Co-Founder & CEO
We Do Web Content
7520 NW 5th St Ste 204
Plantation, FL 33317
This is My Story About Developing Deep Smarts in Legal Web Content Marketing
While I might have “fallen into” content marketing some years ago, I had serendipitously landed on familiar terrain. You see, prior to starting We Do Web Content in 2008, I worked as a corporate trainer for one of the world’s oldest and largest banks, ABN-AMRO. During my years as a trainer, I gained tremendous insight into the human mind and how effective one can be at a job when armed with the right information and training. At the height of my career, I had developed dozens of training courses for the bank’s retail mortgage fulfillment center, including a week-long training course I presented to droves of new hires three to four times a month for a year throughout the real estate boom.This experience lead me to be a part of many important projects that would change the bank’s processes for the better, and later gained me my Green Belt from Six Sigma.
I felt as though I had found my calling. Corporate training infused my passion for research and writing with my passion for bringing out the best in people. I understood that in order for someone to be successful at a role, she must be motivated and exposed to the right information in the right way, whether it was breaking down a customer’s APR on a flip chart, holding a group discussion on mortgage insurance being a sound investment, or role playing customer service experiences. My only goal was to cultivate confidence and motivation in the group of diverse individuals I was so fortunate to stand in front of with a menagerie of florescent markers and a laser pointer.
My career as a trainer ended in late 2007 with the crash of the real estate market. But I was happy to move on. My husband and I had just welcomed our first child into the world, and the time off afforded me the priceless opportunity to bond with my son and come into my own as a new mother. Of course, in true Yvette fashion, I immersed myself in books and websites about parenting and child development and used this time to bring out the best in both my son and me. Soon we were running like a well-oiled machine. My son was all smiles, eating well, napping for hours at a time, and sleeping through the night. He walked early and knew at least 30 words by the time he was 15 months old. I was a proud momma to say the least – still am!
Alas, I knew my hiatus couldn’t last forever. In the midst of all the new mommy bliss, my husband and I learned we would become parents for the second time a few months after our son’s first birthday! What a blessing – another healthy and beautiful baby boy. I stayed home for close to another year when I started to feel disconnected from the workforce. I knew I wanted to ease back into it so I started making some calls in hopes of finding something flexible and part-time.
Enter my good friend, Ken LaVan, then a serial entrepreneur and attorney with a budding Social Security veterans’ disability claims practice. Ken graciously offered to keep his eyes and ears open for any gig that would fit the bill. Ken would not be Ken if he didn’t try to help a friend in need so a few days later I get a call… it’s Ken. He says he just bought a website for the firm, but doesn’t have the time to manage the design or write the content. He wanted to know if I would be interested in taking on the project. The opportunity sounded right up my alley so I jumped on it.
Soon I found myself back in the learner saddle, my destination yet unknown. My years as a Six Sigma Green Belt taught me that in order to solve a problem and improve the quality of a process, you must first analyze each step in the process. So I made it my mission to spend as many hours as I could with Ken and his key staff members learning about the good, the bad, and the ugly of Social Security and veterans’ disability claims process.
Together we worked to identify the pain points of the claimant, and brought to light the issues that were ultimately causing the claimant to receive a denial of benefits. We then outlined the ways in which Ken, the other attorneys, and support staff could minimize or eliminate these issues and up the chances of receiving benefits. These exercises in discovery ultimately lead to the realization that without an experienced professional, claimants would be denied their rightful benefits more than 50 percent of the time. Armed with all of this valuable information, it was up to me to communicate the message to every level of the firm’s target audience.
I started the task (now known as a “content strategy”) with the understanding that each level of the firm’s audience would require me to engage them differently. One level may call for details while another level would rather a brief overview on any given topic. And, within each level, I would have to consider the learning styles of the people in it. For example, this thinking led me to design a swim lane process map to break down the Social Security’s disability approval process for the visual learner and film several videos addressing a claimant’s most common questions for the auditory learner.
I organized my spreadsheet by:
- core topics which would serve as the site’s foundation of pages (who we are and what we will do for you);
- detailed topics (help with your application, appeal or hearing);
- other related topics you should know about (disabling conditions from A to Z, what you can do to help your claim, and why you should consider a lawyer for your hearing);
- disability resources (grants for making your home wheelchair accessible, discount prescription drug programs, and support groups);
- success stories (detailed legal briefs from cases the firm had won); and
- client testimonials.
