Build Your Legal Content Marketing Plan

BUILD YOUR LEGAL CONTENT MARKETING PLAN

ghidotti.com/legal

TABLE OF CONTENTS 01 | HOW TO DO CLIENT RESEARCH

13 | HOW YOUR FIRM CAN PRODUCE & HOST CONTENT

2. Why Client Research is Necessary 3. Tools To Use In Client Research 4. Why Client Research is a Continuous Process

14. Types of Content To Create 15. Where To House Your Firm’s Content

17 | HOW YOUR FIRM CAN USE CONTENT TO CREATE EXPERTISE 18. What is Thought Leadership? 19. What Makes Someone a Thought Leader? 20. How to Create Thought Leadership Content

05 | HOW TO BUILD CLIENT PERSONAS FOR YOUR LEGAL MARKETING CONTENT 6. What is a Client Persona 7. How to Create Client Personas 8. Questions to Ask When Creating Client Personas 8. Templates and Tools To Use

21 | HOW YOUR FIRM CAN USE CONTENT TO GENERATE LEADS 22. What is a Lead? 23. What is Lead Generation? 24. Content to Put Behind Landing Pages

09 | THE IMPORTANCE OF KEYWORD AND TOPIC RESEARCH

10. How To Research Keyword Ideas 11. Tools To Maximize Keywords

HOW TO DO CLIENT RESEARCH

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Content marketing is like a recipe. It’s only successful when you include all of the necessary ingredients. Just like you can’t bake a delicious bread without flour, you can’t implement a fruitful content marketing plan without client research. Before you can effectively reach your target audience

with blogs, videos and social media posts, you must first determine who they are, what they are looking for and what they need. This will allow you to create content that deeply resonates with your target audience and generates new business for your law firm.

WHY CLIENT RESEARCH IS NECESSARY

When it comes to conducting client research, think of yourself as a football coach getting ready for a pivotal game. You need to know everything there is to know about your opponent. From the type of offense and defense they run to the star players that headline their team, knowing the ins and outs of your rival is the only way to secure that big win. For effective content marketing, client research is your law firm’s gameplan. Instead of offensive and defensive schemes, your goal is to study those individuals that make up your target audience, the services they want and where they are currently getting those services. With this information, your firm can produce content that is tailored to your audience and their needs. Without it, your content might as well just be a diary entry.

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To the uninitiated, client research may seemlike agruelingandoverwhelming task, but it’s actually easier than you think. The best way to gain a better understanding of your audience and the questions you need answered is by simply asking them, and there are a number of valuable tools to assist your firm in this process. TOOLS TO USE IN CLIENT RESEARCH

Direct Interviews

Social Listening

Chances are people are already talking about your industry on various social media channels, and you need to know what they are saying. Social listening is a two-part process that includes scanning various platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) for any posts that include your firm, competitors and any other related keywords, then studying the results to determine a course of action. Hootsuite, Mention, HubSpot and Sprout Social are just a few of the services available to assist your firm in this practice.

There’s a reason journalists have been conducting interviews for hundreds of years. When someone has information that you need, sometimes it’s best to ask them directly. Talk to your firm’s current clients whenever you can to gain a better understanding of their decision-making process and the obstacles they face. These can be done in person or in the comfort of your own home or office through Zoom or another video conferencing platform.

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The answers you compile during client research will give you a better understanding of how to shape your content marketing efforts. Just like the football coach who studied film on his opponent to develop a strategy to win, your client research efforts will help you develop a strategy to effectively reach your target audience and their needs, but it doesn’t stop there. Over time, you’ll be able to assess the results of your content marketing efforts and whether or not you were able to successfully reach your audience. If your firm didn’t see an increase in website traffic, engagement and new business, it’s time to roll out another round of client research with new questions. If your firm did see positive results, give yourself a pat on the back and then prepare to roll out another round of client research with new questions. Understanding your audience and how to reach them isn’t a one-time act. Things change over time and client research should be done at least once a quarter to ensure that you are keeping up with any new ideas or priorities. WHY CLIENT RESEARCH IS A CONTINUOUS PROCESS

Client research is where you gain valuable insight into who your target audience is and how to reach them. Our team is experienced in developing the right strategies to effectively reach your target audience. Schedule your 1-hour free consultation with Ghidotti here .

