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Where's the one place you have total control over your messaging and content that is visible round-the-clock? That would be your website, and it's likely the first touch point in your potential client's journey. A firm's reputation is established by the competence of its lawyers, the prominence of its clients, and by the business in which they have been engaged. Taking maximum advantage of this digital real estate to show this information is the key to proving to your clients that you can help them.
In our 11th webinar, speakers Rachel Guy and Jaron Rubenstein provide a comprehensive guide for planning and presenting your firm content: bios, video, thought leadership, and blogs, in a way that your clients value and find helpful. They also shed light on the most useful analytics reports.
Rachel Guy is Senior Marketing Communications Manager for Winstead PC, a Texas-based law firm with 300+ attorneys across 9 offices. With nearly 20 years of experience in legal marketing, Rachel leads, develops and drives all of Winstead's external and internal communications. Her focus is working with executive leaders, practice and industry groups, and individual attorneys to develop communication strategies that cultivate one-to-one relationships with business targets.
Rubenstein Technology Group
Director of Business Development
Rubenstein Technology Group
George: Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us for the 11th entry into our RubyLaw Thought Leadership Series, "Your Website as a Communications Tool." RubyLaw itself is a Rubenstein Technology Group product. It is a customizable enterprise-level web content management platform that empowers user experience for both legal marketers and firm audiences. It is designed to meet the web, mobile marketing and proposal-generating needs of leading AM Law 200 firms.
The RubyLaw Thought Leadership Series is Rubenstein Technology Group's effort to support a big opportunity firms have to create a competitive advantage by adjusting to how and where law firm stakeholders expect to consume content. For those interested, all other 10 entries of this series are up on the RubensteinTech site for viewing. Today we have the fortunate opportunity to listen in on a presentation that addresses how you can create this competitive advantage by taking maximum advantage of the firm's number one piece of digital real estate, its website, in order to create a two-way communications tool.
Our first panelist is Rachel Guy, a senior communications manager for Winstead PC, a Texas-based law firm with 300-plus attorneys across nine offices. With nearly 20 years of experience in legal marketing, Rachel leads, develops and drives all of Winstead's external and internal communications. Her focus is working with executive leaders, practice and industry groups, and individual attorneys to develop communications strategies that cultivate one-to-one relationships with business targets. Welcome, Rachel. Are you there, Rachel?
Rachel: Thank you, yes, I'm here. Can you hear me?
George: Yes. It's really great to have you here today. It's always nice to have folks that are on the ground and on the other side to provide their views. Thank you for joining us. Don't worry, Jaron. We love you, too. Jaron has 15-plus years of marketing technology experience, a deep technical expertise and a passion for design that empowers creative partners and clients to identify opportunities, manage complex projects and maintain the integrity of their work. We also wanna make sure we thank the Legal Marketing Association, and in particular, Stefanie Marrone and Elizabeth Lambert for leading the communication track at the annual conference in San Diego, where we first delivered this presentation. We also wanna make sure that this webinar is interactive, so please send questions and comments via Twitter, using the handle @RubensteinTech or #rubylaw, or feel free to send them directly through Jaron Rubenstein via WebEx chat. With that, I'll hand it over to Rachel.
Rachel: Hi, everybody. Thanks for joining us today. We're going to jump right in. What I want to introduce here are our five big topics that we're going to cover today. The first topic will be business goals, which I'll cover. Second topic, seamless brand experience, which will be covered by Jaron. Building traction through content-based relationships, I will cover that. How to raise the bar with analytics will be covered by Jaron, and creating a brand newsroom will be covered by me again. Very quickly, we want to set up our starting line, which we consider our business goals. The reason why we wanted to start here is that we're going to share a lot of ideas with you. We're going to share a lot of tools and tactical approaches with you, but we did not want to give the impression that go out and do all of these things, and you're going to turn your website into a powerful communication tool. Instead, what we wanna emphasize is that your starting line should be your business goals and should be your decision-guiding compass. We all know, we've all heard this before, but this is a fundamental approach that oftentimes gets lost. I overlook it. I've talked with colleagues at other law firms that have overlooked this because we get submerged in day-to-day operations, which is why we wanted to clearly pin this on the wall as an important ingredient to turning your website into a communication tool.
One quick story. I've been in the trenches of legal marketing for close to 20 years now. I've managed about five websites. One of those websites failed miserably. It failed so badly that we didn't even launch the site. When I look back at what happened and why that website failed, it was because we lost our focus on the business goals. We had a committee of 10 attorneys, about six months to actually develop the site. We were downing in details that were not helping us reach any of our business goals. It was a painful experience, but I share that with the group today, again, to emphasize that there are a lotta decisions to make related to your website. With every decision, you wanna step back and ask yourself, will this move us closer to our, insert your goal, or is it just a neat thing to do? Pin that on the wall.
