Attorneys are busy. Client demands are constant, and non-billable work like marketing and business development often fall to the wayside. But maximizing your time and being efficient with your marketing is imperative to effectively develop new business.
It’s no secret that establishing yourself as a thought leader and sharing valuable content with your network is an important part of staying top of mind for clients and prospects. Creating content can be time-consuming – and is only the beginning. Once the content is created, boosting its exposure is equally as important. A simple content distribution plan can amplify your efforts, and planning is key.
As with most things in your law practice, creating a strategy is the most effective way to be efficient and thorough. For a busy attorney, creating a quarterly or semi-annual content calendar is the best approach. Read on to learn how to maximize your content in just a few hours a month.
Know what content you have
Taking some time to categorize your existing content will save you time in the future. Knowing what you have will allow you to easily access your current content when creating and executing your content calendar.
This is also a good time to evaluate your current content to see if it aligns with your goals for your practice. Your pieces should be focused on topics that your ideal clients would want to read. If your evaluation turns up practice areas or topics with little to no existing content, make a note. This is the starting point for creating new content, which should be added to your content catalog and flagged for future creation. A simple spreadsheet that you can sort and filter is an easy way to organize this information.
Pro tip: For a guide to undertaking a comprehensive marketing audit, read our post The Marketing Audit: Understanding Where You Are and Where You’re Going. To jump right into categorizing your content and laying the foundation for your content calendar, check out our Content Catalog.
Focus on your practice areas
To start, decide which practice areas you want to focus on for a given period. Monthly works well but it can be any duration that makes sense for you. For cyclical practice areas, make sure you are posting relevant content in advance, ideally when clients and prospects are evaluating services and preparing to make buying decisions. Once you have the cyclical practices identified and scheduled, you can fill in the rest of the time with other areas of focus.
Create a content distribution plan
Next, create a simple plan for how and when you share your content. Be sure to layout
- how often and when you plan to post on social media each week;
- when you want to send emails each month;
- the release dates of your new podcasts;
- when you plan to present webinars; and/or
- any other marketing tactics you plan to undertake.
When creating your plan, you want to have a broad focus for each of your distribution channels. For example, some emails may be a compilation of relevant developments pulled from outside sources, and another focuses on video content you produce. For social media, perhaps Tuesday posts are from industry influencers, Wednesday posts are promoting your content – new or old, and Friday posts are something fun. (An important note here: when deciding on what content to share on social media, make sure you are including the content from others as well as your own content.)
Pro tip: As a starting point, reference LISI’s Content Distribution Plan Template (which includes a sample plan).
Stay relevant with new content
When creating your content calendar, or during your content audit, you may realize that some areas have less content than others. Or you may realize that you need new content to post regularly. This may be a good opportunity to repurpose previously published or shared pieces. Create an introductory video to a long blog post. Turn a presentation into a white paper.
Pro tip: As you create this new content, take a couple of minutes to write two or three social media posts. The content of the post is fresh in your mind and it will save you time down the road when you are scheduling your upcoming social media posts.
Put it together in a content calendar
Creating the templates in the first two steps takes some time to complete upfront but will save you time moving forward. Once these steps are complete, it is just a matter of aligning the practice area you are focusing on for a given period with the content you already have or need to create and plugging it in every couple of months.
Pro Tip: Our Content Calendar Template will get your started.
Schedule once for three months
Set aside a few hours once a month, or once a quarter, to schedule all your social media posts, emails, ads, etc. Products such as HubSpot or Hootsuite will allow you to schedule social media content to post later. You can also schedule emails to send days or weeks out.
Pro tip: When composing your messaging, make sure that you use great headlines, intriguing questions, and specific subject lines. Everything you share needs to end with a specific call to action to lead your client or prospect exactly where you want them to go.
Once your content is scheduled, you will need to check in on it from time to time. The most important thing is to engage with the content – respond to comments and emails, follow up on form submissions, send a personal note to a contact who shared your content. If something is performing well, create more pieces of content on that subject as quickly as possible. If something underperforms, rethink, and retool upcoming pieces of content to perform better. Fifteen minutes in the morning a couple of times a week should be plenty of time to monitor and engage with your social media efforts.