7 creative legal marketing ideas for your law firm

Drawing a connection between the words “legal,” “creative” and “marketing,” may be tough, but the fact is, law firms need to use all the tools and technology available to reach potential clients wherever they might be. In spite of what you may believe, legal marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Here are 7 creative legal marketing ideas for your law firm:

creative legal marketing ideas for your law firm rocket lawyer

1. Invest in SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is designed to put you in front of the people who will be making a decision on legal representation in the near future. They may have already decided that they need legal services, but they may not be sure who is the best choice. SEO will ensure your web content has the sought-after keywords that prospective clients are typing into a search engine. These will depend on your area of specialty and location and may include words and phrases like “divorce lawyer,” “slip and fall attorney,” “personal injury lawyer Smallville” and more.

An SEO specialist can help determine the words your potential clients are using most and demonstrate how they should be included in your online presence. Effective SEO will improve your organic results, placing you higher in search engines without you having to pay for the privilege. This is work that you can do on your own if you are so inclined. Keep in mind, however, that successful SEO brings more clients to you, and can be well worth the investment.

2. Provide relevant, newsworthy content

Closely related to SEO, content marketing demonstrates your expertise in an area of law. This can be done through regular blogs, videos, infographics or articles on topics that may be of interest to your potential clients.

Infographics in particular, can be a powerful way to communicate information and data about complex legal issues in an easy to understand, more graphic format. There are plenty of free online infographic makers that can help you create your own in under an hour.

Keep in mind, subjects don’t always have to be directly related to the law. Your potential clients may be interested in subjects like “The Importance of Seeking Medical Attention After a Slip & Fall,” “Downsizing After Retirement,” or “Five Things to Do Immediately After a Car Accident.”

Potential clients often look for information related to their legal issue prior to securing an attorney. Anticipating their questions and proactively providing answers for them can be beneficial to your firm. When you position yourself as an expert, it improves the chances clients will contact you when they get ready to make a decision.

3. Have a social media presence

At the bare minimum, lawyers should have a LinkedIn profile to showcase educational and career achievements. This ensures at least your basic information is available online for potential clients.

A social media presence like Facebook also makes you more accessible for potential questions and referrals. Social media should keep you better connected with your current clients, colleagues and friends. Posts can also be shared or tagged by those who may know someone in search of legal assistance.

Make sure you are available for questions and referrals that may come through social media. You may want to keep a professional social media page separately from your personal page.

4. Participate in local events

Getting involved in community events will open up new opportunities for you to build your network. This can involve everything from hosting a canopy at the county fair to leading the way in a specific fundraising campaign.

Many “movers and shakers” in a community are well-connected and involved in various boards and community organizations that would treasure an opportunity to have an attorney assisting them both in manpower and in knowledge.

Build your community involvement resume without getting weighed down. Choose events and organizations that have an interest to you. Encourage any staff you may have to get involved. Consider joining a service club or two, but make sure any organizations you get involved with are in alignment with your core beliefs. This is important in building your brand and establishing a respected reputation.

5. Create short online videos

What used to take expensive audio and video equipment can now be accomplished on a cellphone or laptop. Create short one to two-minute videos that provide answers to most commonly asked legal questions in your field and build a YouTube Channel.

Connect videos to your website and social media, creating a digital marketing funnel. Keep your productions simple with basic graphics in an office setting with just you and the camera. Talk directly to the camera and don’t forget to smile. Answer questions you most frequently get asked about on the telephone or online.

This is a superb opportunity to address potential client’s common issues without repeatedly doing it on the phone or online.

6. Integrate reviews on your website

Customers and clients used to ask family members or friends for referrals before shopping or acquiring professional services. Today, most are just as likely to go online and seek online reviews.

Anonymous reviews today have just as much credibility as personal recommendations. You can make client reviews easier to access by putting them directly on your website.

Feature the most positive reviews prominently. Publish reviews that speak to topics important to your prospective clients. If well-known community members are willing to provide testimonials or reviews, make sure you use them.