SurveyMonkey

Designed like a version of Reddit for professionals, Quora allows users to ask or answer questions on a wide range of different topics. Search the site for questions pertaining to your firm’s industry and your target audience, and you may see that others have already shared the information that you seek. Quora

Analyze Website Data

T he world’s most popular online survey tool, SurveyMonkey gives your firm the ability to draft specific questions and send them directly to your audience through email, social media or on your website.

Your firm’s website is the hub for all of your content marketing efforts. It’s the location where you are driving your target audience, and the data on the back end will tell you what they are after. Where on your website are you seeing the most traffic? Where are people staying the longest? This information gives you a better understanding of the needs of your audience and how to reach them .

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FOR YOUR LEGAL MARKETING CONTENT HOW TO BUILD CLIENT PERSONAS

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While client research lays the foundation for effective content marketing by establishing your law firm’s target audience, building client personas takes it to the next level. A target audience includes a variety of different people with various backgrounds, especially for

law firms. People of all ages, genders and professions are in the market for legal representation. This is where client personas come into play. They allow your firm to create personalized content specifically for the 25-year-old teacher, 65-year-old retiree and everyone in between.

WHAT IS A CLIENT PERSONA?

A client persona is a model, created by your firm, that depicts someone within your target audiences. While it may start from a group such as 25- 40 year-old males, the goal is to take it much further. You’re essentially creating a character, much like the popular video game series The Sims, with its own interests and behaviors. With each new trait, this character becomes more and more defined until it represents one person. By focusing on this one specific person, your firm can produce content that finds them where they are and fits their needs. This is a practice that should be done more than one time to develop personas that fit within each of your target audiences. After all, people will respond to and engage with content in different ways and you want to reach as many of your prospective clients as possible.

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HOW TO CREATE CLIENT PERSONAS

In order to create personas that accurately represent your firm’s client base, you must start with what you know. By studying your analytics, marketing automation and CRM, or customer relationship marketing, you will discover trends that reveal how your current clients found you, consumed your content and hired your firm. This gives you a starting point before you begin asking additional questions to create that defined, singular persona. The attorneys at your firm play a vital role in creating client personas. They are the face of your firm and the people who interact with clients the most. Their insight about your current clients and how you serve them will give you an even better understanding of their demographics and other characteristics. You can even take it a step further by asking your clients directly about why they chose to do business with you and what they like best about working with your firm.

Content marketing efforts are wasted by your firm if you aren’t reaching and engaging with your target audiences, which can only be done by knowing the individuals within those audiences. Learn more about our SAME 4-step strategic process where we develop a unique strategy for your firm to gain real results.

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QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CREATING CLIENT PERSONAS

After you have established the base for your firm’s client personas, it’s time to start getting specific. There’s no shortage of questions that you can ask when creating these profiles, but be sure to include relevant information about their demographics, background, career, personal life, purchase habits, financial status, personality and goals. The more information you can provide, the easier it will be to create content marketing strategies that effectively reach your target audience.

DEMOGRAPHICS Name, age, gender, city, education BACKGROUND Birthplace, relationship with parents, number of siblings

With the addition of each attribute, you get closer and closer to building a client persona that can boost your firm’s content marketing efforts. Starting from the group of 25-40 year-old males, you’ll end up with “Mike,” a 31 year-old father of two that works as a car salesman making $60,000 a year, votes Republican and spends a lot of time on Facebook, allowing you to think of him as a person rather than just a list of information like the back of a baseball card. CAREER Industry, title, job responsibilities, salary range, company size, challenges PERSONAL LIFE Relationship status, number of children, housing situation, religion, political beliefs PURCHASE HABITS How they use Google, social media platforms they use, how they make payments online, describe a recent purchase FINANCIAL STATUS Net worth, debt, spending habits PERSONALITY Introvert or extrovert, optimist or pessimist, risk taker or risk averse, planner or go with the flow GOALS Career objectives, life objectives, bucket list

