Guest blogger David A. Gabay is a lawyer and writer. If you’re a practicing attorney, here he explores some of the factors you’ll want to consider when seeking copywriting for your blog, website, or other promotional materials.
Congratulations on launching your firm’s new website and blog! You’ve survived endless strategy sessions and email chains, and finally crossed off all the items on your to-do list. Now it’s time to take your site out into the real world and use it to win more clients and business.
But how, exactly, does that work? Your web developer told you about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Buy the right words at the right times and in the right locations, and potential new clients will click and tap their way to your website. When they arrive they’ll read all about your firm’s knowledge, experience, and successes, and realize that you are the right fit for them. The rest, as they say, is history.
Perfect. Except somebody has to constantly feed the search engines all of the words, images, and information it demands so that it can actually deliver those new clients to you. All of your web pages must be written and updated to keep up with the changes and new developments in the law and at your firm. Effective blogs needs timely, regular, and professional posts.
All of this writing, editing, and updating takes time. Billable time. Time away from client work. Time you cannot spend anywhere else. Doing this job is hard and often thankless. But someone has to do it.
Who? You generally only have two options: a professional copywriter experienced with law firm websites and blogging, or an associate or support staff member at your firm.
That said, here are 5 things you should consider to help you decide who should write your web copy and blog posts.
1. How Much Time It Will Take
We know from experience that writing a law firm website and blog takes serious time. Think hours, not minutes. Every week. Web pages need to be written and then updated to reflect new legal trends and developments, news and happenings in your clients’ and prospects’ lives, and the inevitable comings and goings of lawyers and staff. Blogging to position yourself as a respected expert in your field in the eyes of clients and prospects requires consistent, timely, and polished posts.
Exactly how many hours each week you will spend writing and editing varies according to your firm’s unique situation, practice areas, and desired results. This uncertainty makes assigning copywriting work to associates and staff ‘complicated.’ Managing all of this is a whole other issue.
2. How Many People Are Involved
It’s hard to generalize about these things, but typically 2-3 different people work on a firm website and blog. The writer, obviously. A partner or supervisor edits and approves her work. Someone loads the final copy onto your website and blog, and attaches images and other information. The writer sometimes does this, but not always.
3. How Much It Will Cost
That’s the $1 million question. If the work is done in-house, you can multiply the hours spent each week or month by your associates and staff by their hourly billing rate (associates) or rate of pay (staff). You should also factor in time for managing this work, and the additional time spent by everyone switching back and forth between copywriting and client work.
All in all, in most cases a professional copywriter can do the job more efficiently and for a fee which makes good financial sense for everyone involved.
4. What Will My Website and Blog Sound Like
You want your firm to project a certain image online and off, so your website and blog should speak with a distinct ‘voice.’ A personality, so to speak. Whatever that voice sounds like, it must be steady and constant over time. Repetition and consistency define and reinforce your reputation and brand in the eyes and minds of prospects and clients.
A professional copywriter writes in the client’s chosen voice. More importantly, she or he keeps and maintains that voice over time, month after month, year after year. Firm employees come and go, work is reassigned, and priorities change. You should carefully consider the value and importance of speaking with one reliable voice on your website and blog.
5. How Can I Reduce My Risk
You always assume some when you assign work, whether in-house or to an outside company. If you give it to an associate or staff member, they may do a bad job or leave suddenly for one reason or another. When that happens, you must scramble to find and train a replacement. That’s never good for business.
On the other hand, professional copywriting companies spread that risk over several employees and multiple practice areas. And they do it just the way you do: keeping extra capacity on staff or readily available per diem.
In the end, there’s no absolutely correct answer to this question. It really depends on your unique requirements, both now and in the future. If you have the right people who can produce quality content on a consistent basis, and who are willing to give up the time—billable and personal—needed to do it, then doing the work in-house may be the right thing to do. Otherwise, you may be better off working with an experienced professional copywriter.
In that case, we hope you’ll consider MarketSmiths. Our team is filled with accidental specialists and highly adaptable generalists who can rise to any occasion. Contact us today to find your perfect fit.