For those in the marketing business, the key to the traffic kingdom these days is content – more specifically ‘content marketing’.
But for lawyers seeking to avail themselves of some marketing muscle, as well as being able to explain often complex legal issues, the question is – “How?”
And as JD Supra’s Adrian Lurrsen explains in a recent post, it’s in the story telling. More specifically, Lurrson points to three, specific ways lawyers should be working on to get their message, whatever that might be, across.
As one who has spent a lifetime believing in the enormous power of storytelling to connect humans to each other, my question is even more specific: How will lawyers and their firms incorporate storytelling into content marketing efforts where making sense of the law on behalf of a very specific target audience (C-suite executives, in-house attorneys, business leaders, and others with particular, need-to-know corporate concerns) has shown itself to be a powerful way to gain visibility for expertise, build relationships, and support activities that drive business growth?
In other words:
1. Know Your Audience
Lawyers need to recognize the person in the ‘story’, or see themselves in it. That means being aware of their audience
He refers to Jay Harrington’s post about storytelling as the great equalizer in law firm marketing. Jay says:
No story, nor piece of law firm content, is universally appealing. This means that you must start with an understanding of who your audience is, what members of the audience want, and what pain points they’re struggling with.
All of which means the writer needs to research for their target audience.
The goal: to use all evidence at your disposal (attorney insights, client feedback and questions, industry news, and robust data) to build a profile of your target audience’s most pressing needs.
Your reader should be saying: “That’s me. This is my problem.”
This is an essential first step to “telling a story” in which the readers you care to engage the most can find themselves. Your reader should be saying: “That’s me. This is my problem.”
2. Make People Your Subject, Not the Law
His mantra is to not write about the law, but rather write about how the law impacts the people you serve.
Lawyers will write about the law rather than the people impacted by it.
I suggest changing that. In fact, I’d argue that this is one of the easiest and most effective changes you can make in law firm thought leadership.
There is a clear need to make sense of often complex legal issues, but those need to be framed within the context of who those changes or laws impact and what are the consequences.
The formula he suggests:
Here’s what happened.
Here’s why it matters.
Here’s what you should do next.
3. Incorporate People Into Your Titles
Using people in any title or story will engage the reader.
Identifying the ‘characters’ in the title makes a connection, just as the reference to “you” in any headline is often the very best way to achieve something that resonates with an audience.
He looked at this case study in which an attorney grew her practice through writing and a watch this short video presentation in which Lurssen looks at how to craft ‘compelling titles’
Both of the above underscore this notion of shifting your framing focus (not the substance of your analysis). Make it about people; make it clear who those people are and why they should pay attention to you. Informed by empathy that comes from research and insight that comes from your particular expertise, tell their story.
Sounds simple because it is. It’s just harder for some lawyers to achieve than others.