[author: Noreen Fishman]
We all know by now that content is king in digital marketing. While content is constantly evolving, from written thought leadership to videos, to audio content, and everything in between, the importance of content isn’t going to change any time soon. Even robust legal marketing departments can find themselves coming up short when it comes to content that generates ROI. How do you know when it’s time to bring on an agency or consultant? And can they really help your firm?
Is it Necessary to Use a Content Marketing Agency for Law Firms?
What is Content Marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
When done correctly, a compelling content marketing strategy should deliver four main benefits: increased client engagements, cost savings, a more engaged and loyal audience, and even an additional stream of revenue for monetized content.
Related: The Law Firm Guide to Content Marketing eBook.
Isn’t Content Marketing Just Another Part of Our Strategy?
Content marketing can seem pretty common sense. However, as with many things in business, things that seem quite common sense aren’t always common practice. Your law firm needs to tell a certain story. The right agency can help you to bring that unique story – the one you really want to share, but maybe you haven’t figured out exactly how yet – to life by:
- Applying all of their previous experience to help you avoid pitfalls or other common obstacles that content marketers often face.
- Digging deeper to uncover more ways to have a real conversation with your audience.
- Developing and overseeing an execution plan. Many content marketers are excellent in the planning stage, but start to stumble in the task-oriented elements of execution.
- Working with the whole team to reach cohesiveness, including resetting expectations and creating alignment about how things will get done.
If any of those areas sound like something your firm could use help with, it’s time to consider bringing on a content marketing agency.
Isn’t That What Our Marketing Team is For?
This is an objection that many agencies face (and is often code for “an agency costs too much”). Bringing in an agency can also put a firm’s internal marketing team on the defensive, as some members may consider it a suggestion that the team isn’t doing their job well.
However, it’s important to distinguish exactly what a content marketing agency will be doing. They won’t be setting strategy – that is the marketing team’s job. The agency is really there to assist internal teams in learning something new or becoming more proficient in a certain area. They will focus on enabling internal teams to do things more efficiently, using the latest best practices that only industry professionals are specialized in. Additionally, retaining an agency tends to force efforts to the top of people’s priority lists. When resources are being spent in certain areas, those areas are more likely to have concrete deliverables in place and a timeline established for their completion
Think of a content marketing agency like a personal trainer for fitness. If you’ve ever used a personal trainer, then you know that most of what they show you can be done at home. They may bring some specialized equipment and demonstrate things you haven’t done before, but technically you could probably do the same things. However, you likely decided on a trainer because you weren’t seeing the results you hope the trainer will help you to achieve. A trainer will push you harder, hold you accountable, create discipline around your fitness activities, measure your goals, etc. A content marketing agency can do the same for your digital marketing plan, and that alone makes them worth their fee.
How Can an Agency Help With Various Law Firms?
Every law firm is unique and their content is too. However, part of the approach to content marketing is to use a methodology that discovers that uniqueness. On top of that, having an outside perspective can prove beneficial, as too many law firms end up “talking to themselves”. Having experts from outside your organization share opinions on content can help you to see areas for improvement, generate new ideas, and innovate.
An outside agency with industry experience can also limit the learning curve and speed up the process. For example, when it comes to legal content, knowledge of the accepted nomenclature and abbreviations is valuable, along with certain regulations, the latest rulings, etc. Because a good agency will have gone through this process many times before, their team will possess just the right blend of industry expertise and generalized methodology.
Don’t underestimate the value of partnering with an agency that has worked with several other firms. Its personnel will have a deep understanding of typical pitfalls and best practices, how to navigate internal politics, and share realistic timelines and expectations. They will also have templates for project roll-outs and phases, content velocity planning, and so much more. In general, they can support your team in finding realistic opportunities and then success.
Legal marketing success or failure often hinges on content. If you are considering adopting or expanding a content marketing plan, give some thought to engaging an industry-savvy content marketing agency.