A lawyer with a virtual office finds success in turning her researched answers to client questions into blog posts, and then sharing those posts.
While there are many marketing tools lawyers can use to brand themselves and find new clients, content marketing remains one of the most effective. After all, given that 73% of those shopping for legal services want to get a sense of a lawyer’s personality before contacting the firm (according to the 2012 Legal Market Survey Report), it’s only natural that potential clients would want to see that lawyers know what they’re talking about by first reading the content on their sites.
Through the use of blogs, ebooks, videos, and other types of content, lawyers can share their knowledge of their specialty, as well as expand their reach to new potential clients online.
I spoke with Alison Dearden, founder of Dearden Law, a virtual law office specializing in employment law in California, about how she uses content to market her practice.
Where do you find inspiration for your blog topics?
Dearden’s blog, entitled “Can My Employee Sue Me,” covers a very specific area that her clients — employers — are concerned with. In each post, she covers potential litigious situations, and discusses whether or not an employer would be at risk of being sued.
For example, in a recent post titled “Can my employee sue me if I don’t investigate her allegation of age discrimination?” Dearden outlines California laws that pertain to this issue. She often finds inspiration in the questions her clients pose:
“When my clients call me with a question and I have to come up with an answer for them, I usually turn that into a blog post,” she says.
One example of this is when a client called to ask if an employee could sue him if he fired him for refusing a lie detector test. Dearden did her homework, came up with a satisfying response for her client, and then used her research for a blog post.
How do you grow the number of people who read your blog?
Dearden shares all of her blog content on both Twitter and LinkedIn to increase the number of readers her posts get. She is a member of several attorney or employment law groups on LinkedIn, and shares relevant content as a way to spark dialogue within these groups.
“Sharing blog articles on Twitter and LinkedIn is also a great way to share your knowledge with friends and colleagues. Even if a blog article doesn’t directly bring in a new client, your LinkedIn colleague will be reminded of your area of expertise and, thus, more likely to remember you when someone she knows is in need of your services.”
How does your effort on social media translate into new business?
Dearden says every time she shares a blog post she’s written on LinkedIn or Twitter, she gains new followers and new visitors to her site. She finds that people respond well to the formula she uses for her content, where she first outlines a problem and then discusses the solution or answer to the question.
She also likes to share other interesting articles other than those she writes to her network, which helps her build relationships.
What other sort of content marketing tools do you use?
Dearden’s site has a Free Resources section where she provides a few simple templates for employers. She limits what she offers here because she prefers to provide a tailored template or document rather than let a company use a generic template, but the Resources page does attract potential clients.
She also uses press releases to garner attention for her company, and plans to use this as a strategy more frequently in the future.
What advice do you have for a lawyer who’s starting out on her own, who wants to market in an easy and affordable way?
Dearden is a believer in blogging for lawyers. She’s seen firsthand the power a blog can have when it’s highly targeted to its audience, the way hers is.
Speaking of targeting, that’s another tip she’d offer to any lawyer looking to reach a specific niche.
“It is better to network among those who may truly be in need of your services. If legal services related to start-up companies is your niche, you should write articles that will attract entrepreneurs.”
She also recommends getting involved with smaller groups on LinkedIn. Remember your audience: if you join a group with your peers, content marketing might not be as effective as it would be if you joined a group with your ideal clients in it.
Lastly, Dearden says to combine what you’re doing online with face-to-face networking. It’s easy to reinforce your online efforts in the real world, and the two will help you reach new clients.