Let me go over a few items that you can do immediately to help you stay focused on your business goals. One, start with your firm's overarching business goals, then slice off a small piece. An example may be an industry group, a practice group, maybe your law firm has hired a new group of attorneys. What you wanna do is spend some time understanding their business goals and focus on there. I definitely do not recommend trying to eat the whole pie at one time. Eat one slice at a time. The next thing you could do which is helpful is to give yourself plenty of time. What I mean by plenty of time, if you're doing a web enhancement, at least six months. If you're launching a new site, I recommend about a year and a half. When my law firm, Winstead, launched its new website, I wanna say we probably gave ourselves two full years. We spent a lotta time interviewing attorneys. We spent time talking with our leadership team, and really getting everybody on the same page with priorities and with business goals that were going to help the firm. I'm gonna leave it with that. Again, keep those business goals pinned on the wall. Now I'll turn it over to Jaron, who will take us into our next topic.
Jaron: Thank you, Rachel. Thank you so much. Those are great guiding principles to follow for the rest of the talk today. What I'm gonna talk about now is a little bit about seamless brand experience. I'm speaking about that topic under the guise of using your website as a communications tool because just as it's important to focus on the business goals for your firm and for your organization, we think it's really important to stay on brand and to define who your audience is, who your brand is and kinda take it from there.
I'm gonna start with a little bit of a story about a flight I took recently on Virgin America. This is actually the flight I took to San Diego for the annual conference, so it was very pertinent at the time when we first gave this presentation. Those of you who haven't flown Virgin America, it's a relatively new airline. It's extremely successful. I think they had benefited by being relatively new and having had the opportunity to properly brand themselves from the start and focus in on who their audience is and how to speak to them. I was on this flight. Just as they were closing the cabin doors, the flight attendant starts to flight video. I'll get back to that in a minute. But he was literally dancing in the aisles, up and down. There were hands going up, cheering for him. There were cellphones out, video recording out in the corridor there. People recording what he was doing. Flips and things like that. It was just incredible. It's an example of an airline that, I think, wants to take the arduous, horrible aspects of flying out of the equation, especially for folks that do it often, and bring in an element of fun.
What's interesting about Virgin America, if ya haven't flown them, I recommend them, but more importantly, I recommend just going to their website and seeing what they're all about. From the beginning of the process through the end, they provide this seamless brand experience of who they are, of this modern, innovative and sleek and fun experience. You get to the site. It very quickly and efficiently takes you through the ticket finding and purchasing process. They have a fully responsive web design. It's a pleasure to use, whether you're on a phone, a desktop or a tablet. Contrast that with a lot of the other airlines. Their sites are barely usable on other devices. Fully mobile optimized, and it's on brand. There's some fun elements to it. You actually choose an avatar when you're selecting a seat.
That continues into the design of the seating. This is an actual photo. Not a glamour shot, but an actual photo from the cockpit, excuse me, the fuselage. Shows the design of the seating. They have purple interior lighting. There's very fashion-forward flight attendant uniforms. That brand really permeates the entire experience. There's even rock music piped into the lavatories on some of the flights. That carries, again, through the way the in-flight entertainment system is built. It's designed for them, it's on brand, it's got their experience throughout. Finally, the in-flight safety video.
Whereas most other airlines, all the airlines I've flown, have in-person flight attendants giving the safety instructions. I don't know how they did this legally. Perhaps one of the firms on the call, today's attorneys were responsible forhelping make this happen. Somehow, I guess, they got the FDA to agree to do an in-flight video instead of the boring flight attendant intro. What's so amazing about this video, they did a rock video of all of the things you need to know from a flight safety perspective when ya get on the plane. But what's so amazing about this video is not only has it been watched by everybody's who taken a flight, but it's actually on YouTube. You can Google it, you can check it out. It's been watched more than 10 million times on YouTube. 10 million people have watched a safety video that they did not need to watch. Think about that for a minute. I think that shows how far they've gone to carry their brand through the experience.
I think that there's a lotta lessons. I realize that most of the firms on the call today are not Virgin America. They don't have the same audience, they don't have the same opportunities, but I think that there's a lot of amazing lessons you can learn from that experience and trying to create an experience through every touchpoint of dealing with your firm. The website is one of the main touchpoints that a brand has to convey itself online through that user experience. Consider that your firm brand is its values, its messaging, its voice. Those are actually topics that we've talked about on past RubyLaw webinars. If you're interested in those, definitely check it out. We had a great webinar on brand voice not that long ago. We've talked about messaging and values several times on other webinars, as well.
Also, it's conveyed online via that user experience. What you really need to focus on is elevating that user experience. The way we propose that you do that is you define who your audience is, you define your user personas, then you wanna deliver to that audience. You wanna deliver design that's appropriate for that audience, you wanna deliver content, you wanna deliver search. I'm gonna talk about each of those in the next couple of minutes. Starting with personas, what we like to do is define who your audience is, in terms of defining user personas. Again, we've actuallygot a webinar on that, as well, in the RubyLaw Thought Leadership Series. I don't wanna be too self-promotional here, so I'll try to stop saying that, but that's another good one about just defining who your audience is. We try to get really deep.
