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Ideation, Editorial Calendars and Optimization Tools for Legal Content Marketing

A vital part of content marketing is what happens before content is generated. It involves brainstorming, organization, and strategic processes to ensure the content your law firm delivers is planned and purposeful. Understanding your audience, setting content and business goals, and positioning your firm for success can be streamlined and more effective through ideation, editorial, and optimization tools. 

These tools ultimately work together to help create content that matters, build recognition and credibility, and lead to better search engine rankings, traffic, and conversions. There are some free, limited-feature tools available, but many paid options a law firm could use for generating ideas, organizing content delivery and related projects, and optimizing content. The tools have a range of features and benefits for each of these three processes and knowing what to use, how to use it, and why is imperative for effective content generation.

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At The Legal Examiner, our team uses ideation, editorial calendars, and optimization tools to provide our clients – law firms – with a content marketing strategy that delivers results. We know the benefits and features available through the tools and leverage them for success. 

Any content marketing plan can be more successful with these tools, and your law firm should use at least one in each of the three categories – but the cost adds up. Instead of subscribing to ideation, editorial calendars, and optimization tools on your own and then putting a team in place to use them, we can create and execute your law firm’s content marketing plan for you. 

Ideation Tools for Content Ideas and Keyword Research 

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Ideation tools are one of the first steps in creating content. They provide keyword research for content marketing, guiding what you write about and even how you write it. When done right, keyword research and topic generation will help your law firm rank on search engines for the legal services and areas you specialize in. 

The internet is a vast resource for finding information, products, and services. Your firm’s content needs to be accessible and relevant. It needs to engage and influence. But to do this, it needs to show up in search results.

How do you know what to focus on and what search words and phrases your target audience uses? How do you improve your rankings on search engines through content marketing? The answer is: ideation tools. Keyword research and topic generation are where to start. They provide a foundation for content marketing but should be used regularly to ensure your content is where it needs to be.

Ideation tools guide content and, when used properly, keep your law firm on a clear path during the content marketing process. Once you know who you want to reach, generating content with specific topics and keywords that your audience uses to search for will have a greater impact and help your law firm rank where it matters. 

Publishing content without direction and strategic keywords found through ideation tools won’t be nearly as influential as it could be. The impact of your content will be limited if what you deliver isn’t targeted and specific and based on keyword research.

But there’s more to SEO than keyword density. Search engines like Google consider other factors for search engine results and rankings. They consider the quality of the content, relevancy of the topic, and credibility and value of the message and any links within. 

Keyword finders and topic generation tools are also beneficial in identifying and planning content clusters. This content is specific and relates to a broader topic, all to help your search engine rankings. Since ideation tools provide related keywords and search terms on topics you want to rank for, your law firm can build quality content by adding what’s found in your research. 

Ideation tools show where your firm is visible – and where it isn’t. Supporting content that incorporates related terms works together to build depth and authority in areas your firm specializes in. It’s all part of doing content marketing well.

Long-tail terms have become increasingly important because of how people search and ranking for these multi-word searches results in more conversions. We know that audiences often search short but specific phrases and full sentences, ask questions, and use more conversational language. Ideation tools for keyword generation show what these longer terms are, which your law firm can leverage through content marketing.

Knowing what your target audience is looking for, and implementing these keywords and phrases in your content, including headings and subheadings, will help build your brand presence and reach. If you can get more users to your site through keywords and topics they’re seeking, you’ll have the opportunity to engage them and influence what they do next. Because of this, effort should be put into keyword research and topic ideation. 

Sample Keyword and Topic Generators

Ideation tools are often referred to as keyword generators, and when used properly, keyword tools improve your firm’s SEO. They show what your competitors are ranking for, what your target audience is looking for, provide keyword suggestions and content ideas, and show related sites and portals of information that are being linked to. 

Many ideation tools do this, and you should be using one. They’re valuable when creating your law firm’s content marketing plan and continue to be used as content is developed to keep you on track and reveal new opportunities. But what tool should you use? 

