The rising importance of content marketing in the legal industry

Many law firms struggle to differentiate themselves in the fiercely competitive legal services industry. One way many law firms are trying to set themselves apart is content marketing.

According to the 2015 Digital Content Survey, “Five years ago, only about 250 blogs existed among the Am Law 200. Today, there are nearly a thousand, according to LexBlog’s 2015 “Am Law 200 Blog Benchmark Report”. It appears that many legal firms are jumping on the content marketing bandwagon.

Content Marketing for Personal Injury Attorneys

But is it enough to produce just any content? We don’t think so. In a world of increasing marketing noise, producing content for content’s sake won’t have your audience automatically flocking to your latest blog post.

You need a well-thought-out targeted content marketing strategy to ensure that your content truly supports the business and marketing goals of your personal injury law firm. Our blog post will clarify how you can develop a sound content marketing strategy for your legal practice.

What is content marketing?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”. What this means is that we should not create content in a vacuum. Instead, content should be targeted to a specific audience with equally specific goals.

Who is my target audience and what do they want?

The first step in formulating a sound content strategy is to ask: Who am I trying to reach? Who is my target audience? There is no use in producing content if we do not know who we are producing it for. For personal injury law firms the target audience consists of prospective clients (injury victims), current clients, other attorneys and strategic partners.

According to the definition of content marketing we’ve outlined above, our target audience will only respond to content that is:

  • Valuable
  • Relevant
  • Consistent

Today, personal injury firms have to compete for attention in a crowded legal market place. The only way to stay in the forefront of your audience’s mind is to be truly useful to them – with information that is relevant and valuable. A great content marketing strategy will draw interest in, rather than push messages out to customers who may or may not be receptive to them.

According to marketing expert Jay Baer, “If you sell something, you make a customer today; if you help someone, you make a customer for life.” Baer calls this marketing concept “Youtility” and defines it as “massively useful information, provided for free, that creates long-term trust and kinship between your company and your customers.”

Content provided by personal injury law firms should therefore focus on creating useful content for the chosen target audience. To attract injury victims, provide useful legal guides that help them clarify their legal problems. If your goal is to hire new personal injury attorneys, give them access to in depth information about your firm, the lawyers on staff and the types of personal injury cases you handle. If your focus is on building strategic partnerships, disseminate information that indicates your expertise and your value add to any potential partner.

What are my content marketing goals?

According to the 2015 Digital Content Survey, only 13 percent of respondents said they had a documented content strategy, while just 45 percent said they had a strategy of any sort.

Blindly creating content can cause the following problems:

  • Your target audience ignores your content as it is not relevant or useful.
  • Your content may be useful, but it may not support the desired business outcomes.

To avoid creating ineffective content, make sure your content strategy is aligned with your business and marketing goals to produce the desired business outcomes.

Here are some marketing goals that will greatly benefit from well-thought-out content marketing initiatives:

When you are starting out the first goal of any content marketing is typically brand awareness. You may have the best personal injury law firm in your county, but unless your prospects know you are there, they will go with your competition. Blog posts and articles on legal publications such as the National Law Review can help you gain visibility in the market place.

Marketing for Personal Injury Attorneys: What are my Content Marketing Goals?

Later on, you will add lead generation and lead nurturing goals. Regular email campaigns and social media posts can help your lead generation and nurturing efforts.

As your firm grows, brand awareness will still be one of the main goals of content marketing however. This is because great content establishes your firm’s thought leadership, its expertise and its unique position in the market place.

Once you have an established injury law firm with a strong brand name you may want to add client retention to your content marketing goals. This is a good time to start publishing case studies and sending email newsletters to existing clients.

Finally, good content is an excellent tool to recruit top legal talent, as it provides evidence of your firm’s leadership and expertise.

Once you have established your target audience and the marketing goals that you will support through your content marketing initiatives, it is time to focus on formulating the type of content you will publish.

What type of content should I publish?