TEMPLATES AND TOOLS TO USE

By now, you’re probably realizing that this practice requires a lot of information and keeping all of it compiled and organized can be tricky on your own. Maybe you’re someone who can put it all in a spreadsheet and remain organized. Or, maybe you’re someone who loses track when you open a new tab on your browser (it happens to the best of us). Not to worry; there are a number of templates and tools available to assist your firm, such as Digital Marketer’s customer avatar worksheet, HubSpot’s buyer

persona template and Marketo’s marketing persona cheat sheet. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to compiling all the necessary information to create your client personas. Like many other content marketing efforts, it’s a trial and error process to figure out the optimum solution. Try a few templates, determine what works best for your firm and you’ll be well on your way to building client profiles and reaching your target audience.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF KEYWORD & TOPIC RESEARCH

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To achieve maximum results for your law firm, effective content marketing requires the proper balance between quality and quantity. You want to maintain a steady flow of blog posts, social media updates and videos, and you need to ensure that your content is being seen, read and consumed by your target audience. After

conducting client research and creating client personas, knowing the right keywords and topics to include is your firm’s golden ticket to getting the most out of your content. If you know what prospective clients are asking on Google, Bing or other search engines, you’ll be better equipped to produce content to fit those needs.

HOW TO RESEARCH KEYWORD IDEAS Before you embark on the quest for keywords, you must first determine a list of important topics for your firm. Think of the questions you hear from clients or prospective clients during meetings and business discussions. Search for questions about your industry on forums like Quora or Reddit. As you compile the most frequently asked questions, these topics will become the basis for establishing relevant keywords to use in your content marketing efforts. Examples of potential topics include estate planning, family law and tax planning. From there, it’s time to start plugging in keywords that belong in each different topic. After all, you’re the expert, so you’ll have a few that you can add from your own understanding of the field. For estate planning, potential keywords might include probate, trust or will. For family law, you might add adoption, divorce or child custody. You get the idea. Add as many different keywords as possible for each topic as you’ll want a wide range to include in your research before determining the most effective to use. If you find yourself struggling with keywords, do a Google search of your topic and review the “searches related to” it on the bottom of the page.

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TOOLS TO MAXIMIZE KEYWORDS Now that your firm has a well-researched list of keywords to choose from, it’s time to determine those that warrant inclusion in your content. This requires a good balance of head keywords, or general terms that are frequently used, and the more specific long-tail keywords. Having a mix of both is essential because you want your firm to be where the traffic is, but you also don’t want to miss out on those that are searching for a specific area of your expertise. The best part about maximizing keywords is you don’t have to do it alone. There are a number of different tools available that will provide your firmwith up-to-date statistics on how often keywords are being used on search engines, such as Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer and Keywords Everywhere. As you see each keyword’s ranking, you’ll be able to accurately pinpoint the most popular words and phrases to include in your firm’s blogs, social media posts and other published content. This practice should be repeated every few months to assess results and continue to grow your reach. Once you have defined your list of keywords, the next step will be sprinkling them into your content to generate better search engine optimization (SEO) for your website. However before you get carried away by saturating every sentence, let’s talk about how content marketing and SEO combined can create results for your firm, click here.

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Even the most extravagant content marketing plans can miss the mark if they fail to reach your target audience and fill a need. Like the flashing lights on a runway, these keywords and phrases provide a path from search engines to your website. Not sure where to start, let’s chat .

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HOW YOUR FIRM CAN PRODUCE AND HOST CONTENT HOW YOUR FIRM CAN PRODUCE & HOST CONTENT

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On the surface, content marketing seems like a fancy way to describe blogging. It’s actually a comprehensive term that includes a variety of different mediums, including a well-published blog. As your firm embarks on this content marketing journey, there are a nearly endless

number of routes to take for sharing content, and you hold the key to discovering the best routes. After your firm conducts client research, including brand personas and keyword research, you can determine the most effective ways to reach your target audience.

