There are three stages to building a content marketing plan, and within each are specific tasks and strategies. Content development is first, and it involves setting measurable goals and learning who your target audience is, what their needs are and how best to reach them. Creating optimized content like pillar pages, content clusters, and social media posts from ideation tools and research is what follows. Using an editorial calendar organizes content and sets the stage for the next phase, content distribution.
The most effective content distribution tactics are planned, have a purpose, and are an important component of content marketing for lawyers. Paid and organic social media strategies should be monitored with the appropriate tools to ensure posts and campaigns get the best results. Repurposing and refreshing content and content curation and aggregation strategies are also done during content distribution before getting to the last step in your law firm’s content marketing plan.
When content development and distribution are done properly, the third step, content analysis, should run smoothly. But time, resources, and specific skills are needed to track and measure the data you gather; without investing in this stage, it would be impossible to truly understand how your content is performing and how to measure whether you’ve succeeded.
Content analysis includes setting key performance indicators and using Google Analytics and Google Search Console to learn, evaluate, and improve content. It’s also important to employ keyword discovery methods and use position monitoring tools to get the complete picture of your efforts. Here we’ll review these tasks and strategies to outline how a customized content analysis is not only helpful for your law firm but necessary to have the greatest impact.
Determining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Far too often, quality content is produced, but it doesn’t meet the needs of your target audience or achieve the outcomes you seek; it doesn’t encourage engagement, keep users on your website, or result in any leads. This is why key performance indicators are a core component of an effective content marketing plan.
If you don’t track important KPIs, you won’t know whether you’re succeeding or not. You also won’t be able to improve your efforts or address things you should. Even when content strategies are successful, analyzing KPIs can set the stage for new goals, making even greater improvements, and leveraging new opportunities. Why? A successful content marketing strategy is never over. When you succeed, continuing to make an impact and engage and influence your audience is crucial to maintain credibility and brand recognition, show up on search engines, and offer value to those that matter.
The problem is, there are thousands of key performance indicators a law firm could track, which makes the process overwhelming if you don’t know what to focus on. This is where an experienced content marketing team can help. Identifying the metrics worth tracking and basing content around that data takes skill and a solid understanding of the purpose and benefits of KPIs.
How KPIs Fit in a Content Marketing Strategy
Measuring key performance indicators occurs in the final part of content marketing: content analysis. When developing a content marketing plan, the focus is to identify and understand your target audience and set goals. But it’s a fluid and ongoing process; once those goals are measured using KPIs, new goals and possibly a greater or more defined audience can be focused on, whether you succeeded or missed the mark.
Unfortunately, many metrics that look good at first glance, such as a high number of followers or post likes, don’t necessarily mean your content marketing plan is working. A business can have a huge following and high post engagement, but the value of that metric is often minimal when measuring goals.
For example, say there’s an upcoming claims deadline that you want prospective clients to not only be aware of but come to your law firm for representation. Simply having them like a social media or blog post without doing something won’t achieve your goal. Instead, getting them to click on a link that leads to relevant content on your site positions your law firm for possible leads. The page they’re directed to should be written in a tone, language, and format they relate to, encourage visitors to follow pathways to other valuable information, and eventually, to contact your firm. Measuring leads, bounce rate, and other data from those is a better way to measure success. If all you get is short-lived site visits, adjusting your content and how it’s delivered is the next step.
Law Firm KPIs
We know there’s an endless supply of data available through tracking software for websites, like Google Analytics, and social media monitoring tools, like Hootsuite. While every law firm content marketing plan should be customized based on your audience, brand, goals, and practice areas, there are some common KPIs every firm should track.
Website traffic is possibly one of the most basic key performance indicators, but it has a purpose and can be compiled and analyzed with other data to give insight into how your content is performing. Bounce rate and time on site are great measurements of whether the content you publish meets the needs of your target audience. If visitors are leaving your site quickly, there’s something wrong. It could be your content, who’s reading it, the message you communicate, what lead them to the page, the user experience, the search terms and keywords that led them there, or a combination of factors. It can seem daunting, but examining content is an integral process of effective content marketing.
When specific blog posts, webpages, or topic clusters are getting a combination of high traffic, long page times, engagement, and leads, it’s a sign of success – but your work isn’t done. Just like when content isn’t driving the results you seek, content that’s getting results should be leveraged.
Organic reach and traffic are both important law firm KPIs to track and analyze. Research shows that organic results lead to move conversions, like leads on prospective clients. This highlights and reinforces the need for planned, purposeful, and strategic content.
Reviews and mentions are other KPIs law firms should track because it’s important to understand the depth of brand awareness. Staying on top of what’s being said about your firm goes a long way in determining the impact of your content marketing efforts. Reviews and mentions should be analyzed to understand how well your messages resonate with your audience – not to mention if they were happy with the services your attorneys provided.
Keyword rankings and positioning within your area of law are another KPI to track. What you rank for and how high should be regularly tracked. Important factors of search engine optimization are delivering quality content that has high value to the intended audience and is relevant. Comparing your firm’s rankings to your competitors for the keywords and search terms that matter most can lead to insight on new strategies and improved content.
