photo-1461783436728-0a9217714694Two weeks ago, we took a look at two brands (Rolex and Farmers Insurance) who are doing content marketing right, with the idea being that when we look outside the legal industry, we can often find transferable lessons that can be applied to our own strategy and execution to improve what we’re doing.

The original post by Neil Patel looks at 8 brands, and this week, I want to look at two more of them for some additional inspiration – let’s stretch our collective imaginations and see how what those in completely different industries to our own are doing successfully might translate to legal!

Case Study One: Random House

Oh, how I love this particular case study, and not just because it’s focused on a publishing company (you may not know this about me, but I love books and reading). Random House really is doing something brilliant here. Patel tells us:

The book publishing company Random House totally knows its customers. Random House belongs on this list for the way that it shares content that inspires its team members, knowing that it will also inspire their readers.

By sharing a wide variety of content — their own or the stuff that’s inspiring them right now — they make their audience feel included in the creative process that the company is built around.”

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I can already hear you wondering how this is going to apply to the legal industry, but bear with me. First, let’s see what Patel says for content marketing in general to take away from their example as a lesson:

What you can do about it: Create and publish content that truly connects with your audience. Random House is on that mission to inspire everyone. For example, one of its articles features ‘wonder women,’ with the stories of powerful and motivational women.

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Patel nails it right there – “Create and publish content that truly connects with your audience.”

I know SO many lawyers who are incredibly passionate about what they do. I’ve talked to tax lawyers who get excited about the latest changes in the tax code, or how a particular law being applied will affect not only their domestic jurisdiction, but also foreigners with companies operating in that country. I’ve talked to energy lawyers whose language speeds up so fast that the words almost stick together because they’re so enthused about the latest news. Passion isn’t limited to your hobbies – many of you are already passionate about your work.

Why not share that with your audience?

You can do this by finding ways to channel that excitement and enthusiasm into the spoken or written word, and/or you can find ways to be creative about it. You might notice that above, Random House is using Pinterest as a clearing house for all of their inspiration – it’s not just about books either. Their boards collate pins on travel, holidays, home decor, and more. It’s about images and links that are inspiring to the company and their team. Books are there too – but that’s just a piece of what drives them.

What’s inspiring you? It can be outside the law, or within it. Share the articles or blog posts that have you thinking (and why). Maybe you’re a patent lawyer who loves stock photos of patented products. Maybe you’re an energy lawyer who profiles women in energy on your blog. Maybe you help entrepreneurs get their start and you share their successes in videos on YouTube.  Maybe you’d like to use the next six months to read a series of books about leadership, and start a mini book club among your colleagues and clients online to discuss it, and you share your reading list on your Pinterest board, and your top questions on your blog.

Find what you love, find what excites you, find what motivates you, and let it inspire your content marketing. Not only will it make it much more fun for YOU, it will also jump out to your audience, who will be electrified by your enthusiasm.

Case Study Two: Whole Foods

Whole Foods works to educate and help their customers through their content marketing, which is an easily translatable goal for any lawyer.

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Patel says:

Whole Foods has worked hard to establish itself not just as a grocery store, but as a lifestyle choice. The brand embraces healthy living and earth-conscious eating.

Whole Foods does a great job of living those brand principles in its content marketing. Articles about how to save money but still eat healthy or tips to change your diet for the better make Whole Foods’ products and lifestyle more inclusive. On top of that, it uses a lot of proactive language (‘I want to learn/do/both’ as a search option in its navigation bar) which makes the audience feel like they have an active role in the experience.”

Whole-Foods-Educate-Help-600x210There are a few things going on here – the first is that Whole Foods knows who they are, and this is communicated throughout everything they do. I’m always a big fan of that. You don’t have to be all things to all people – but know what it is your law firm/legal practice represents, and ensure that everything you do embodies that. We’ve talked here before about how the ILN went through the process of interviewing its members to find out what they thought represented our “brand,” and the answer ended up being, time and time again, “relationships.” So we didn’t fight it. We embraced it. We made our tagline “Where lawyers become friends.” And the lawyers love it – from those who have been in the Network for decades to the lawyers who have just joined. They feel like the conferences are a family reunion, almost from the very beginning. We go with what works.

But equally important here is that Whole Foods has dedicated themselves to the education of their customers about healthy living and earth-conscious eating. It’s a part of their brand, so it suits them, but it’s also who their customers (their audience) are. They want to help educate people so that it makes sense for them to shop there, so that they keep their existing customers happy and attract new customers as well.

How does Patel suggest we translate this for content marketing?

By creating this kind of inclusive content, Whole Foods is attracting new customers and creating lasting connections with its audience at the same time. Healthy living is not an elite club, it’s a choice that Whole Foods wants to help people make, and the content it produces supports that idea. Create content that revolves around how you can truly help your audience.”

A lawyer’s goal already is to help his/her client, so your content should be a natural extension of this. Similarly to Whole Foods, you’re looking to create inclusive content that allows your clients and potential clients to create lasting connections with you – you want to help them make the choice to use you as their lawyer, and your content should support this idea. So as you produce it, you should be asking yourself, how is this truly helping my audience?

As you’re focused on creating inspiring and helpful content, what tips do you find particularly useful, either from your own experience or other brands that you see using content marketing to reach their target audiences?

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Photo of Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles…

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles recruitment, member retention, and a high level of service to members. She is engaged in the legal industry to stay on top of trends, both in law firms and law firm networks.

In her role as Executive Director, she develops and facilitates relationships among ILN member firm lawyers at 90+ law firms in 67 countries, and seeks opportunities for member firms to build business and relationships, while ensuring member participation in Network events and initiatives. These initiatives include facilitating referrals, the management and execution of the marketing and business development strategy for the Network, which encompasses all communications, push-down efforts, and marketing partnerships, providing support and guidance to the chairs and group leaders for the ILN’s thirteen practice and industry specialty groups, the ILN’s women’s initiative, the ILN’s mentorship program, the management and execution of all ILN conferences, and more.

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2019

During her previous tenure as Director of Global Relationship Management, the ILN has been shortlisted as a Global Law Firm Network of the Year by The Lawyer for 2016 and 2017, and included as a Chambers & Partners Leading Law Firm Network since 2011. She was awarded “Thought Leader of the Year” by the Legal Marketing Association’s New York chapter in 2014 for her substantive contributions to the industry, and was recently included in Clio’s list for “34 People in Legal You Should Follow on Twitter.” She was also chosen for the American Bar Association Journal’s inaugural Web 100‘s Best Law Blogs, where judge Ivy Grey said “This blog is outstanding, thoughtful and useful.” Ms. Griffiths was recently chosen for as a Top Author by JD Supra in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards, for the level of engagement and visibility she attained with readers on the topic of marketing & business development. She has been the author of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking since February of 2009.