Your Firm, Your Voice
BY Chris Wilkerson
Get away from predictable content. One of the most effective ways to make your firm stand out is to create and maintain a distinct voice in all marketing touch points.
People need your legal services because of your education, experience, expertise and ability to reason through unexpected legal challenges. To put it much more simply, you know stuff they do not know. you went to school, you took the bar exam, you have been practicing law for years, and you have faced a variety of challenges. This is why they need you.
The best way to make sure potential clients use your firm's legal services and not your competitors' is to make sure you explain your value genuinely, in a language they can understand and relate to.
Explaining your value does not translate into having a website and blogs that thoroughly explain every complicated legal detail that may be involved in a case your clients could face. If that were possible, law firm websites would have pages upon pages of information to overwhelm and confuse visitors and prospective clients.
Instead of overwhelming your visitors with legalese, take the opportunity to explain your firm's legal services in a way that allows your clients to see a real benefit. Clients are not buying facts, they are buying results. And they need to know how you deliver.
Distinctly you. Uniquely your firm.
Your firm’s website needs to speak to potential clients in a way that addresses their particular situation. If, for example, your firm specializes in business law, then the site can be written to that audience. Owners, entrepreneurs and managers looking for legal services will be able to understand and will expect a more in-depth explanation of your services. Likewise, a firm that specializes in business immigration, can use their website to target a reader with specific knowledge and specific needs.
There is a trend in the legal field toward niche marketing - specializing in and targeting a message toward a particular subset of potential clients. Facing increasing competition and a drawn out economic slump, many attorneys have realized the value in speaking to the audience they know best and taking a higher volume of a specific type of case. A firm that practices Social Security, Disability and Veterans Law may specialize in fighting specific obstacles facing veterans experiencing traumatic brain injury. In this case, their website content, articles and press releases all need to speak to a specific audience in a specific voice – that of sympathy to the battle veterans continue to fight with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Firms who have a more broad range of target clients need a website that speaks to everyone that firm would expect to have visit the site – from car wreck victims to the elderly. The tone of the copy on the website needs to be unique to your firm. Your attorneys are not emotionless automotons. There is a reason they went into law and a distinct way in which they go about solving problems and speaking to their clients’ needs. Potential clients need to see this in the writing style of all of your marketing content.
In many instances, your website’s content is your firm’s first opportunity to speak to prospective clients. If you were standing in front of the client, you would want to get across three messages: our firm is experienced in this type of law, you can trust us, and we can connect with you and understand your individual needs. Since you may not be standing in front of the prospective client during your first impression, the website needs to say these things for you. And it needs to say them both with the right content and with the right tone.
Blogs that establish expertise
Posting regular blog entries is an excellent way to drive traffic to your firm’s website as well as to populate the site with relevant, informative content.
Legal marketing experts are still arguing about the right frequency to achieve results, but the bottom line is that firms that blog regularly, and regularly update their sites with relevant content, get more leads. A weekly blog posting will help keep your firm in the mix and bring consistent attention to your website. It can help inform prospective clients about the legal services your firm provides, but, more importantly, it can establish you as a thought leader able to speak in a distinct voice about the benefit you offer with your expertise.
The trick to blogs intended to explain the law to potential clients is to make them easy to understand. The easier they are to read, the more likely a potential client will be to stay on your website and call your firm. There are two great ways to write an east-to-understand blog about a potentially heavy legal concept. One trick is to give the reader a list. Not every blog needs to be about breaking news. Sometimes they can be about clear, easy-to-understand advice for people in legal trouble.
A list comes across as accessible. People who do not have time to read a 250- word blog post might think that they have time to read three tips on what to do if they get arrested for driving under the influence. A list of “tips” or “things you need to know” may seem worth the time of a busy potential client. Three seems to be the magic number. A quick introduction followed by three pieces of quick advice and a succinct conclusion are both a quick, easy read and full of enough meat to make your firm look knowledgeable. Make sure to include a title that clearly delineates what the reader can expect, and remember: be yourself!
Some examples include:
- 3 things to know about H-1B visas
- 3 tips for divorcing dads
- 3 things not to say if you get pulled over for DUI
- 3 important traits to look for in legal representation
- 3 ways the Internet makes a well drafted will more important
- 3 ways to make a custody battle bearable for you and your children
All of these topics will be easy to write for the lawyer who specializes in the field and they will lead possible clients directly to your website and then to your office door. Use the right keywords in those blog posts and your firm will be found and be positioned as an authority on your primary practice area.
Jack and Jill are getting divorced
Another great way to hold blog readers’ attention and establish your unique voice is to use anecdotes. These stories can represent cases, clients and experiences that your firm has seen over the years, but they can in no way lead the reader to believe they are about real people. The last thing you want to do is to make readers think you are capable of breaking their confidentiality. A good way around this is to use names from and examples from pop culture or even from nursery rhymes.
A family law attorney can write commentary about a famous, newsworthy divorce. If the hot new actor from that hot new TV show is going though a tough breakup, this is an opportunity to blog about money issues, the stages of the divorce or even prenuptial agreements and mediation. In another way, nursery rhymes or clearly manufactured names can help you comment about current events and hot legal topics without breaching confidentially and client trust. Updated, relevant content will bring consistent attention to your website. Weekly postings can help establish you as a thought leader who is able to speak in a distinct voice about the benefit you offer through your expertise.
“Jack and Jill are in a custody battle over their pail of water.” A family law attorney may use this story a hundred different ways to explain how alimony is going to work as well as time-sharing agreements and child support payments. Everyone already knows the general story, so the blogger can extrapolate how the tale would play out in a potential legal proceeding.
The story of the three bears could be used by a criminal law specialist. And yes, the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs could potentially be used in the context of business immigration, but please be careful. The key is to make your website accessible and distinct. Your attorneys do not talk like bad stock copy, make sure they do not write like it either. Engage potential customers, hold their interest, and bring them to your firm’s front door.
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