Your marketing is only as good as your content

One of the biggest buzz terms in marketing circles today is “content marketing.” But guess what? This tactic – which is being touted as the next big thing – is anything but new.

Just look at any print advertisement from the mid-20th century. These relics of our past are full of stories of overworked housewives and underperforming businessmen, and the products that helped them to save time while becoming more productive. And as silly as these old advertisements appear today, they mark the genesis of content marketing. These stories were more than just promotional in nature. They were human-interest pieces and thought-leadership collateral (even if the ideas were sometimes misguided, at least by today’s standards).

What these clever marketers understood, that many of today’s marketing professionals are just now grasping, is the power of storytelling. You can talk about the benefits of a product or service all you want, but if you really want to resonate with your audience, you need to illustrate the benefits by couching them in the form of a story. That’s why, in the legal marketplace, Legal Brand Journalism™ is such a powerful tool. 

The reason why content marketing is being trumpeted so heavily right now is due, in part, to changes in technology. Just as the printing press created a paradigm shift back in the age of Gutenberg, so too has the Internet. Now, law firms and legal technology service providers can become their own content creators and distributors at a fraction of the cost it would have required two decades ago. Blogs, social media, e-newsletters, videos, microsites and mobile applications are the tools. It is up to the clever marketer to integrate these tools and develop content that can be deployed across all platforms.

Likewise, the end-users – in this case the various audiences – have become conditioned to expect fresh and original content on a much more regular basis. This means the need for marketers to generate new and compelling content is more important than ever before, which underscores the increased emphasis on content marketing.

As you begin to conceive your own content-marketing initiative, I recommend you consider the two most critical elements of any successful campaign: 

  • Brand identity – There is not enough room in this article to go into all the facets that make up brand identity. It’s an existential kind of question, the “Who am I?” of the business world. But knowing what your firm or company is and what it stands for is essential to identifying the “voice” of your content-marketing efforts. I am using the literary term “voice” in this context, meaning the writing style that makes your brand’s content unique.
  • Audience – This is the other side of the content-marketing coin. Who will be digesting your content is just as important to consider as where the content originates. Identify your audiences. Identify the messaging that resonates with each one. Precision is important, so parse your content-marketing efforts by tailoring content to specific audiences. For example, if you have an e-newsletter, consider segregating your database of recipients by job title and creating multiple newsletters, with each containing specific content that speaks to each type of recipient.

So, no, content marketing is not some revolutionary new marketing tactic. But mastering the art of content marketing can be a game-changer for law firms and legal service providers. That’s why it’s important to make sure the content you produce is content that will produce results.

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