We try to give them a name and define what's their typical devices, are they tech savvy, what are their decision making capabilities, what are their interests in and out of the office. The idea is really to flesh out these people as real audience focal points and deliver to them, in terms of the design and the content and the user experience throughout. Of course, there's a lotta commonality in these personas from firm to firm, but your firm, if you really give this some thought and dig deep, or you bring someone in who's an expert in persona development, you'll likely find that there are some audience members that are really valuable to your firm that maybe you hadn't thought about before and maybe you're not tailoring the experience to. I think that's a really important starting point for all of this. The next part of it is design. You wanna make sure you're conveying your firm's brand. You wanna think different. We'll talk about that in a bit. Mobile optimization is table stakes. You can't launch a website now that's not completely mobile optimized. As time has gone on, it's gotten to the point where it doesn't matter what kind of firm you have, your audience is going to be a large portion mobile. We'll talk about some content tools that you can use on the site. I'll give a couple of actual examples.
I think Cravath is a great example of a firm that's really conveying their brand online. They are a, obviously esteemed, well-established firm. They don't spend a lot of time focusing on some of the things that you'll see in other firms' websites or other firms' homepages. They highlight a few key stories, typically about deals that the firm's been involved with. They have some extras in there, and then they have an overview. It's very much on brand, it's very focused. Most folks who know the firm and have gone through that experience on the web agree that they're very much in line with each other. It fits.
Another thing that you wanna think about when you talk about knowing your audience is where are they, geographically. What other languages are they speaking? Of course, what are the firm's interests? This is a site that we were actually involved with, the launch of Perkins Coie last year. This is their Chinese version, or their Chinese section of the site. They spent a lot of time focusing on ensuring that they are speaking to their audience in China, it's an important area of growth for the firm, and that it's an immersive experience. If you go through that site, you'll see that everything's been translated, the navigation, the content, the imagery is appropriate for that audience. At the end of the day, it really comes down to knowing your audience and providing, delivering the experience to those folks that's appropriate for them.
Finally, Winston and Strawn's site. This is already a couple of years old now. I think it was one of the first fully responsive mobile optimized sites in legal. They realized early on that their audience is very tech savvy, perhaps more tech savvy than some of the other audiences at some of the other firms. They decided they wanted to really focus in on ensuring the site was really on the edge, in terms of technology. When it launched, it was fully responsive, mobile optimized, desktop, tablet, et cetera. As I said, this has become table stakes at this point. It's not really a question, are we gonna mobile optimize or not, but there are still some questions for firms to think about with their audience, how mobile are they, what kind of information are we delivering to them, is it long form, is it short-form content, how digestible can we make it in mobile and tablet devices, et cetera?
Just wanna talk a little bit about content tools. This goes a little bit more to the heart of the title of today's presentation. This is a binder. Essentially, it's an online shopping cart for data, for content, on a website. Some of you may have these on your sites or have seem them on others. Essentially, it's a way to very quickly and efficiently go through the site. You can literally just hit a button and tag content. With one more button, you can generate a very professionally designed, nicely formatted PDF of that content. Again, this is present on a lot of sites. I think that there's a lot of value to these kinds of tools because they enable not just the public. Perhaps your audience personas are likely to wanna grab a few different pieces of content, pull it together, generate a PDF and, perhaps, present that to senior management at the firm, C-level executives, et cetera, that are decision makers at your clients' firms. There's also the ability for your internal teams to use it. These kinds of tools, this binder tool tends to be used quite a bit internally by attorneys and even marketing managers and assistants that need to very quickly compile some practice descriptions and case studies, perhaps a couple of attorney bios or an office description, and generate a PDF and send that out in response to an inquiry or a potential opportunity. The speed with which you can do that with a tool like that on your site, I think is very important and makes the system that much more powerful for your audience.
Wanna talk a little bit about the user experience and the content, and what kinds of content that you can put on your site what's important to focus on. So talk a little bit about visual content, you have short snippets and attorney bios as a destination, which has also become a very important focal point for the industry. When we talk about infographics, there's lot of great examples of infographics. You've probably even heard lots of other folks talk about them. During the track at the LMA, the communications track, there was a lotta conversation about the importance of bright visuals and infographics. I encourage you to check out Bloomberg. If you're not already a regular Bloomberg.com reader, they are very much focused on design. Another example I'll talk about later in the talk today will also center in on something Bloomberg's been doing visually. They have an amazing infographics team, department, data visualization team. They spend a lot of effort in trying to convey these sorts of complex data points visually. We believe that there's a huge opportunity in legal for you to take these sorts of reports and information resources that you've maybe been distributing already in other ways, and take them from a 300-page document to something that maybe can be even interactive or digestible in an easier way by your audience members who, the truth is, have limited time and limited attention span, and maybe aren't gonna take the time to read several hundred pages, but if you can capture their attention with something visual, something interesting that really conveys that data. This particular infographic, and you can Google this and check it out online, but it essentially allows you to just see what the main characteristics have been of Oscar winners over the years, based on things like height and hair color and age and things like that. It's interesting and it's fun. This is an example of something that's a little bit more fun content to start with. The idea that it's interactive and that it's visual really takes it to the next level.
