[author: Noreen Fishman]
We all know now that content is king in digital marketing. With content constantly evolving, from written thought leadership to videos, 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 short of ROI-driving content. How do you know when it’s time to hire an agency or consultant? And can they really help your business?
Is it necessary to hire 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 drive profitable customer action. .
When done correctly, a compelling content marketing strategy should deliver four main benefits: increased customer engagement, cost savings, a more engaged and loyal audience, and even an additional revenue stream for monetized content.
Related: The Law Firm’s Guide to Content Marketing E-Book.
Isn’t content marketing just another part of our strategy?
Content marketing can seem quite logical. However, as with many things in business, things that seem entirely sensible are not always common practice. Your law firm should tell a certain story. The right agency can help you bring that unique story to life — the one you really want to share, but may not have figured out exactly how yet — by:
- Apply all of their previous experience to help you avoid common pitfalls or other obstacles that content marketers often face.
- Dig deeper to discover more ways to have a real conversation with your audience.
- Development and monitoring of an execution plan. Many content marketers are great at the planning stage, but start to stumble at the task-oriented execution elements.
- Work with the whole team to achieve cohesion, including resetting expectations and creating alignment on how things will be done.
If any of these areas sound like something your business might need help with, it’s time to consider hiring a content marketing agency.
Isn’t that what our marketing team is for?
This is an objection that many agencies face (and is often coded as “an agency costs too much”). Using an agency can also put a company’s internal marketing team on the defensive, as some members may take it as a suggestion that the team isn’t doing their job well.
However, it is important to distinguish exactly what a content marketing agency will do. They won’t define strategy, that’s the job of the marketing team. The agency is really there to help internal teams learn something new or improve in a certain area. They will focus on the ability of internal teams to do things more efficiently, using the latest best practices that only industry professionals specialize in. When resources are spent in certain areas, those areas are more likely to have concrete deliverables in place and an established timeline for their completion.
Think of a content marketing agency like a personal fitness trainer. If you’ve ever used a personal trainer, you know that most of what they show you can be done at home. They may bring specialized gear and demonstrate things you’ve never done before, but technically you could probably do the same things. However, you probably chose a trainer because you weren’t seeing the results you hoped the trainer would help you achieve. A trainer will push you harder, hold you accountable, create discipline around your fitness activities, measure your goals, and more. A content marketing agency can do the same for your digital marketing plan, and that alone is worth it.
How can an agency help various law firms?
Each law firm is unique and so is its content. However, part of the content marketing approach is to use a methodology that discovers this uniqueness. In addition, having an outside perspective can be beneficial, because too many law firms end up “talking to each other”. Having experts outside your organization share their opinions on content can help you 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 accepted nomenclature and abbreviations is valuable, as well as certain regulations, recent judgments, etc. Because a good agency will have gone through this process many times before, their team will have just the right mix of industry expertise and generalized methodology.
Don’t underestimate the value of partnering with an agency that has worked with several other companies. Its staff will have a thorough understanding of typical pitfalls and best practices, how to navigate internal politics, and share realistic timelines and expectations. They will also have templates for deployments and project phases, content velocity planning, and much more. In general, they can help your team find realistic opportunities and succeed.
The success or failure of legal marketing often depends on the content. If you are considering adopting or expanding a content marketing plan, consider hiring an industry-savvy content marketing agency.