Later our content plan would include additional sections, including a section for blog posts aimed at attracting return visitors. These topics would be centered around the news meant to keep readers abreast of any changes to federal disability benefits.
Once the spreadsheet was complete, the staff and I reviewed it for any gaps in information and filled them in accordingly. At that moment, we knew we would be creating the ultimate resource for disabled individuals and their families in need of federal disability benefits.
Next, we decided on how aggressive we should be with producing the content outlined in the spreadsheet. We set a goal of adding 200 to 300 pages to the site prior to its launch in August 2008. During this time, I possessed only a rudimentary understanding of search engine optimization which placed quality text (articles, blog posts, etc.) at helm of the ways to gain top listings. We were on the right path.
With minimal keyword research or influence, I set my fingers to keys and started typing, producing page after page of educational material for the disability claimant. Amidst all the writing, I also took advantage of the free business profiles offered by Google, Yahoo, Bing, and YP.com and created listings for the firm. In just a few months, I had met the firm’s pre-launch goal. The site launched in early September 2008. These were exciting times as we watched the site’s traffic skyrocket week after week going from a few hundred visits to 1,500 visits by the end of October!
Even our webmaster was amazed by the results – “We’ve never seen numbers like these in such a short amount of time!” he said. “And take a look at the long tail keywords you guys are pulling in! Ken, you should be proud,” he kindly demanded. I blushed. Traffic was great, but it was not the best part of Ken’s story. The majority of the people visiting his site and reading his content became his clients. By December 2008, the firm was receiving at least 100 contact requests through the website and about another hundred phone calls as a result of the website. This is how we knew we were hitting the right people with the right information.
Though my work on Ken’s site was far from complete, I had finally arrived at my destination – the decision to help other attorneys achieve the same success online. So in late 2008, I started We Do Web Content, Inc. – a content marketing firm for the legal industry.
They say the measure of a sound process is one you can scale and repeat with the same success. Well, using the strategy I had developed for Ken’s site with a couple of edits baked into the process, We Do Web Content began helping many other attorneys gain visibility and leads from their websites.
At the time we incorporated, MySpace was fading into the abyss, Facebook was mainly a college kid’s pastime, and serious techies had a strong hold on Twitter. Using social networks to promote a business was sort of a no man’s land, and the benefits of doing so were not so obvious. Still we felt it was important to be early adopters of this new way of “being where your customers are.”
So, we founded Facebook fan pages (now business pages) and secured Twitter handles for our company, Ken’s disability law firm, and a few of our other clients. However, because website content was performing so well and could be tracked easily, we did not include social media promotion as part of our clients’ content strategies until 2010.
Today’s process is polished and more robust. It starts with providing our writers and editors on-going training on semantic search best practices, which includes a checklist on satisfying searcher intent for any given search query, identifying and using related terms, and providing valuable takeaways in every page we publish. Though I can’t sit face-to-face with the majority of our new clients, I personally take time to consult with each one. During the consultation call, my goals are the same as they were almost six years ago:
- to learn everything I can about the firm – who they are as individuals and as a team, what they do and why they do it, the cases the handle and why, and what makes them unique in their market. This information helps us strengthen the firm’s identity/brand and establish the tone for the content.
- to gather preliminary information about the firm’s target audience – what questions are they asking; how are they asking them (what language are they using); what kind of jobs do they work; what are the age brackets; income; etc.
- to gain knowledge about their competitors.
- and, to understand their current online marketing efforts and why they were either a success or a failure.
Through these consultations, I also learn about our clients’ spouses, children, hobbies, and favorite pastimes. Forming strong and lasting bonds with our clients is my favorite part.
Most new clients come to us with an existing website. If this is the case, I also perform an evaluation of the site’s existing content. I look for core content, supporting pages and other related content. In other words, I want to be sure the site provides the firm’s target audience with the information they’re looking for or didn’t know they needed. If it does not, the start of our content strategy will be to fill in the gaps. I then review the site for compelling calls to action. Does the firm have any? Are they effective? Should the language be tweaked?
If there are no calls to action, the firm’s content strategy will outline what is needed, by when, where on the site they should go, and how they should be promoted. Last but certainly not least, I navigate the site myself to assess whether or not it is user-friendly and leads me to all the right places. Yes, folks – each page on your website should have a specific purpose which is to lead people to take action. It might take a link or two to get a visitor there, but once they’re there, they should be compelled to buy.