7. Join an online legal services network to bring you more clients

An online legal services network can be an excellent resource for new clients. Rocket Lawyer’s On Call Network is free to become a part of and all you need to do is be willing to answer legal questions. This can help you bring in new clients as many are in the process of deciding if it’s time to retain an attorney. To learn more, contact Rocket Lawyer today.

Creating new marketing opportunities for your legal firm need not be difficult or expensive. Get started today and start building your client list tomorrow.

The top 10 law firm management blogs

Here at One Legal, we love to read, learn, and share the latest legal practice news and best practices.

We’ve written before about how podcasts — short radio shows that you can download and listen to any time — can be an excellent way to stay up to speed. But what if you prefer the written word?

If that’s you, then you’re in luck, because there are hundreds of law and law firm management blogs out there. With so many to choose from, though, it can be hard to know where to begin. To help, here’s our top 10.

#1 My Shingle

One of the longest running legal blogs out there, having launched back in 2002, “My Shingle” is an indispensable treasure trove of resources for solo and small law firms. Written by Carolyn Elefant, a solo attorney, the author’s core values — clear, concise, and actionable advice — shine through in the articles and guides. If you’re a solo attorney or work at a small firm, this blog is essential reading.

#2 Future Lawyer

“Future Lawyer”’s author, Richard Georges, is one of the country’s most experienced commentators on legal tech and its application to legal practice. We love “Future Lawyer”’s new tech reviews, quick tips for getting more out of commonly used apps, and high-quality advice on staying within the rules.

#3 Legal Office Guru

No doubt you spend much of your day working in Microsoft Office — in particular in Word and Outlook. It’s vital that you’re able to work quickly and efficiently in these tools (check out some of our recent advice here). However, if you’re looking to dive even deeper in all that Office can do for your firm, this is the blog for you. With detailed how-to articles, cool tricks, and the latest product updates, this is definitely one of our go-to blogs.

#4 Lawyernomics

Leaving aside your views on Avvo — the lawyer review website — their law firm management blog has quickly become a useful resource. With near-daily updates on subjects ranging from how to use networking to find new business to tips for managing difficult client conversations, the blog rarely fails to provide useful and actionable content.

#5 The Court Technology Bulletin

With so much change occurring rapidly in the court technology space right now, it’s important to stay up to date (check out all the changes, for example, that are happening in California right now). This blog, from the clever people at the National Center for State Courts, is one of our favorite resources. If there’s a major tech change happening in the a state’s courts, these guys know about it.

#6 Lawyerist

“Lawyerist,” the brainchild of attorney-turned-internet-entrepreneur Sam Glover, is now much more than just a blog: It’s almost a legal publishing empire. With a podcast, dozens of downloadable “survival guides,” and one of the most-read blogs in the legal industry, no list of the top legal blogs would be complete without a mention of “Lawyerist.”

#7 Attorney At Work

“Attorney at Work” is a collaborative blog focused on providing useful articles written by contributors who know their stuff. The team behind the website — Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, Joan Feldman, and Mark Feldman — have a seriously impressive set of credentials, from editing Law Practice magazine to teaching master’s level university courses in legal administration.

#8 Oregon Law Practice

Don’t stop at the title; this blog provides wide-ranging practice management advice that applies well beyond Oregon’s borders. Written by attorney Beverly Michaels, the blog  features advice on steps attorneys can take to reduce their risk of malpractice claims, enhance their enjoyment of practicing law, and improve client relationships.

#9 Solo Practice University

“Solo Practice University” is an educational resource for attorneys that has a seriously good blog. The site is packed full of guest blogs from experts in their respective fields, with subjects ranging from legal marketing to managing risk.

#10 Litigation By The Numbers

This one’s California-specific, but provides an excellent summary (in the section titled “Julie’s Articles”) of changes to civil procedure statutes and rules in the Golden State. Written by Julie Goren, an experienced California litigator and legal educator, “Litigation By The Numbers” is a great resource to check on regularly.

Which law firm management blogs does your office read regularly? Share your favorites in the comments!

Of course, we also hope that you find our One Legal blog — OneSource — to be a useful resource. If you’d like to be kept up to date on all of the latest legal support and law practice news from us, why not subscribe? You’ll receive a once-a-week email digest of our latest posts.

