Content marketing should play a key role for any law firm trying to reach potential clients and raise their online profile. Research has shown that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing.
In developing a content strategy, law firms should look to evergreen content as a way to develop high- value pieces that can continue to get results long after they are published. Here’s a closer look at what constitutes evergreen content marketing, as well as some tips for using it as a part of your law firm’s overall content marketing strategy.
What is evergreen content?
Evergreen content is the opposite of the latest news. When you develop evergreen content, you are not looking for the big story that everyone is talking about right now. Instead, you are developing content that never loses its relevance (with the caveat that you’ll need to update evergreen pieces periodically to ensure their relevance).
That is the secret to good evergreen content: It is something that a reader could come back to years later and still find the information useful. It’s also content that keeps on giving—updating and republishing a solid piece of evergreen content can mean far less effort than producing a new piece from scratch, while still providing your audience with plenty of value.
This is not to say that the latest news or a major story has no place in your content marketing strategy. Topical content can offer a lot of value. The problem is that it loses its marketing value once it’s no longer relevant.
Since evergreen content has a timeless quality to it, it is something that can continue to work, driving visitors to your law firm’s site for as long as it is accessible to the public.
Some example titles for evergreen content that might be featured on a personal injury law firm’s blog would be:
- Preventing common workplace injuries
- What to do after a car accident
- Determining fault in a rear-end collision
Examples of non-evergreen content would be:
- Opening our new office
- Vehicle models affected by the recent auto recall
- Several injured in recent commuter train accident
Since we are talking about evergreen content, you need to remember to go with topics that will stay relevant for a long time—ideally, you want them to be ideas that will stay relevant in perpetuity.
A good way to start your search for content ideas is to think about the types of cases you handle. What types of questions do prospective clients usually ask? What information would be useful to these clients?
For example, if you are a car accident law firm, consider what someone involved in a car accident would want to know in order to handle the aftermath, such as “Do I need a lawyer after a car accident?”.
When people have legal questions, one of the first places they look is online. If you have a piece of content that addresses the common questions that people ask, this can be a good way to attract potential clients to your firm.
Another way to search for topics is to develop audience personas. With some areas of practice, you might find that certain types of clients have many things in common. Consider whether those interested in a particular topic are more likely to be male or female, if they tend to come from a specific age group, or if they tend to be people with certain types of careers or economic concerns. The more you know about your intended audience, the more likely you’ll be to choose topics and produce content that is relevant to them.
If your content will be posted online, you’ll want to optimize it for search engines. Optimized content will have a better chance of ranking in the search results for relevant keywords, meaning that they’ll be more likely to find your law firm when looking for answers to their legal questions.
One of the most important parts of search engine optimization (SEO) is finding the right keywords. For every topic that you could write about, there are certain keywords and phrases that people may use when they search the subject. By using these keywords within your content, you can make your articles and pages easier to find.
For example, are your clients searching for “personal injury lawyer” or “car accident attorney”?
In some cases, the keywords might be obvious, but you will want to do some research to confirm which keywords get the most searches. There are different methods and strategies that can be applied to keyword research, but it’s worth starting with the most common keyword research tools first.
For a more detailed introduction to keyword research and SEO for law firms, see Clio’s quick guide to law firm SEO.
Creating great evergreen content
Once you’ve thought about what information your potential clients are looking for and have found keywords that match those queries, you’ll need to put your mind to creating great evergreen content.
The key is to provide valuable, useful, and ideally actionable information for your readers so that they’ll read your content, share it with their friends, and continue coming back for more.
For example, consider the topic suggestion above: “What to do after a car accident.” Useful formats might be a list of steps to take, a list of tips on ensuring the best outcome for a case, or a guide that uses plenty of examples to engage the audience.
Here are a few more tips for creating great evergreen content for the web:
- Keep it simple. The average newsletter is written at an 11th grade reading level. Your potential clients (likely) are not lawyers, but they are looking for information that’s easy to digest. Keep your sentences short, use an active voice, and choose clarity over cleverness.
- … But also, be specific and comprehensive. Don’t pad your content with unnecessary fluff, but pack as much useful information as possible into your posts to help potential clients. For example, if you’re writing about what to do after a car accident, don’t stop at telling your clients to gather as much information as possible about the event: Provide a checklist of what they need to look for.
- Make it skimmable. Most visitors will only read 20% of the content on your web page. They’re skimming, not reading, so use bolded titles, bullet points, and lots of white space to make it easy to take in the information you’re providing.
- Avoid language that dates your content. Rather than relative references such as “last year” or “on Friday,” say “in 2017” or “On Friday, January 13.” Also, avoid talking about future events such as conferences or upcoming webinars—they’ll soon be in the past, and for people viewing your content months after publication, those references will appear outdated.
These tips apply to blog posts, but the same ideas apply to videos, infographics, or other types of evergreen content. Focus on making the content valuable, useful, and easy to digest, and you’ll have content your audience keeps coming back for.
Updating and republishing
Even the best evergreen content won’t be immune to the test of time. Laws change, news articles you may have referenced become outdated, and experts you reference may change positions or careers. Even if you do your very best to stick to general terms and examples, a page you link to on an external site could be archived—or the page could shut down.
If your evergreen article on what to do after a car accident becomes outdated, people will stop reading it, which isn’t something you want!
To ensure the evergreen content you’ve put so much effort into continues to attract visitors, you’ll need to keep it up-to-date. Regularly review your evergreen content on a schedule that works for you (consider doing this yearly, or every six months), making any corrections as needed. For example:
- Replace any references to old news articles with more up-to-date, relevant events. For example, if a study on a subject was released four years ago, check whether there’s a more recent version.
- If it’s a written piece, test all links to make sure they still work, and haven’t been redirected to a piece of content that’s now irrelevant.
Also, keep an eye out for changes that might affect your content, and update accordingly even if it’s not in your regular cadence to do so. For example, if a law changes that affects what you talk about in your post on what to do after a car accident, update that content ASAP.
Finally, once your content has been updated, put it out again! Republish posts on your blog, put videos out again on your YouTube channel, and promote the content as you would have when it first went out. Many potential customers may have seen your original post, but they may value the update and want to know about it, and many others may be seeing it for the first time.
Republishing your updated evergreen content can provide plenty of value to your potential clients, so be sure to promote your updated work.
There is a reason that many of the world’s leading marketers make repurposing content a part of their strategies. When you repurpose content, you get more out of the time and effort that went into developing the original piece. And when you develop evergreen content, you have a resource that lends itself well to repurposing.
Here’s what repurposing content might look like:
- You could take written content, such as blog posts, and turn these pieces into video content or visual content such as infographics.
- You could take a video and write a blog post based on the subject matter in the video.
- You could take short facts and quotes from articles and turn them into posts for your social media accounts.
- You could take old blog posts and repurpose them as newsletters to send out as part of an email campaign.
The value of evergreen content
With an effective content marketing strategy, you can establish your law firm as a trusted source of information that people will turn to when they need to learn about your area of expertise. This can raise the profile of your business, resulting in more clients contacting your firm when they need advice.
When you implement evergreen content as a part of your marketing strategy, you develop content that can add serious value to your digital marketing strategy over a much longer period of time.