When you pursue a digital marketing campaign for a law firm website, you could choose to go in many directions. Many firms end up outsourcing the development of digital content but find it challenging to partner with an appropriate agency. The goal is to craft the right voice for their brand. Finding your voice is not as simple as it sounds, especially for firms targeting multiple regions or types of legal matters.
Past Trends in Digital Legal Content
In the past, law firms focused on developing content in which pieces were tied to timely news articles. For example, personal injury law firms could post about local accidents and how they might help injured victims. Law firms also called for evergreen content on general law topics and content specific to their firm’s current operations. In the present, the voice you want for your law firm’s website may include these types of content, but it must be written in a voice that will be appropriate for delivery over multiple channels. Increasingly, effective content must be styled in a breezy, listicle format that’s easy to digest for mobile readers. Today’s readers won’t delve too deeply into digital content before making brand decisions. They have too many daily decisions to make.
How Voice Represents the Brand
Before you seek to create a brand, it’s best to understand what it means for your law firm. Here’s how Casey Meraz explained it last year in Brand Quarterly:
“Just like the human voice, a brand voice carries a spectrum of emotions, and it behaves differently depending on the context or scenario. The distinctiveness of your voice should come through in its consistency; no matter what the circumstances, it should always embody the agreed upon brand values.”
Considering Your Market
Before you can build the right voice, you must analyze all target markets. People who get arrested for DUI will have different immediate concerns than people who slipped and fell at Target. A person accused of a DUI will want to get released from jail and return to work as soon as possible. An accident victim will be more concerned with recuperating from trauma and how recover money for his or her hospital bills and lost wages. Both types of clients may have some questions that must be addressed immediately and others that can be explained once the case progresses. Your brand voice can address different types of questions in effective ways and subtly encourage potential clients to contact your firm and to rely on your employees to sign them up for legal services.
Understanding the Impact of Voice
When we refer to voice, we mean how the writer speaks to the readers and targets their needs and wants in the text format. For example, a legal content writer must grasp how much background knowledge their targeted readers will possess and how many details they will need to make sense of the selected topic. If a writer includes too little information or too much jargon, the readers can get turned off by the content. You also must be sensitive to the emotions you include in each message.
When your content must address parents who recently lost a child to a drunk driver, your voice must demonstrate great sensitivity to their loss. They also have other strong feelings like anger and resentment, wishing that someone would pay for the harm done to their child. They may not understand that the legal system will take years to work, and there is no guarantee of recovering anything in a wrongful death suit.
Types of Voice
A brand voice is sometimes hard to define, but it can either turn on or turn off the reader. It’s hard to generalize the types of voice that will suit a law firm’s digital audience. In one sense, legal content must consider a reader’s age, sex, location, family unit, educational level, and knowledge of the law. For example, past offenders may possess a deeper understanding of the legal process a DUI case moves through than first-time offenders. Offenders who can afford a private attorney would have different expectations, such as finding the firm’s minimum retainer and fee structure, than people who cannot afford an attorney. The latter group would need to consult the public defender’s website for their information.
Building a Content Strategy
When you decide to revamp your law practice website and develop it into a better source of leads, be sure to allow enough time for strategy development. By this, we mean mapping out the site design and setting expectations for user-friendly applications. The planning process also calls for analyzing the kinds of content you will need. Some kinds of informative content can be written on the front end for the site launch and updated over time = evergreen content. Your content strategy will also include scheduling of regular content feeds for the website, blog, and social media pages. These messages are typically shorter in nature and are more time-sensitive than evergreen content.
Get Started Today
You can partner with a content provider, either an agency or a single writer, to develop new posts for your website. However, please ensure that your intended provider can develop content on your schedule and deliver it to the website manager for timely distribution. If you start to build an online audience and then the content does not meet their regular needs, they will look to other law firms for information. Typically, your provider will guide you to establish voice guidelines. This includes using only the types of references permitted in legal content. According to the rules of the Federal Trade Commission and to your state’s ethical guidelines for law practices, certain types of content cannot be included on your digital and social media pages. Your partner should deliver content that accomplishes your business strategy without violating your voice guidelines and without placing your law firm at risk for lawsuits or ethical violations from regulatory agencies. Some content providers are known to be more reliable at meeting publishing deadlines and consistently providing messages that increase a law firm’s authority on the Internet.