A LAWYERS EXAMINATION OF THE TRAFFIC STOP IN ’99 PROBLEMS’ BY JAY-Z

(Disclaimer – this is an evaluation of a fictitious scenario based on North Carolina and US law and is not meant, in any way, to constitute legal advice or recommendations on what you should do during a traffic stop)

So, I heard this song on my way into work today and thought it would be fun to breakdown the interaction between the officer and Mr. Carter. Let me first say, I do love hip-hop (though my preferences lie in 90’s and 2000’s hip hop) and I am quite familiar with Jay-Z’s songs and appreciate his work. I also know that the scenario laid out in the song is fictitious (there is not, to my knowledge, a 54 MPH zone) and Mr. Carter is not attempting to provide legal advice. However, I have participated in several speaking engagements with young people who inquired about the legality of Jay-Z’s responses in the song. So, here we go.

“Year’s 94 and my truck is raw, in my rear view is the motherf*cking law. I’ve got two choices y’all, pull over the car or, hmm, bounce on the devil, put the pedal to the floor.”

It is never a good idea flee from a traffic stop. Even if the basis of the stop is not constitutional, it won’t matter if you get other charges unrelated to the original reason for the stop. Pull over and fight the stop in court.

“Well you was doing fifty-five in the fifty-four.”

Believe it or not, courts have upheld stops for minimal speeding, even though we all know there is typically an unspoken ‘buffer’ that police will typically not stop you for. Of course, for a very marginal amount of speeding, the court may take a critical look at the basis of the speed estimation (i.e., if it was from the officer’s ‘observation’ or ‘pacing’ a small amount above the speed limit may not survive a Reasonable and Articulable Suspicion motion to suppress.

“License and registration and step out of the car…..’I ain’t stepping out of sh*t, all my papers legit.’”

Unfortunately, case law has established that Law Enforcement Officers can request individuals to exit vehicles during traffic stops. The basis of which is ‘Officer Safety.’ Failure to do so could lead to criminal charges like Resist, Delay, or Obstruct an Officer. The catch-22 is, if they believe you have now committed RDO, they can get you out of the car to arrest you, regardless of whether a Judge would ultimately believe the Officer shouldn’t have asked you to exit the vehicle in the first place.

“Well do you mind if I look around the car a little bit? ‘….I know my rights so you goin’ need a warrant for that.’”

This is not necessarily true. An Officer only needs Probable Cause to search a vehicle in many cases. There are situations where only a warrant issued based on Probable Cause is required, but for traffic stops, a vehicle may be searched without a warrant under several circumstances; if there is evidence of a crime in plain sight (like open container or marijuana shake), an odor of contraband (marijuana is the most common), subject to an arrest, based on a drug dog sniff, etc.

“Child, I ain’t passed the bar, but a I know a little bit. Enough that you won’t illegally search my sh*t. ‘Well we’ll see how smart you are when the K-9 comes.’”

I’m glad I get to end on this one, as it is the most interesting, as far as I am concerned. Under Rodriguez v. U.S., the Supreme Court finally established that a police officer cannot detain anyone any longer then is necessary to complete the investigation of the original purpose of the stop without new reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. This means, if during a speeding stop, an officer holds you there to get a K-9 unit to the scene, and you were held longer then was necessary to complete the original purpose of the stop, AND the officer did not have reasonable suspicion of other criminal activity, then any evidence that comes from the K-9 and any subsequent search should be thrown out. Now, of course this is still pretty subjective; what is a reasonable amount of time to complete the original purpose of the stop, whether the officer really had reasonable suspicion of some new crime, what steps is an officer allowed to do during a regular traffic stop that could permissibly delay the stop, etc. But all in all, the days of being held on the side of the road for 30, 40, 60 minutes until a K-9 unit can arrive just because an officer has a ‘hunch’ are no longer.

