The Value of Merit and Content Based Legal Marketing

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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A firm working with an attorney marketing company needs to distinguish itself from other attorneys. A newer form of lawyer advertising promotes a law firm based on its merit or on information provided by the law firm. These programs offer more than advertising, communicating to clients that the law firm is being promoted for a reason, not merely because the marketing company is being paid to promote the firm. Merit-or expert content-based marketing can lead to clients looking to retain a “good attorney,” not a “cheap attorney.”

Merit-based legal marketing refers to programs that promote an attorney based on the fact that his credentials and/or background have been verified. Verification assures potential clients that they are retaining a qualified attorney with no significant disciplinary issues. Potential clients surfing the Internet for a good attorney tend to be attracted to these merit based programs. The screening process often includes confirming an attorney’s educational and professional credentials. This third party confirmation can be the deciding factor when a potential client is trying to decide between two attorneys.

Content-based legal marketing is different, but offers many of the same advantages. Many now ask lawyers to write articles that provide basic legal information and guidance for consumers. The law firm is then promoted for their expertise and the legal content that they provide to the legal marketing or legal content website. Like merit-based attorney marketing, this marketing method can be very effective because the firm is not promoted simply because they are paying for advertising. The legal content can be optimized so that it comes up high in search engine results and can be tailored to exactly the type of case that a law firm wishes to attract.

A law firm may have a much higher retention rate from this type of program because the client contacts the firm after reading an article that addresses the client’s specific legal problem. The client also may feel more comfortable because the firm provided assistance even before the client calls the firm. Many lawyer marketing programs based on contributing legal content provide detailed profiles and bios of a firm and its attorney designed to feature strengths and achievements.

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