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Insights from the In-Crowd: Survey Provides Road Map for Stronger Law Firm Marketing

May 7th, 2014 / - filed under Digital Marketing, Resources & Surveys

We’re just now beginning to process the incredible implications of the 4th annual State of Digital and Content Marketing survey, which findings were revealed last month. The survey, commissioned by Greentarget, ALM Legal Intelligence, and Zeughauser Group, polled in-house counsel and law firm CMOs on the consumption and production of…well…marketing stuff.

There is so much to learn here. In fact, it should be required reading for every Management Committee at every law firm in the land. Size doesn’t matter. These findings apply to every firm because “content marketing” is just a nice way to name the game-changing genius sitting between your lawyers’ ears. That’s the state we’re talking about.

But you’re busy. So here’s the key takeaway: In this age of “information overload,” law firms must develop smart corporate strategies to create and share content, and those strategies better be measured. Any firm can craft a blog, send out a client alert, participate on social media or host a webinar. Most do. The challenge is not how to share content but rather what to share how to make it stand out. To this end, this year’s survey offered some key insights and tips:

Link Up, Link In
LinkedIn is important. 37% of in-housel reported that they had used LinkedIn in the past 24 hours and 25% had used it in the past week. A remarkable 42% use this platform to participate in groups related to legal practices and 37% use LinkedIn to consume content shared by outside counsel.

What Clients Read
Of the in-house counsel surveyed, 77% found practice group newsletters the most valuable type of firm-generated content. 63% and 38% said client alerts and blogs are the most valuable, respectively. (Respondents were able to select more than one.) This is important because most firms already invest in client alert-ing. Just be sure to keep it lean, polished and potent.

Should You Blog?
While in-house counsel continue to prefer traditional news media, and there was a small dip in in-house counsel blog readership, 75% find blogs a credible or somewhat credible source of legal, business and industry news. 50% of in-house counsel read law firm attorney-authored blogs often or somewhat often—nearly the same amount that read media-branded blogs written by professional journalists and bloggers. That said, because the blog market is saturated, firms must practice enormous blog discipline: keep it lean, relevant and timely. Or someone else will. Or everyone else will.

Who’s in Charge?
While law firm content continues to be a powerful way to reach and engage clients, only 29% of firms have a dedicated manager overseeing content strategy (compared to 73% of B2B companies). Worse, the lion’s share of firms without a content boss have no plans to hire one. Yikes. In a competitive market where the buyers are buried, law firms must view content marketing as a core component of their overall marketing strategy.

So here’s our free advice for today. As the digital landscape continues to take and change shape, it’s imperative that law firms develop and challenge and revise and restructure a content marketing strategy that supports the firm’s competencies, reinforces the firm’s brand, and serves the firm’s clients. Being “pretty good” at this stuff is just not good enough. Earn and own the market. So read the survey and reach out if we can help.