Content – What It Is and Isn’t About
I hear often about the importance of having long-form, information-heavy content available on websites and for social networking.
The normal arguments are that such content propels firms up the rankings on web searches and that this is a ‘good thing’ for SEO and a good way to build your practice.
For the avoidance of doubt, this is a strategy that simply cannot work for the majority of firms that attempt it. Even if the sort of clients that make such decisions (which available research suggests is a small minority) are the sort that will drive your firm’s profits in the right direction anyway.
Trying to show your expertise and wisdom with such material is also a busted flush unless you are writing to attract a particularly knowledgeable/extremely interested audience, which most firms aren’t.
I hate to tell you, but the detail of the law isn’t very interesting for non-lawyers.
Expertise is a given
Worse still, the layman assumes that the firm next door is just as good as you are. Where’s their yardstick for judging quality? Legal500? Lexel? They haven’t a clue. Expertise is a given. Don’t believe that? Well then, tell me why the lousy firms in your town have clients. It’s because their clients think they have expertise.
You will never persuade the market you have capability except possibly in niche markets. Your competitors are trying (also without success) to do the same thing…and the writing that tries to do this is normally both dull and pretentious.
So what IS the point of content?
Good content strategy is about PREVALENCE, REACH and TARGETING
Prevalence and Reach are very similar things.
Prevalence is about being the brand they see/hear most often…the one they will think of first when they need the service you offer or tire of their existing supplier. Prevalence is about how often you can get your messages into the correct space. It’s why you see the same ads for the same brands over and over again.
Reach, on the other hand is about the size of the space in which you can achieve a degree of prevalence. The more reach you have, the better. Targeting is about making sure you have reach and prevalence in the spaces which are visited by those who have a high propensity to buy what you are offering. It is hopefully clear that these strategies lend themselves beautifully to the intelligent use of social media.
Consider the implications of this. For legal services, people will use Google only when they are aware they have a problem and are looking for a solution. For the average UK adult, this is about 7 times a lifetime. With social media, you can be seen to be adding bits of comment, information, knowledge to a place thousands of potential clients visit over and over again, becoming a trusted source of information, a familiar brand and even making them aware of issues they may not know they have.
When you are planning your online strategy, think not about the market as a cake you want a bigger piece of. Think about baking a bigger cake. Content helps you do that.