Bubba Gump, Shrimps and Lessons in Content Marketing for Law Firms

Posted by Paul Hajek on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 @ 11:15 AM

bubba forrest gump resized 600I was watching one of my favourite movies, Forrest Gump, the other night; a wonderful and heart-warming film.

I still pretty much well-up and cry throughout the whole film.

If you have seen the film, cast your mind back to the scene where Bubba has a conversation with Forrest about Shrimps and the Fruit of the Sea.

That delicious little conversation between Bubba and Forrest set my content marketing pulse racing.

Content Marketing: Shrimps and the Fruit of the Sea

Bubba engages Forrest with a question on his specialist subject the versatility of the shrimp:

“Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it. There, uh, shrimp kabobs, shrimp creole....shrimp gumbo, pan-fried, deep fried, stir fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp...shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich... that's, that's about it.”

I think you’ll agree quite a challenge to name all the multiple uses of that little decapod crustacean: the shrimp.

That exchange neatly encapsulates how I think law firms should be thinking about what legal content to create.

Self- Imposed Limitations of Law Firm Content

Many Law Firms tend to think of content and content marketing as just blogging.

Social Media is characterised by a once in a while update to LinkedIn profiles.

Most lawyers are uncomfortable in the Twittersphere and nervous (in my view correctly) of Facebook.

Law Firms feel that lack of time, irrelevance, cost or ambivalence are reasons enough to abstain from creating great legal content to educate and engage existing and potential clients alike.

But, those law firms are missing out.

Content and Social Media Marketing are now much more than the creation of articles blogs and the odd Tweet.

Great legal content is not just one dimensional.

It is so much more.

Law Firm Content as a Series and Not Just a Pilot Episode

Law firms who have the ability to create great legal content in all its forms and distribute that content via their website and through social media stand to reap a rich harvest of engaged existing clients and opportunities for potential clients to engage with your Law Firm.

Consider one piece of content and how it could be disseminated into other formats.

Think of your great legal content as a series rather than just a pilot or standalone episode.

Think of a great piece of legal content in the round. Great legal content should be something you can not only barbecue or boil but broil, bake, and sauté as well.

Put those ingredients with other media and you start being more creative.

Find your equivalent niches and recipes for pineapples, lemons and coconuts.

Slideshare and Infographics for Law Firms

I have reinvented my most read blog on Chancel Repair Liability into an Infographic cutting down almost a 1000 words into one picturewell, you know what they say. 

chancel repair liability infographic

We have just posted a Jargon Busting Slideshare presentation called: What’s the Name of That Legal Thingy?

Within 7 days of its release we had received over 2750 views and multiple likes, retweets and shares. 

Whats The Name of Legal Thingy Page 01 web

We’ve added to the mix eBooks, a printed book, and video on YouTube and created a hub for all our content to make it more easily accessible.

We even turned our obligatory complaints procedure into something of value and worth sharing. 

complaints procedure

Release Your Great Legal Content

Great legal content can stretch far and wide – swim (or scamper across) oceans if you will.

Ownership of great sharable legal content protects you from the vagaries of digital real estate owned by Google, Facebook, and Twitter et al.

Facebook for example has recently tweaked its algorithms to make it more difficult to publish content to as many “fans” as before. You now have to pay to get the previous coverage.

Great legal content will be shared by family friends and colleagues. Even better, if you are producing exceptional legal content, it will be shared by people outside of those immediate circles.

Think about it: your great legal content shared by people you do not know but digested and read by people who may become clients on the strength of that content.

What Will You Law Firm Content Marketing Success Look Like?

Bubba knew what success looked like:

“What you do is you just drag your nets across the bottom. On a good day, you can catch over a hundred pounds of shrimp. If everything goes all right, two men shrimpin' ten hours, less what you spends on gas, you can...”

I’ve written about fishing nets before in the context of law firm websites and how to engage with potential clients here.

If your law firm has great legal content I would love to share it and for that matter if you would like to share a box of chocolates… well perhaps an analogy too far.

Whatever analogy you choose I hope you look at content creation and the power of content marketing for your law firm in a whole new light or rather a series of lights.

And if there is anything you would help with or further explore connect with me below or in LinkedIn or on Twitter.

And that's, that's about it.

