JDB 074: Content Marketing – How Much, How Often?

Content Marketing JDBlogger Lawyer

A few weeks ago I sent out an email to all of the subscribers to the JDBlogger Podcast asking one question – “what is your number one question and/or problem when it comes to marketing a solo practice.”  The response was excellent and it turns out that many of us solo/small firm lawyers are struggling with the same types of issues when it comes to marketing a law practice.

In this episode I wanted to answer a question raised by Kay Van Wey, an attorney in Texas, as it relates to content marketing.  Here is question is this:

“Does writing good quality content still matter?  If so, how much, how often, etc.”.

Does Quality Content Still Matter?

Let’s break this down into three parts. First, does writing good quality content still matter?  The short answer to this is yes, and frankly I believe it matters more now than ever before.  The reason is that more and more companies and law firms are getting on board with content marketing.  Many are producing new content on a regular, if not daily, basis.

I am guessing that because you are wondering if content creation still matters this means that you have been able to secure enough work through means other than content marketing – which is not a bad thing.  If you are able to keep your office busy and pay the bills with paid advertising or a strong referral network more power to you.  However, as I discuss in this episode there are drawbacks to basing all of your law firm marketing on a paid model – namely that if you stop paying for the advertising the stream of clients will stop.

The benefit of creating quality content is that it is can be evergreen – it is always there right on your website.  Not only that it is a great way of building the vital relationships of trust.  Through your content potential clients will get to know you.  They will feel as though they know you.  And then, when they make the decision to come in and visit you in your office the selling will already have been done.  It is then just a matter of finding out how you can help and getting them to sign on the dotted line.

How Often Should I Be Creating Content?

The general belief by most is that the more content you create the better.  And there is some truth that you need to be producing quality content on a regular basis. I recently just finished an ebook entitled “How I Grew My Law Firm Website from Zero to 20,000+ Visitors per Month.”  As part of my research for this book I went back and looked at my analytics during the beginning months of my website.  As I had no visitors to the site and no clients it was imperative that I built an audience and did so pretty quickly. In conjunction with a Pay Per Click campaign I began writing articles for my blog at the pace of about five (5) per week.  Over a three month period I wrote sixty-two (62) articles!

Now, nearly five years later I write about 1-2 articles per week and regularly create video content for my site as well.  In the beginning it was necessary to produce a lot more content on a much more frequent basis to get some traction in the market. However, now I can create content on a less frequent basis and not see any fall in overall traffic to my website because the foundation has already been established.

Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert, recently wrote an article on this very topic entitled “How to Do Content Marketing Metrics Wrong.”  In this article he pushes back against the assumption that it is the volume of content you need to create to be successful.  He sites studies that show that the overwhelming majority of your content will fail at its purpose of engaging visitors and generating additional traffic to your law firm website.  As Jay puts it, you need to remember that the end goal is not the creation of the content but to create content that will make a difference in the lives of your readers.

As lawyers our goal should not be to pump out as many keyword-stuffed articles as we can on particular topic but to start with the question “how can I address a question or concern of my potential clients”.  Once you start focusing on the needs of the reader, in my experience, things start coming together on their own.

How Long Should the Content Be?

When asking this question most lawyers are referring to articles for a blog, but I think the question is a fair one for other mediums as well, such as video.  I have never given myself a quota when it comes to the number of words I write in a particular blog post.  I tend to focus on covering a topic to that the client or potential client can take away something that they didn’t know before.  Sometimes that takes 300 words sometimes it takes 1000 words.  I do believe that creating a mixture of longer and shorter content is a great way to not only attract various kinds of readers but to keep you on Google’s radar as well.

I think that more important than the word count is to make the article scannable.  This means writing in short paragraphs so that a reader can glance over your article and determine if there is something in it that warrants a full reading of the piece.

This means being okay with letting go of many of the grammar rules you have known since you were a kid.  But I think you will get more success from writing short paragraphs with lots of white space then you would be from creating heavy “lawyer” looking paragraphs that lead people to believe that they is going to take a while.

Back in 2014 attorney Kyle Smith did a guest post here on my site where he discussed how he was able to grow his law firm traffic to jump to 12,000 visitors per month.  His approach was to write more long form content and he had great statistics to back up his approach.  You can read more about his approach HERE.

What About Video?

When it comes to video my experience is someone different than my general rule of “make it as long as it needs to be” that I apply to blog articles.  I have created about 100 videos and in reviewing my YouTube analytics I believe I have hit the sweet spot on video length – which I put at about 2 – 3 minutes.  Almost all of my videos are in that range and the analytics bear out that most people watch the entire video after they start it.

I’m sure there are some people that are fine with sitting down and watching a 30 minute video on a legal topic, but if you look at your own video viewing habits what do you typically do when you click on a video and see that it is even 10 minutes long?  I think most of us close it out and move on to find something that won’t use up so much of our time.

Create Quality Stuff 

Creating quality content is easier said then done.  I take a two part approach anytime I am choosing new topics to write on: first, look at your website analytics.  What articles are the most read on your site?  Second, approach your writing with the goal of being helpful.  Don’t worry about “giving too much away” – just be helpful.  The more you do this the more you will get positive feedback from your readers and, in my experience, the more they will want to engage you as their lawyer.

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