In an arena as fiercely competitive as personal injury law, everyone wants to stand out digitally. But surprisingly, the majority of law firms aren’t taking advantage of all of the content marketing techniques at their disposal. Here are five things you can begin doing today to start inching up in search results and driving potential clients to your website.
Don’t feel too bad if you’re not already blogging about legal issues pertaining to your firm’s practice areas. According to the ABA’s 2019 marketing survey, which was sent out to over 10,000 U.S. lawyers in firms of varying sizes, only 30% of respondents reported that their firm had a blog. That’s up a few percentage points from the 2016 survey, but not much. So there’s still a big opportunity to set yourself apart with a blog.
Law Firms with a Marketing Budget
Law Firms with a Blog
The advantages of blogging are many. Blogging creates more pages for search engines to index, i.e. more ways for Google and other major players to find your site, helping you rank in search results, and converting website visitors into potential clients. You see, Google assigns page rank to individual pages, not entire websites. A helpful and engaging blog post that’s been shared a bunch around the Internet can rise to the top of search results faster than your home page, and often at less cost.
Legal blogs typically cover a variety of subjects, from relevant news items relating to your practice areas, to answers to questions clients commonly ask. The more content you have to offer, the more prospective clients will begin to think of you as a trusted authority in your field. But don’t expect overnight results. Blogging is a longer-term strategy. Posting regularly is the way to grow your digital presence and get your firm more exposure.
You don’t have to be the next F. Scott Fitzgerald to write good blog posts. In fact, trying to turn out overly polished prose for digital consumers with short attention spans is probably a waste of time. Just write about what you know in a conversational tone, and have someone in the office with editing skills polish it up.
We get it. Many firms, especially smaller ones, don’t have the time or resources to maintain a blog, but that doesn’t need to be the end of the story. If you have a marketing budget, you can find a good content marketer to help you generate ideas, develop a publishing schedule, and even write the content for you.
In terms of platforms, we like WordPress because it offers lots of built-in SEO features and free plugins like Yoast that encourage good SEO writing practices.
2. Link Building
It’s one thing to post blog articles to your website regularly, it’s yet another thing for people to link to your articles. An article that a lot of people have linked to on their own sites tells search engines that the content is relevant and authoritative, and as a result, that content will move up in search rankings. The process of proactively increasing your odds of getting people to link to your content is known as link building, and it’s still the most effective way to increase search rank for a particular piece of content. There is no way to game this process—it’s a bit of a science and an art—but you can create content that is likely to be shared and linked to.
For personal injury lawyers, a link-worthy article is one that is expertly written, uses terms that medical professionals are likely to use with their patients, and helps readers better understand the situation they’re dealing with. A firm specializing in asbestos exposure, for example, might write an article that answers the question, “How Much Exposure to Asbestos Causes Mesothelioma?” The more targeted the article is, the more likely others will link to it when they want to back up a point they’re making, or point folks to a helpful resource.
Sure, the person concerned about asbestos exposure could find that information on a dense medical site, but you’ve broken it down for them in plain English. Even better, you’ve provided visual aids and infographics to make it even simpler to understand at a glance. Visuals, especially infographics, also give your content more mileage on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.
A more direct way to build some “backlinks” (links back to your site) is to get your blog listed in directories. Getting listed in the ABA Journal’s Blawg Directory is a great way to earn a backlink from an authoritative website. The comprehensive directory includes more than 4,500 continually updated law blogs, which can be sorted by topic, region, courts, and so forth.
Still not sure what link building is? Check out this quick primer by the folks over at Ahrefs, the leading creators of analytics tools for SEO professionals.
3. Video Explainers
Did you skim the last paragraph and go straight to the video? If so, you just confirmed the irresistible appeal of video, a form of content that has taken the internet by storm in recent years. The consumer preference for video content on social media platforms is spreading to all corners of the web. Yet only 26% of respondents to the ABA 2019 marketing survey said their firm used video as part of their marketing strategy, and the smaller the firm the lower those numbers dip. Here’s how those video adoption share numbers break down by firm size:
Large firms (100+ attorneys)
Medium-sized firms (10-49 attorneys)
Small firms (2-9 attorneys)
Once again, we see this as more of an opportunity for personal injury firms to stand out in a crowded field than a shortcoming. Yes, brand videos should be professionally shot, which can be expensive. But there are other ways to incorporate videos into your content marketing strategy that are less budget-intensive. As with blog posts, video explainers are a great way to convey your expertise, and come with the added advantage of giving prospective clients a face to connect with your firm’s name. Consider doing a video Q & A based on content you’ve already written. Client video testimonials are also a good idea.
It’s worth noting that YouTube, which is owned by Google (for now), is a search engine in its own right. By creating a YouTube account, uploading your videos there, and optimizing them for YouTube’s search engine, you get another channel to reach consumers in the mode they prefer.
Just don’t follow these guys’ lead…
4. Targeted Landing Pages
As I mentioned in the section on blogging, Google assigns page rank to individual pages, not entire websites. Your home page is not always the first thing people will see when they visit your site. Landing pages are a more targeted way to make a first impression on visitors. For example, an injury lawyer specializing in car accidents and worker’s compensation would certainly want to create two distinctive landing pages for each practice area.
The goal is to rank separately in search for each of these practice areas and give search engines more pages to index. If done correctly, these landing pages can show up as “site extensions” on Google, giving you more real estate to work with in search results, as well as pointing prospective clients exactly where they want to go.
Landing pages are also essential to showing up in localized search results for your practice areas. These days Google and most other search engines localize the results they show consumers based on location data. As in most areas of economic life, the more niche the better. It’s easier to rise above the competition for specific, localized terms, such as “Florida Rideshare Accident Injury Lawyer” as opposed to “Car Accident Injury Lawyer”. It goes without saying that your landing page for Florida rideshare accident victims should inform visitors of the relevant laws in that state.
Here at Gator SEM, we use the powerful Elementor plugin for WordPress to rapidly prototype, deploy, A/B, and optimize targeted landing pages and microsites, like this one we did for a real estate brokerage firm looking to capture leads at the neighborhood level.
5. Strong Calls to Action
A landing page is only as strong as its call to action. This one is sort of obvious but is often overlooked by people whose primary job is not marketing. A good call to action should elicit a response from the visitor, whether you’re asking them to fill out a form to receive a free case consultation, or pick up the phone and give you a call. Surprisingly, there are quite a few ways we see people getting their calls to action wrong.
The text is too small, the button isn’t big enough, or it doesn’t stand out from the rest of the site content. Usually this is because the site is too visually crowded and color-saturated for anything to stand out.
Too many calls to action that are presented with equal prominence only confuse people. If an acquaintance walked up to you outside a courthouse lunch spot and shouted, “Sign up for my newsletter! and take a moment to review me on Avvo!” in the same breath, chances are you’d do neither. The digital realm is no different. Ideally, you want one clear call to action per page.
Where you place your CTA has a big impact on your conversion rate. But you don’t need heat mapping tools and A/B testing to figure this one out. If your page is short, put the CTA above the fold. If it’s long and complex, put it at the bottom of the page.
This is a simple but effective call to action
Bringing It All Together
We’ve only scratched the surface here. Content marketing isn’t something that’s done in isolation, but should be part of an integrated digital marketing strategy that includes search engine optimization, a pay per click campaign, social media outreach, and everything in between. Look out for another post from us on putting together an overall digital marketing game plan for your personal injury firm.
In the meantime, I hope this article has given you some actionable content marketing tactics that you can start using today to build awareness of your firm, drive conversions and, ultimately, bring in new clients.