Do you know who you are targeting with your content?
In the very early days of 4th Level Digital Media I met a lawyer at a networking event. Their law firm would be considered a small/medium sized practice but had grown significantly since set up a few years previous.
During the discussion the lawyer mentioned they were considering some digital marketing.
After a few cursory background checks it was clear the law firm had no digital presence. All they had was a brochure style website – Homepage / About Us / Our Services /Contact Us.
I reached out and organised a meeting.
Does digital work for my business?
At the meeting their were a number of lawyers and the marketing person… who I figured did all the ‘non-lawyer stuff’ in the office, which included marketing.
It became apparent the marketing person really just spent a budget, mostly on traditional marketing – flyers, event sponsorship, trade journal advertising and some radio ads.
There was no strategy or research put into the ‘why?’ and the ‘where?’ the budget was spent.
Eventually, it emerged that they had hired a digital agency to run some display ads on the Google network. They were pretty underwhelmed with the Click-Through-Rates.
When I explained their results were only slightly below average for display, they were surprised to put it mildly.
I continued explaining…
- The need for a strategy and a consistent flow of content.
- It really helps if you know who you are targeting with your content.
- The content needs somewhere to go so they’d have to have an updatable area on their website.
- You can’t just let it sit on the website you’d have to push the content out through social media channels.
- And ideally you can try and build relationships with outlets that they could earn links from their website.
It all made sense at first.
Then we hit a stumbling block when we discussed the actual content.
The lawyers seemed resigned to the fact that law was considered…
- too boring
- too technical
- needed to be careful when talking about their own cases so as not to identify or offend clients
- didn’t have the time to create content
- wasn’t sure that people would read law stuff anyway
At this stage I felt the opportunity to get some work was drifting away…
I was in the middle of binge watching Suits, the TV series about a successful law firm. I’m not entirely sure but I’d say I watch 2-3 episodes the night before this meeting.
So, as we were discussing the content problem for this law firm I got a flash of inspiration…
‘Does anyone watch Suits?’ I said… out of nowhere.
One person admitted to seeing it but no-one had watched it regularly.
‘Why don’t you blog about Suits?’
Granted it required someone to start watching it but I felt it was a great way of connecting with their target audience.
I have no idea how accurate Suits is to real life law. I’m guessing most people that watch Suits aren’t lawyers. They probably don’t care how real it is if they are being entertained.
Rather than blogging about the technical stuff that they felt people wouldn’t read and they clearly didn’t want to write, why not blog about Suits…
- Is it realistic?
- Have there ever been any cases in history similar to ones being portrayed in the show?
- Could they breakdown some of the jargon?
- Could the explain the rational behind some of the episodes?
- Has there ever been a lawyer like Harvey Spector, who ‘never lost’?
Then the other shoe dropped…
The lawyers were worried what other law firms would think…
They felt it would have affected their credibility among peers. They didn’t know who they were targeting with your content.
Maybe, but the blog is not for other lawyers… It’s to attract new clients.
Maybe for a large corporate law firm, this would be inappropriate. But for a firm trying to attract private individuals or small firms…
Could it have worked? I honestly don’t know but I took a shot.
They decided not to pursue digital marketing. They certainly didn’t blog about Suits.
The meeting wasn’t a waste of time though. I learned four things that I have since used in client meetings.
ONE – Know your audience. Know who you are targeting with your content
Seems obvious, but this aspect is quite often overlooked.
Regardless of your business, remember who you are targeting with your content.
In the example above, the lawyers were worried about what other lawyers would think. They should have been more concerned with what there target client would think.
Creating content that is ‘on-topic’ requires focus. Create customer personas and tailor your content to problems they encounter in their lives.
If you are creating content that is ‘off-topic’ you can be more creative.
Here is an excellent blog post from Wordstream founder Larry Kim on the benefits of blogging off topic.
The main advantages Larry list’s are
- The ability to broaden your audience reach
- You can start to influence prospective clients, that is the “People who don’t yet realize they need the product/solution you sell”
- Increase your social media reach as well as providing more post
TWO – Be Fearless
I don’t mean throw all caution to the wind or take risk for the sake of it. But you can take calculated risks.
You have to try.
Just because no-one else is doing it, doesn’t mean its a bad idea.
Once you have considered the downside of doing something, go for it. Even if it doesn’t work out as planned at least you tried.
The downside of doing nothing is worse than trying something that doesn’t work.
You either win or you learn.
THREE – Research
Your customer personas will help you create content that positions your product/service as a solution.
You can also reach potential customers and attract them to your website by creating content that is off-topic.
In the example above, I shared how I thought a law firm could benefit blogging about a TV show, albeit a TV show based on a law firm.
A great place to find out the interests of your website visitors is Google Analytics.
In your Google Analytics account in the left sidebar menu scroll down and click on ‘Audience’.
Within the Audience section scroll down and click on to ‘Interests’
Here you’ll find
- Overview: With a top 10 summary in each of the following categories:
- Affinity Categories: This groups your website visitors into broad groups based on their other browsing activities, for example #1 is “Movie Lovers” and #4 is “TV Lovers”
- In-Market Segments: This shows us which categories the users were displaying an interest in purchasing, for example “Business Services/Advertising and Marketing Services” where the forward slash represents the next level in the category hierarchy.
- Other Categories: This groups users by which categories they are also interested in browsing about, for example “Arts & Entertainment/TV & Video/Online Video”
FOUR – Make it a Team effort
All employees benefit from a growing business. The marketing person should have responsibility for content production. The rest of the firm can pitch in with anecdotes, ideas, suggestions or even writing a few bullet points or paragraphs.
The good folks at Meltwater put this blog post together. It outlines how to get the non-marketing people involved in content creation.
You can draw on the likes of…
- Product Managers: these folks can help you identify the day-to-day problems your customers face and how to position your product/service as the solution.
- Sales Reps: Your sales team spends every day talking to prospective customers about your product/service. Try and bottle or at least get them to write down some of their output.
- Data Analysts: They can help pinpoint unique and exciting data while deriving insights your customers find interesting.
- Customer Success or Community Managers: these are the folks have the real life stories of how your product/service impacted lives. They deal with the people you are targeting with your content.
Content is the life blood of your digital marketing campaigns. It is your website’s oxygen.
You can only survive without it for so long. You will only get so far relying on other peoples content.
If you are serious about your online presence you need to commit the time and resources necessary to to make your presence online meaningful.
If you know who you are targeting with your content this is a great place to start.
What did you think?
Would you have blogged about Suits?
Drop a comment below and let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading.
Also published on Medium.