By now I have pages and pages of notes on a firm. Next, I debrief my key staff on our new client and review my recommendations for their content strategy. I’m extremely fortunate to have such a smart, outside-of-the-box-thinking kind of staff. A lot of times they’ll identify additional topics or marketing ideas I may have overlooked or never even thought of. These guys really know their stuff, and it comes as no surprise.
Since 2008, WDWC has written over 100,000 Web pages, dozens of eBook manuscripts, newsletters, press releases, email campaigns, and other marketing materials. Our team of writers and editors is comprised of former attorneys, English majors, and journalists. Most of our writers and editors have been on staff for more than three years, which means they have received rigorous training in writing quality Web content for the legal industry.
Now it is time to hand the project over to our senior editor, Danny Hobrock, who does amazing things when it comes to researching keywords, handpicking the ones with transactional intent, developing topics, and keeping our delivery schedule on track. With more than 40 websites that have to be updated weekly (this equates to an average of 410 published pages per month) and approximately 550 active writing assignments to create and manage during any given month, this job is no easy feat!
Though a client’s project moves from my hands to those of our highly capable staff, his or her online success never escapes my mind. Every month I perform quality assurance checks on our clients’ content. I look for originality, depth of information, and key takeaways for the reader. I ensure our clients’ content is different and better than their competitors by providing more information than a simple search and a few clicks on Google would provide. This is not always easy, however. To make a page stand apart from the crowd, you have to demonstrate deep industry knowledge, which you could only acquire
To make a page stand apart from the crowd, you have to demonstrate deep industry knowledge, which you could only acquire from doing a job and going through the trials and tribulations of same. Do our writers always have this knowledge? Not always, but we do have direct access to the experts — our clients — and we never hesitate to call on them. Often our writers will schedule interviews with our clients to get to the meat of a topic.Think this is a chore? Think again!
Our clients love when we do this. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy talking about something they’re passionate about? But not every topic requires an interview with the client. Sometimes a simple yet sincere quote goes a long way and is just as effective. For this, we usually communicate by email, dropping our clients a line whenever we feel it’s critical to a piece’s success. It may be as simple as including an expert opinion on a hot news item or their stance on the passing or amending of a bill that would affect their prospects and clients.
At the start of each month, we deliver detailed content reports to our clients, outlining the titles of each page and post published to their sites along with a link to each page. When we sign on new clients, we encourage them to participate in the creation of their sites’ content and to review the pages that are published to their sites monthly. This gives them the freedom to make stylistic changes to any piece or boost its authority level though this is not common.
More often than not, our understanding of our clients’ businesses, marketing goals, and target audiences allows our clients to breathe easy knowing they’re being represented properly. (Side note: all of the content we produce for our clients’ sites belongs to our clients – forever. Even if we part ways.)
Our clients’ monthly reports also include statistics integral to their businesses’ online success like keyword rankings (though we don’t place a whole lot of emphasis on this metric) and increases in traffic, goal conversions, and contacts (these metrics are way more important than rankings!). If any of these key measurements is off base and is within the scope of the services we provide to a client, we’ll launch a preliminary investigation into what might be causing the issue, and if necessary, work on resolving it using our trusted SEO partners. The truth is that even if a client didn’t purchase technical SEO services from us and there was a potential issue with his or her site, we’d do everything we could to get answers.
Though we deliver reports and results to our clients on a monthly basis, they know we are always a phone call away. We don’t have a receptionist or an automated answering service.Our company believes in direct contact with any team member at any time during business hours. This open-door policy was originally created to receive topic requests and/or feedback on the content we were producing for our clients, but it’s morphed into more of an advice line where clients call in to run marketing ideas by us or to ask for help vetting a new vendor.
So you see, the relationships we set out to form with our clients are ones that are built on trust and that are built to last. After all, content marketing is ever-changing and never stops. In fact, the best way to keep up with all the changes to online marketing is to give up sleep. All kidding aside, what business owner realistically has time to effectively operate a business and do all the things I’ve outlined above and more? Not many. But the good news is, you don’t have to find the time to develop content for your website and social channels. That’s what we’re here for and we’re damn good at it.
Are you ready to give We Do Web Content a try? Call us today at 888-521-3880.
Oh, and how could I forget? In addition to managing the day-to-day operations for We Do Web Content, I am passionate about music, fashion, and being a loving wife to my husband of 12 years, Alex, and mother to two amazing boys, and a French bulldog who was born on Christmas Day especially for me!