Posted on December 9, 2020 by J. David Harvey
Remember the saying “Content is King,” originally coined by Bill Gates? Never has that been more true than in 2020. But there is a paradox: more and more content is being created by firms large and small, but how much of it is connecting with would-be buyers of your services? The answer to that no longer needs to be a guessing game, as that data is now being captured. The real question is whether or not it is being analyzed. Sophisticated firms are now employing marketing technologists to work with others in their marketing departments as well as the attorney authors themselves to generate better and more engaging content.
With almost all travel having ground to a halt, attorneys have more opportunities to write and demonstrate their subject area expertise. Marketers have been feeling the impact. In the scramble to react to the avalanche of content, there has been precious little time to say: Is it working? Are we reaching who we want to reach?
Sophisticated firms have been staffing up on marketing technologists, and the pandemic has only accelerated that trend. Firms employ directors of marketing technology who can extract the data, analyze it, and use it to further firm efforts. Jacqueline Madarang is Associate Director for Marketing Technology and Operations at Blank Rome. She is focused on developing digital and communications programs that helped further the firm’s business development objectives. “The website, social media, thought leadership, and online events are getting a lot more attention now,” says Jacqueline. “I think it is more important to understand our audience/target audience so that we marketers can be of more value, and help the firm understand our clients’ preferred method of communicating with us.”
Firms are climbing the value chain to have more touchpoints with clients and prospects, with the goal of eventually translating these efforts into new business or a greater share of the client’s legal budget. Some of the steps along the way include:
• Publishing articles and blog posts and then distributing on multiple channels
• Capturing user analytics and using that to identify editorial and webinar opportunities
• Using that data to drive further engagement in the form of webinars, events, podcasts, and other forms of thought leadership
• Lead generation through corporate users recognizing expertise and reaching out to authors on their content through LinkedIn or other channels
Firms often produce a client alert or article that is published only once, on their own website. Savvy firms consider the intended audience and then multiply their reach through other channels. For example, content aggregators like JD Supra, Mondaq, and Lexology are all great ways to multiply readership many times over. The advantage of using one of these important platforms (which are subscription-based) is that they can easily provide readership data, including the titles and company names of those reading your article. Want to know the Top 10 antitrust articles last month across their platforms? They can easily provide it, and using that list can be a great way to brainstorm with your antitrust attorney on ideas for future articles.
The linkage between the data and the business development efforts is key. Marketers need to dig into the data to understand trending topics and use these in their client and business development efforts. This insight can be great for key client teams or sector-based efforts. The savvy marketer can come back to the client team leader and say, “We noticed that ten in-house people from ABC company read our autonomous vehicles article. Have we talked to them about the work we are doing in that area? Let’s include as a topic on the next team call.” The same goes for firm-produced webinars. As Megan Hill, a director at Mondaq noted, “tracking readership is a great way to identify future webinar topics, and if your data is sufficiently granular to support outreach, you’ve got yourself a solid bunch of attendees straight out of the gate.”
The good news is that the data is there. It is waiting to be mined like gold nuggets glistening in the shadows of a dark tunnel. Be sure that you are making use of all of your firm’s brainpower by leveraging content in a way that brings you closer to being a recognized leader in the area and, ultimately, rewarded by being hired for that expertise.
About the Author – J. David “Dave” Harvey is the founder and President of Harvey Global Consulting LLC and an affiliate consultant for LawVision. Drawing on 20 years of experience leading business development efforts with AmLaw A-list firms, Dave advises law firm management, partners, associates, and marketing and business development leaders in successfully prioritizing and executing on their most important client development and marketing priorities. He also coaches individual partners and associates in defining and achieving their business development goals.