What Is the Pass-Along Value of Your Law Firm's Content?

by JD Supra Perspectives

How do we create viral content?

In my role at JD Supra I talk to a lot of marketing and business development teams about what they want from their firm's content marketing efforts. Many folks seem strategically aligned (most law firms want brand visibility, expertise marketing & credentialing, networking, and business growth from their content, among other things) - but not everyone seems aligned on how to get there.

I think this is in part because we look outside of the legal marketplace for models and not all of those models translate for our particular marketing and business needs. One such example: the question of viral content.

"[A] marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message."

That's the definition of viral marketing per the Marketing Terms website, and tied to it is this interesting definition of "pass-along rate" - the goal of all viral marketing, right?

"Pass-along rates are a measure of word-of-mouth marketing. Objects typically passed include email messages, Web pages and multimedia files. Content typically passed includes humor and entertainment, late-breaking news, shopping specials, and technical gizmos."

In other words, translating these generic definitions for professionals tasked with building brand, marketing expertise, and growing business in the legal marketplace: viral content has a terrific pass-along rate and typically is something funny, entertaining, retail-based, gizmo-related, or to do with breaking news. 

I put breaking news at the end of my paraphrase because it is probably the only item in the list that truly intersects with law firm content marketing. Your attorneys and practice groups make sense of the news, its legal implications, on behalf of clients. And that content can, and does, "go viral."

But you have to know what to look for.

Here's an example that really struck me when I saw it, and made me want to capture these thoughts on what pass-along value can look like for law firm content:

Earlier this month, Eversheds Sutherland published analysis of two new orders issued by FERC "regarding two significant tax-related rate matters affecting interstate oil and natural gas pipelines."

From the firm's website, the post went next to JD Supra, after which it took on a life of its own that illustrates not only pass-along rate/value in this space, but also how quickly and easily visibility moves between paid and earned media.

From JD Supra, Benzinga, an online media outlet focused on financial information for investors, picked up the post. (See the link to it in the opening paragraph of this article about Morgan Stanley's response to the FERC orders.)

So, we have a law firm seeing audience and readership for one of the posts in something like a cascading effect: visitors to their own website, visitors to their branded portfolio of work on JD Supra (where people are following topics that matter to them), then to a reference in an article for a specific audience interested in the tax implications of these orders.

And here's where it gets interesting.

In an ongoing cascade, driving even more pass-along value for this law firm update, Benzinga's article was also syndicated to two power sources of online visibility: MSN Money and Yahoo! Finance.

Click on each link above to the story as it appeared on those two platforms - you'll see the link to the law firm update prominently featured in the opening paragraph.

This is one of the things I think of when we talk about viral content in the legal marketplace. 

In future posts I'll show examples of viral sharing by individuals on social platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc) and for now I leave you with this. Viral spread (aka pass along) via media pickup.

Note that, in order to convey his analysis, the attorney who wrote this post did not dress up three kittens in the types of hard hats you need to visit a gas pipeline.

He did very little to make the piece conform to what the rest of the world tells us content needs in order to be viral.

Instead, in a timely fashion, he made sense of the news. And that resonated with enough people for his analysis to be easily accessed by readers on the front page of Yahoo! Finance and MSN Money earlier this month.

My colleague Adrian Lurssen has talked before about what makes some content more popular than others in the legal marketplace - and this latest example, above, is a timely reminder as you buckle down and focus your content strategy for the year. 

At the heart of it should be this goal: Make sense of the news in the industries and sectors you serve (this is what you are good at) and make your work available.

Available so others can pass it along.


[Robin Oliver is Global Director of Business Development at JD Supra. Connect with her on LinkedIn, or follow her next writing on JD Supra.]


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