A Law Firm Marketing Blog Series Edition #21
Welcome back to our blog series, in which we talk with some of today’s most knowledgeable legal marketing minds. In this edition, we feature Laura Ernde, a top content consultant in the legal industry.
We hope hearing the thoughts and ideas shared by the people in these blog posts, will inspire you to make positive changes to your marketing strategies. We also know that marketing legal services these days is more complex and challenging now than ever before, and hope that some of our readers may identify with some of the marketing struggles presented here, and perhaps be able to offer solutions.
The biggest goal of this blog series is to get the conversation going, so let’s dive in.
Our Marketing Conversation with Laura Ernde
Over the years, Laura Ernde has established herself as a master storyteller across many different platforms. She spent multiple decades as a newspaper reporter, before serving as the Communications Director at the State Bar of California from 2012 to 2017. Over the past two years, she’s worked as a communications and media relations consultant for the legal industry, using her past experience to help law firms better engage with clients and potential clients online.
In our below conversation with Laura, we discuss the power of attorney bio pages, what type of content should be included in individual practice area pages and keys to creating quality blog content.
Answering Legal: From a content perspective, what are the most important things for a law firm to include on their website homepage?
Laura Ernde: I’m a firm believer that less is more. Cut out the clutter and make it easy for people to find what they’re looking for—whether it’s your about us page, your lawyer bios or the firm’s contact information. The other thing you want to have is a clear call to action so visitors know exactly how you can help them. Also, don’t hide your contact information. Make it easy for a potential client to get in touch by phone or email. Visitors will quickly leave your site if it takes more than a few seconds to find out how to reach you.
AL: Would you say that attorney bio pages have the ability to make or break a relationship with a new potential client?
Laura: Absolutely. In some ways, attorney bio pages are even more important than a firm’s home page since they drive more direct web traffic and are a key source of information for potential clients. Make sure your bio conveys what it’s like to work with you. Also, resist the temptation to try to be all things to all people. Instead, focus on your own unique set of skills and experience to help your page stand out from the masses.
AL: Should the individual practice area pages on a law firm website just be straightforward and information-driven?
Laura: You may have heard the old adage, “Show, don’t tell.” Using this method can add some human interest to what otherwise might be a laundry list of legal services. Consider each page a mini “about us” page that shows clients your approach to handling that particular service. Don’t just tell them you understand their needs, show them using concrete examples and case studies.
AL: What would be your message to attorneys that have given up on their website’s blog?
Laura: First, I’d ask some questions. Why have you given up on your website’s blog? Was it not meeting the goals you had set? Was it too difficult to keep up with a rigorous publishing schedule? As a former legal journalist, I understand how daunting deadlines can be. If writing on a regular basis isn’t for you, maybe a blog isn’t the best place to focus your marketing energy. Consider outsourcing some or all of the writing and editing.
AL: In your experience, what types of blog posts really seem to hit home with legal consumers?
Laura: The key to creating good content is to provide useful information. Answer the burning questions that your clients often ask you. Chances are, there’s a potential client who is wondering the same thing. Even better, try to anticipate their questions. Is there a new development in the law or something in the news that might affect your clients? Those kinds of topics make for great blog post fodder.
AL: As a former journalist, do you have any tips for lawyers looking to build relationships with their local press?
Laura: Building good relationships takes time. Don’t expect one coffee meeting to result in press coverage. Take the time to understand the reporter’s beat and the types of stories they’re looking to cover. As a potential source, be available when the reporter reaches out and respect their deadline. Understand that if you anticipate their questions and prepare a good “soundbite” answer you’re more likely to be quoted in the story.
AL: I saw you recently wrote a piece on apps for lawyers. During your research, did you come across any apps that might be helpful to attorneys in their marketing efforts?
Laura: There are so many options these days. But first I’d ask how you’re using your existing technology. You probably have LinkedIn, which is an established marketing tool for lawyers. When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn bio or shared something with your network? Make the most of what you already have before moving on to the latest new thing.
AL: What’s your top piece of content creation advice for a lawyer just starting out in 2019?
Laura: Forget everything you learned in law school. Just kidding! But, do remember that creating content for your clients is different than writing a legal brief. Approach it as if you’re speaking directly to a real person with a real legal problem and you’ll do just fine.