Credibility is king in the content marketing game, particularly in professional services industries, where “product differentiation” is somewhat more difficult to establish.
For example, consider a prospective personal injury client who is looking to contact a qualified attorney to help them litigate their claims. If two law firm websites are comparable (on the surface), it may not be immediately clear which is a better choice. All else being equal, the client will likely choose whichever firm proves that they are more trustworthy or professionally credible.
Attorneys must, above all else, establish their credibility as truly effective client-advocates. Below are five strategies to help you, and your firm, establish credibility through content marketing.
1. Avoid Exaggerated Claims
In most cases, you’ll want to tailor your content to ensure that the language you use is precise and avoids exaggerated claims. Readers can generally sniff out content that purports something that is either untrue or is fundamentally misleading. Further, making exaggerated claims about your firm (and related services) can undermine your attempt to create a respectable professional brand.
What constitutes an “exaggerated” claim depends on the context. In the legal industry, making certain statements that you’ll be able to secure compensation for the client, or implying that your prior track record of success will ensure that the client achieves success, is not only highly misleading but is illegal in most states.
Professional, credible content must strike a tight balance between authority, confidence, and a realistic perspective. When developing the structure and tone of your content, you’ll want to make sure that clients understand your value to them (and how you compare favorably to competitors) without promising any results. For example, if you have recently obtained a $10 million verdict on behalf of a client in a record-breaking bad faith lawsuit, then you may want to be careful about how you present such information to avoid giving a potential client the wrong impression.
2. Ensure That All Content is Consistent
Maintaining consistent content on your website — in other words, publishing content that features a similar structure and tone — is key to establishing credibility. Failure to do so could give readers the sense that you simply don’t care enough, or worse, that you lack the competence necessary to craft well-developed, consistent content to help prospective clients.
Online content is your first real opportunity to leave a lasting impression on a prospective client. When a serious, prospective client begins to explore your website, they are likely to explore multiple pages: practice areas, about us, attorney bios, blogs, and more. All content must be closely monitored during development to ensure that there are no major differences in tone that are likely to “throw off” the reader and give them a poor impression.
3. Provide Well-Researched Content
In the law firm context, posting content that includes incorrect or otherwise poorly researched information can be devastating to your credibility. Though your prospective clients may not understand the complexities of the law, they are likely to be exposed to other law firm websites and various blogs and articles about their legal issues. As such, if a prospective client encounters information about their legal issue that conflicts with your information, that may give them reason to be concerned.
Here at Paperstreet, our content writers are qualified attorneys, many of whom have prior experience in the practice of law. This experience, in conjunction with our comprehensive, multi-round content creation efforts, guarantees that your content will be well-researched and accurate as to the applicable laws in your jurisdiction.
4. Keep Your Site Fresh through New Content
A steady drip of “fresh content” can give the impression of credibility — law firms that invest in their brand are generally perceived more positively by prospective clients. Such efforts do not go unnoticed. Firms whose websites contain mostly static page content may find that there is little to differentiate them from other, competing firms.
News posts and press releases are both excellent ways to get noticed and to establish credibility with the audience. News posts keep you in the spotlight and give prospective clients the sense that you stay apprised of important developments in your industry (and that you are aware of local and relevant cases).
Press releases, by contrast, can be used to emphasize those factors that clearly separate your firm from others — awards recognition, speaking engagements, case results, and more. Press releases also benefit from the perception of organizational competency. Generally speaking, firms that post press releases have something worth highlighting. Audiences are more likely to take your firm seriously if you feature such content.
5. Make Your Attorney Bio Shine
Attorney bios are often underestimated when considering the implementation of law firm site content. In truth, however, a well-written bio can have a significant positive impact on a prospective client’s perception of the attorney, and the firm at-large. High-quality attorney bios that improve one’s credibility include a short narrative about the attorney’s unique value proposition, information on specific practice areas handled by the attorney, representative cases, publication credits, awards and other honors, community service examples, and more.
Online Credibility is Paramount
It’s not easy to develop credibility online, but clients and prospective clients increasingly rely on implicit and explicit indications of credibility, coded into the content itself, to make decisions about who they choose to work with. In a professional industry, establishing a basic level of trust between you and your prospective client is the first step in securing further engagement.
At Paperstreet, we provide full-service content development services to law firms looking to publish relevant, credible content and raise their online profile. Contact us today to get started.