The other thing I wanna talk about is attorney bio photos and just photography in general. This is actually Winston and Strawn's old site, before it was rebuilt and relaunched a couple of years ago. This is their new site. What I really just wanna focus on is the photography, and these two particular examples, just randomly selected attorneys from the firm. When you compare the old picture from the new picture, it becomes very clear which one might convey the firm's brand of being approachable and collaborative. Which attorney do you wanna hire as the general counsel making these kinds of decisions? I think that that's just an important aspect of what you wanna think about when you're doing a new website. Make sure that you've got a budget for photography. Make sure that you're working with your design partners or development firm to ensure that you have a budget, but you also know the kind of photography that's going to stand out best on the site, and that it's taken all together, it's a cohesive design experience. You're not just taking new photos and then you decide, oh, we're gonna redesign the site, but do it at once, a redesign along with the photography, and allow the designers to help direct what kinds of photography would best fit with the firm's brand on the website.
Finally, I wanna talk a little bit about video. I don't think it's any surprise that more and more firms doing just amazing things with video. Perkins Coie has a whole video gallery on their site, really a terrific focus of their video content. One of the biggest things I wanna say when we're talking about video is there's a big different between just putting a video on your site and having something that's professionally produced and engaging for your audience. Think about getting away from the talking head, but making video more interesting and fun. If you do check out Perkins Coie's video gallery, I think you'll get a really good sense of how they're doing that. They've got lots of different engaging topics and content. It's interesting and it's fun to watch. It's not just another talking head talking at you for 30 minutes. I think that that's an important tool for every firm to convey content to their audiences.
Finally, something a little bit about short snippets of content. This is another screenshot out of Bloomberg Business. This is their feature stories. You'll see these short content headlines, snippets of content that are engaging and sort of tease into the full story. This is notsomething Bloomberg invented. This has been around since the headline was invented in journalism, but I think it's really important for firms to think about how they can leverage those kinds of concepts for their sites. We think that Akin Gump is a great example of this and does a great job of taking lengthy, wordy articles, and trying to distill them down into three or sometimes four lines of text. Really just focused in on what's the heart of that story or that message. When you come to the site, it gives you the opportunity to read a few quick things and select something that maybe is of interest to you, hopefully something catches your eye. Really important aspect of how you're presenting content online and something that firms should really think about when they're focused on creating content and presenting that as a tool for their users.
Then finally, I'm gonna talk a little bit about the attorney bio microsite. This is something that, again, has become a trend in the industry and has almost become a best practice at this point. We all know that attorneys have just massive amounts of experience and cases and background and history that they wanna present on their sites, or on their bios on your website. The old way was to have these sort of long, scrolling lists of things. It's just not as inviting as it could be. With the web's evolution, people are looking to see more and more. This is actually an old snapshot of Winstead's Winstead.com site. This is Talmage Boston, one of the partners at Winstead. What's really amazing is this is the new site, this is the new version. Again, kinda bring together a lot of the elements I've already been talking about. Inviting, interesting photography. Going back to the old to the new, you can see how different, how Talmage really becomes a person in thisversion of the bio. He becomes more inviting, more approachable, more interesting. There are different sections of content. You'll see here there's overview, and knowledge and events, and awards and recognition. You can very quickly kinda scroll through all of those and get a sense of the breadth and depth of Talmage's experience. But even more interesting is Winstead added video to their bios, as well. You can click that play button up there and you'll get a nice, I think it's a minute or two in length, video of Talmage just talking about some really interesting things. Why he's with the firm, what he loves about Winstead, what he loves about the practice of law. I've watched this a couple of times, of course, in preparing for this presentation. I definitely recommend it to you. I think it's a great way. I think Rachel and her team at Winstead have done an amazing job of presenting a side of the attorney in their bio that is not easy to present for a firm of any size. I definitely recommend you check that out. You think about how that can be a tool for conveying who the firm really is and what the brand is.
Lastly, before I turn it over to Rachel, turn it back over to Rachel, talk a little bit about the search. We've been doing a lotta work with search on the technology side and the user experience side because more and more firms are realizing that one of the frequent user personas for their websites is a general counsel or a C-level executive that doesn't have a lot of time. They're looking for the information they're looking for. They wanna know what your experience is in a particular area. They wanna get in, get that information, get out as quickly as possible. Sometimes even navigation, with the advent of Google and other search systems, users are used to that. They're looking for that efficient experience. What we did for Winston, I, again, strongly suggest you check out Winston.com and kind of experience the search there. You'll see just a quick video of how that works. Results are happening on the fly. They're nearly instantaneously displaying. They're guided, based on focal points that the Winston marketing team wants to focus on for the site. It's not just search results, but there's also some intelligence behind all of that. It's really just the idea that you can surface content from the site that you wanna push, that you wanna promote, that the user's looking for. You can do it nearly instantaneously. There's a lot of value to that for what a lot of your personas might be looking for.
What can you do now? What can you do with all of this information? Obviously,if you haven't gotten the gist yet, I think that one of the first things you wanna do is think through who are the personas for your firm. Who are the most important audience members for your website and your brand, from beginning to end. This brand extends well beyond the website. A lot of firms start thinking about brand when they start thinking about redesigning their site, but they truth is that brand permeates everything from recruiting to the presentations you're giving, to the content that you're putting out there, to the website itself. View your digital experience through their eyes. Think about what your audience is seeing from their perspective. That's really hard, especially for folks who have been in the industry for a long time. Thinking about what it's like from the outside can be difficult. Sometimes bringing in third parties to help with that is valuable, sometimes it's something you can do in-house with just enough preparation and planning. Follow the leaders in and out of legal. I tried to give some great examples here, what folks like Bloomberg are doing, which are certainly a leader in design and content and digital experience. Hopefully you can get some great ideas from Virgin America. Maybe you can put your safety video online, as well, and focus on delivering a seamless brand experience. With that, I will turn it back to Rachel, who's gonna talk about building traction through this concept of content-based relationships. Back to you, Rachel.