TYPES OF CONTENT TO CREATE

When it comes to legal marketing, there’s no shortage of opportunities to spread the message of your firm through content. Here are some to consider as you seek to reach your target audience.

Byline Articles Whether it’s a blog post or an article in a newspaper or magazine, well-written content is still a tried and true way to reach an audience.

Speaking Engagements Seminars and conferences put you directly in front of your audience, allowing you to increase your status as a thought leader in your industry.

Interviews Sitting down with a journalist or podcast host gives your attorneys an opportunity to speak passionately about your firm with an increased reach.

Infographics Visual graphics are essential to any content marketing plan, and infographics give your firm’s audience valuable content in an easy to consume format.

Videos Video continues to be a popular way of reaching an audience, and a recorded series or live stream can be a useful tool for your firm without breaking the bank.

Case Studies Your attorneys are the experts in their field, and a case study allows them to prove that status to prospective clients.

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WHERE TO HOUSE YOUR FIRM’S CONTENT

Think of your firm’s website as the hub for all of your content. Any blogs, videos, interviews, articles or graphics that were produced by or include someone from your firm should be stored on your website. Website

Having a library of quality content is only beneficial if your firm is able to deliver it to your target audience. Luckily, there are a number of different avenues for storing and disseminating your firm’s content.

Facebook

As a professional networking platform, LinkedIn is great for sharing case studies, blog posts or anything with legal jargon that might be out of place on Facebook. LinkedIn

With an average of 1.73 billion daily users, Facebook remains the social media titan. As your firm builds a relationship with your target audience, Facebook can be used to share informative content and light-hearted posts such as team photos.

Essentially the Facebook for videos, YouTube is an easy and effective way to host and share videos with your firm’s audience. It takes time to build a following on YouTube, but the videos can be shared on other platforms and embedded on your website. YouTube

Contributed Content

While you churn out content on your own, don’t forget about your potential ally in the media. Consider pitching a blog post or op-ed to a local newspaper or business publication, allowing your firm to reach a new audience and increase credibility in the eyes of your audience.

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The best part about having a fully stocked inventory of content is the ability to repurpose and reuse it again and again over time. That blog post that received a lot of engagement can be made into a series of graphics with quotes from the attorney that wrote it. A case study could become a seminar. Webinars can be trimmed into shorter clips to share periodically on social media. Each time your firm reshares content, it expands your reach and extends the life of the content.

From live video shoots and webinars to podcasts and infographics, there are plenty of methods for delivering messages to your target audience. Our agency has particular expertise in creating content that drives action. Schedule your 1-hour free consultation.

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HOW YOUR FIRM CAN USE CONTENT TO CREATE EXPERTISE

HOW YOUR FIRM CAN PRODUCE AND HOST CONTENT

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It’s no secret that content marketing can be an effective tool to generate new business for your law firm. Through client research, keyword research and brand personas, your firm will gain insights into who your target audience is and how you can reach them. However, the benefits don’t stop with lead

generation. Content marketing is also a valuable means to elevate thought leadership. The go-to members of your firm, those with ideas, opinions and insight, can establish and promote themselves as thought leaders in their industry through the use of consistent and relevant content.

WHAT IS THOUGHT LEADERSHIP? A thought leader isn’t just someone who brings new practices and pursuits to their industry. They also have that title reinforced by their peers and competitors within that field. Think of it like Michael Jordan. He’s not considered the greatest basketball player of all time because he gave himself that rank. He earned that recognition by competing for championships against the likes of Magic Johnson, Karl Malone and Charles Barkley in the NBA Finals, proving his status as an all-time great player with six championships and a slew of individual accolades. Just as Jordan had to devote hours in the gym honing his craft to cement his place in basketball history, those who seek to become a thought leader must be ready to produce content early and often. It doesn’t happen overnight. Thought leadership, much like the practice of content marketing, is a long game that may require months or even years of hard work to achieve. The trick is not everyone can be a thought leader, nor can they pretend to be.

