Is Content Marketing Causing Information Overload in the Legal Industry?May 5, 2014
According to a recent survey, corporate lawyers are using technology to consume more information — all the time, wherever they go — they also feel overwhelmed and often struggle to find the most relevant, valuable content. The report released by communications firm Greentarget, ALM Legal Intelligence and consulting firm Zeughauser Group concludes that law-firm marketers should build content strategies based on the principles of corporate journalism.
The 2014 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey -measures how corporate lawyers’ use and perceptions of digital media has changed and how law firms’ marketers are responding.
In-House Counsel Survey:
LinkedIn is a necessity, not a differentiator – The social network perceived to have the most professional relevance for lawyers has become ubiquitous across every age group surveyed. Overall, 37 percent said they had used it within the past 24 hours, more than the number who had used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube combined.
Blog readership is plateauing – Blog readership by in-house counsel dipped slightly this year. The number of respondents who had read a blog in the previous week fell from 46 percent in 2013 to 38 percent in 2014, after years of steady increases. Meanwhile, the volume of blogs published by the AmLaw 200 has skyrocketed, going from 350 blogs in 2010 to more than 1,000 today.
Mobile devices are always on – While mobile devices help in-house counsel stay informed, one-third of them (32 percent) said those very devices also contribute to their feelings of information overload.
GCs remain largely “invisible” on social media – This year’s survey affirmed the “invisible user” phenomenon: 71 percent of survey respondents use social media in listen-only mode, while only 29 percent are disseminating information and engaging with other users. Clearly, just because in-house lawyers do not respond with comments doesn’t mean they aren’t consuming content.
Law Firm CMO/Marketer Survey:
Volume growing faster than budgets – While 84 percent of firm CMOs expect to produce more content in 2014, only 39 percent said their content marketing budgets have increased — perhaps because in many firms, the lawyers themselves actually are writing a sizable amount of the content.
Who’s managing content? – Only 29 percent of law firms have a dedicated manager overseeing content strategy. In contrast, 73 percent of business-to-business (B2B) companies have such a position, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2014 B2B Content Marketing report. Only a quarter of firms surveyed said they have a documented content strategy, though nearly half of those plan to create one this year.
The combination of more law-firm generated content and ubiquitous accessibility has contributed to a growing feeling of information overload among media consumers. To combat this, the report’s authors believe law firms should embrace corporate journalism, which combines a law firm’s market intelligence and subject matter expertise with the credibility and narrative techniques of professional journalism, and is characterized by:
Journalistic commitment to accuracy, fairness and credibility
The critical notion that journalism serves its audience above all others
Direct, succinct, lively writing that favors plain English over industry jargon
The report explains that corporate journalism allows organizations to “act like media companies” by shaping and sharing the most compelling stories they have to tell in order to demonstrate thought leadership and build brand awareness.
“Law firms have been publishers for years, pushing out client alerts, newsletters and journal articles, among many other things,” said Norm Rubenstein, partner of Zeughauser Group. “But now, thanks to digital media, everyone has become a publisher, and that’s created a flood of content — one that threatens to drown out all but the most compelling voices. Still, with the right content strategy, and a commitment from firm stakeholders to execute on it, firms can use content effectively to drive thought leadership, distinguish their brands and potentially increase their market share.”
Added Kevin Iredell, Vice President of Research and Continuing Education Products, ALM Legal Intelligence: “It’s little wonder that in-house counsel show signs of information overload. There’s no much more content available today, but no more time to consume it. Firms are clearly investing in content, and now they should focus on getting the most out of those assets — this survey and analysis shows a critical path toward that achieving goal.”