Rachel: Thanks, Jaron. You've created this great brand experience. You've got all the right tools, all the right videos. Everybody's having a good time at your website. What I'm going to talk about now is getting them to stick on your website and building that traction, and building traction through content-based relationships. Let me go ahead and share the full definition of what it means to have a content-based relationship. It's a relationship with target audiences that adds value to their lives through content. It's something that helps, you're making your audience look smarter and you're helping them to work better. I know what you're thinking. This sounds like content marketing, Rachel. It is, but it isn't.
Content-based relationships is a better approach to your website. Let me walk you through this visual to kinda help you understand where I'm going with this. On the left side is the law firm website at the center of the universe. What we used to believe is if I posted some great content, if I had a news alert, if I had a great practice group description, maybe a couple of quotes from clients and some case studies, everybody would come to my website. That approach is dead. The approach I'm talking about is if you look to the right side, over at that visual, it's about creating the right kind of content on a channel close to your target audience's online activities. Of course, that content lives on your website, but you're feeding that content through channels that your audience visits. It might be LinkedIn, it might be Twitter, YouTube, it might be blogs. Our job's to figure out our target audience and figure out where they're living.
This approach that I'm talking about, I learned it by reading a book written by Andrew Davis. The title of the book is "Brandscaping." Highly recommended. Let me give you an example of this approach that, again, I learned through reading Andrew Davis' book. This visual here talks about Defiance. Defiance was a powdered milk company that was having a hard time penetrating a crowded market. The company tried advertisements. It didn't work. However, the company started receiving a lot of customer inquiries on how to take care of newborn babies. Instead of ignoring those questions, the CEO hired a full-time nurse to answer all those questions on behalf of the company. Eventually, the CEO hired 11 nurses that answered hundreds of questions a day. Guess what? They started selling more powdered milk. Then the company got really smart, and they published a book for new mothers that answered every single question that had been asked. Sales skyrocketed. Why? Because the mothers had a content-based relationship with this book. This book, this content, made them smarter, and it made their lives better.
That company went on to become GlaxoSmithKline, which is now the third largest pharmaceutical company in the world. Glaxo's hook was the baby book. Where a lotta law firm markers are at now, including myself, is figuring out what's our hook for our law firm. If we can figure that out, then we can create content-based relationships with our clients and with our targets. The most fascinating part of this case study here is that this baby book had nothing to do with powdered milk. It was solely focused on what would be helpful to their target audience, which is why I think they had so much success with that. Let me share one more example kind of along the same lines, related to content-based relationships.
My law firm is based in Texas, and I work remotely from Chicago, Illinois. I started working remotely last summer, and during that time, I was poking around the internet, looking for tips to help me with working remotely. I stumbled across Workshifting by way of my LinkedIn feeds. Initially, I read a couple of clever tips on working remotely. Then soon, I found myself turning to Workshift regularly, on a daily basis, to see what they were posting. I developed what is called a content-based relationship with Workshifting now. Here's the interesting part. Workshifting is for anyone who works out of a coffee shop, a hotel, airport or home. Workshifting shares resources on working remotely, telecommuting, traveling, technology, virtual offices. Whatever it is to help you work wherever you need to work. The content is designed to help you achieve a better work-life balance. Initially, I thought this content was generated by a blogger somewhere. I found out that it's produced by Citrix, who produces GoToMeetings. Citrix's mission is to help you work anytime, anywhere. If you look at this website, you will not see the name of this company anywhere. I had to kinda dig around to find out who was publishing it.
Again, the focus here is not about promoting Citrix or promoting GoToMeetings. The focus is about building a content-based relationship with their audience, and it's also about making my life better and making my life smarter. They've did a really good job with that. Let me share a law firm example. This is Pillsbury's crisis management resource center. This is simply a genius way of generating authentic, targeted content-based relationships. This resource center provides tools that businesses need to anticipate, prevent, respond and manage emergencies. The site provides checklists on what to do before, after, during a crisis, frequently asked questions. They have video clips. You can find out information about Pillsbury's crisis management team. The site also includes lessons learned, studies, educational events.
If I'm an executive who is in charge of managing crisis management, I'm going to have a relationship with this website. That's the big difference between content marketing and content-based relationships. You wanna move away from content marketing, and move into having a relationship, a content-based relationship, because what you're doing is you're positioning your attorneys to eventually have a one-to-one relationship, to make that phone call, to come to a webinar, to take the relationship beyond just content.
The next slide, I'm just gonna run through a couple of simple, what can you do now to help you with developing those content-based relationships. The best suggestion I can give you is to survey your clients and prospects. As marketers, we go around the block and back trying to figure out what do we want to feed to our clients. Ask them. I always tell my attorneys, simply either A, pick up the phone and ask them, B, let's do a short online four-question survey, or maybe after this webinar or after this seminar or after this event, let's give them a questionnaire and ask them, "What do you wanna learn about? "What would be helpful content for us "to share with you?"
