I talk with lawyers everyday that have websites they need help marketing. They want their websites to bring in more traffic, more leads, and more clients. When I ask how often they are updating their sites and what type of content they are producing, the other end of the line is usually met with silence. The fact is that in today's online marketing universe, you need to produce new content for your website on a regular basis.
Why Do I Need To Create Content?
There are a myriad of reasons why you should produce new content for your site on a regular basis. In the interest of keeping this post succinct, I'll list 5 of the most important reasons in my opinion:
1. Fresh content helps to build links to your site - As you may have heard before, "Content is King". The truth is that in order for your site to gain more trust and authority in the eyes of Google, you need acquire links to your site. One of the best ways of doing this is to produce content that other sites want to link to. Simply having a firm profile and section on what you do isn't going to get it done. This is why you need to produce fresh, relevant content on a frequent basis.
2. Creates more outlets with which consumers can reach you - Most consumers on the web will find your site through the use of a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Creating more pages for your site creates more entry points for consumers looking for your services. Think of the search engines as a yellow page listing in this respect. Each new piece of content gets you another entry or listing in the Google index, increasing your footprint on the web.
3. Shows your expertise in your field - By sharing knowledge and expertise in your area of practice, you help to solidify your credentials and ability to help potential clients. The web is a big place and simply talking about how great you are doesn't necessarily build trust. However, educating consumers with your expertise can help separate you from the pack, build trust, and attract more clients.
4. Helps with rankings and SEO - Search engines like sites that are updated on a frequent basis. This shows you care about your service and site. It gives the search engines a reason to "crawl" or come visit your site more often. Ultimately, this is going to help boost your rankings and bring in more traffic.
5. Allows interaction and relationship building with your clients and other professionals - The web is an interactive medium. Media such as television, radio, magazines, etc. are passive in nature. You produce content and people sit back, relax, and consume it. The web is different in that it is far more interactive. By utilizing tools such as blogs on your site, you can create content that will encourage conversations, comments, downloads, inquiries, etc. Creating effective content will increase interaction, which will build professional relationships, create leads, and ultimately new clients.
8 Tips On Writing Great Web Content
So now that we've established important reasons for creating content in the first place, let's discuss some tips to keep in mind as you are producing the content:
1. People on your website scan the pages...they don't read them - Keep your paragraphs and sentences short. Use headlines and bolding that highlight your key messages.
2. Use bullet points - People love lists on the web. When lists and bullets are used appropriately, a user can more easily scan and digest the points you make.
3. Be conversational, less "markety" - I always stress that people want to buy from other people, not faceless firms. This is especially true when selling professional services. Make sure you write with your voice, while maintaining a professional tone.
4. Stay away from legalese - Not only does the average Joe not understand it, but they will quickly dismiss your material and move on to another site. Attention is fleeting on the web, if a potential client doesn't understand what you are saying they will quickly go somewhere else.
5. Use pictures and illustrations in your writing (where appropriate) - Using photos, illustrations, and videos creates a better, more engaging experience that draws a reader's interest.
6. Consider your audience - This is a similar point to staying away from legalese. However, the point I want to make is that your content shouldn't be Alan Dershowitz style legal briefs, unless you are writing exclusively for other attorneys and legal professionals. Your articles should be lighter in nature and helpful to the lay person who might be looking to retain your services. Stay in a universe they can understand and relate to.
7. Include calls to action - It is important that you tell your readers what to do once they have read your article. Encourage readers to contact you, submit a request for a free case evaluation, download a helpful guide or e-book you write. Work this into your articles or place them at the end. Encourage interaction.
8. Write about how you are able to help the potential client - Many law firms talk a whole lot about themselves, but not much about the problems of the potential client. Rather than simply talking about the firm or individual attorney achievements, frame the achievements and expertise of the firm from the standpoint of how it will help solve the problems and concerns of the site visitor. This is an important distinction.
A great book to read on the subject is Net Copy by Nick Usborne. It is a quick read that addresses how to approach writing for the web.
This is a great article from the godfather of web usability, Jakob Nielson, discussing how users read on the web.
Photo by Churl