But, really, don't take our word for it. Instead, take the word of about every online marketing-esque story that has been written in the last week about "What to Expect in 2012." Content marketing is booming for a variety of reasons, but mostly for a simple one: it works. It is simply no longer acceptable to throw up static pages with your name, profession, and contact information and expect to win in the, often vicious, world of business competition. Things are no different in legal marketing. But content writing works, because it is ACTIVE, not passive.
No longer can attorneys afford to sit on the sidelines, but instead they must be engaged in active marketing. Content marketing works because it is not advertising (which no one trusts), but, in the legal context, is essentially the providing of a free service which engages potentially clients. That free service is the disbursement of information. Law firm blogs are just that--a way to engage with consumers and provide them with information. They can benefit from the information. In the process that may learn a bit about the firm, come to trust it, and perhaps contact the firm when a time comes that they are in need of legal aid.
Of course, these principles are not all limited to the law--businesses of all stripes of trending toward the world of content marketing. Kevin O'Keefe posted a story last week on an interview he conducted earlier for a "Businesses Embrace Blogs" story. While reading the story we found ourselves silently nodding in agreement. For example, in part of his answer regarding keys to effective business blog, he notes...
...understanding how to measure the ROI on blogging. Traffic and analytics are not necessarily they way to measure success. Ask: 1) Is our reputation being enhanced? 2) Is our network of relationships growing? 3) Are we establishing ourselves as trusted subject matter experts in the industry or consumer group we sell into? And 4) Are we getting not just customers or clients, but high quality customers and clients?
...don't make a blog part of your website. Your website, though important, is an advertisement. Your blog needs to be a stand alone presence in order to build trust and influence.
We agree. When talking about legal blog writing, we often find attorneys struggling more with the evaluation process of the blog than the overall merit of it. Obvious increased traffic is a key for all online marketing schemes. But blogging (and all content writing) is best thought of as reputation-building and, essentially, pro bono service. Providing information to your specific community about a specific subject is the key...not necessarily always moving up in keyword searches.