Content marketing in 2022 is a whole new world, with the evolving landscape of how people are consuming information and the increased amount of searching, researching and consumption of content before a client reaches your website and asks for a consultation.

New content marketing trends equal new challenges that firms and their lawyers need to take on. Content marketing may seem daunting to some, but it really does not need to be.

Being too busy to create content regularly

Lawyers are well known for their incredibly busy schedules and are often too preoccupied with their legal work to write content regularly, if any content. However, if they have the awareness and really understand why content marketing is so important, they are more likely to write. Put simply, content marketing will increase your firm’s brand awareness, establish credibility, enforce thought leadership across chosen practice areas, create new business opportunities and improve your online presence through SEO. Content writing need not be a laborious task and can be done around billable hours. Work with your marketing team – discuss content marketing best practices. Start small with goals that you know that you can achieve. Content writing does not always need to be long – create a mixture of content, long and short.

It can be a struggle to maintain a regular content schedule, so instead they share random pieces of content here and there when the lawyers have time to produce something. Although something is better than nothing, consistency is key.

Again, work with your marketing team to create an achievable content plan – commit to deadlines, ask them to send you regular reminders and have check-in points to make sure you are on target for the deadline.

Knowing what to write about

Knowing what to write about can be another challenge for lawyers. You want to make sure that you are writing content that is providing information to your clients and prospects, and is relevant to what they are searching for.

Asking someone to ghost-write for you or outsourcing may seem like an easy solution to this, but you don’t want to solely rely on these – instead use them as support methods. As lawyers you are the experts and to promote your expertise and for your firm to be able to share accurate and professional content, they need your expertise.

Remember you are used to writing in your day-to-day, and largely what you will be writing about for content marketing purposes will be about what you practise daily.

Make sure to carry out regular research and track relevant news and stay ahead with the latest trends, so you know what to write content about. Using tools such as Lexology Inform’s Analytics Toolkit where the content development section allows you to understand which articles are proving popular, what in-house counsel are reading about and make informed decisions about your content strategy.

Remember you can also repurpose and refresh any content that you may have previously written and shared. All you need to do is update content to make it relevant and include some new information; this allows you to reshare it and helps you with creating a more regular stream of content.

Engaging the right audience

Naturally, you want to write about things that you find interesting – this can be a problem as what you find interesting might not necessarily be the same as what your clients or prospects would find interesting.

As a starting point, you need to clearly define the audience which you want to read your content, as you will always need to have that audience in mind when writing. Understanding your audience will help you identify what they really want to read, what they are interested in and what you should be writing about.

54% of decision-makers – and 48% of the C-suite – say they spend more than 1 hour per week reading and reviewing thought leadership (Edelman and LinkedIn, 2021), so you are missing a trick if you are not writing for your audience.

It is important to remember not only to create content for your existing audience answering the questions they may have, but also remember that you are showcasing your expertise to your prospects and need to think about what they will be searching for.

Additionally, think about your firm’s overall content marketing objectives and make sure your content plan is aligned to these – what is your firm’s focus, or is there any industry that it is looking to expand into? If you are writing on behalf of your firm, you may need to consider how your content is written in the brand voice of your firm.

Ensuring your content reaches the right audience

Once you are creating engaging content that is right for your audience, you need to make sure it reaches them. You want to make sure your content is distributed further than your law firm website or blog if you want it to be seen. Forbes (2017) has reported the B2B clients progress more than 70% of the way through the decision-making process before engaging with the firm – so before they even reach your firm’s website. Speak to your marketing team and make sure you have a promotion strategy for your firm. Work with them to find the places where your target audience are carrying out their research and where they will consume the information you are writing.

If you want your content to be seen, don’t treat online distribution as an afterthought. Increased visibility will ensure you build on your brand, position you as an expert, boost your credibility, grow your network and build your practice.

Knowing if the content strategy is successful

Previously it used to be very difficult to measure the return-on-investment (ROI) of your firm’s content marketing strategy. However, there are now a growing number of analytics tool available to you which can provide you with different data and analytics, making this process a little easier.

But remember: content marketing is a marathon not a sprint. You content marketing efforts can take a while to become effective and successful. You may find that even the highest quality content can take months to lead to results.

Understand what analytics tools you have available to you, such as Lexology Inform’s Analytics Toolkit, and understand what data and information you have access to. Your marketing team will identify your content marketing strategies KPIs – how to determine the success of your content marketing goals. You can then look at which metrics you want to be regularly measuring (traffic, visitors, post engagement, bounce rate etc.) and track how your content is performing.

Data and analytics are key to the success of your content marketing strategy without reviewing them, there really is no point spending time creating content and you and your firm could be missing out on opportunities.