I hope you found this fun and interesting. And if you are in a North Carolina court house and hear someone belting out ‘Empire State of Mind’ or ‘Can I Get A…’ look for me.Posted in blogSpeeding TicketsTraffic Tagged BlogJay-ZNC AttorneyRaleigh AttorneySpeedingtrafficTraffic Attorney Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

Benefits of Having a Blog on Your Law Firm’s Website

Did you know that there are over 300 million blogs on the Internet? This staggering number makes sense as blogs are incredibility popular; they’re a great medium for attorneys because they allow experts to share lesser-known information with other people from all around the world.

You might be surprised to know that there are a lot of law firms and lawyers that write and produce their own blogs.

There are a lot of advantages for maintaining blog for your law firm, here are some of the benefits of starting a legal blog:

It Can Attract Potential Clients

The majority of claimants considering working with a lawyer do some research before hiring one. They may ask for recommendations from friends or family, but a lot of research is done online. The more relevant content you have on your blog, the more ways claimants can find you. Continuing to upload of variety of content that readers find useful and helpful will help you build a relationship with the readers.

For example, if you are a Social Security attorney, you could write a blog post on the differences between SSDI and SSI or if you are a personal injury attorney, you could write a post that can help claimants understand contingency fees. By providing useful content to potential clients, you’re giving them a reason to keep coming back to your firm’s website.

A Way to Show Your Legal Expertise and Credibility

When people have legal questions, unless they personally know a lawyer, they may go online for answers. Regularly updated and insightful blog posts that contain helpful information can help a lawyer demonstrate and establish their expertise in a particular area of law.

It Can Help with Search Engine Optimization

Blogging is one of the easiest ways to improve your rankings in search engines. Google, Bing and Yahoo all use complex algorithms to display search results they think are the most relevant to users when they search for a particular topic online.

By creating content that is full of relevant keywords, your website may perform better in search engine rankings, allowing claimants to find your firm’s website before your competitors’ websites . This will make your website more accessible to online users who are searching online for legal services.

Conclusion

While the benefits are numerous, creating a successful legal blog does take some time. Blogging, like any other component of running a successful law firm, takes practice and patience to eventually become profitable. Once you’ve found your “voice” as a blogger and are able to target the audience you want, you can start to differentiate yourself from your competition and you can start reaping the benefits by signing more clients who find your firm through your blog.

Because the legal industry is so competitive, it’s unlikely that your blog alone will be able to generate enough clients for your firm to work at full capacity. Having a blog and maintaining it would only be a part of a firm’s overall acquisition strategy. Therefore, if you’d like to supplement your marketing efforts with legal leads, give us a call today at 617.800.0089. We’d be happy to discuss pricing and availability with your firm today.

What Should My Law Firm Blog About?

We’ve already written an important post on why your law firm should have a blog. So, now you’re committed to maintaining that blog (or “News,” “FAQs” or “Articles” section … ). Good! You’ve taken the first step! But now, are you’re asking: what the heck should I actually be writing about?

Lawyer at Computer with Help Sign

Thanks to the Oxford, Ohio attorneys of Bolin & Troy for raising this popular question again recently. (And kudos for doing such an awesome job of taking our advice and running with it in their first blog post: Should I Pay a Lawyer to Prepare My Will or Just Download a Will Online?)

To a large degree, the what follows naturally from the why. So, first take a little self-inventory of why you’re committed to maintaining your awesome law firm blog. Is it to:

  1. Up the ante on search engine optimization (SEO) for your site, overall?
  2. Answer likely questions from potential clients, to reach the right audience or redirect those who aren’t a good fit for your services?
  3. Update your client base on current laws or changes in the law that may affect them (perhaps coordinating your blog with a MailChimp or Constant Contact email newsletter …)?
  4. Address frequently asked questions from your current clients, so you can quickly and easily point them to the answers?
  5. Offer summaries of, or commentary on, recent articles in the news or court decisions?
  6. Highlight firm accolades?
  7. Promote or report on speaking events or publications by your attorneys?
  8. Point readers to successful cases or mentions of you and your cases in the news?
  9. Promote local charities or community events and your involvement with them?
  10. All of the above?

Did you get a few good ideas just by reading these questions? We thought so! Here we’ll expand on each of them and offer more specific ideas.