Let's Chew The Content Marketing Cud 

Topics: content marketing for law firms, content marketing for lawyers, social media for law firms, solicitors marketing, slideshare for law firms

The 4 P’s of Content Marketing for Law Firms

Posted by Paul Hajek on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 @ 05:05 PM

4 Ps of Content Marketing for Law FirmsI‘ve been enjoying myself.

I’ve travelled around the country speaking to solicitors at various seminars and conferences about content marketing.

I almost managed a full 90 minutes at the Emirates Stadium (the home of you know who - *holds nose*) and came off five minutes before the end to a sitting ovation.

I particularly enjoyed being on a panel at the Legal Futures “Clicks to Client” Conference in London in June. The panel, which also included Slater & Gordon, had 5 minutes or so to tell their back-story and give a few tips and advice on how to run a successful digital or content marketing strategy for law firms.

Brevity concentrates the mind and craves the pithy so I thought about the 4 Ps.

You already know about the traditional 4 Ps of marketing - Product; Price; Promotion and Place - so I came up with my own 4 Ps of Digital or Content Marketing for Law Firms: Pragmatism; Perseverance; Patience and Passion.

The 4Ps of Content Marketing for Law Firms

1.     Pragmatism

A simple one but nevertheless worth emphasising.

You will not, save for the law firms with the greatest resource, be able to have a cogent presence in every social media and content marketing sphere.

Stick to what you know best and feel most comfortable in, so long as, if you have not already started do so as soon as possible.

Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich written way back in 1938 advised:

“Do not wait: the time will never be "just right" Start where you stand, and better tools will be found along the way”

Most lawyers feel most comfortable in LinkedIn as they are in the company of other professionals. As a Business to Business model it works very well for lawyers wanting to spread news of their specialties far and wide but doesn’t really allow for interaction with clients.

Many lawyers are put off Twitter and Facebook as they are not their natural habitats.

Facebook is making it increasingly difficult (without payment!) to market yourself or your law firm

I am very much at home on Twitter and find it a great listening medium, whereas I am banjaxed by Facebook and to be honest petrified of it.

So pragmatic you must be.

2.     Perseverance

Once you decide to introduce yourself and your law firm into the content marketing world and inhabit social media  as ways to reach out and engage with your existing and potential or targeted audiences - you need to keep at it.

Don’t be bowled out in 31.4 overs like England last winter in Australia. You need to build an innings.

The more you try the better you will become.

You can hone your skills along the way. As Gary Player once said “the harder I practice the luckier I become”

Best-selling author Malcom Gladwell looks at Practice as not being “the thing  you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good”

There are no silver bullets, as in all examples of endeavour, it takes guts and determination to do it well.

There will be winning and losing skirmishes along the road but if you believe your are giving and adding value to your existing clients and target markets persevere and you will eventually succeed.

3.     Patience

Patience is indeed a virtue.

You are laying the foundations for you and your law firm’s digital footprint.

You can revisit and reinvigorate your great legal content over time adding more and updated content and repurposing your content in different media as I have done with Chancel Repair Liability.

Please eschew the snake oil salesmen who promise the riches of 1st page of Google etc. 1st page of Google is relatively easy if you concentrate on intelligent long tail keywords. The holy grail is to keep your law firm at the forefront of the search engines.

Build your reserves over time and you will be repaid.

Great legal content is the gift that keeps on giving – if you are prepared to be patient.

4.     Passion

And last but not least: Passion.

Passion, for me, is by far the most import of the 4Ps of Content Marketing for Law Firms.

Lip-service and perfunctory nods and winks to great legal content just won’t do.

You need to be passionate about creating great legal content and have a burning desire to enrich and improve your clients and potential clients informational needs.

The proof of the pudding is in the passion fruit.

And you just can’t fake it either.

Poor uncommitted content is better off not being written at all as it will fail to engage and be ignored.

I have seen all too many poor and perfunctory attempts: law firms jumping on the bandwagon of social media and (mixed metaphor alert) stomping with their hobnail boots all over Twitter and Facebook.

There will always be one or two within your law firms who have a passion and desire to succeed at Social Media and Content Marketing.

Let them loose and step back.

Why The 4 Ps of Content Marketing Are So Important

Now you may not wish to get hung up on phrases like content marketing especially when you are talking with fellow partners, members or directors.

What we really mean as lawyers when we talk about Content Marketing is simply our response to  clients and potential clients informational needs for any given problem or process.

