These are exciting times for content marketing for law firms. 

In the past few weeks, I’ve come across several articles that demonstrate the growing power and influence of content marketing. This has significant implications for all aspects of law firm reputation management.

The first article is a column penned by Washington Post writer Ezra Klein. He talks about how the tables have turned in the past few years, reversing the dynamics between reporters and sources. It used to be that reporters were the ultimate gatekeepers in deciding who got coverage from their news organization, including law firms. Law firm PR people pitched attorney sources to reporters in the hopes of getting their attention. Reporters, in turn, had their pick of attorney sources and therefore had significant control over whether someone was quoted – and seen by their audience.

As Klein points out, however, the rise in content marketing has turned this model completely around. By creating their own content and telling their own stories, law firms can now reach their target audiences on their own through blogs, social media, video, infographics and other new media. Of course, showing up in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post or a key trade publication is still important, and reporters still have an important role. However, law firm marketers now have so many more choices when it comes to getting their messages out. They are no longer solely dependent on the traditional news media for coverage.

For a good illustration of this, take a look at this Huffington Post article on the Obama Administration’s use of video, images and social media. We all know what happens when politicians face the questions of probing reporters. An active press is important, but sometimes politicians could use a more direct, unmediated way of reaching citizens. Traditionally, this was not possible: The media were the only route. However, with content marketing and the rise of social media, politicians can put out their own images, videos, status updates and tweets and communicate directly with voters.

There are many takeaways in this article for law firm content marketing. Done well, this can be a powerful tool for directly reaching clients and prospects. The key point from the Huffington Post piece is that the Obama Administration focuses on visual media – photos, videos, etc. – in addition to written content. Law firm content marketing, then, should have a strong visual component.

The last article is from Reuters and announces a significant policy change from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding disclosure. Until now, public companies had to make use of traditional wire services for notifying media – and, by extension, shareholders – of key company news. Recently, some companies had been using social media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. – to release this news. This caused dire warnings regarding possible SEC violations. However, the SEC has now announced that using social media to distribute significant news satisfies disclosure, provided a company has told shareholders that it will distribute news in this way.

This development clearly demonstrates the growing power of social media and its role in the day-to-day business operations of corporate America. The fact that the SEC believes social media is now ubiquitous enough to satisfy disclosure speaks volumes about its reach and influence. This also underscores the importance of law firm social media strategies, and for having good content to distribute via Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.

This is such an exciting time for law firm content marketing. These three stories demonstrate an important paradigm shift in how news is produced and received. What have you seen that speaks to this shift?