1. Writing for Search Engines

Okay, so listing this one first is misleading in one important regard: really, you never write solely or primarily for search engines. In they end, they aren’t your intended audience. So your first goal is to write naturally and for your clients. Writing well for your site shouldn’t involve SEO trickery or bland content your clients wouldn’t actually find helpful. But it can boost your success to have a basic understanding of how client interests and search engine algorithms overlap.

Search Engine Robot Reading Blog

As explained in our Top 5 Reasons Attorneys Should Blog, search engines love new content. So, to catch Google’s eye with your writing, most importantly, keep in mind that all the reasons for blogging contribute to the central SEO goal of providing fresh, relevant content. New text about your firm, your areas of law, and your community builds up your website with substance relevant to your practice that is indexed by search engines.

To up the ante, one good rule of thumb is to focus on topics that your ideal potential clients might be typing (or speaking!) into their web browsers. In other words, don’t try to speak Google’s language, rather, speak the language your clients use when they talk to Google. Think about folks in the market for legal services who are doing Internet research — not those who have already heard about you and are looking you up by name. In this vein, the best kinds of posts for SEO are often fall into categories #2 and #3 here: FAQs by folks in the market for legal services and general legal information about your jurisdiction’s laws.

More on each of these follows, where our discussion is based on your innate knowledge of your potential clients and your practice. If you want to get even deeper into what kinds of topics relevant to your work are most often searched in the Internet, bone up on how to do keyword research or get some great ideas about “long-tail” content! If you want more advanced tips on how to best optimize each article you write for search engines, see our post on on-page SEO for your law firm’s blog posts.

2. Answer the Questions Your Potential Clients Are Asking

One of the best ways to engage with potential clients — and to bring them in via Google searches — is to answer the questions they’re asking themselves in their search for legal services. What do you imagine your ideal client is asking him or herself? Indeed, what do folks often ask you during initial calls or consultations? This may even include answering questions for people who don’t yet know how much they could benefit from having a lawyer. Examples:

Good sources for these ideas are client intakes or initial calls when someone is first reaching out to the firm. What questions are they asking before they know which questions to ask?

3. Legal Updates: Summaries of the Law or Explanations of Recent Changes

Offering summaries of the law or its evolution is great for a variety of reasons. First, it may draw in new clients searching for information — including, say, on whether a new law affects them. Second, it is a great way to show visitors to your website, such as referrals who are vetting possible attorneys, that you are on top of your game. Third, it is ideal for coordinating with newsletters to your existing client base or email list, by which you offer an ongoing service to them and keep yourself “top of mind.” Examples:

4. Answer FAQs from Your Clients — and Save Your Time!

Hands with Questions Marks

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to quickly summarize in an email, or on the phone, the best way for lawyers to think about writing for their blogs. The post you’re reading right now is practically going to eliminate my need to take that time — and hopefully will help others in the process. If you’ve had this experience, those FAQs from your clients that require detailed explanations are probably already popping into your mind. We all have the intention of finallywriting up complete answers so we can send out a helpful pdf — or paste a boilerplate email — when the questions come up. Answering these questions on your law firm blog allows you to kill two birds with one stone: have ready answers for your clients, and possibly attract other clients with similar questions. Examples:

5. Summaries or Commentary for News and Case Law — TIP: No Plagiarizing!!

Commenting on relevant events in the news or offering your thoughts on recent case law are both great ways to keep your blog fresh. Obviously this type of post overlaps with post idea #3, above. But we single it out, in part, because basing a blog post on a single court decision or news article is a great way to focus yourself and quickly come up with a post in a pinch. If you’re already reading an article or decision, why not jot down a few thoughts and share?!

They key here is not to copy an entire existing article with a few lines of your own commentary. Although this can seem like a good way to bulk up your blog, it isn’t! First, there’s this thing you might be familiar with called copyright law. But also, search engines and your website visitors don’t place much value in your copying and pasting text that originated elsewhere. (Search engines like Google have even been known to penalize the use of such duplicate content.) Excerpt and attribute as needed, of course. But then simply link off to the original source. (Tip: learn how to open your link in a new window, so your reader’s browser doesn’t close up your website when they leave to view the other source.)

