You’ve probably heard about content marketing, and you might have a general sense that it would be good for your practice.
But how do you develop a content marketing plan? What do you need to know? What are the first steps?
A good idea is to start with a definition: “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
That comes from the Content Marketing Institute, which advises you to place particular emphasis on two words in the above paragraph: “Companies send us information all the time – it’s just that most of the time it’s not very relevant or valuable (can you say spam?),” according to the CMI.
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6 Key Pointers for Content Marketing
- Content marketing is essential to all other marketing activities. It’s not a separate thing you do to boost your business – it’s the foundation of all other efforts: social media messaging, Search Engine Optimization, public relations, pay-per-click, client outreach and paid advertising.
- Create and refine your brand. Don’t know what your brand is? Unsure how to shape and sharpen it? Informative blogposts are here, here, here and here. Another good resource: “Internet Branding for Lawyers: Building the Client-Centered Website,” by Jeff Lantz. It’s available for free at the Lawyers Mutual Lending Library.
- Leverage earned media. “In order to make your advertising as effective as possible, consider highlighting trustworthy earned-media placements, such as publicity mentions or awards, at the very top of your funnel,” writes marketer Nick Wolny in this Entrepreneur article. “A few ways to repurpose past media include: (a) Visual authority: if a large media outlet quoted you or your product, show off that placement in your advertising for a bump in trust. (b) Television clips: even in a world of apps and smartphones, TV remains the most-consumed form of media, and guests on segments have implied legitimacy.”
- Make sure your content gives answers to your prospects’ questions. (a) Why do I need to do anything? (b) How can you solve my problem? (c) What options do I have? (d) Why should I act now? (e) How much will it cost, and how long will it take?
- Client testimonials and positive feedback make killer content. “Do you have 1,000 five-star reviews on a product? In lieu of publicity, expertise and customer happiness can also function as earned media,” writes Wolny.
- Send confirmation emails. “Another valuable piece of real estate that gets easily overlooked is the confirmation email when someone joins your newsletter,” according to Wolny. “The open rates on this first fulfillment email are a sky-high 50-90 percent. If you used an opt-in ‘bribe’ or sent a free gift, you’re more likely to be in the high end of that range. Subsequent newsletter campaigns then slide back down to an industry standard 20 percent open rate.
- Follow-up. Keep sending valuable and relevant content to prospects, former clients, and even existing clients.
Five Ongoing Resources for Content Marketing
Following are from the Content Marketing Institute:
- Getting started guide. Learn the definition of content marketing and the basic steps for putting a content marketing plan in place.
- CMI Content Marketing Framework. Outlines the essential building blocks for a successful content marketing program.
- 75 Content Marketing Examples. A downloadable e-book.
- Chief Content Officer. A free e-magazine on the latest industry trends. And this online consulting group is led by strategist Robert Rose.
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Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Today he helps lawyers and firms succeed through marketing, work-life balance and reclaiming passion for what they do. He is available for consultations, retreats and presentations (www.yourlawlife.com). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-619-2441 to learn how Jay can help your practice.