While lawyers are experts at making compelling cases in court, many seem to have overlooked the digital verdict awaiting them online.

Surprisingly, over a third of legal clients start their search for a law firm online. Despite this, the number of attorneys who report they have a website dropped from 94% in 2022 to 87% in 2023.

We wouldn’t want a potential client to find you guilty of legal marketing neglect, so let’s build up your only waterproof defense, a solid content marketing strategy. We’ll discuss the benefits of law firm marketing, quality content formats you can tailor to your ideal client as well as some best practices.

Benefits of Content Marketing for Your Law Firm

For you as a lawyer, the ongoing costs tied to your very profession will force you to maintain a healthy client stream. From fees for the state bar association and other professional associations to partnership buy-ins and office expenses — staying competitive in the legal industry comes with a price tag. Maybe you’ve already joined local business chambers or sponsored events and workshops in your community. Perhaps you even rounded that off with client testimonials, TV commercials or the occasional press release.

All of that can be valuable, but put yourself in your clients’ shoes — or yours during the last search for a service provider. In most cases, you’ll leverage search engines or a social media platform to find the right one, or at least combine them with other sources. Your clients aren’t any different, except they may be less experienced with legal directories or your business chamber’s website. 

In many cases, they haven’t planned on hiring a law firm well in advance, nor will all of them have experience doing so. That’s why it’s critical to build trust in a context they already know. The easiest way to achieve that, while differentiating yourself from your competitors, is through content marketing. By leveraging your law firm website alongside social media marketing, you can enhance your online visibility, thus showcasing your expertise and legal services. 

Think about it, who would you rather hire? The expert who has shown their knowledge hundreds of times, answering questions without jargon online? Or, their competitor next door who sits over books and lectures all day? We’re not saying one’s more experienced than the other, but it’s easy to see why a prospective client would prefer someone who has proven themselves before, in a medium they can easily access.

Plus, if you push your digital marketing strategy further, taking on the role “in loco parentis” for clients, you might even be able to retain some of them because of your offerings online. That could be an industry newsletter with valuable content or a blog post that happened to describe their exact legal dilemma. Content builds trust, and if you show competence in internet marketing, you can easily create a category of one.

Law Firm Content Marketing 101: Content Strategy, Formats and Distribution

Let’s build your ideal approach to content creation from the ground up. Law firm marketing is like a tailored suit; there’s no one-size-fits-all. It’s ultimately about finding the right fit. 

If you’re a personal injury lawyer, you may focus on educational content about safety tips, gray-zone legal case studies or FAQs to complement your legal service. Your colleagues in corporate law usually deal with clients who are already familiar with the subject matter, at least to a degree. For them, it would be beneficial to share high-quality content on current regulatory changes and their legal implications for businesses or checklists to navigate legal processes.

As for the actual format, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from, and you can mix and match them based on your preferences.

  • Blog Posts: As the all-rounder among formats, blog posts can function as the core of your entire content strategy, from short-form updates or case studies to all-text posts or multimedia offerings. You may even choose to provide different styles of blog posts for clients at various points of the legal journey.
  • eBooks: Every time you need to go in-depth, it’s worth creating an eBook. That allows you to invest more time and create an asset that potential clients may want to download, either as part of a newsletter subscription or as a paid guide.
  • Infographics: There’s no better way to demonstrate you can boil down a complex legal subject to its core meaning than an infographic. You may hesitate to oversimplify legal questions at first, but as long as you don’t make them too generic, they can incentivize clients and interested readers to share your wisdom with others. So remember to brand them!
  • Webinars and Podcasts: These can take different forms, depending on your typical clientele and client cycles. An intellectual property attorney might choose to discuss famous brands’ rulings or recent changes in patent law. A family lawyer could cover anything from legal considerations during separation to major headlines such as Roe v. Wade. 

You might hire a developer to create interactive tools to understand estate planning needs or advertise a downloadable guide for tax returns through a Google Ad. What’s important is that you enjoy the process and your clients find your website content helpful.

Equally, you want to consider a few factors to pick the right platforms for your content strategy. After all, a Google Business profile serves a different purpose than a Facebook group or email marketing campaign.

Of course, these platforms need to suit your personal preferences and have to be manageable, either by yourself or a marketing team you collaborate with. However, you should also consider the benefits various platforms offer. 

An FAQ section as part of your website content or a blog post exploiting keyword research can earn you a featured snippet in a search result. This allows you to connect with potential clients already searching for their respective legal issues. 

That doesn’t mean you should answer questions across YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, though. These are audiences who haven’t searched for your services, and they’re vastly different in terms of demographics. If you’re offering advice on estate planning and your audience is still worried about paying off student loans, even the best track record won’t get anyone excited about your services.

The more you can tailor your offer to each target audience, the more likely you’ll find new clients.

Best Practices in Legal Content Marketing To Reach the Right Target Audience

Recreating niche content for various audiences can be challenging, especially when you already have the expertise. After all, for you it all seems logical, so why spend time repeating the same case in 10 variations? The problem with that logic is that your client can’t assess if their problem relates to the other example, or if some new law might prevent them from benefiting from your solution.

That’s why it’s best to put yourself in your client’s position, assuming next to no legal expertise. If you can manage to demonstrate the before and after of consultations — or break down complex legal questions in your webinars or extensive FAQ sections — readers will remember you. They’ll associate your name with trustworthiness and finally understand their problem.

Besides technical matters, you also need to consider what’s unique about your locale. If you’ve specialized in comparative company law, you’ll go about search engine optimization (SEO) differently than a colleague who focuses on German corporate law. In some cases, you might have to niche down further. Zoning ordinances, property tax rates or business licensing requirements often only apply on a county level, which makes local SEO more important.

Speaking of SEO, a big part of that since Google’s latest updates, is what we call experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness, or E-E-A-T. As a lawyer, you probably don’t need to think twice about whether you have any experience; the problem is you have to show it. That means you’ll have to follow certain best practices within your content and sometimes be comfortable to make your face an element of your brand.

For good reason, search engines are becoming stricter about showing content that directly affects readers’ lives, or “Your Money Your Life” pages. So if you advise clients on issues like financial assets or child custody, you’re stepping into a realm where “Caveat emptor” holds weight. In this space, you’ll have to work harder to rank on search engines than your colleague who advises startups on HR policies or trademark registration.

Remember that you can show your expertise in various ways and that you’ll need to adjust to different platforms while doing so. You might publish a case study on your website to convince clients who are just about to sign a contract. But when you repurpose that case study in video format on social media, you may choose to measure success through engagement rates. Success can take many forms, and you should assess your own business objectives and strategies to define yours.

Set Your Law Firm Up for Success With Content Creation Tailored to Your Niche

We hope that gives you some inspiration to get the creative juices flowing and shape your content marketing strategy. While you can certainly establish good habits based on best practices, like collecting content ideas after consultations, these can take many variations on the open playground of marketing.

As long as your content is of service to clients and represents the brand accurately, you’re on the right track.