How To Leverage Your PR/Content Marketing To Create a Successful CampaignDecember 30, 2013
More than just a clever buzzword, creating a content marketing strategy that is relevant, engaging and social can make a huge difference in legal marketing.
Simply defined, content marketing is a way to leverage interesting and valuable content and use it for promotional purposes across multiple channels. Savvy lawyers and law firms are using it as a means of increasing awareness, establishing influence, providing useful information and shaping their firm’s story. Content marketing allows law firms to create and control their own message and distribute it in a highly effective way.
PULL VS. PUSH
The objective of a content marketing strategy is to draw interest in, rather than push messages out and hope someone sees them. It’s about creating content that speaks to your audience’s various interests. A successful strategy requires your firm’s marketing professionals to know what is being said and where it is being said, and then developing content that engages across multiple channels.
You can think of content marketing as PR 2.0. As law firm PR moves beyond press releases and events, the firm’s public relations strategists are finding that they are also content strategists. It is no longer enough to push out firm news and hope someone notices. Today, consumers are searching for content that adds value to their oversaturated inboxes, Twitter feeds and online newsrooms. The key is asking, “What would my audience want to read?” rather than, “What would the firm want me to say?”
As newsrooms have shrunk, this type of PR has become much more relevant. Understaffed media outlets mean more opportunity for non-journalists and experts to provide meaningful and impactful content. Staying tapped into what your target audiences are interested in can make you and your firm an invaluable resource for bylined articles, guest columns and blogs.
Here are a few ways your firm can leverage the current PR/content marketing landscape to create a successful campaign
• Publish your own content. Today there is an arsenal of self-publishing platforms, including blogs, video and social share tools. These platforms have not only become popular, but commonplace for most professionals. In fact, according to the 2013 In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey, in-house attorneys indicated that they read attorney-authored blogs (55 percent) as frequently as they read blogs authored by professional journalists (54 percent). These platforms allow for more creative, engaging and personal ways to connect with your audiences. For example, if your firm has a big announcement to make, instead of blasting out a press release and hoping that the media picks it up, consider creating a short video with the managing partner on what the news means for clients and post it to the firm website or YouTube page. The link can also be shared via email, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
• Repurpose and share. With every piece of content created, it’s essential to ask: How can its visibility be maximized among target audiences? Perhaps a blog entry can be repurposed as an email alert to clients or enhanced to become a bylined article for publication. Make sure that every piece of content is shared with the firm’s social media followers by posting to the firm’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, as well as the personal pages of relevant attorneys. In addition to just posting to the firm’s LinkedIn page, post it to specific groups of interest within LinkedIn, ensuring an even more targeted, yet expanded audience reach. To be sure, not every piece of content should be shared across every channel, but there are far more targeted opportunities to share good content than ever before. Knowing which message will resonate where will give your firm a significant advantage.
• Integrate for maximum impact. As the lines blur between “traditional” and “social” media, it is more important than ever to incorporate public relations and content development into the overall marketing plan for your firm. Public relations cannot live in a silo; rather, it should be weaved into the overall marketing strategy to help tell a broader story. The opportunity with content marketing is to really leverage “earned” and social media to fuel other parts of your firm’s marketing program.
• Walk before you run. A successful content marketing campaign takes time, buy-in, and of course, resources. To maximize your firm’s campaign, choose a select number of channels and focus on a limited number of topics initially. Before adding social media assets, be sure to take into consideration important factors such as the time commitment of all involved parties and the firm’s objectives for each social platform. Add new content outlets thoughtfully and carefully, based on where you know your target audience looks for information.
• Stay relevant. Content that gets read is content that is relevant, informative and engaging. A ho-hum firm announcement typically does not fall into any of these categories. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to share the firm’s news. You just have to figure out how to make it relevant. The goal is to discover where your audience’s pain points are, and provide content that offers useful solutions or information.
• Make a personal connection. Content marketing is an excellent opportunity to not only position attorneys as subject matter experts, but also showcase personalities and unique styles. Ensuring that the personality of your firm or specific attorneys comes across in your content will help forge relationships even before an initial meeting.
• Make it “shareworthy.” Shareworthy content takes things a step further and not only encourages people to read it, but also share it with their own networks, greatly increasing your exposure in the process. Shareworthy content typically includes: information that is surprising or unexpected, a compelling story or outcome, a nugget of necessary information, or a differing opinion from the status quo. Look at the information or news that you want to share with these angles in mind, and figure out how you can shape it into content that falls into one of these categories.
In today’s fragmented media landscape, it is more challenging than ever to differentiate your firm’s brand. Having a good content marketing strategy can help by plugging your firm directly into the conversation and providing information target audiences want. Used effectively, it can help increase long-term visibility and deliver real business results.
Source: Legal Intelligencer