The next suggestion, curate relevant news for your targets. Again, this is going to require you to ask your targets what are they interested in learning about. Once you have that information, you can curate four or five news clips for them that can be sent by email or it can be shared on Twitter or LinkedIn or whatever channel that target is living on. Let's see. The other possible suggestion is to partner with the key industry organization to share their content with your audiences. Don't feel the pressure that you've gotta generate all the content. There's lots of content out there. Executives are pressed for time. Being able to curate that content is very helpful.
One other idea that has been successful is the 10-minute coffee break. Create a series of pre-recorded webinars, which attorneys like because it's safe, doesn't require as much preparation and it's only 10 minutes. If you can be smart about it, you can push that series out over a course of six months or maybe a year. With that, I'm gonna turn it back over to Jaron.
Jaron: Terrific, terrific, thank you, Rachel. This next segment, we'll be talking a little bit about raising the bar with analytics. My favorite quote, when it comes to analytics and data, is from W. Edwards Deming, who is considered by many to be the father of the quality evolution, as they say. He's quoted as saying, "In God we trust; "all others must bring data." We know lots of marketers that have found that analytics have helped them to drive home everything from making smarter decisions about their content and what to focus on to illuminating website results for your leadership and your partners and helping to persuade partners and lawyers in the firm to contribute content that makes sense, based on actually showing them real data and results.
What we also hear quite often is that there's a big challenge of just finding the time to review the data. We wanna talk a little bit, quickly, about analytics and give ya a couple of quick ideas that maybe you can walk away from this with how can we ensure that we're using the best tools on our site to look at analytics and to consider those decisions. The first is Google Analytics. I would hope that everyone on the call today has already integrated their sites with Google Analytics. If not, something comparable.
We're big fans of Google Analytics because the cost is zero and the level of enterprise data and analysis capabilities is enormous. It takes some work to get the data in and out of the system, mostly out of the system and get the reports you need, but there's a lot of value there if you can take the time to learn how to use it. Google provides some great educational resources now in becoming analytics certified and learning how to really get the data that you're looking for out of the system.
Our platform, RubyLaw, also has a function called RubyLaw Firm Analytics that we use to aggregate information. It goes a layer beyond what Google Analytics provides you by actually interpreting the relationships of the data and providing you aggregated information around that. There are a lot of other analytics tools out there. Whatever you're using, we just encourage you to actually use it, to look at it, and to use it to make actionable decisions on the content that you're putting forward.
In terms of quick, actionable things that you can take away from this, what we wanna recommend is if you don't already have this, you should take the time to define a few key performance indicators, or KPIs. The idea being that you wanna just pick, let's say, three. For the argument of this presentation today, we'll say you're gonna pick three KPIs. Try to make the something that's important to your firm.
We're gonna implore you to just monitor them weekly. Just have someone on your team, if it's not you, bring them up and pull them into a spreadsheet. See what you can do about basing content decisions on those analytics, about trying to drive those analytics in the direction you're looking for. By way of example, some of the kinds of metrics that you can get out of Google Analytics and you can use for this purpose, if you're not already familiar with these concepts, certainly the number of sessions, the number of pages per session, how many pages your typical visitor is viewing when they're on your site and how long they're spending on the site. Are they spending two minutes on your site, on average? Are they spending 10 minutes?
Those are important metrics, just to get a sense of how engaged they are with your content. Sometimes it can be a measure of how long it takes to find things on your site. Don't misinterpret those. There's a lot of value there in just looking at how long people are spending on the site or how many pages they're looking at, what they're looking at. The other aspect that you can look at is bounce rate, which is how often they're coming to a page on the site and then immediately leaving. They come to one page and they leave. Sometimes that's a fine thing. Sometime it's because they came to your site from a news publication article. They're reading the article, then they're moving on. That's fine. But other times, it can indicate that maybe they came looking for something, and it's not there. They're not finding what they're looking for and they're going off to another site, or even worse, another firm.
You wanna think about that. You also wanna look at the efficiency of the site. Look at the average page load time. Is it taking 10 or 15 seconds for the pages on your site to load? That can be a problem, and that can affect how engaged visitors are with your site. You can also look at things like traffic sources. We talked about mobile earlier. What percentage of your users are coming in via mobile? You may be surprised to see those numbers rising quite a bit. Most of our client in legal are seeing mobile, tablet and mobile engagement somewhere around 20%, anywhere between 10 and 20%. What's interesting is outside of legal, we're seeing numbers as high as 35, 40%. Even some more forward tech-trendy sites are seeing 50% or more of their visitors coming from tablet and mobile devices. Not only are you seeing large numbers there, but you see the trends over time. A year ago, that was probably 5% less. You see that there's a very clear direction happening there, and it's no longer people warning that mobile is coming, but mobile is definitely here. We need to make sure we're accounting for it.
