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Thought leadership & content marketing

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An interesting panel discussion caught our attention at the 2014 Legal Marketing Technology Conference in October about building relationships and revenue through thought leadership marketing. Jacqueline Madarang of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, John Byrne of Glencoe Media Group and Molly Porter of Seyfarth Shaw shared some of their best practices in the panel moderated by Per Casey of Tenrec.

John Byrne described a microsite as a subject- or topic-specific website. He explained that microsites don’t need to be interactive; they can simply be reference sites. John stressed that the point of a microsite is not to duplicate the content on the firm’s website, but instead provide focussed information on one specific topic. John explained that in order to decide what kind of microsite to create, firms should identify who their audience should be and who they want it to be, and design and build the microsite around that. But the first step, he explained, is identifying whether there is an audience to talk to at all.

When it comes to launching a microsite, John advised that firms find an internal champion, or content task manager, to encourage contribution of thought leadership content to the microsite. John described another benefit of microsite creation is the fact that lawyers involved in creating the content get to interact with one another. It’s a good opportunity for lawyers within a firm to get to know one another’s practices, where they might not otherwise have done. John illustrated just how important content is for law firm marketing by citing the stat that 39.1% of law firm and attorney blogs result in clients and referrals.

John explained what he referred to as the content conundrum: law firms need to compete in an already saturated content market place, but Google demands fresh original content for SEO. This is why thought leadership is even more valuable: providing unique, useful content that is helpful to potential clients will make firms stand out.

Jacqueline Madarang went into more detail about different ways to use microsites. She suggested placing the firm’s blog within a microsite, meaning that it becomes a one-stop shop for clients and contacts. She also suggested that firms could build out event microsites for large events that they host. All the information about the event and registration forms would be in one place for guests. Like John, Jacqueline suggested talking to clients about what they would find useful in a microsite and get feedback from clients for ideas for content.

Molly Porter elaborated on the benefits of microsites. She explained that microsites set up they are more predictable and easier to maintain than a blog and allow firms to establish themselves as a brand within a niche practice. Molly quotes Kevin O’Keefe and Adam Stock (whose keynote at LMA Tech 14 we summarised in this blog post), in using the phrase “niches bring riches”, to enhance her point that providing specific thought leadership content can lead to business development. Other benefits Molly highlighted were the ability to help lawyers and clients stay on top of trending topics, provide undiluted content focused on a specific subject matter, and be adaptive to timely topics.

Molly pointed out two concerns that firms may have about using microsites: which budget will it fall under, and what platform will it be on. A solution for this is to choose marketing/BD software platform that has microsites built in alongside other content marketing and automation tools. This helps to connect content within the microsite as part of a wider content campaign. Molly advises firms to consider how they will connect content from the microsite with content on the firm’s website.

Per Casey added that one of the advantages of using a microsite is that they can have a limited lifespan, existing only for the purposes of one campaign, case or event. This means that firms need not invest as much time and resources in a microsite as they might otherwise in a permanent fixture of their existing site – they can simply take it down when the content has run its course.

If you would like to read  our summary of Adam Stock’s keynote speech from the 2014 Legal Marketing Technology Conference, you can  find it here. To find out more about  HighQ Publisher, the content marketing and digital publishing platform built especially for law firms,  contact us today.

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