Finally, individual content marketing campaigns should include a range of key performance indicators. Organic traffic and conversions will reveal whether a specific campaign was successful. Social media campaigns can easily be tracked, but special blog series and relevant web pages that you market to your audience through a variety of channels can, and should, be measured. Luckily, there are many tools for measuring and tracking key performance indicators, including Google Analytics.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console Set-Up and Management
Proper content analysis requires programs and software to measure results and base strategies on relevant data. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two valuable tools to track KPIs and help businesses understand the value and results of their content marketing plan. When used properly, Google Analytics and Google Search Console complement each other and work together to offer the greatest insight on how your website and blog are performing. Consequently, what’s learned through these tools can greatly contribute to your law firm’s authority and credibility, key factors of effective content marketing.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console can identify traffic sources and user demographics, track the flow of site visitors, clicks, and other valuable data. They reveal content that is high performing, but also content that’s falling flat. After all, knowing your most important pages have low click-through rates indicates gaps in your law firm’s content marketing strategy.
For example, a high bounce rate means you’re doing something wrong; it could be that your content isn’t in the right language or format, you’re ranking for searches that you aren’t providing answers to, or the wrong audience is coming to your site. With the use of Google Analytics and Google Search Console, your law firm will identify what’s working and what isn’t and be positioned to improve results.
Google Analytics and Content Marketing
Google Analytics. No doubt you’ve heard about it, and it’s likely set up for your law firm website, but do you know the benefits of its features, reports, and data and its place in content marketing? It can be difficult for the average person to navigate the depths of measurable information offered through this free software, but the benefits are extensive. Every law firm should have Google Analytics set up and use it to their advantage.
It’s important to focus on metrics that offer the greatest and most relevant insight when evaluating the performance and achievements of website content. Some basic but important data tracked using Google Analytics includes site traffic, bounce rate, and session duration (the average length of time users spend on your site). While there are many more in-depth analytics that will paint a better picture of whether your content marketing efforts are working, this top-level information should still be included in your analysis.
Seeing where users navigate to on a website is extremely useful for law firms to improve the content and direct their audience to other quality, relevant information. When using Google Analytics, examine where site visitors go from specific pages and blog posts. Do they navigate where you want them to? Are they clicking the Contact buttons so they can reach out about your legal services and expertise? Are visitors exploring content clusters?
Since organic traffic leads to more conversions than paid, your law firm should examine what landing pages are getting the most traffic. If those pages lead to positive results, examining the content, keywords, structure, and pathways could shape how other pages are developed or improved.
Another analytic to review is whether social media strategies lead to website traffic. For example, if you’ve been running social media campaigns and putting effort towards getting social followers to your site, the numbers should reflect that. If you do not see increased traffic to the pages you’re marketing on social channels, it’s time to analyze your law firm’s social media content and delivery methods.
Google Analytics also provides insight into your audience demographics, something that should be examined to ensure you’re reaching and engaging your target audience based on location. If pages are designed to attract new clients in a city or state, your site’s analytics will reveal this information.
The opportunities are endless if you understand your site’s analytics and know how to improve content based on them.
How Google Search Console Fits with Content Marketing
Another way to measure content marketing performance is by using Google Search Console. It goes a few steps further than Google Analytics by analyzing your site and showing how the search engine sees it. Being able to view and filter data during different timeframes is a huge benefit and can provide insight into the result of content marketing campaigns.
Monitoring and improving your strength on Google is an ongoing process. Google Search Console tracks top-level/ basic data and more specific data to enrich your content marketing strategy. It shows which sites are linking to yours, the number of impressions, clicks, and what searches are getting you traffic. While Google Analytics offers data on the most common keywords used, Google Console tracks the other, less common terms too. It tracks the keywords and terms that get your website showing up in search results (impressions), which can be used to identify and target more specific audiences. You can also learn the less common – but high value – search terms that result in leads and leverage them through other content.
The Overview report in Google Search Console breaks down data by performance, coverage, and enhancements. When used properly, each of these three sections can ensure your content is optimized and improve search engine results. It can help your law firm better understand its audience, how to gain their attention, and what content leads to achieving business goals.
Being able to break down impressions and click-through rates by page not only reveals content successes but where you’re falling short. Finding your high-traffic but low-results pages is an important component that can improve content marketing results.
Data that Google Search Console collects can also further keyword research. You can filter reports by specific search terms and compare them to other keywords. Sometimes the rarest searches result in the highest rate of leads, so using this information is a core strategy in content analysis.
Knowing broken URLs and crawl errors is another important feature because user experience matters and the quality of your website is impacted when pages are broken. Finding and fixing problems ensures your site’s running smoothly from a technical standpoint. The same applies to mobile browsing. Since more than half of internet traffic comes from mobile devices, making your website mobile-friendly needs to be a priority. Google Search Console tracks how well your site works on mobile devices. If mobile browsing isn’t seamless and user-friendly, your rankings will suffer.