Some examples of in depth commentary:

Quicker commentary, using quotations, to keep readers up to date — and blogs fresh — without a lengthy commitment to writing:

6. Firm Awards and Honors

Your blog is a natural place to give a shout out to your attorneys and announce honors they receive. Bonus points if you memorialize ceremonies with pictures or first-person quotes from those involved. These posts can range from quick announcements to in-depth discussions of the history or basis of an award. Examples of each approach:

7. Promote Speaking Events and Recent Publications by Your Attorneys

Promoting your speaking events and publications not only provides useful information for clients and potential clients, but it also creates an ongoing record of your attorneys’ expertise in their fields. Further, these posts can be linked from the relevant attorneys’ biographies.

You can report on speaking events — whether for the public, for other lawyers at CLEs, or even for corporate clients at educational/training seminars — before or after the event takes place. An extensive post with accompanying photos, documents or PowerPoints is great. But so is a brief post simply documenting the event.

Similarly, for attorney publications, a summary with quotations might be appropriate — but a quick link off to the original source is often enough. Examples:

Ideally, the event or publication would also link to your website, giving you a link and boosting your site’s rankings.

8. Big Wins and Your Firm in the Media

Dog with Trophy

Documenting cases you’ve won or mentions of your firm in the media is another great use of a law firm blog. It’s impressive, it’s informative, and it also maintains an archive of news clippings that you can force your grandchildren to view some day. Again, you can include full discussions or just brief introductions with links to the original sources. Examples:

Don’t forget your bar rules! This seems like a good moment to remind you that some jurisdictions limit the way you report on firm successes or require disclaimers for various other kinds of information you might offer. So don’t forget to take a look at your rules, if you’re not already familiar with them. Many states also have ethics hotlines where you can easily get specific questions answered.

9. Your Firm in the Community

Promoting your firm’s pro bono or volunteer work has so many benefits. The biggest plus is, of course, giving exposure to local organizations and charities. But the other benefits should not be underestimated. It is easy for attorney websites to all seem similar, with attorneys in shared fields boasting similar educational backgrounds and accolades, and offering comparable services. The Modern Firm does all we can to help you personalize your website and set yourself apart. But every bit counts. You give consumers a concrete way to connect with you personally when they see your firm is a genuine part of its community or is involved in specific causes that they care about, too. Examples:

Final, Awesome Tips on Law Firm Blogs

Quick posts in a pinch: if you’re busy but want to keep your blog fresh, focus on quick reports that don’t take lots of research or writing time — like ideas 5 through 9, above — or ideas 2 through 4 in areas that you know so well you can write them in your sleep. Do you have time to jot down your ideas, but not to proofread and nicely format them? Collaborate with an associate or member of your staff who can put on the finishing touches and post your work to the blog. Or call on The Modern Firm’s awesome editorial staff, who will finalize your article, add SEO touches and images, and publish to your blog for you.

Subject ideas for your practice ideas: if you need more ideas on what to write about, here are some thoughts. Take a look at what your successful competitors or other lawyers in comparable fields write about — and put your own spin on the topics. You can even filter The Modern Firm’s client website portfolio by practice area and geographic area to see what some of our other clients address on their blogs. It’s also great to glean ideas from the reading for professional development that is a part of your day to day practice already: can you boil down useful information for your clients from topics addressed in your bar association mailings, CLEs, or social media and other blogs you read?

Better SEO and use of keywords: if SEO is one of your goals, you should first be thinking in terms of longer posts: 750-1,000 words as a rough minimum — with bonus SEO traction if they’re at least 2,000 words. For more tips see this post: Quick Tips: Better SEO for Your Blog. And here’s that Yoast link again on how to do keyword researchAnswerThePublic.com is also a fun keyword generating tool, complete with the impatient, bearded Seeker who picks at his teeth while you type. Finally, KeywordTool.io offers topic suggestions based on what users type into specific browsers.

(Or, read this in depth article by Neil Patel on SEO copywriting and you will be ready to don a toga, sit on a mountaintop, and give out sage SEO advice yourself.)

Final tip: you’ve got this. Make it fun if you can!