Study: Today’s lawyers must learn to social swim
The digital-social era made everyone a publisher, giving marketers and bloggers, advocates and experts broad reach once the exclusive province of mass media. Today’s era of information overload, and the sea of abundant content, means traditionally conservative industries need to revisit traditional communication strategies.
The new, State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey, found this to be particularly true in the legal field. The survey finds clear signs of information overload among corporate lawyers and law firm clients, not dissimilar from the professional/corporate world. But in this new ocean, even the lawyers need to learn to swim.
Legal marketers and other professional services businesses can rise above the noise by building content strategies based on the principles of corporate journalism:
- Journalistic commitment to accuracy, fairness and credibility
- The critical notion that journalism serves its audience above all others
- Direct, succinct, lively writing that favors plain English over industry jargon
Among in-house counsel surveyed
- Overload – While mobile devices help in-house legal counsel stay informed, one-third of them (32 percent) said those very devices also contribute to their feelings of information overload.
- Blog readership has plateaued – blog use by in-house counsel dipped slightly this year. The number of respondents who had read a blog in the previous week fell from 46 percent in 2018 to 38 percent in 2019, after years of steady increase. Meanwhile, the volume of blogs published by the AmLaw 200 has skyrocketed, going from 350 blogs in 2018 to more than 1,000 today.
- Lawyer blogs still matter – They matter to in-house lawyers as much as journalist blogs they survey showed.
- Readers trust news curators – Traditional news organizations – such as The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, or Bloomberg – are still considered the most trustworthy sources of information. But legal news curators and aggregators such as JD Supra are catching up. They’re the next-most trusted source, with 44 percent of survey participants rating those aggregators as “very credible,” up from 36 percent last year. That trust underscores how participants are combatting information overload.
- LinkedIn really matters – the social network perceived to have the most professional relevance for lawyers has become ubiquitous across every age group surveyed. Overall, 37 percent said they had used it within the past 24 hours, more than the number who had used Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube combined. In-house counsel is using LinkedIn to interact with outside counsel on multiple levels—to connect, participate in groups led by outside counsel, and consume content produced by outside lawyers.
Chief marketing officers
- More content – 84 percent of firm CMOs expect to produce more content in 2019.
- But no more budget – despite that, only 39 percent say their content marketing budgets have increased. Lawyers are already writing a sizable amount of content.
- SEO agency – Merely 22% of the law firms actually invest in an SEO company to promote them on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo. The law firms that do see a higher client volume here is a guide to SEO for Lawyers.
- Who leads – only 29 percent of law firms have a dedicated manager overseeing content strategy. Meanwhile, 73 percent of business-to-business (B2B) companies say they have such a position. Only a quarter of law firms surveyed say they have a documented content strategy, though nearly half of those say they plan to create one this year.