You can see how many folks are coming to your site through organic search, meaning they're just entering keywords into the Google search bar. What those search terms are is very valuable. I'm surprised to learn how many folks are running pretty sizable email marketing campaigns within their firms, but they're not tagging those emails. They're not able to track how many people are actually coming from those emails to their website. Then once they get to the site, what are they doing with all of that? You wanna make sure you tie that in, perhaps via Google Analytics, perhaps via your external tools. Just make sure that you're getting that data. Finally, a couple of other ideas for metrics to try to really measure more of the engagement. How are your visitors, your audience personas, engaging in the website content that you're providing? You look at social engagement. I don't wanna make any predictions, so I invite you to check it out for your own firm's site, but I'm always surprised when folks look at how many people are actually coming to their sites from Twitter or LinkedIn, even Facebook. How often are users sharing your content out from those? Google Analytics actually has some pretty good social integration now, and they can provide great information about that.
You should also be looking at goals, at things like conversion rates for contacts and maybe contact submission forms or subscription forms for your mailing lists and things like that. Look at how many people are going to those pages, how many people are actually subscribing. There's lots of great data you can pull out of that. Then you also wanna try to track the interaction with web tools. How many folks are actually using that binder and where are they coming from? What are they doing with it? Who's searching on your site? What are they searching for? If you've got multilingual content or international offices, things like that, you can drill into what percentage of your visitors are there and how that's trending over time.
Based on that information, what I suggest you do is you pick three. Maybe it's one of the ones I just shared, maybe it's something completely different. You just really create a simple spreadsheet and keep it updated over time. See how that information trends and see what kinds of decisions you can make based on that. I'm gonna spend just 30 seconds talking about the Google mobile-friendly update 'cause it's something that we're getting a lotta questions about these days, as well, still. They called it a Google mobile-geddon about a month ago or so, maybe two months ago now. The idea is that there is now a mobile-friendly ranking signal within Google search engine rankings. It's currently only affecting users on the mobile devices, but the gist of it is if you're not responsive already, if your site's not responsively designed, you probably wanna get responsive soon to make sure that as Google continues to roll this out and goes to the next level, that you're not losing any potential rankings there. There are some great tools online that you can use to determine what your impact really is. There's a Google mobile-friendly test. You can just enter in a URL, your URL, and you can click the analyze button and it'll tell you what the problems are or how you fare.
If you're looking for more information on that, I also just recommend that we have a great web post on rubensteintech.com site in the innovate blog that talks in depth about what the Google mobile change might mean to you and your firm. It's just great background information in case it comes up in conversation inside the firm.
Finally, when we talk about analytics, you do need to consider a couple of things that we've learned, again, over the years by working with our clients closely to watch the analytics. The first is that for those firms that are subject to the European Union cookie laws, you really need to consider that. If you don't have cookies, if the user opts out of cookies on your site, then you're not able to track them any longer. You won't get analytics from them. That's something to keep in mind. There's not much you can do about it and stay in compliance with the cookie laws, but you should at least be aware that if 30% of your traffic is international, whether international or not, if 30% of your traffic is opting out of the analytics, then that's 30% of your numbers that just aren't showing up on those reports, that you don't have access to.
Keep in mind that correlation is not causation. That's one of Matt David phrases from my psychology classes in college. You may see relationships that, you see this number rising and this number sinking. You might think, that went up because this went down. It's not always the case. Keep in mind when you're analyzing analytics that sometimes you have to go a little deeper and ya have to really do some experimentation and see where you are with that.
Another good tip is to filter out your office traffic, if you can. If you can get the IP addresses or the ranges of addresses that your firm uses for your firm's offices, you can filter that out of your results. That way, the analytics you're looking at is truly the public, external usage of the site. You're not being swayed by what maybe internal folks are doing with the site.
Those of you that have looked at these things separately know that the user personas and the audiences internally are different than external, and they're using the site for different reasons. They want one to sway the other and make decisions based on that, necessarily. Just keep in mind, this does take time and effort. This is something that we don't know of any firms that have full-time analytics people, but in other corporations, it's common to have folks dedicated just to reviewing and analyzing analytics that are Google certified and they're providing those reports. It takes a lotta time to do this right. Just know that, don't expect it to happen overnight. See what you can do with it and see if you can build the case to have someone maybe 1/2 time or 1/4 time resource, be able to focus on it in the long term With that in mind, I would like to pass it back to Rachel for the final segment of our talk today. Rachel's gonna talk a little bit about the brand newsroom.
Rachel: Thanks, Jaron. Okay, everybody. I wanna keep this under the hour, so I'm gonna move through this quickly. A quick recap. We've got our business goals. We've got our seamless brand experience. We've got our building traction through content-based relationships. Now we've got our analytics. You're studying your analytics, you know what's sticking to your website. You need a new approach for meeting those content demands for your website. This is where the brand newsroom comes in. This is not quite what you're thinking, so let me share a definition. A brand newsroom is an approach designed to meet the new content needs. It's the team, structure, that creates content and drives a brand's publishing efforts. What I did is after I digested the whole approach about content-based relationships, I immediately began to think, and my co-workers, too. I work with a team of two other people on this. We began to think, how are we going to do this? How are we going to position ourselves to be able to generate content that's gonna create those relationships? We went out and tried to figure out how are the big brands creating content-based relationships. How are they structured? This is what I learned about brand newsrooms.
