Marketing a company online is not an easy endeavor – at least, if you want to make sure you do it right, avoid mistakes, and maximize your efficiency. When your company is a law firm, it’s even more complicated because there are ethical rules that you need to comply with, legal advice you can’t give, and content that has to be accurate.
Partners who are looking for someone to help them market their firm online can be struck with a strange issue: All the different titles that legal marketing professionals use.
Here’s what they mean, and how they’re different.
Lots of Titles and Categories in Online Legal Marketing
Law firm partners looking for a professional to help them with online marketers are likely to get hit with at least the following marketing titles:
- Legal marketer
- Legal copywriter
- Legal blogger
- Legal content writer
- Legal writer
- Online inbound legal content marketer
- Online marketer
- SEO professional
2 Important Categories to Know
The first and most important way to break these titles down is to divide them into two groups:
- Legal marketers
- Online marketers
Online marketers help companies in all fields on the internet, and include people who describe themselves as SEO professionals. Legal marketers, on the other hand, focus exclusively (or at least predominantly) on the intricacies of marketing in the legal field.
There is some overlay, here, though. Some online marketing companies do have some experience with law firms. They just don’t frequently engage with the legal field.
Law firms should be wary of online marketers, especially if that marketing company has little to no experience in the legal sector. This is even truer if the company will be expected to write content for the website. Marketing companies that don’t focus on the legal industry are unlikely to have anyone in-house who will have the legal chops to write accurate (let alone engaging) articles, and will be unlikely to find someone reliable who can.
What All of Those Legal Marketing Titles Mean
Within the realm of legal marketing, though, there are numerous titles for professionals who want to focus on one particular niche or spread out across several.
Legal writers are the most generalized professionals out there. Not only can they help write your law firm’s online marketing content, they can also help write:
- Demand letters
They are lawyers, first, who can also write your legal marketing content online. In fact, they are often lawyers, licensed to practice somewhere in the U.S. but who are either retired, part-time, or making some extra cash on the side. While they might not have the ability to handle all of your SEO needs, they’re more reliable for in-depth legal analysis.
Legal bloggers, on the other hand, are perhaps the most specific type of legal marketer out there. They focus not just on legal content marketing, but on a specific mode of content marketing: The blog. There are subtle differences between writing a legal blog and a standalone page that targets particular search queries. Partners considering a “legal blogger” for their website would do well to ask whether the blogger would be comfortable writing other content, like landing pages, as well.
It’s worth mentioning, though, that online marketing has taken a slow but very distinct turn away from blogging and towards static pages. The role of legal blogging has changed drastically because it’s no longer the best place for evergreen content – instead, content that won’t get stale is better suited for a targeted page that has no dateline, thanks to the Google Freshness Update.
Some legal bloggers might have already adapted to this development, but haven’t rebranded themselves as something other than a “legal blogger” just yet. In fact, we’re currently in the middle of that rebranding, now.
Legal Content Writer and Copywriters
Many of those legal bloggers are going to rebrand themselves as a legal content writer or a legal copywriter. These are online marketers who write marketing content (also confusingly referred to as “copy”) for the law industry. They fill a law firm’s website with the kinds of content that will help their rankings.
You can think of them as the advertisers in the show Mad Men, but focusing on the legal field and internet marketing.
Legal content writers and copywriters are strictly marketers, though. They don’t write non-marketing legal material, like memos or briefs. They also probably won’t be able to help you with complicated SEO maneuvers like site migrations or penalty recoveries.
Most legal content writers – and more legal bloggers, for that matter – are legal administrative staff like paralegals.
Seemingly included in this realm of work are those who call themselves online inbound legal content marketers, though this title is rare and we’ve only seen it a few times.
Legal marketers are like legal content writers, but with less of a focus on the content and more of a focus on the nitty-gritty of the SEO world. They can probably write some basic legal content for your site, but you probably won’t see them explain the policies that lie behind a statute of limitations or the difference between a statute of limitation and a statute of repose. They are more likely to be able to help you navigate through a complex SEO issue or write code for your law firm’s website, though.
Think of it this way: Legal marketers are where you’re likely to start seeing more marketing degrees than juris doctorates.
What Skill Set Do You Need for Your Firm?
Which job title to look for will depend on the needs of your firm and how hands-on you expect to be with the content you post to your website.
If you’re going to write your own content or are fine with doing some heavy edits to it, you can reach out to the SEO side of the profession. If you have a simple site or one that already functions well and just want someone to do the heavy lifting of filling it with quality content, you would do well to pick up someone on the writing end of the field.