content is a key aspect to successful law firm marketing

How to tell if you need new website content

Any highly competitive business needs to stay relevant to customers. In a digitally driven world, the best way to do that is to keep your website fresh, informative and engaging. Otherwise, when prospective clients are comparing the content of local law firms, you might just be, well, “out.”

Content marketing demands proactive steps based on best practices—and it starts with a stable website foundation. New content can lead to better search rankings and more conversions. Those show up in dollar signs. You may not need to overhaul your firm’s entire website, but if your content is more than a year old, it may need to be refreshed.

Here are 10 ways to know if your website needs new content:

  1. Is the content outdated?

Search engines have algorithms made to find content that’s current and the most relevant to terms people search for. Old, stale and generic content is doing you no favors when it comes to getting found on the web. Sophisticated search engines will bypass a legal website if it’s not updated or pertinent to people’s needs.

That means it’s not acceptable to cite statistics from five years ago; not update your site with news about your latest cases; not to have a recurring blog showing your lawyers are thought leaders, and not to have an ongoing dialogue with consumers through social and professional platforms.

  1. Does your website still reflect your core brand attributes?

Have things changed since writing your law firm’s website copy? Or are you offering new services in a particular sector or mass tort, for example, or have you shifted your approach to customer service in some way?

If so, your website navigation—the page hierarchy outline that leads users through your website in the most intuitive way—probably needs to change. Inevitably this will lead to shifts in content and tone. Remember, if you’re not telling the real story about who you are as a law firm and positioning your attorneys as approachable authorities, you’re not going to generate the right lead from your website.

  1. Is your copy too light, general or sparsely spread?

There was a trend a decade ago when websites were written to appease the search engines. They were intentionally “tight” on copy yet disproportionally loaded with keywords and location identifiers.

As a legal marketing and advertising firm, we’re all for clean, intelligent website design, but if there’s no original copy to back up your law firm’s brand, people will see right through the fluff—or leave your site immediately for lack of substance.

Luckily “light” is not in anymore. Global online search statistics show that people are increasingly interested in deeper, richer content. Therefore stuffing websites with top-searched keywords is no longer rewarded by search engines the way it once was. In fact, long-form content—1,200 words-plus in an appropriate format—is winning in every category.

  1. How many authors has your website had over the years?

Let’s say you hired a professional copywriter to create content for your original website.

Good idea!

But then you added to and tweaked copy over time with unqualified in-house help.

Bad idea.

There’s a good chance the “tone” of your content is now muddled with different voices, and perhaps some typos and inaccuracies to boot. This mixing of writing styles can undermine your brand consistency and confuse readers—not something most lawyers want when they know they’re being heavily vetted online.

Rewriting content with a consistent tone could be one of the smartest steps you take. Assuming, like most niche businesses, that your law firm doesn’t have (or plan to staff) copywriters, employing a professional writer who knows your legal brand and approach to business is well worth the investment.

  1. Are you ready for a redesign anyway?

If you’re considering a redesign to modernize the look and feel of your website or are moving to a universal content management platform in the near future, this is an ideal time to think about fresh content and content marketing strategies that will integrate with social and professional networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

A redesign typically means a new design and navigation, which affects how content is allocated on your website. Cut-and-paste is not a smart option, however. Redesign phase is the right time to reorganize and rewrite your content in ways that will help people learn more from it, digest it quicker, engage with it more meaningfully and share it easier with friends.

  1. Do you just need more interactive elements?

Are you happy with the look of your website and even how it’s performing in keywords rankings, but know it’s time to amp up search engine optimization (SEO) through more engaging, interactive content?

There are plenty of ways to amplify existing written content. For example, you can add a blog, videos, social network links, e-newsletter feeds and long-form content, without changing out everything.

That said, visual assets like videos should not take over your website. Think of these engaging elements as assets to enhance core written content rather than replace it.

  1. Are your analytics telling a different story?

Do you “like” your content but Google Analytics reports that other people aren’t finding it, reading it, sharing it with others, or engaging with your lawyers online?

There some very helpful statistics such as bounce rates and high-performance pages that can tell you which pieces of content are most relevant and compelling to users. This information can help tremendously as you consider the smartest page-by-page content updates to keep people on your site longer—and how to convert them to clients.

  1. Do you need different distribution channels?

Sometimes what’s off isn’t the content, but it’s distribution.

Modern content marketing strategy for law firms should always consider leveraging each piece of content at least four different ways. A compelling blog could shout out with a quick Twitter feed, then be repurposed in a more shareable format on Facebook, then become the base of an infographic sent in an email and so on.

Content that’s not marketed and distributed properly is like a personal diary. Who knows how, if and when anyone else will ever unlock it?

  1. Do you have the right mix of media?

Law firms are more sophisticated about content marketing by turning words in the digital sphere into more interactive media experiences.

That requires thinking like a journalist about how to best tell your law firm’s story through a mix of original posts, complemented by photography, infographics, and video. We’re not thinking in “silos”, but rather in multi-media layers to explain (and show) what brands do best.

  1. Is your content converting?

One of the most important pieces of information you can understand about your current content—and future content marketing strategies—is whether or not your content is actually converting to paying clients.

Are people filling out online forms for more information? Are they using online chat options to take the next step in the decision-making process? Are they sharing content with friends who could become future clients?

Ask your marketing or advertising team to help you read the metrics on how well your content coverts. If it’s not leading to ROI, it’s time for a change.

At Network Affiliates, we specialize in knowing not only what lawyers need to say and where to say it. Have questions about your law firm’s content marketing strategy? Call or click today for a free, confidential evaluation of your current efforts: (888) 461-1016.

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