Ubersuggest has a free keyword generator that provides keywords and keyphrases (long-tail search terms), which is necessary for both reaching and persuading your audience. But there’s more to it. Ubersuggest shows related keywords and topics, comparison searches, and question searches. There’s even a free Google Chrome extension that provides SEO metrics from Google search results.

Ubersuggest’s monthly or lifetime payment subscription provides keyword research, SEO site audit, daily rank tracking, competitor analysis, backlink data, and a project dashboard that organizes this information and data. To get SEO training and support, coaching calls, and templates to implement keyword discovery in your law firm’s content marketing strategy, you’d have to sign up to the most extensive and costly plan for $99/ month. 

As we’ve discussed, long-tail keywords should be incorporated into your content to reach your target audience and position your firm for conversions. KWFinder by Mangools is a keyword generator that focuses on and helps you find these long-tail searches. It goes a step further and identifies what terms have low SEO difficulty to implement and high search volume. 

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You can see what your competitors are ranking for, a benefit if you don’t know where to start in the keyword research process. There’s also a feature that provides local search trends in 50,000 locations across the country. 

The keyword finder is just one part of a five-tool subscription with Mangools that focuses on improving SEO. You can’t sign up to just get keywords, but the other tools they offer will only help with your law firm’s content marketing strategy and business goals. KWFinder starts at $29.90/ month, with the highest subscription option for $79.90/ month.

Another ideation tool for topic and keyword generation is BuzzSumo. It has four main components: discovery, research, influencers, and monitoring. They combine to create a robust idea-generating tool targeting insights that improve keyword impact in your firm’s content marketing plan. Prices range from $99-$499/ month.

Buzzsumo’s discovery feature generates keywords, search trends, and related topics to help direct content that reaches and influences your target audience. The research component gives insight into the most popular content based on billions of pages, articles, and social media posts it scans. The influencers’ data sorts through social media channels and websites to find people who have topic authority and engaged audiences. 

It also identifies which of your competitors have successful content and a strong presence – and why. Finally, BuzzSumo has a monitoring feature that tracks trends, important keywords, and backlinks and alerts you when new and relevant content is posted. 

Editorial Calendars to Organize and Plan Content

Apple Calendar logo shown by apple pencil on the iPad Pro tablet screen.Your law firm has content ideas, keywords, a target audience, and goals. Now what? You need to schedule your content delivery, set deadlines, organize your team, and create a consistent presence to build recognition, credibility, and ultimately, get clients. It sounds daunting, but using an editorial calendar can make planning and delivering content an efficient process and keep your content marketing plan focused.

Editorial calendars are exactly how they sound; they’re calendars that can organize all aspects of your law firm’s content delivery, but they have extra features and tools that benefit your law firm’s content marketing strategy. Depending on the tool, editorial calendars can assign tasks, integrate document platforms (ex, Google Docs), and even publish and share content directly through the software or app. They can give a clear picture of your law firm’s content, what you accomplish, where you are in a plan and the overall value of it. 

One of the important parts of improving search engine rankings is to publish content regularly. Blog posts are a great tool to leverage this way, providing a platform to communicate your firm’s area of expertise and build an online presence. Pillar pages are another great source of delivering quality content that allows you to develop depth and credibility on related topics and keywords. 

When done right, content delivered through blogs, social media, newsletters, and websites should all be part of your law firm’s content marketing plan. The strategy behind delivering content (who it’s going to, what communication channel you use, and when to share) impacts how well it ranks on search engines and whether it reaches and engages your target audience. There’s a lot to organize, and an editorial calendar can help.

Content marketing is continually evolving and requires regular time and effort to do it effectively. Planning all types of content in an editorial calendar not only organizes what you’re working on but shows the big picture. It can help ensure you stick to the plan and is visual proof of your law firm’s content efforts.  