The big companies, AT&T, Starbucks, Coco-Cola, all those people charged with creating content-based relationships, those teams include an editor-in-chief, a journalist, a videographer, graphic artist, digital outreach professional to grow the audience, a community manager to listen to those conversations and an analytics pro who can help you stop guessing at what your audience wants to learn about. Our question to ourselves is, how, as legal marketers, can we take this same approach with limited staffing resources.
Here's one possible scenario. This is kinda how we structured ourselves at Winstead. Our PR manager, she is our editor-in-chief. Our line of business development managers are our journalists. They're the journalists that are meeting with the attorneys and the industry groups, and helping us with identifying compelling stories. We did hire a professional videographer. I highly recommend that. That's a big difference maker. Most law firms have a graphics expert. For your digital outreach professional, your community manager, I'm suggesting that you tap an up-and-coming marketing assistant. Those are skills that younger people tend to, it tends to be second nature for them because they've grown up with social media. Lastly, your analytics pro. You could probably tap your current website manager to help you with that. That's how you structure a brand newsroom with limited staffing. Let me just quickly run through my last slides.
I think K & L Gates, most people have seen their hub. They've done a terrific job. I'd have to imagine that they have structured their team in such a way that allows them to generate this much content. It's a great example of content-based relationships. My second example is from McKinsey. I just love their digital newsstand. Again, creating something like that will take a brand newsroom structure because you've gotta figure out, look at your analytics, figure out what content is sticking and figure out what is going to help with moving the firm's business goals forward. What you can do now. Identify and organize that team that will be charged with running the brand newsroom. I suggest getting creative. Not very many law firms are going to go out and hire the five to six people that are needed for a brand newsroom.
Another suggestion is to develop your list of go-to questions and give that to your business develop managers or whoever's going to operate as your journalists. Charge them with meeting with three attorneys every month. Ask them these go-to questions to help collect those compelling stories for generating content. Consider developing an industry-focused webinar library so you have the library for the financial services industry related to legal issues. Watch that traction grow. Lastly, curating top and bottom news for your target audiences. Here's the last one, I'm sorry. Be sure to find the right tools for you for staying on top of trending topics. These are the news outlets that I use to help me keep tabs on topics that are trending in the legal industry and various other industries, and business news, as well. That will do it. That's my last slide, everybody.
Jaron: Terrific, Rachel. Thank you so much. We have a few minutes left in the hour today for any questions that anyone in the audience might have. Do we have any question yet at this point, George?
George: We do, we have one for Rachel. Rachel, this was asked early on in the webinar. Organizational change, I thought that was a really great slide, and how you made the parallels to newsroom. This person wants to know what were the roadblocks and who'd ya have to sell on we need to rethink how we're approaching marketing, content marketing, and how do we get to that all important content-based relationship marketing?
Rachel: Our approach has always been, and this has worked well at this law firm and my previous law firm, is to avoid committee meetings. Ask your attorneys, "Can I come to your office "for 10 minutes on a Friday at three o'clock?"
George: That's a great.
Rachel: Have those conversations. What I've found with most of my attorneys is that if I can jump to that conversation before them, they're more likely to follow rather than pull. What we did is we started with probably a young group of three or four laterals that came over to the firm. They were eager to have some success in building their practice. We started with a blog because, based on their targets and based on the questions and the interviews that we had with those attorneys, we found out that their targets were interested in having a blog and interested in receiving content on a regular basis. We started there. We had some success. Then all the sudden, other attorneys were watching this success. We were sharing our success.
When the audience grew and as we started connecting with some of our targets on a more meaningful level, we shared those stories on our intranet. Other attorney are watching your success. Then before I knew it, my phone is ringing. Hey, Rachel, can you help us start a blog? Starting a blog wasn't the answer, but my response was, "Let me come to your office "on Friday at three o'clock, and let's "have a conversation. "Let me ask you these questions. "Let me find out who you're targeting. "Let me understand "what are the pain points for your targets? "Then we can decide yes, let's do video. "No, let's do a blog. "We can decide on what channel "we're going to take, but let's focus "on your target, let's focus on the solution "you're providing for your target, "and what will be most helpful to them." Does that answer the question?
George: More than sufficient. That was great insight, and it goes back to your idea of taking a slice and not taking down the whole pie at once. Starting small, starting with early adopters, and finding out, again, finding out your audience's pain points is a great point.
Rachel: Yes, yes.
George: I think with that, we're hitting our time limit. Jaron, you wanna take us home? No?
Jaron: I think we're at time. What we'll do is I think we'll wind down, but if anyone has any questions for Rachel or I, our contact information is right up on the slide here. Feel free to reach out. Reach out to George Sanchez on our team, as well. We'd also love to hear your feedback on what you thought of today's presentation, what was helpful, what wasn't.
George: To take Rachel's point, is what you actually want to hear. If you have suggestions on future webinars and the content you want us to come out with, we're happy to oblige.
Jaron: Rachel, it was great fun speaking with you last time up on the stage in San Diego. It was terrific today. Thank you so much for joining us. I hope that we'll be speaking together again soon.
Rachel: Thanks, guys, I enjoyed it.
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