Louis XVI, July 1789, upon hearing of the fall of the Bastille, noted, "It is a big revolt," to which Duke La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt immediately responded, "No, Sir, it is a big revolution."
The legal profession has been slow to embrace the revolution that is Internet marketing. Even today, solos and small law firms are spending big dollars on outdated phone book and paper ads.
Luckily, we no longer have to depend on annual print publications to direct our marketing efforts. Stacey Gaswirth, of the PR Firm The Shelton Group, has this advice for more traditional businesses: "When establishing a public relations strategy, not only should you consider a traditional media relations program, but also integrating multiple social media channels, as additional channels help deliver messages to your target audience. Some form of social media - be it YouTube videos, blogs, tweets or status updates - have become a part of everyday life for most of us with three out of four people using some form of social media on daily basis. This growing form of communication can no longer be ignored. It's not a trend, it's the norm."
What is currently the most powerful form of online marketing? Not twitter, not Facebook, not even LinkedIn - it's work-related videos. Consider this - in a 2010 survey of 306 executives at U.S. companies with annual sales exceeding $500 million, 65% said they were driven to a vendor's website by a work-related video. Consumers often append the word "video" to their searches. For lawyers, posting a video gives them the opportunity to establish instant authority in their marketplace and to provide an educational forum for the public. There is more to making an effective video campaign than just posting it on your website. You need to make some major strategic decisions, such as the platform that you will use. If you are going to do it yourself, then you need a content delivery network and a player. Or you could sign up with an online video platform that is free or fee-based that offers hosting, encoding, customizable and embeddable players.
Video, however, is just the start. While lawyers may like constancy (a document adopted in 1776 is still the basis of our world!), Internet marketing is anything but. The good news is that the search engines like Google are moving toward more sophisticated methods that reward websites containing actual content instead of buzzwords. No longer is it possible to game the system with webpages that state, "If you live in Nevada and need a trust, then you should call us, the Nevada trust attorneys who write Nevada trusts."
What, then, should be your strategic marketing campaign focus in 2013? Assuming you have the basics of a strong website with good written and video content, then you need to build around relevance. Damon Gochneaur, the Online Traffic Strategist for notes, "Google's commitment to quality, relevant search results continues to permeate all their recent updates and product releases."
Google recently introduced "the author tag" which links content by the same author from different websites. As Gochneaur explains, "while the content itself will always be important, who provided the content is an emerging and powerful force." He goes on to predict that in 2013 for advertising, "we'll start to see native advertising, or personalized advertising if you will, become ubiquitous with marketing in general, bringing higher relevancy and a better user experience. Native advertising closes the gap between intent and moment of truth, capturing the urgency of a potential encounter by keeping your product and message in front of your audience regardless of their platform of use."
That translates into more emphasis on Google+ and Google+ Local, especially for authorship tags. A good explanation can be found at. Two new Google programs, code-named Penguin and Panda, changed the Google algorithms that return search results (Panda targets online content and Penguin focuses on links). In September 2012, Google announced released its new Exact Match Domain release, which targets domain names that exactly match the search terms they hope to be found with and devalues those domains. Using the example above, a domain name of NevadaTrustAttorney.com would drop lower in the search ranks.
The good news is that all of these changes should reward attorneys who timely update their websites with good, relevant content, and give us a more immediate return for our marketing dollar. The bad news is that, for an attorney who is short on time and patience, it is getting harder to game the web. The revolution is upon us.
Originally published by Virginia Hammerle at WealthCounsel