How to Set Up Google Analytics and Google Search Console
Google Analytics and Google Search Console complement each other, providing data and rankings that can be leveraged to measure and improve content. Knowing how to use both of these tools is important for any content marketing strategy, but it needs to be set up and managed.
Integrating Google Analytics is a fairly easy process, but how to connect Google Analytics and Google Search Console is more difficult. Luckily, web developers know how to do this. Once set up, this part of content analysis can move forward, and what you learn will be invaluable to your content marketing plan.
Competitive Analysis, Keyword Discovery & Position Monitoring Tools
Other key strategies of content marketing include competitive analysis, keyword discovery, and position monitoring tools. They measure your standing in the legal industry, reveal opportunities to improve, analyze your competitors and how well they’re doing, and find keywords that should be focused on based on your practice areas and goals. What’s learned during this part of a content marketing strategy can be invaluable to your law firm and its achievements.
Competitive Analysis for Content Marketing
Every industry has competitors, and the legal industry is no different. Law firms with similar practice areas vie for business from many of the same target audiences. They try to reach prospective clients, get referrals, and develop loyal clients. Because of this, knowing how your law firm compares to others is an important part of analyzing the efficacy of your content. When competitive analysis is done right, your authority and credibility will be improved and strengthened. Ultimately, the content you create and distribute will deliver better results.
Competitive analysis involves seeing what your competitors are ranking for compared to your firm, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Competitor websites, social media influence, blogs, and advertisements are examined during this process. What is revealed shows where your brand stands, but just as important, what your competitors are doing better and worse at. If a firm is succeeding at something you, too, should be succeeding at, analyzing their content and strategies can guide your improvements.
But competitive analysis is ongoing. Checking out the competition once may help in the short term. Still, it only goes so far, and it can’t direct long-term efforts. Like consistently creating content relevant to and meeting Google’s quality content standards, regular monitoring of your competition’s failures and successes is a must.
Competitive analysis looks at the key communication channels and platforms competitors use. It means not only comparing blog and website traffic but reviewing social media content as well. Social media is a constant in our lives, and law firms should know how well their competitors are using these tools. Even if your social media strategy leads to conversions, reach, and engagement, there could be ways or opportunities to do better. There might also be gaps in your social media content and messages, which can be identified through competitive analysis.
There are many templates and tools available to guide competitive analysis, and with the right team, your law firm can maximize the impact of its content marketing strategies.
Keyword Discovery and Position Monitoring
We know the keywords a business uses need to be based on data, trends, and your target audience. What we think an audience searches are often only top-level, broad terms – if you get them right in the first place.
Keyword discovery not only tells you those broad terms but the specific keywords and phrases that should be included in your content. Why? How people search has drastically changed as internet content grew exponentially. They’re asking questions and seeking precise answers. Knowing your audience’s needs and the language and style in which they search will better position your content for success. Keyword discovery strategies and tools show gaps in what your own content is lacking for optimization purposes, which can be turned into opportunities to improve.
Content marketing site audits of your top competitors reveal how well they’ve optimized content and the search engine results they get for keywords. Using a tool like SEMrush can help with site audits, but it’s important to know what to look for and what the information it reveals means.
Another benefit of keyword discovery is topic ideas to meet and anticipate the needs of your audience. Since developing authority and credibility is a top focus of any effective content marketing plan, generating topic ideas that help reach those goals and secure your position is of benefit to your law firm. There may be keywords and search terms you never thought of, opening the door to new content and/ or targeting a more specific audience.
Discovering the types of keywords and phrases that indicate someone is looking for a service is also important. Keyword discovery not only provides search volume data but also keyword difficulty. Leveraging this information can streamline content and more effectively target your audience, and position monitoring can be hand-in-hand with keyword discovery.
Through position monitoring tools, you’ll get a clear picture of your online presence, impact, and value to search engines. Are competing law firms outranking you on the best keywords and search terms? When does your law firm show up on Google? Position monitoring shows how your most important pages are performing. If they aren’t doing well, further analyzing content based on its purpose, message, links, format, language, and calls to action can lead to vast improvements.
A valuable result of position monitoring is discovering who your competitors are. Yes, you probably know several competing law firms already, but it’s common to miss competitors or underestimate them.
Position tracking tools have several features, and one of the most important is tagging keywords. By adding law firm keywords based on your practice areas and expertise, customized reports with relevant filters can provide data that helps you analyze content. It’s also important to keep track of rankings on a regular basis, but it can be overwhelming when you have a lot of online content. The reports and notifications available through position tracking can simplify this process.
Invest in Content Analysis
Law firms can learn a lot from setting the right key performance indicators and leveraging the features available through Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Strong content marketing is mindful of competitors’ successes and shortcomings and uses position tracking and keyword discovery to reach goals and get the best results. Most importantly, the core components of content analysis should be highly strategic and complement creation and distribution methods.
Content marketing plans are time-intensive and take resources to execute, but those that yield the greatest results include regular content analysis. While it’s frustrating when content doesn’t do what you want, the analysis phase can guide and ensure that the changes to existing content or developing new content are more effective.