Why B2B Law Firms Need Blogs (Hint: It’s Not For Lead Generation) | Law Firm Editorial Service
Blogs play an important role in the marketing and business development efforts of B2B law firms, but maybe not the ones you think.
Choose an industry, any industry.
No matter which one you choose, you’ll find both market leaders and newbies who have embraced content marketing and are using it to increase their bottom line.
Most sectors of the legal industry have also embraced content marketing, especially blogging. Direct-to-consumer law firms, such as personal injury firms, criminal defense firms, and family law firms, use their blogs as lead generation devices.
When potential clients search Google for answers and topics related to the legal issues they are facing, they are likely to come across law firm blog posts in the search results. After clicking on a company’s blog and reading it, potential customers can contact that company for a free consultation. Or, they can read a few companies’ blog posts about their legal issue and then seek a consultation with the company whose content speaks to them the most.
However, this phenomenon of blogging as a lead generator doesn’t always extend to lawyers and law firms serving businesses. Often (but not always), business-to-business law firms obtain new clients through referrals, networking, or by responding to requests for proposals. Rarely will you hear of business law firms attracting new clients based solely on digital marketing efforts.
B2B law firm blogs serve as identifiers and validators
But that doesn’t mean blog posts don’t play a role in the marketing and business development efforts of business law firms. In fact, they play just as important a role in these efforts as direct-to-consumer companies.
They simply play different roles, those of certifier and validator.
Let’s say you’re a B2B attorney that a referral source mentions to a potential client. Or maybe you met someone through networking who could be a client or a referral source. What will this potential client or networking contact do the first chance they get?
You know the answer because you do too. They will search for you online.
They will review your social media feeds. They will view your biography online on your law firm’s website. Most importantly, they will review your blog posts, articles, and client alerts. (They will likely look at what your colleagues inside and outside your practice group have posted as well.)
For the same reasons, you do the same. They want to know, based on your content and that of your law firm, whether you are qualified to do the things you claim to do.
They may never see your murderous briefs in support of motions to dismiss. They may never see a single contract you have in place. They may never see you gutting an opposing expert witness in cross-examination.
But they will review any content that you and your law firm post. They will see how often you and your business post content. And they will hover over the content most relevant to them.
And then, based heavily on that content, as well as the trust they have in the person who referred them (in the case of the potential client), or the first impression they had of you (in the case of the networking contact), they will decide if they want to work with you or refer you to others. This is the accreditation part of the blogging equation.
The validation part comes from the people who hired you, or want to hire you, being able to validate their decision or preference and convince themselves or others of the same. They will rely on your or your company’s content as proof that this decision was the right one or that their preference is backed by something more tangible than a gut feeling.
Certainly, there are times when potential clients of B2B law firms, even sophisticated buyers like general counsel for large corporations, find out about a B2B lawyer or law firm for the first time, based on their blog, after have done research online. Here, a blog plays a lead generation/discovery role as it typically does for direct-to-consumer law firms.
The “I am the only fallacy”
Now you might be thinking, “People who refer potential clients to me talk to me about those people to the point that they sell me out of the gate.” Or, “I’m the only one [insert practice area] attorney that most of my referral sources know, so I’m not competing with other attorneys for those referrals. Or, “When my firm completes an RFP, we provide a ton of information about our credentials and track record that clearly shows that we are the preeminent law firm in our field.”
You could be right on all counts. But we are in an era of hearty content. We are in a time where if a person is told something undeniable by someone they trust, they will always go online to confirm that fact. And we are in a time where people love options and can easily find them online.
In other words, even if you’re the only lawyer in your area of practice that your referral sources are referring potential clients to, chances are you’re not the only lawyer those potential clients are considering.
Likewise, even if your company appears on paper as the most accredited or successful company in its field, it will still be judged by its content. It may lose its position in the rankings if other companies, whose references and results are close to yours, have more frequent, informative and compelling content.
The Million-Dollar Role Blogs Play in B2B Law Firms’ Marketing and Business Development Efforts
Regardless of the industries you serve or your B2B law firm, blogging can play a vital role in your marketing and business development efforts.
Whether it’s certifying and validating most of the time or generating leads once in a while, the knowledge and wisdom your or your company’s blog displays to the world can be the difference between a customer who hires and this same client who hires another lawyer and firm.
In a B2B law firm, that difference can be worth millions of dollars per year per client. For this reason, there is a good chance that a B2B law firm’s blogging program will provide it with a significant positive return on investment.