and dollars into the top three social media channels because of their potential for engaged, targeted audiences.’ Furthermore, platforms like Vine and Snapchat are also becoming increasingly valuable. You should use your social profiles to promote one-on-one customer engagement and effectively disseminate content that resonates with the target market of each networking platform."
This may sound like a lot of marketing speak for the legal industry, so let’s knock it back a little bit. It’s not just marketers using these platforms – lawyers and clients are using them too (I’m not making that up, my experience AND statistics prove that to be the case).
I’m all for using multiple platforms, and they may differ depending on your industry and practice focus, but generally, the top three are going to be as Hendricks and Delaney indicate, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – yes, Facebook, even for lawyers.
- LinkedIn: It’s considered to be the most "professional" of all of the social media networks, and so it’s an easy fit for lawyers. It’s no longer just a static recitation of your resume – you can now share content, make your profile dynamic and interesting, join groups where you can add substantial value and really engage with others, and even create a company page for your firm and/or practice group that can be used to share relevant information. When sharing content here, remember to think broadly – don’t just share written content, but add in visuals and video for more well-rounded profiles.
- Twitter: Twitter is still one of my favorite places for engagement – find your key influencers and amplifiers and connect with them. Create lists and set up columns to ensure that you’re able to follow the important trends, which will help you identify the right content to share and create. Use visuals along with what you share to catch people’s attention and get them to focus on your content, and be strategic about your use of hashtags, so that your tweets are coming up in the right places.
- Facebook: Facebook is still a dirty word among most lawyers when it comes to business development, but I can feel a change coming. I’ve seen a few staunch anti-Facebook lawyers change their stance recently, and I think more will do so as well. Don’t go running through the streets yelling that Lindsay Griffiths thinks Facebook is the next big thing for lawyers or anything though – this is all taken with a grain of salt. Facebook is still only good for a few things. For law firms in general – it’s excellent for recruitment and for giving a well-rounded picture of the firm’s culture: post your charity work here, office shots (casual Fridays, pizza Wednesdays, etc), behind the scenes looks, Throwback Thursdays and more. For lawyers, I’ve seen it work excellently for connecting referral sources in our Network – I’ve watched live as my own attorneys have friended each other on Facebook and grown closer, communicating on a very regular basis – and I guarantee you that results in being more top of mind when a referral opportunity comes along. So while you may not be comfortable connecting with clients yet on Facebook, consider adding a few of your referral sources and other influencers on Facebook and seeing where that takes you first!
If you’re feeling really bold, you can branch out with some of the other social tools out there as well. Try Vimeo or YouTube to share your content. We talked last week about setting up an Instagram account, or using SlideShare to share your presentations. The important thing is that you don’t let content sit and wait for people to come to it, but that you get it out there to people. Which brings me to our next tip.
Tip Two: Repurpose
This is a favorite tip of mine, and I’m so glad that Hendricks includes it in his article. As he says:
Unless you have a massive team of content creators, it’s difficult to produce tons of material on a daily basis. In order to maximize the value of the content you do publish, find ways to repurpose it for continued use. For example, you can pull key points from an article and tweet them throughout the week; or you could use a long blog post as a launching point for an entire blog series. Whatever you choose to do, finding ways to repurpose material will allow you to extend the valuable life of your content."
With few exceptions, none of us are going to have a team of content creators, nor should we. I’m of the mindset that the best content comes right from the source – you. I write all of my own content, and believe that if a lawyer is putting their name on something, they should be the actual author of it too (no ghost writing here, thank you!).
Bearing that in mind, how is it that some people seem to be able to put out so much content, and yet have a successful law practice at the same time? The key is repurposing.
There is work that you are already getting paid to do, and you can use that work to create content that you can use in a myriad of ways. Let’s look at a couple of examples – you’ve been asked to present at an upcoming conference on an area of law that you specialize in:
- Take your presentation and put it up on SlideShare, and share it.
- Create a blog post, or series of posts, from the presentation, and share those through your social networks.
- Have someone photograph and/or record the presentation at the conference. Share the photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and share the video of your presentation on YouTube and your blog.
- When developing your presentation, take 3-5 takeaways that you’ll tweet out before and after the session.
You regularly get a few questions from clients that can differ slightly, but the answer is generally the same. Without breaking any confidentialities, you can:
- Use a blog post to create a general "best practices for" that will address that question or even a "top five" list. Share the blog post through your social networks.
- Create a podcast that addresses that issue.
- Answer the question in a short video or series of videos. Share this to YouTube or Vimeo.
- Put together a presentation of the takeaways and share it to SlideShare.
As you can see, there are a number of ways that you can repurpose some of what you’re already doing in your day to day work. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel with content marketing, or to always try to come up with something new and fresh. The most successful content is going to be that which already interests your clients, and as such, will be that which you’re already addressing.
"Content marketing" sounds like a fancy set of buzzwords and a lot of extra work, but if you make it part of your routine, and adopt a few small changes, it can actually have quite a large impact on your business development efforts – and be doing most of the work FOR you, while you’re busy handling client matters. What other content marketing tips have you found work for you?