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WHAT MAKES SOMEONE A THOUGHT LEADER?

Having a wealth of industry insights and experiences is an essential first step in the process of becoming a thought leader. That’s not to say that only the CEO or partners at your firm can become thought leaders. Whether it’s the longest tenured attorney on your team or the newest associate lawyer, anyone with an advanced knowledge of their field can be a thought leader if they are able to tell stories authentically and effectively teach and help others learn. Keep in mind that this strategy is less about selling your firm and more about proving your individual status within your industry. Think of yourself as a teacher for this practice. Your job isn’t to ensure that your students think your school is the greatest; it’s to educate them. Your research into your target audience revealed the questions that others are asking. This is your opportunity to answer those questions through your content, earning the trust and respect of those in and around your field.

People want information from industry leaders because they know it is authentic, relevant and valuable. Ghidotti has experience developing content strategies to move the needle in your legal content marketing that turns prospects to clients. Schedule your 1-hour free consultation to learn more.

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HOW TO CREATE THOUGHT LEADERSHIP CONTENT

In a world flooded with content, effective thought leadership requires creativity. Those in your firm’s target audience are being bombarded with information any time they surf the web, and your goal is to stand out from the crowd by educating them without requesting anything in return. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to deliver valuable information and establish a positive reputation.

The Firm’s or Personal Blog

Newspapers & Magazines

Speaking Engagements Any opportunity to speak at a seminar or conference should be welcomed. There’s no better way to guarantee an attentive audience filled with those in your field.

Thought leadership goes hand in hand with a well-published blog. Written content is an easy way to educate your audience, but don’t forget to include some personality to create a deeper connection. You’re offering yourself as much as your knowledge.

Whether it’s a guest column or op- ed written by you or a feature article penned about your achievements, being published in a newspaper or magazine will instantly create credibility in the eyes of your audience.

Facebook Live Live video is a valuable part of any thought leadership strategy. You’re able to connect with your audience in a way that may resonate with some members more than a blog post would, while continuing to inject your own personality with tone of voice, facial expressions and humor.

Facebook Stories Photos, graphics and other images allow you to share information with others in a quick and easy format. It’s a nice change of pace from long-form content that promotes your creativity as well as your expertise.

Whether it’s produced directly by you or with a team of writers, editors, producers and videographers, thought leadership content should be done in house when possible. After all, these are your thoughts that are going to be shared with your target audience. If you lack the capacity to do it yourself, just remember that you can outsource the work but not the ideas.

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HOW YOUR LAW FIRM CAN USE CONTENT TO GENERATE LEADS

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Elevating thought leadership is one of the many benefits of content marketing, but perhaps the most valuable for your law firm is lead generation. New clients are essential for the growth of any firm and you have all the tools to get them.

Conducting client research with brand personas and keyword research provides the audience, while publishing the right content turns audience members into potential customers. As the old adage goes, content is king.

WHAT IS A LEAD? The definition may vary depending on the organization, but in its simplest form, a lead is someone who has expressed interest in your firm or services. For many people, hiring an attorney involves some research and depending on where they are in the process, they could be an information qualified lead, marketing qualified lead or sales qualified lead. INFORMATION QUALIFIED LEAD This is a person who has expressed initial interest. They could have answered a questionnaire, signed up for your newsletter or even followed one of your social media accounts. MARKETING QUALIFIED LEAD An information qualified lead who continues to express interest in your firm becomes a marketing qualified lead. Whether they reached out with an inquiry or contacted an attorney directly, this person is seeking more information as they consider a business partnership. SALES QUALIFIED LEAD By this point, your lead is ready to discuss pricing and hire your firm. Mission accomplished.

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WHAT IS LEAD GENERATION?