There are many calendars available to choose from, each with various features to assist in executing your content marketing plan. Beyond task assignment, the ability to upload content, track and reach milestones, create teams and projects, and communicate with others, are other possibilities depending on the editorial calendar your team uses.

Beyond the editorial calendar tools outlined below, the cheapest option is to use a free online calendar or set up a spreadsheet, but that takes significant skill. If you know what you’re doing, have a team experienced in content marketing and search engine optimization, and have defined objectives, a free option could work. But it can be difficult and time-consuming, and an editorial calendar tool can go a long way in saving time and effectively creating and executing your law firm’s content marketing plan.

Sample Editorial Calendar Tools

Editorial calendars can organize every type and piece of your law firm’s content, from email newsletters and social media to web pages and blog posts. Part of a good content marketing strategy involves using an editorial calendar to organize and plan content projects and goals. 

Your law firm’s content is best positioned for results through a calendar like CoSchedule. It’s feature heavy, with easy drag-and-drop capabilities, notifications of task completion and changes, email reminders, and file sharing.

CoSchedule also offers a Marketing Suite subscription option that includes the calendar, as well as track team progress, store files, automate team workflows, and more. The combination of the Suite and Calendar provides a complete tool that organizes and streamlines all of your firm’s content marketing work. Basic calendar plans are $39/ month, but the Marketing Suite requires a sales call to discuss pricing based on your needs.

Trello is one of the most popular tools for project management, and because of its features, it is a helpful tool to create an editorial calendar. There are visual workflows with the ability to see projects, timelines, potential roadblocks, time-sensitive deadlines, and metrics related to your content. 

Checklists, file previews and sharing, reminders, communication with others, and task assignment are all features of Trello. Lists and cards break down your law firm’s content marketing projects and delivery; you can add tasks, see what’s next, what’s in progress, and what’s complete. Beyond using the tool for planning and scheduling your content marketing needs, you can also set goals and schedule meetings, keeping your firm’s work all in one place. Trello’s least expensive plan starts at $29/ month but goes as high as $99/ month.

Asana is another project organizer tool that can be used to set up an editorial calendar. There’s a free option that provides basic organization but also paid tiers of service that incorporate and leverage more in-depth capabilities that could benefit your content marketing plan. 

Asana provides a streamlined way to collaborate with your firm’s content team and increase productivity. It’s somewhat similar to project management software, with many features to improve and streamline your law firm’s content marketing. Asana can be used to assign tasks and deadlines, set milestones and goals, upload files, define projects with overviews, communicate with others, and more. It’s all in one place, with a user-friendly dashboard to navigate each aspect of your projects. There are many subscription options, including a free version, as well as $25+/ month.

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Optimization Tools Improve Law Firm Content Marketing 

A key component to any content marketing plan is optimization. It’s important to understand how content can help or hinder ranking for the legal services you specialize in and eventually get your audience to hire your firm. SEO helps build your brand and analyze the impact and efficacy of your content. They scan for keywords, topics, readability, links, and other factors that affect search engine optimization. 

The structure of your content does matter. Internal and external links, headings, metadata, relevancy, keywords, and language all play a role in the success of content optimization. Law firm content marketing needs to include strategies targeted to your audience, making sure to communicate your message and engage them. As content topics become increasingly important – not just keywords and long-tail search terms – optimization tools can help your law firm reach its goals and influence its audience.

These tools provide valid metrics related to site speed, search engine rankings, readability, lead generation, and how well your content is performing. They help your firm identify where it’s succeeding and where it isn’t by scanning your content and identifying gaps and successes. The results of scans by optimization tools can be incorporated to improve your law firm’s content to reach your target audience better.

Organic traffic, especially when trying to persuade and influence your audience to hire or refer your firm, is the key to more conversions. Instead of paid ads, your firm’s goal should be to get traffic to your website and social networks through highly optimized content. There are SEO tactics that improve your search engine rankings, but all content, from email newsletters to social networks, should be optimized for the best results. 

