7 Steps to Creating Strategic Content Calendars
For law firms hoping to maximize their marketing efforts, there is no better tactic than content marketing. Put simply, content is king. No modern marketing strategy can be effective without it but a content marketing strategy is only as good as its editorial calendar. And by an editorial calendar, we don’t mean dates and deadlines. We mean strategic organization and timeliness (and of course, deadlines...that’s a given).
Lawyers are by trade prolific storytellers and writers. They know how to weave a convincing narrative that evokes emotion and resonates with the audience long after they’ve heard it. It just so happens that these traits are the hallmarks of effective marketing content.
At its core, content marketing is all about building relationships, and you can do that with education, not over-the-top sales tactics. Ask yourself: How can your firm educate its audience? What expertise do you possess that can be shared with the general public to build trust and form a bond with them?
Now that we’ve established the importance of good content let’s break this down even further. We’ve developed a step-by-step process for law firms to take the talent they already have in-house, organize it, and turn it into an effective marketing tool that can drive leads and clients.
- What are your strengths—the shortlist of things you specialize in? Every law firm has a specialty, but what are the more specific things you’re good at? How does your law firm set itself apart from the competition? If there are multiple firms in your area that claim the same specialty, what makes you unique?
- Make a list of questions you get on a regular basis from clients. Think about those questions you answer and topics you cover over and over with clients. The ones that make you feel like a broken record. If you had a megaphone, or better yet, a sophisticated targeted marketing tool like HubSpot, what are the things (or dozens) you would tell people if you had the floor?
- Take those questions and turn them into headlines. Do clients ask you, “What is my best option for estate planning?” Turn that into an article titled “How to create a plan for your family’s future in 3 easy steps” or “5 tips for estate planning you didn’t know.” (Did you catch the headline of this article?) If you hear this question from even one client, chances are there are hundreds of other people out there with the same one. And thanks to Google, they are likely searching for the answer to it. Show up in their search with a solid solution to their problem, positioning yourself as the expert on that particular topic.
- Total up the number of headlines you have. Strive for around 52 headlines/topics, but divide them up quarterly. While the topics won’t change, current events and trends will, and you need to be ready to pivot your content accordingly. You will be surprised how quickly you can get to 52 topics. If you have a blog, 52 subjects will give you an entire year of content scheduled to publish once a week, plus some wiggle room for holidays and downtime.
- Once you have your topics in place, decide what types of content will best communicate them. Don’t limit yourself to just blog posts. While blogs are an essential part of any good SEO strategy for your website, there are a variety of effective content tools you can create and test. For example, lengthier topics can be turned into eBooks, position papers, white papers, or case studies. Each of these content tools serves a different purpose.
- Determine who will be involved in creating the content. While a good writer can turn a blog post around in a matter of hours, a case study will take more time and need a graphic designer and possibly web development, depending on how sophisticated you want it to look. Find out who you will need to create the content in-house or look for marketing talent you can hire outside your firm.
- Finally, schedule your topics on a calendar and execute. Again, shoot for a year’s worth of topics, but plan your schedule and deadlines quarterly. Pick your deadlines based on your firm’s workload, schedule, and annual trends. Make sure to allow enough time for research and writing and any formatting or graphic design that each topic needs. There are plenty of editorial calendar templates available, but we prefer HubSpot’s editorial calendar.
Get some inspiration from clients we’ve worked with or reach out for consultation on the best content marketing strategy for your firm.