The media landscape has changed for lawyers, along with everyone else. The newly released Greenmarket survey on content marketing provides some interesting insights into how content marketing has changed. Business development advisor and writer Larry Bodine wrote about the survey and its importance for LawFuel.
Business clients are using technology to find more information — all the time, wherever they go — but new research finds that they feel there is an information overload being produced by law firms, and they struggle to find the most relevant, valuable content.
According to the 2014 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey, law firm marketers should build content marketing strategies based on the principles of corporate journalism.
Readers like news reporting
With corporate journalism, law firms can be like news publishers, becoming corporate storytellers that engage readers and attract followers by using emotion, dialog and a unique voice.
This is in contrast to the current information overload, initiated by law firms posting material about themselves, personnel announcements and marketing messages. Instead, corporate journalism, takes advantage of several trends:
- Law firms no longer have just clients, they have audiences.
- Media and marketing are converging as more brands launch publishing operations.
- Storytelling has become a powerful way to connect with potential clients.
- Gaining the trust of website readers is based on publishing material that is credible and honest.
Corporate readers trust traditional news organizations — such as the Wall Street Journal and CNN, finding them “very credible.” Legal news curators and aggregators such as JD Supra are also considered “very credible.” Accordingly, it makes sense for law firms to adapt their storytelling techniques in their content marketing.
Content marketing is already popular — 84% of chief marketing officers at law firms said they will create more content in 2014. Ironically only 29% of CMOs have appointed a content manager to oversee this strategy. Successful law firms hire an outside professional writer who is skilled at both law and journalism.
LinkedIn is a necessity, not a differentiator – The social network perceived to have the most professional relevance for lawyers has become ubiquitous across every age group surveyed. Overall, 37 percent said they had used it within the past 24 hours, more than the number who had used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube combined.
Mobile devices are always on – GCs are as mobile as any other business executives. Some 46% said they accessed social media sites with tablets, such as an iPad, and 46% accessed social media sites with smart phones, like a Samsung Galaxy 5. These facts emphasize the importance that law firms use responsive design for their websites, so that they are easily viewed on screens smaller than the office computer monitor.
GCs remain largely “invisible” on social media – This year’s survey affirmed the “invisible user” phenomenon: 71 percent of survey respondents use social media in listen-only mode, while only 29 percent are disseminating information and engaging with other users. Clearly, just because in-house lawyers do not respond with comments doesn’t mean they aren’t consuming content.
Law firm blogs
It is clearly time for law firms to adopt corporate journalism, because the survey concluded that readership of law firm blogs has stopped growing. This, no doubt, is because lawyer blog posts are often indistinguishable from their complex court filings and pleadings.
Nevertheless, corporate counsel said they did read blogs:
- 65% – To get practical information and analysis in substantive areas of law.
- 47% – To complement trade publications and daily news reports.
- 18% – To link up with leading writers focusing on the industry of their company.
- 15% – To judge the capabilities of private lawyers they might hire.
- 9% – Don’t read law blogs.
To arrive at the findings, Greentarget, ALM Legal Intelligence and Zeughauser Group surveyed 189 corporate in-house counsel who identified themselves as GCs, chief legal officers, deputy or assistant GCs, in-house counsel and related titles.