2018 is ticking down to its final days and the holidays are right around the corner. Now is the perfect time to plan your 2019 content strategy, so you can hit the ground running in the new year.
2019 Content Strategy
Without Getting overwhelmed.
Why Bother with Content Strategy?
Your 2019 Content Strategy is the plan for everything you will create — online and off — to market your business or law firm. It can be anything from a vague idea about what you want to do to a fully laid out calendar. But here’s the secret:
Even if you haven’t put pen to virtual paper, you still have a content strategy, and if it isn’t working for you, it’s working against you.
Unless you take the time to take control of your 2019 content strategy, busyness, client priorities, and writers’ block will all interfere with your firm’s ability to make the most of your online presence.
How to Plan Your 2019 Content Strategy
Planning your 2019 content strategy doesn’t have to be an all-day affair. By sitting down with a calendar in front of you and your company priorities in mind, you can create a strategy that will carry you through the next year.
What’s Your 2019 Marketing Purpose?
Before you do anything else, you need to set an overall goal for your marketing in 2019. Are you trying to
- Increase leads
- Improve your closing rate
- Improve the quality of cases you bring in
- Introduce a new focus area?
Your marketing, and your content strategy, should be designed with your overall business goals for the next year. Once you know where your business is going, your content strategy can be targeted on helping you get there.
Who Are You Talking To?
Once you know the purpose of your 2019 content strategy, you can move from what you are trying to say to who you are talking to. This could be:
- Potential clients
- Current customers
- Referral partners
- Thought leaders
- Corporate decision-makers
Identify who you need to reach to meet your marketing goals. Then get specific about who they are. Create a reader persona and market to that hypothetical person. You may even have more than one to cover different parts of your business.
How Can You Help Your Target Clients?
Most people don’t go browsing for lawyers just for fun. The content strategy for professional service firms should be focused on identifying your target clients’ needs, and helping them see that your firm provides the solution to their problem.
Part of this strategy involves identifying what makes your firm different from Smith & Jones down the block. This is often called your Unique Value Proposition. If you can’t explain to your client why you’re the best option to solve their problem, you can bet they’ll keep on clicking.
Choose Your Content Form(s)
Next you need to decide how you are going to reach your audience. There are many content forms and platforms to choose from. No one can do it all, so think about your strengths and choose the forms that work best for you:
Once you’ve picked your formats, those choices will guide your decisions regarding platforms. If you are focusing on video, you’ll want to be familiar with YouTube and Facebook Live. If writing is your thing, you’ll want to understand WordPress and explore possibilities for expert editorials and guest blogs. No matter which forms you choose, make sure to consider how you can use social media to boost your message and make the most of your content strategy.
Create a Content Calendar
Now that you know what, who, and how you will market, it’s time to break out your calendar and get that 2019 content strategy on paper. Make sure your calendar includes important holidays and any vacations you have planned. Look ahead to seasonal trends in your industry and any special events like seminars or event sponsorships.
Mark everything on your calendar. Then start filling in your content. If you plan to publish a weekly blog, schedule when to post that “planning for the holidays” article and when to hold off so you can feature the firm’s rainmaker when she speaks at the state-wide conference next September. You can use your content calendar to spread out your top marketing priorities over the year and leave room for those big wins or press releases that pop up unannounced.
Implementing Your 2019 Content Strategy
Your 2019 Content Strategy is ready to go. You’ve got your goals, your priorities, your target audience, your preferred forms and platforms, and your content calendar is complete.
Now, do it.
One of the hardest parts about any content strategy is the follow through. So take time right now to put content creation on your calendar. Schedule it. And then stick to that schedule. If something comes up you can always reschedule. But if you don’t treat content creation as seriously as a client meeting it can easily slip through your fingers. This time next year you’ll look back and wonder what happened to all that planning?
Lisa Schmidt is an author for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She provides blogging and web content for law firms and small businesses. If you need help implementing your 2019 content strategy, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.