Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Should I Hire Legal Content Writers, an SEO Firm, Both, or Neither?

You want to attract more clients for your law firm online.  You know it has something to do with "SEO," blogs, keywords, search engines, rankings, "content," and other such gobbldygook.

It basically comes down to three options: (1) You figure out how to do it yourself; (2) You assign a staff member to do it; or (3) You hire other people to do it.

Option 1 is great for attorneys who have a natural interest in technology and other online matters.  But even if you have an interest in this stuff, there is the sneaky problem of not having enough time to do it.  Option 2 might work, but chances are that if a staff member already knew how to do it--they'd be doing it.  They can teach themselves, but then again, they already have tasks.  Building a solid online foundation is not a throwaway task.  Do they really have the time to add it on and do it well?

That leaves Option 3.  There is a reason "SEO experts" have exploded over the last five to ten years.  When done right, these folks offer vital services--bringing in much more money than it costs to hire them. But let's be honest, SEO guys have "huckster" written all over them.  That is not because they ARE scammers but because there are so many that it is hard to differentiate the wheat from the chaff.

And on top of that you've got outside folks, like us, who seem to provide some ancillary services but maybe not the whole "SEO" package.  Is legal blog writing all you need for SEO?  Do you have to hire more than one person?  Is it all just a sham that will cost money and provide no benefit?

The Ideal
Here's what we think.  In a perfect world, you would hire both law content writers and an online marketing firm.  They are not the same.  In fact, if you hire only an online marketing team they will outsource writers for you.  Sometimes they hire us, and sometimes they hire others.  Those "others" are usually not attorneys and the quality is very iffy.  Obviously, our firm strives to provide the very best in online legal writing at a great value.

But at the same time, we do not pretend that we alone are all you need to maximize your online marketing efforts.  A solid online marketing firm can ensure you use the content we provide in the very best way possible, integrating it into blogs, web content, article submission, newsletters, and more.

In this way, as content writers, we are the grunt workers--producing the material that makes up the bulk of your online marketing efforts.  The marketing team is looking at the big picture, making sure the content is used to its maximum potential and integrated with other marketing efforts like pay-per-click ads, newsletters, and other efforts.

Quick Note: Not all online marketing firms are the same.  We often get asked by clients for recommendations for SEO-types.  We are usually leery in our recommendations, because, frankly, we know more poor SEO firms than quality ones.  The very best firms are much more than mere "optimizers."  Instead, we recommend hiring a team that considers themselves marketers first and SEO experts second.  The SEO should be part of the overall strategy, not the single strategy.  There are enough legal marketing people out there that you shouldn't settle for a team that talks about ranking well in Google and nothing else.

The Bottom Line: In our experience, the absolute best results are reached by firms with an SEO marketing team who uses specialized legal content creators (like us) to make magic.  BUT, there is still tremendous value that we can provide when working without SEO folks.  And if the SEO team is doing nothing more than switching a few words around and acting as a middle-man, then you can do without them.

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