If your firm’s website is just like all the other law firm websites in your area, then what’s the point of having it?
The goal of marketing is to make you stand out from the pack – to make potential clients call YOU rather than some other firm.
So why do so many legal websites look the same?
One reason is that when lawyers try to write their own websites, they look at what the competition is doing. That’s not a bad idea. What IS a bad idea is simply copying competitors’ sites. “Me too” isn’t a strong marketing message.
Another reason that so many legal websites look alike is that many are mass-produced by giant website companies. The content may be written by non-native English speakers and non-lawyers, working on tight deadlines with stiff productivity targets.
Some content factory workers are told to avoid saying anything specific about the law or the firm, to avoid making mistakes. Apparently the assumption is that lawyers won’t bother to read (or edit) the content they pay others to write.
So law firm websites end up with content like this, created by one of the largest content factories:
Smith & Jones, P.C. in Lawyerville, NJ, provides attentive and sophisticated legal services to clients. We offer a broad spectrum of legal services and strive to provide superior and innovative legal solutions to our clients.
It starts with listening. When you tell us your story, talk about your concerns and discuss your goals, we hear you. Then we develop legal solutions and ensure you have the information you need to make important decisions for your family, business and future.
That comes from a firm on page six of the Google results for the relevant keywords, by the way. Most people don’t search past the first page.
What’s wrong with the example above is that it’s content-free content. It’s fluff. It’s filler. It doesn’t say anything that couldn’t be said about any other firm. It doesn’t provide a potential client with an iota of useful information. It’s certainly not something that a potential client would “like” or “share.”
Here’s an example of some home page content we wrote to make one Arizona personal injury lawyer differentiate herself from the “billboard lawyers” in her area:
Most of our clients are busy professionals who work in high tech. They count on us to provide “concierge-style” personal service. We take care of the paperwork and the phone calls so our clients can focus on getting well and getting back to work.
And here’s some content we wrote for her on motorcycle accidents:
In 2012, Arizona riders who didn’t wear helmets were about twice as likely to suffer fatal injuries in motorcycle crashes.
The NHTSA has established safety standards for motorcycle helmets, and helmets that comply with Department of Transportation (DOT) standards carry an identifying sticker. (However, counterfeit stickers are common.) Helmets that comply with DOT regulations must cover the motorcyclist’s ears or be at least one inch thick.
Motorcycle helmets wear out. The sun’s heat and gas fumes from the engine damage helmets, making the shell turn brittle over time. Hair oils, sweat, cosmetics, petroleum-based cleaners, and materials used in helmet production all degrade helmet linings. Also, technological improvements are making new helmets safer. Thus, it’s recommended that a helmet be replaced every five years.
See the difference between that and the Smith & Jones fluff above? This information is actually interesting and useful. It might even save a client’s life.
If your firm’s website is even a few years old, it may have been created back in the Stone Age when outdated concepts like “keyword density” were all the rage. If so, the website that was helping you with your search engine ranking then may be hurting you now. Your site might even have disappeared from Google search results.
(Read our article “Attack of the Killer Website” to learn more.)
Today, “content is king,” as Bill Gates once said. Content marketing is the
technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience.
According to Google,
In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.
People don’t share fluff. They don’t even read it.
And good content isn’t just about boosting SEO (search engine optimization). It’s also about making a good first impression. It shows that you care about your professional image and about your clients.
Even if most of your business comes from word-of-mouth referrals, the first thing a potential client is going to do is check out your website.
What does your website say about you?
Does it say that you’re a professional who cares about your clients’ needs for useful information?
Or is it the digital equivalent of a cheap suit – shoddy and mass-produced?
Worse, is your website riddled with writing errors and with sentences like this one?
Or think about this, you are walking down a flight of stairs in your office building, when a loose stair caused you to lose your balance and fall down ten feet onto the landing, you ended up in the ER with a concussion and a broken ankle, you should make the building owner pay for your medical bills and time off of work right?
Bad writing on your firm’s website is like walking into court with a gravy stain on your shirt and spinach between your teeth. It says you’re lazy, you’re sloppy, and you don’t care about the impression you make.
Content marketing for lawyers can include:
- Web pages that share useful information
- Blogs to provide timely news and fresh content
- In-depth articles that turn your website into a valuable resource for your clients and prospective clients
- Educational videos
- Columns in local media
- Articles in professional journals
- Social media marketing to get the word out about your great content