How to develop a content marketing strategy from scratch

Start Your Content Marketing Strategy

You’re convinced. This is going to be the year you develop a content marketing strategy for your law firm, sit back and watch the new clients stream in. You’ll build your brand, become known as legal thought leaders, and maybe even go viral. Yes, this will definitely be Your Year.

But first you have to get started.

One common mistake that firms make is to open a bunch of social media accounts and start posting without a clear plan. At best, it’s time consuming and ineffective: at worse you’ll end up presenting an unfavourable image to the world. Better to be a trusted source of information across a couple of channels than come across as an inconsistent dilettante.

A content marketing strategy looks at the ‘why’ of your social media presence. It’s an outline of your key business goals and how content will help you achieve them.  Here’s how to do it:

1. Define your goals

Are you looking to improve online ‘foot traffic’ ? Get more new leads converting to customers?  Correct a perception about your business, increase brand awareness, align yourself with a particular niche? Sit down and work out what you want, and it’ll help clear the path in front of you.

2. Develop your buyer personas

We talked about this in depth here, but the short version is this: by examining who your ideal customers are, and creating a persona that describes them, you’ll be better positioned to target them. Which social media platforms you choose, the type of content and the voice you’ll adopt will all be very different if you’re targeting hip young millennials than if your audience consists of cashed-up retirees!

Have a think about who you want to attract and who your current customers are. Your research should focus on their pain points: what is the problem they’re trying to solve when they’re researching companies like yours? And where are they likely to go to find those solutions?

3. Pick your social media channels

Social media channels are spreading like wildfire, and many of them close down again (like Wildfire). If you try and maintain a presence across all of them, you should be prepared to dedicate a full time staff member to the job, and to take into account that you’ll need to generate a lot of original content to boot.

Your strategy should break down into individual channels, which demand a slightly different approach from one another. What works on LinkedIn, for example, won’t necessarily translate to Twitter. At the same time, the strategy should maintain cohesiveness across the channels so that your brand doesn’t appear scattered.

4. Plan your content strategy

Your content strategy is only one part of your content marketing strategy. Here, you’ll work out whether you plan to publish blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts or a judicious mixture of them all. Consider how often you’ll publish and stick to that frequency; a sporadic publishing schedule with large gaps is arguably worse than no schedule at all.

5. Develop a maintenance schedule

As well as publishing content, a good social media strategy sees your business interacting with others. Whether that’s responding to comments on your posts, joining groups, retweeting influential thought leaders or amplifying your networks, the more yo can do to create a conversation, the better.

In a verbal conversation, you will make a better impression by listening than by talking. In a social media conversation the interactions you have with others are what will set you apart. So make sure that whoever’s in charge of your social media strategy has the capacity to keep that conversation going as well as generating and publishing content.

Once your content marketing strategy is up and running, there are a number of things you can do to extend its reach. The process can seem daunting at first, but with some practice you’ll find your company’s voice and get into a rhythm.