Purchasing legal services is a complex and stressful process for most prospective clients. To be relevant and useful, your message needs to be tailored to each state of the customer journey. Your content should guide your prospective clients through their decision making process:

  • Awareness: The injured victim or his family members start to realize they have a legal problem that they cannot solve themselves. They start to look for legal information.
  • Research: Victims or family members start to actively research for legal representation. They compare all the available legal options.
  • Hire: Victims or family members have contacted various personal injury law firms, They are committed to action.

Blogs, articles and legal guides for are a great way to create brand awareness in the first stages of the customer journey. Remember, if you are trying to attract personal injury clients, they will likely be less interested in your latest partner hire or your newest office location and more focused on getting answers to their personal legal problems.

Once your potential clients are actively researching legal representation, a great case study, a brochure detailing your services, an attorney profile or a great origin story may be helpful to them.

Help – where do I get all this content from?

One of the main anxieties involved in starting a content marketing effort involves the issue of producing valuable content. While personal injury lawyers are highly educated and articulate individuals, the thought of having to regularly publish blog posts and similar content is rarely met with enthusiasm.

Top on the list of concerns are time constraints. Producing great content takes time and lawyers are busy people with little time to spare.

Marketing for Personal Injury Attorneys: Content Marketing

Here are four useful shortcuts to consider:

  • CURATE CONTENT: You should produce some content of your own and supplement it with curated third party content. Let’s take Twitter as an example: Jay Baer from Convince and Convert states that on Twitter the optimal balance for most companies is to link to your own content between 25-50% of the time, with 40% being the ideal mark. The rest of the time, feel free to link to re-tweet and comment on content produced by third parties! To that effect, the news is always full of legal content on the latest rulings, large settlements and a variety of other useful legal content worth disseminating. And your fellow attorneys may also publish something relevant that you can share or comment on.
  • USE YOUR NETWORK: Sometimes, guest posts on your personal injury blog are a great way to lighten your load and to introduce some variety in your posts.
  • RE-PURPOSE CONTENT: One piece of content can be re-packaged in multiple ways. You can re-purpose a blog entry as an email or rewrite a Facebook post to suit your LinkedIn audience. Or you can include the same customer testimonial or mini case study in many content pieces.
  • OUTSOURCE: You can outsource your content production. Sometimes, outsourcing blog posts can be an option, albeit a somewhat expensive one. Hiring a content marketing agency is not cheap, costing somewhere from 1500-6000$ per month depending on the level of service offered. Sometimes, hiring a legal writer for specific posts may be a better option. Services like legal content writers offer such services for your legal website or blog.

The 8 rules of effective content marketing

Marketing for Personal Injury Attorneys: Content Marketing Rules

Here are some final observations to make your legal content a success:

  • BE USEFUL: This is the most important rule in content marketing: Write for your audience, NOT for yourself!
  • PLAIN ENGLISH, PLEASE: Don’t drown your prospective clients in legal jargon. Write in common-sense, easy English that can be easily understood by any personal injury victim.
  • MIX IT UP: Offer a mix of educational and entertaining content. Present your content in a variety of formats to keep your audience informed and amused.
  • CREATE AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR: Establish what content you are creating and when. Put it all in an editorial calendar to share with everyone involved in the content creation process. This will ensure a timely and consistent delivery of your content.
  • RESIST THE URGE TO PUSH YOUR SERVICE: Remember, the aim of content marketing is to be useful to your audience, not to pitch them your service. We know it’s tempting, but don’t try to insert your service offering in each paragraph!
  • MAKE YOUR CONTENT SHAREABLE: The easier it is for your audience to share your content, the more people you can reach with your message.
  • MAKE YOUR CONTENT WORTH SHARING: We’re not advocating posting images of cute kittens here. There are other ways to create content that is worth sharing. For example, you could publish an opinion that defies the status quo or is otherwise surprising. Or you could produce a compelling story that illustrates a unique or novel aspect of your personal injury expertise. The possibilities are endless!

Other posts in this series:

Marketing for Personal Injury Attorneys – The Importance of Strategy.

Marketing for Personal Injury Attorneys – Is Outsourcing an Option?

Marketing for Personal Injury Attorneys – Social Media Marketing for Law Firms.


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