Thursday 20 June 2019, Guildford

Thank you to BDO for hosting this event.

This was a well-attended event with several people travelling down from London to be in the room for the presentation.

Simon Manuel has previously run his own law firm and has had wide experience with professional journalism and publishing.

The presentation initially addressed the question of what constitutes content marketing and how it is perceived by fee earners versus the perception from those in business development circles.

Simon then asked the attendees what they thought was the main purpose(s) of content marketing. This led to an interesting discussion over brand awareness, expertise and the reasons why some individuals are happy to produce content whilst others shy away from the whole area and the problems with engaging fee earners to accept the concept and the benefits of content marketing.

A.I.D.A was put forward as an acronym (by the way you should avoid these in articles and blogs!) to explain why content marketing persuades potential client to buy from your business. 

                        A = Awareness: LinkedIn and other social media. PPC, SEO

                        I  = Interest: Website, blogs, articles, newsletters, case studies etc

                        D = Decision. Case studies and testimonials.

                        A = I think this was for ‘Action’ (as in they become clients) but the explanation wasn’t actually on the presentation as far as I can see.

The next question put to the attendees was ‘why is your professional firm like a magazine?’ I think this foxed a lot of us as there were a couple of vague stabs at answering it, but we didn’t get the answers right initially. The answers were: 

  • You are publishers
  • You have defined audiences
  • You have subject matter that will be of interest to those audiences
  • You have knowledgeable writers in house                       

Simon then went on to address ‘identifying who it is you are writing for’, ensuring the audience will think it is interesting and establishing a ‘niche’ that helps you stand out from the generalists out there. We also discussed the areas (Educational, Industry, Firm) that make up the source material for written content and what often gets missed in terms of subject matter such as opinion pieces, guest blogs and interviews.

The final part of the presentation focused on the lessons that can be learnt from magazines in terms of avoiding being lost in the mass of bad writing and ‘fake news’ that is cluttering up the internet and elsewhere. How you communicate matters as does having a house style and guide for how you address certain subjects and use language. The ‘headlines’ and editorial process are also vital to producing good content. Who has control over the final product? Finally, interaction with your audience is very important. Ask for feedback and questions.

Simon was a relaxed presenter who obviously knew his subject matter inside out, understood the challenges of the professional office environment and had empathy with his audience.

It was a very useful session.

Written by
Chris Hunterrhw Solicitors LLP