Marcus Sheridan demystifies and distils content marketing into the abilities of listening , communicating, teaching and helping customers or clients

I concluded at the Legal Futures Conference that too much time is spent by law firms worrying about the next “disruptor” in the legal services market place.

Law firms seem preoccupied with the next new entrant in to the legal services market place and overawed by new technology?

But, in my opinion, most law firms have not yet woken up to the current disruptor – the internet itself.

The traditional 4 Ps have not disappeared. But you should make extra sure that your law firm knows the new 4 Ps of Content Marketing and learn to assimilate them into your new marketing mix.

If you would like to chew the legal content marketing cud with me some more just hit the link below, I’d love to hear from you.

View Paul Hajek's profile on LinkedIn

Let's Chew The Content Marketing Cud 

Topics: content marketing for law firms, content marketing for lawyers, inbound marketing for law firms, social media for law firms, law firm marketing, solicitors marketing

Law Firm Strategy: The Incredible Power of FREE.

Posted by Paul Hajek on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 @ 03:00 AM



Should lawyers give free advice to attract clients?
Should lawyers give free advice to attract clients?
Shireen Smith poses an interesting question in the latest edition of Internet Newsletter for Lawyers ; "Should lawyers give free advice to attract clients?"





Shireen an intellectual property lawyer( and a fellow Tweeter whom I have also had the privilege of meeting in person),cogently  argues that solicitors and law firms have become too keen to give away valuable knowledge.



The Power of Reciprocity



Both Shireen and Ed Rivis have read Robert Cialdini's book "Influence -the psychology of Persuasion" where the author argues that free advice can be a great sales technique.



The theory being that people are much more disposed to instruct you as a way of reciprocating the favour of the initial free gift or advice



Kissing Frogs



Amongst the many who contact you there may well a prince waiting in the wings who could become a very valued client of the law firm.



But, in Shireen's opinion the balance is shifting and lawyers are being taken advantage of in the hope and sometimes a forlorn hope that their law firm may be instructed at some later date.



Shireen uses her widely read blogs and articles in her content rich websites to attract potential clients.  But, there is a danger that as Shireen admits "when you are prominent in the search engines you get all sorts of people approaching you. There will be some excellent potential clients and there will also be a few people who have no intention of buying a legal  service. They are just looking for free advice"



Law Firm Websites: Invisible Visitors



For most law firms, not as savvy as Shireen, the challenge will be to draw potential clients to your law firm website in the first place. It is also important to discover who were those people visiting your law firm website.



But, do small law firms in particular know what percentage of people, who visit their law firm website,  actually buy, subscribe or enquire? Or to ask the reverse... how many potential clients visit your law firm website and leave in total anonymity?



 If your law firm website is like most, then probably a high percentage. Statistics vary, but a commonly quoted average is that most sites 'leak' more than 97% of their visitors - people who leave without taking any action whatsoever.



Web Marketing Basics for Law Firms



What if there was a way of getting more than 20%, or 30% or even 60% or more of your website visitors to at least tell you who they are, and actually give you permission to sell to them in future... even if they never visit your website again!



Now that may sound impossible, but it's actually easy, and quite simple and it involves giving away something for free



All you need to do is add a form to your website that offers something for free, in return for the visitor giving you their name and email address or maybe even their postal address and fax and telephone numbers too, if the delivery of the free product or legal service requires it.



Then you can use those details to phone, post or email over time further details of your law firm services and offers.



It's powerful, and it all revolves around the power of FREE... giving away something free in order to build a relationship with a potential client first, and sell legal services to them later.



Free Examples



In Ed Rivis's opinion, using the power of FREE is an incredibly effective way to build a business, and he uses it in all his online businesses.



I also use the power of free on my Clutton Cox law firm website from a free eBook "Everything you need to Know about buying and selling a house in 28 bite-sized chunks" to downloading our free Conveyancing Calculator. We win business by using these free tools



In addition to giving away a free eBook or free access to an online Conveyancing Calculator, law firms could try:



A short report, whitepaper or book? (Either real, or electronic)



An audio recording such as a private interview or consultation or a podcast of an important legal case in the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court? (offer could be as a download or on CD.)



A video introduction to an area of law or a simple "How To" guide ? (Either online video or a physical DVD.)



Why don't you take a few minutes to sit down and brainstorm different things you can offer your potential clients.