As any legal marketer knows, not every lead will eventually become a client. It’s a numbers game and the goal is to attract as many people from your target audience as possible. More interested people will become more leads, which will generate more new clients for your firm. Think of it like a raffle with the grand prize being a new client. Of course, it’s technically possible that one ticket, or lead in this case, will be enough to win the prize. However, the odds of winning become increasingly higher with the addition of each ticket. Speaking engagements and advertisements are beneficial, but consistent and relevant content is the most effective and cost-efficient way for your firm to generate leads.

Prospective clients have questions and your firm has the answers in the form of a webinar, eBook or case study. Developing key pieces of content that will elevate your thought leadership is the goal of our SAME 4-step strategic process. Learn more.

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CONTENT TO PUT BEHIND LANDING PAGES Every law firm needs a good website. It’s your first introduction to your target audience and making a good impression is vital to building and maintaining those relationships. Including all background information about your attorneys and practice areas as well as content such as a blog or podcast, this homepage is the centralized hub for your firm, but for the purpose of lead generation, landing pages are equally important. While your website likely includes multiple tabs and sections with a library of information, a landing page is a standalone web page with a single call to action. There’s no need for additional clicks on a landing page as the primary goal is to turn visitors into leads. Just as blog posts and social media messages can drive traffic to your website, content is the key to generating leads through a landing page and there are a number of types for your firm to consider.

eBooks You know the questions your prospective clients are asking. Answering them in the form of an eBook gives your firm authority and status as a leader in your industry.

Webinars A virtual presentation gives your firm an opportunity to establish credibility and trust with an interested and engaged audience.

Host Events Even with the convenience of technology, face-to- face interaction still has a prominent place in business. A live event is your firm’s ticket to forming a deep connection with your audience, and can also be done virtually while the need for social distancing practices remains.

Case Studies This is where your expertise can really shine. With detailed explanations of past successes, your firm can provide evidence of its potential to prospective clients.

White Papers & Guides With content that is informative rather than sales-focused, your firm can position itself as a valuable resource, strengthening the relationship with members of your audience.

Storing and distributing this content on a landing page is a win-win for your firm and the leads you generate. They receive valuable information for their decision-making process, while you get a chance to connect with someone who has expressed interest in hiring your firm and showcase what you have to offer. Be sure to gather contact information on your landing page so your firm can reach out to visitors individually for any follow-up discussions to continue the conversion from lead to a new client. making $60,000 a year, votes Republican and spends a lot of time on Facebook, allowing you to think of him as a person rather than just a list of information like the back of a baseball card.

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In today’s competitive landscape, lawfirms can’t grow their businesses without a focus on thought leadership and building trust with clients. In fact, thought leadership executed strategically can create real business results, while thought leadership done poorly can create risks and blow back (and then you’ll need our crisis communications team to help out!). Our agency has particular expertise in helping law firms and legal marketers create thought leadership platforms fueled by an integrated strategy of earned media and content marketing that increases leads and cases, improves brand recognition and reputation, while also equipping attorneys to sell. Which is why our 4-step strategic process was created. THE PROCESS IS CALLED SAME. Why do we call it SAME? Well, it’s easy to remember for one thing, but, more importantly, it’s the same for each attorney and practice area because it WORKS! Our goals for clients in this program are: STRATEGY Create a strategic planning process that brings about action. AUDIT Conduct an audit of current content and get organized. MESSAGE Produce a message map that results in better earned media. EQUIP Train your attorneys to sell. By adopting our SAME process, your results will be anything but that. You will create results for your attorneys that are unique to them and their practice areas, generating real leads through focused and strategic thought leadership. Our proven process gives your firm the right tools and an actionable plan that creates RESULTS!

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SAME PROCESS. UNIQUE RESULTS.

If improving lead generation is a priority to your law firm, we would love to be your partner. Schedule your free consultation to discuss what legal content marketing can do for your law firm – and how you can implement a new process that will not only help you curate content, it will help you create results for your attorneys that are unique to them and their practice areas.

Natalie Ghidotti

Click Here to Schedule a Call.

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