Finding the Right Voice for a Law Firm Website

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.

Your Guide to Finding a True Law Firm SEO Expert

 

“Whatever the facts and circumstances of your new law office, you need clients walking through your door, calling your office, emailing your inbox or otherwise soliciting your services and assistance. In order to do so, former, current and prospective clients alike need to be able to find you…And the first place they are likely going to look is Google, Bing or Yahoo.” 

– Jared K. Nelson, Oklahoma Bar Association

Your law firm’s success hinges in great part upon your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. With thousands of people in the United States advertising SEO services, it can be challenging to find an SEO specialist with expertise in your field of law. Fortunately, there are some measures you can take to ensure that you choose a provider who will deliver outstanding SEO results. With Below is your eight-step guide to finding a law firm SEO expert.

1) Seek an expert who specializes in law firm SEO

As you dive into a deep pool of SEO providers, the first step to take is to whittle the number of prospective SEO specialists. The best way to accomplish this is to restrict your search to SEO providers with a proven history of success working with law firms. This will ensure that you hire a provider who is truly an expert in law firm SEO.

2) Ask your friends and colleagues who they use for SEO services

“Ask your friends who they use and if they’re happy with the company. If they’re pleased with it, odds are good you will be, too. Referrals from trusted sources are the best way to find a good company.”

– Sharon Nelson and John Simek, Law Practice Magazine

Referrals can be instrumental in helping you further narrow the field of eligible SEO experts. Friends, family members, and colleagues can often lend valuable guidance regarding their personal experiences with SEO firms. Remember to target friends and family members who are lawyers or who work in the legal field to ensure that you receive a list of providers who can hit the ground running.

3) Avoid providers who are unresponsive to your inquiries

As you contact prospective SEO specialists, you will likely find that they vary greatly in terms of their degree of responsiveness to your inquiries. Some will respond promptly and enthusiastically while others may fail to return your phone calls or e-mails. In general, it is a good idea to steer clear of prospects who are uncommunicative or who fail to provide you with a quote.

4) Find out which specific SEO tasks will be provided

“SEO encompasses a lot of different tasks. You need to have a clear understanding of what the firm will be responsible for and what tasks are left for you. Which technical, off-page and on-page tasks are they prepared to handle? And since SEO, content marketing and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) are so interconnected, you might want to find a firm that’s set up to help you out with all three.”

– Andrew Raso, Co-Founder and Director of the Online Marketing Gurus

The SEO process is complex and involves many tasks and techniques. As you evaluate prospective specialists, make sure you ask what services they offer and whether there are any limitations or restrictions on the services they provide.

5) Request a written quotation

Affordability is a top consideration for many law firms, especially those that are in their formative years. After your initial discussion with each prospective SEO expert, be sure to request a written quote that outlines the services provided along with the cost of each. Make sure the quote contains the following details:

  • The date the quote was prepared and an expiration date
  • Acceptable modes of payment and an explanation of payment terms
  • The signature of the individual who provided the pricing
  • Details regarding any guarantees that are offered

6) Choose an SEO specialist who is a good fit with your law firm

“The personality, integrity and communication style of the SEO needs to match the organization or progress will be hard.”

– Rand Fishkin, Entrepreneur and Founder of SparkToro

Finding an SEO specialist who is a good fit with the work culture at your law firm is vital to producing top results. The expert you hire will be interfacing with your marketing, IT staff, and lawyers to develop content, highlighting the need to hire an SEO specialist who is similar to your law firm employees in terms of values and work ethic.

7) Request a list of current and past clients in the legal field

References can prove to be invaluable assets as you evaluate SEO specialists. While current and past clients may not be able to offer specific details related to Google analytics or specific techniques employed by an SEO specialist, they can offer useful insight regarding the following:

  • The SEO expert’s impact on their search engine rankings
  • Any notable increases in their conversion rates
  • Feedback about their overall experience with the SEO provider

8) Consider your ongoing SEO needs

“Remember, SEO is an ongoing process, so ask the firm or consultant how much it will cost to maintain the site once the major changes have been made.”

– Issie Lapowsky, Wired

SEO does not occur in a vacuum. While the majority of the effort will likely occur on the front end, you should look for an SEO expert who recognizes that SEO is an ongoing process. In addition to asking prospective providers to outline a current SEO strategy for your law firm, you should also ask them to outline their proposed long-term strategies for success along with estimated costs.

The Bottom Line

Hiring a true law firm SEO expert is the surest way to drive traffic to your law firm’s website. As you evaluate potential SEO providers, you can follow the steps above to help ensure that you choose the best provider for your law firm. By seeking a responsive law firm SEO expert who is a good fit with your law firm’s culture, you will be on your way to higher search engine rankings and increased conversions.