You will need to heed Shireen's advice and discipline yourself not to give away the equivalent of the crown jewels of legal advice for nothing.



But heed too, Ed's and my advice that by using the incredible power of the free you can attract  potential clients to your law firm: and convert them into clients.



Solicitors Marketing Success provides advice to sole practitioners and small law firms on how to use the internet to market their law firms effectively from consultancy, creation of websites, web products, email marketing, blogging and social media.



If you have not done so already sign up on the right hand side of this page to receive our regular free blogs on how you law firm can get found online and convert potential clients into actual clients.



 

Topics: high street law firms, internet marketing for law firms, law firm marketing, solicitors marketing, law firm websites, blog

Skate where the puck is going to be, not where it has been

Posted by Paul Hajek on Wed, Oct 12, 2011 @ 03:26 AM




[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky, Chicago, Illinois[/caption]





Steve Jobs, at the Macworld Conference and Expo back in 2007, used the above quote from ice hockey superstar Wayne Gretsky to characterise the Apple philosophy.



Now that ABSs are here, it struck me that the quote was as equally applicable and germane for law firms.



Apple succeeded by creating products which it thought the public would want, not necessarily improving what the public already had.



Apple had the courage to create products with its own imagination: as in most endeavours not all were successful.



So will law firms be brave enough to second guess their clients needs and wants in providing products and services which as yet do not properly exist or are incompletely realised?



Although undoubtedly there will be other reasons, some law firms are at least having a go, judging by the rounds of merger activity. There is also a rush to the new umbrella legal brands such as Quality Solicitors and High Street Lawyer.



It may be that some law firms may have finally realised that cooperation and a willingness to “think outside the box” is a valid strategy.



“If I was going there I wouldn’t start from here”



But, I have a sneaking suspicion that the new entrants in the legal services market might have started shaping their service and client care propositions from a different perspective.



Jordan Furlong, in his blog “Rise of the Machines” in the new blogging section of The Lawyer magazine website this week puts succinctly, what he feels the new entrants in to the legal market will promote:



These companies manage processes. They leverage knowledge. They automate to increase timeliness. They systematize to improve quality. They streamline to improve affordability. And they relentlessly prioritize service and the client experience. Law firms don’t do any of these things because we don’t compete on speed, price, simplicity or service. To the extent we compete at all, we do it on “quality.”



The Internet and Opportunity for Law Firms



An obvious place where law firms can dare to be different and differentiate their law firm is on the internet.



Marketing and winning business on the internet simply was not an option for law firms until relatively recently.



What the internet can do is attract potential clients to your firm so as to allow a relationship to begin. Internet marketing and social media in general are scalable and capable of returning great ROI.



The internet will be the main battleground for finding and winning over existing new and potential clients.



For smaller firms the costs associated with joining an umbrella brand may be prohibitive. As an alternative your law firm will need to work out how to function and promote itself in cyberspace.



Local strength on Google and other search engines combined with enhanced services and packaging of legal services has huge merit for law firms looking for a likely solution to where the puck may go.



Proof of the Pudding



Who would have thought someone with whom we had not had any interaction thus far, could land on our website, like what they see and actually instruct us to act there and then.



It amazed me when it first happened on my Clutton Cox law firm website.



I still get very excited and it is happening every week.



The Final Mixed Metaphor



Where will you position your law firm puck in the near future?; will you be myopically content to leave it where it is now – right in front of your eyes!



Law firms are beginning to think differently and more smartly about how their legal services will be accessed and dispensed in the future



The worry for some law firms reluctant to change may be not so much a case of deciding where the puck will be but not even realising that  the ice upon which they are already on is dangerously thin.



Solicitors Marketing Success provides advice to sole practitioners and small law firms on how to use the internet to market their law firms effectively from creation of websites, email marketing, blogging and social media.

 

If you have not done so already sign up on the right hand side of this page to receive our regular free blogs on how you law firm can get found online and convert potential clients into actual clients



 

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Topics: solicitors marketing, Alternative Business structures, blog, tesco law, sole practitioners, Law firm, small law firms, Lawyer

But apart from that, what has blogging ever done for us?

Posted by Paul Hajek on Tue, Sep 06, 2011 @ 09:43 AM




[caption id="" align="alignright" width="179" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]blogging what has it ever done for us[/caption]





Well, clearly not road construction, nor has it restored public order to follow my Monty Python, Life of Brian theme.