Once you get your audience on your law firm’s site, blog, or social networks, the content they see should be relevant to their needs. It should answer their questions and lead to more relevant information, and there should be clear calls-to-action that encourage your audience to reach out and take action. Properly optimized content will do this.

Language is another component of effective content marketing for law firms. Language should reflect who you’re speaking to, and the words your audience uses to search should be throughout what you publish. But to get more organic traffic and build the presence your law firm needs, an optimization tool should be used. You also need a team that understands the importance of content optimization, how tools work, and the skills to create content based on data. 

Testing content and metadata to see what language, titles, page structure, topics, and links get the best results is extremely helpful. Tracking keyword rankings and seeing how your pages are ranked will improve the results of your content marketing plan and position your law firm as a trustworthy source. Optimization tools analyze key information and provide valuable metrics to help your firm create influential content. Easy, right?

The fact is it takes time and skill to understand what optimization tools reveal. Your law firm needs to understand the results and, more importantly, factor them into your content marketing plan. Optimized content will lead to results, whether your goal is to increase shares and referrals or outright gain clients. 

If visitors leave your website quickly, aren’t clicking links and browsing to relevant information on your site, or aren’t contacting your firm, your content isn’t performing the way it should and needs to be optimized. Luckily, there are tools to help.

Sample Content and Search Engine Optimization Tools

ClickFlow is an optimization tool with features to help increase traffic, make more conversions, and manage key content to improve its efficacy. Depending on the level of service you choose, ClickFlow offers a range of optimization functions. There are features that help you identify keywords you should be using through a content editor, pages that are underperforming, and keyword rankings over time. 

The other part of ClickFlow allows you to change content and test those changes to see if they improve – or worsen – your SEO efforts. You can see the impact of small adjustments made to content, test titles and other metadata, and learn how effective page elements are through ClickFlow’s features. 

All of the features available through ClickFlow culminate to provide important metrics to how optimized your content is while also giving insight on topics and keywords you should be focusing on to improve traffic and conversions. You’ll see organic traffic results and learn what opportunities exist that could benefit your content marketing plan. 

Surfer is another search engine optimization tool that can be used to improve your content’s impact, relevancy and rankings. It discovers the best keyword density, compares your content to the competition, identifies link-building opportunities, and analyzes and scores content based on SEO

Surfer also has a keyword research tool to boost traffic and provides SEO audits with a free Google Chrome extension. It can integrate a content editor that provides data and scores related to keyword use and related keywords that are missing and content structure. Surfer’s plans are from $59-$199/ month. 

The Cost of Tools to Improve and Execute a Content Marketing Plan

Most ideation, editorial and optimization tools offer monthly and yearly subscription options with anywhere from one to four pricing tiers. Some tools have free versions, but they’re limited in what they offer. Ideation and keyword generator tools range in price. Ubersuggest’s monthly subscription can be as low as $29. However, ideation tools and services can be upwards of $500/ month when offering multiple users and domains, consultants, and a full range of features. 

An editorial calendar could be created for free using a simple online calendar or Trello’s free version, but the paid tools can provide better results. They have features that improve the planning and execution of your firm’s content marketing plan. Paid editorial calendars are as low as $10/ month per user.

As for optimization tools, there’s a huge price range because there are both simple and complex, full-service tools available. To do your own analysis and optimization review, basic plans start around $100/ month. More in-depth services that include strategists who work with you to improve your search engine optimization are at least $1000/ month, with many costing thousands. 

Suffice it to say, regardless of the tools you select, once you sign up to three, you could easily be looking at $400-$500 per month. And to truly get your money’s worth, you need a dedicated team who will work on your content marketing plan, use the tools properly, analyze and adjust as results are revealed, and leverage each tool’s features. Good thing we’re here.  

We’ve broken down some of the most popular tools and their role in law firm content marketing. While your firm can use these tools in-house, it takes time, understanding, and resources to implement and leverage them properly. Our team has extensive experience with and already uses a variety of these ideation, editorial, and optimization tools to deliver quality content that benefits law firms across the country.