Content Strategy: Two Easy Ways to Turn Search Keywords Into Targeted Visibility for Your Firm

by JD Supra Perspectives
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I spend my days on the phone talking to clients who both 1) have questions for me and 2) share terrific ideas about the way they turn engagement with their thought leadership on JD Supra into next steps.

Regarding the latter, I love learning from marketers about how they stay proactive on the front lines. Here are two simple, client-driven ideas on how to turn high-value search keywords in your analytics into action items.

That is to say, from your colleagues: here's how to follow up on what you learn when you see how people find your content in search.

1. Repeat the successes

Seems obvious, but then we'd see more law firms doing this. Here's how it works:

Select a date range based on your larger objectives - the past month, quarter, six months, year. In your analytics dashboard, click through to Keywords and begin scouring for words that match with your particular marketing goals. This might pertain to an individual attorney (in which case you've also filtered by their name only), a practice group (filter by names of all attorneys in the group), or the entire firm. 

I actually recommend exporting your list of keywords into an Excel spreadsheet (see the big yellow export button on JD Supra analytics). It's easy to share the document internally, but with an Excel file also easy now to begin the process of eliminating less helpful keywords and only leaving those that are the type of high-value searches you care about.

For example, in a quick scan of recent search terms delivering readers to content on JD Supra, I assume the following are likely high-value, strategically important queries: CMS Final Rule 2017; 'deal agent' mortgage backed securities; CEO role in startups; what belongs in employee handbook; FDA biosimilar guidelines; impact of tax reform on real estate investment ... among so many others.

Keep such keywords and search phrases in your spreadsheet; delete the ones that don't tell you much. Now you have a list of valuable searches that you know readers have used to query information in a journey that arrives, finally, at your firm's thought leadership.

Send the list internally to anyone with a stake in your content initiatives, especially your writers. Direct them to both write on these issues again - there are more angles to explore, and one post is just a good start to establishing authority - and also to use these words in the actual titles of their next pieces.

In the marketing language of the day: rinse and repeat. You've had success finding a readership that uses this language when expressing their informational need. Keep using the language. Titles are a perfect place to start.

2. Fine-tune the misses

This is a nuance to the above point and can mean two things, both equally important.

Let's say that, in an investigation of last quarter's keywords, you learn you're driving a lot of readers searching on startup funding to publications by your IP practice group. The IP group does not focus on startup funding, but this visibility might be because they referenced the topic a few times - or in a popular post - in their coverage of larger intellectual property matters. 

Regardless of the specific example (all of which will be different on the ground, so to speak, based on your client base and particular practice area), let's say you are being found via keyword searches that don't serve much of a strategic purpose for you. What to do?

Fine-tune your writing. Work with the attorney or the practice group to recalibrate to some degree and start focusing on the issues that actually pertain to the target audience you have in mind. Your writing has had some success achieving visibility - you may now need to focus a little more on making it helpful, valuable, and available to the right readers. (Speak to me about Trend Alerts if you'd like help with this refocusing.)

Three or six months from now, revealuate the keyword searches driving your visibility -- see if you are being found for more strategically focused reasons. You'll know the answer to this based not only on Keywords data, but also (on JD Supra) in the reports of which industries and companies are reading your work.

Another take on this:

If, as you scan that list of high-value keywords, you discover that you are being found for worthy, strategically valuable topics that you in fact did not write about directly, recalibrate and now address those topics head-on.

I actually see this play out with some frequency. So, for example: you find that your IP group wrote as an aside about biosimilars in a larger post about patent protection matters. As a result of that aside, your content - actually more focused on other issues - is driving readership by people interested in biosimilars. This is a miss that can be corrected. Now circle back, armed with the knowledge of actual interest (as proven by real searches by real people), and write more specifically about legal issues at the intersection of IP and biosimilars.

Of course, you will have your own more specific examples. Using my fictional IP group above, it may also unfold this way: per the earlier scenario, you find that the IP group that mentioned startup funding (again, more as an aside) is now seeing good visibility for startup matters. That data might be important for other practice groups in which startup clients are more of a focus. Share it with them. It might not be simply that the IP group should refocus; it's that another team might need to take up their own pens (ok, keyboards) and write!

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I have used JD Supra analytics to make my point here -- the points above remain even if you are assessing the impact of your firm-hosted content with, say, Google Analytics where you won't necessarily have the ability to filter by individual authors, a group of authors, and/or export your data to share internally. 

Specifically: repeat your successes and let your high-value keywords help you write new titles. And, along the way, recalibrate based on high-value visibility that may be, nonetheless, mis-directed.

Such is the beauty of data-driven marketing. And don't even get me started on the tremendous value of our Beacon Reports.

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[Paul Ryplewski is the VP of client services at JD Supra. Connect with him on LinkedIn and follow for his latest writings on JD Supra.]

 

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