But like the Romans blogging can do an awful lot of good for a modern law practice.



Blogging is simply one facet of an overall marketing strategy revolving around your website.



For my law firm Clutton Cox it has been the most important strategy. And the main reason: the internet is increasingly the tool of choice for people preselecting solicitors and law firms.



And there is really one main reason why you or your law firm should blog; to get clients.



Competition is huge and set to increase post ABS early next year.



Clients and potential clients will be fought over assiduously by the new entrants in to the legal market



Your mission (and it is not impossible) should you choose to accept it is to:



• Tell potential clients you exist and are going strong

• Let your potential clients know (and indeed your existing clients who may not be aware), where you are; what you do and hey presto, they will get to understand that you are bloody good at what you do.



The more traffic that is generated the more chance your work will be found: the more relevant the content you provide, the more able the search engines will trust your work and release it as targeted content to potential clients: Blogging achieves this.



The internet has subtly changed the rules of marketing so that it is not now so much- who you know, but more, what people know about you.



Ed and I have blogged extensively and prodigiously over the last few years. Blogging has been of enormous benefit for our respective businesses.



Yet, it would also be true to say that Ed and I would have done it differently now with all the knowledge we have gained.



If you would like help to kick start your law firm blog, please email us.



Solicitors Marketing Success can provide you with practical help, sound advice, “How to” information, never ending ideas for blogs, and how to get your blog noticed.



To use another Python analogy, the holy grail of internet marketing is to get found.



And blogging is the quickest route to achieve that goal

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Topics: solicitors marketing, blogging, blog, Law firm, Monty Pythons Life of Brian

Law Firms Slow to Grasp Internet Opportunities

Posted by Paul Hajek on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 @ 08:32 AM




[caption id="" align="alignright" width="250" caption="Image via CrunchBase"]Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...[/caption]





An article in the Gazette last year reported on research by Greenlight into on line search behaviour in the legal sector.



The research has been on going;   the latest report was issued in the spring and covered the month of February 2011.



The report analysed legal brands and review sites which were most visible in both organic or natural searches as well as paid search results specifically in Google.



The report can be downloaded for free from the Greenlight website.



The report has some interesting findings:



• Searches for the keyword “solicitors”  increased by 124% from November 2010

• “solicitors” accounted for 27% of all queries

• The keyword “negligence” accounted for 37% of all enquiries for legal-related keywords

• Searches for “divorce” increased by 124% in February compared with November 2010

• The terms “wills” and “conveyancing” were neck and neck at 14,700 each

• The keyword phrase “no win – no fee” attracted 9,900 queries

Paid Searches: Google Adwords



The report shows sector domination of the law firms and non law firms who pay to have their brand exposure increased by Google.



The tables show a quick guide to “keywords” which pay. There is a limit to the number of characters you can use in an Adwords advert.



Examples include:



 “cheap conveyancing quotes”

 100% compensation. No Fee

 Divorce in 4 weeks from £17

 Free 30 minute initial consultation

 Fixed fee business lawyers offering flexible and professional service



Conclusions:



Content:  The leading sites contain rich content on topics which surround popular keywords



Quality Links: to help further differentiate a law firm website, links from third party websites are seen as a positive vote in their favour. In Google’s eyes this is seen as an authentication of sound source for quality content. Links play a significant role in helping sites break through the clutter and ascend rankings



What Law Firms Must Do Now to Make the Most of the Internet:



Law firms must invest in their websites by improving the quality depth and breadth of content around your targeted keywords.



Law firms should have easy to navigate pages (not just for Google but mainly for humans) pointing to relevant content across the website.



Law firms should develop linking strategies around each product and service to improve the quality and quantity of links from third party website.



We have seen at my law firm Clutton Cox a huge increase in on line instructions for our Conveyancing Service for example by creating great content backed up by a targeted AdWords campaign.



Competition amongst law firms and non law firms is set to increase after 1st October 2011.



The best time to start your strategy is right now. There is no time to loose.



Solicitors Marketing System will open up a whole new world of possibilities for law firms through the internet: too numerous to mention here.



If you would like an insight in to how your law firm website can be the starting point of your on line strategy, download the report which Ed Rivis and I compiled entitled “The 7 Best Kept Secrets of Law Firm Websites”

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Topics: solicitors marketing, blog, Law firm, AdWords, Law Practice Support