Surveys from the last five years indicate that nearly 40% of people seeking a lawyer will search for one online. However, even those who locate attorneys through referrals, such as on the advice of a friend or family member, will search the lawyer on the web. What do they see when they visit that lawyer’s website? Hopefully, content is written by a legal copywriter.
What is a legal copywriter?
Legal copywriters are writers that have special legal experience or expertise. They may be a lawyer, a former lawyer, a paralegal, or often, an individual that has some education and familiarity with law topics.
Much of their value comes from their ability to bridge the language divide between a lawyer and a layperson. Busy attorneys are accustomed to approaching law topics in legalese, which is not easily understood by the population at large. Legal copywriters act as a sort of translator for the law firm so that the firm can build a strong web presence.
The essential elements of a law firm’s online presence.
Legal copywriters do not actually work on legal documents; they’re helping present a law firm online in a way that attracts clients. Previously, lawyers restricted marketing efforts to advertisements in phone books, on public signage, or with television commercials.
Today, online content marketing has proven itself to be much more far-reaching and cost-effective than putting a face and phone number on a bus bench.
The following elements are fundamental to any law firm’s successful online presence:
A well-done website.
The first key to a good website is a responsive design, which means the site operates at full potential on a mobile device. One 2017 survey by a marketing firm revealed that more than half of all respondents said they would look at a law firm’s website on a smartphone.
Additionally, a good website will load quickly, be easy to navigate, and utilize high-quality photos and videos. Once a website is established, the remaining fundamentals are basically down to a legal copywriter.
Profiles and FAQ pages.
Basic information on a law firm should be clearly presented and easy to read. Profiles and biographies should focus less on the attorney’s life and interests, and more on results and experience. Appropriate FAQ questions are carefully researched and relevant to the target audience.
For example, if a firm focuses on personal injury suits, the most common questions someone looking for a personal injury attorney would ask should be addressed.
A regularly updated blog.
With so many firms focusing intensely on online presence, no potential client will be encouraged by a website that more or less functions as an electronic business card. Nor will they be impressed by a blog that seems to have been abandoned months ago. Will the firm treat their case the same way?
Fresh content can improve search result rank. It can also let the visitor know that the firm readily shares knowledge on their area of concentration for free. Because they know hiring the firm means spending money, this information can increase the perceived value of their relationship with the firm.
Social media profiles and/or newsletters.
Social media profiles aren’t always necessary for firms, but attorneys should have a page of their own. It helps confirm their identity when their name is searched and is a good spot to share links back to those valuable blog posts.
Regardless of the decision to remain active on social media, a firm should regularly send out newsletters to subscribers. When people share their email, they are explicitly saying they want to hear from that person. This is another excellent way to get traffic to the blog and build trust that leads to referrals, as well as share even more content.
If a firm wants to position themselves as experts online, they can use a copywriter to create content that users can save and derive value from even when they’re not on the website. Two popular examples of this are white papers and eBooks.
Benefits of hiring a copywriter with legal expertise.
Written content is the cornerstone of a web presence that works. Here are the reasons why a legal copywriter is the best person to write it. Learn more about our Legal Content Writing Services.
Placing focus on the client.
When an attorney writes content for the firm’s website, it’s not unusual for them to spend too much time talking about themselves and the firm. While experience is very important, a copywriter is in an ideal position to speak to and about the client.
Keeping law firms out of hot water.
There are certain things a law firm can and cannot say online. This sometimes depends on the location of the firm. Legal copywriters, unlike other copywriters, pay careful attention to what an attorney should and should not present on the web.
Copywriters who specialize in legal-oriented content still have the SEO knowledge other copywriters do. They can help a firm elevate their search rank with the right keywords and focus on local SEO. This way, when someone searches, “lawyer in my town”, the firm they’re writing for is more likely to come up high in the results.
Should a legal copywriter be an attorney?
It should come as no surprise that some legal copywriters are attorneys themselves. Is this an ideal level of experience? Not necessarily.
Content marketing differs from firm to firm, and some have their particular strategies that they observe get the best results. It’s never ideal for a practicing attorney to have insider knowledge of another firm’s winning strategy.
It may also be suboptimal to hire a former attorney. They have dedicated plenty of time to studying and practicing law, and considerably less learning SEO principles and the elements of great web copy.
Ultimately, it might be best to hire someone dedicated to copywriting, with additional legal knowledge. This way, there’s never any conflict of interest, and effective copywriting remains the basis of their expertise. Content writing services typically have qualified writers on their staff who are specially selected for legal projects.