Content strategy is a vital part of successful content marketing for legal tech vendors. Many of my clients are entrepreneurs or lawyers or both. They’re a driven, self-sufficient bunch, i.e., determined DIYers by nature.
If you can relate, and have opted to tackle planning the creation of legal tech marketing content on your own, I want to help by sharing 3 tools I use to plan and organize content strategy for clients.
There are thousands of useful tools to choose from, ranging from the most basic task-tracking app to comprehensive digital marketing automation platforms such as HubSpot and Marketo.
The tools I recommend fall somewhere in between. My criteria for optimal content strategy software tools are that they must be:
Flexible. You need a program that can handle tracking and sharing many different media types, from PDFs to text docs, to images, videos, audio files, and beyond.
Easy to Use. It needs to save time – not take hours to learn. It’s supposed to make things easier – not make us want to pull our hair out trying to figure out how to use its features.
Collaborative. No one works in a vacuum. We need to be able to share our ideas and strategies with others – often while limiting what certain collaborators can see or do.
Offer a Freemium Option. Or at least make financial sense. I’m not averse to paying for a great tool. But it needs to wow me first. I want to buy software because it’s helping me grow or saving me time and effort; not because I can’t use the features I need if I don’t.
Also, please note that I don’t get anything if you adopt these tools. My motives are purely altruistic. These tools have helped me, and I simply want you to have the benefit of my experience.
Airtable for Content Strategy Project Management
When planning the topics your team should cover in upcoming blogs, case studies, and other content to market your legal technology, you want to:
- Know what you already have. Understand what’s already covered in your existing content so you know which topics need more discussion. Also discover existing content you might repurpose or update for easy wins.
- Keep track of each new piece you create for a variety of awesome reasons which are touched on throughout this post and which I will collect and share in a separate post soon.
With these as your overarching goals, you need a tool like Airtable capable of providing both a birds-eye view and an up-close look at your entire content library.
What elements should you track for successful legal tech content strategy?
At a minimum, you’ll want your Airtable content library to display the content format (blog, video, case study, etc.), its title, its current status (draft, in review, etc.), date published, and a URL link or attachment of the final product.
Additional elements to track in your content library may include:
Usage of keywords and phrases.
Track how often and where you use each keyword and phrase to ensure you achieve an appropriate distribution of usage relative to their importance. i.e., To make sure you use your most valuable keywords often while not neglecting secondary keyword options which may be easier to rank for in targeted content.
Mapping your content for each stage of the buyer journey.
For example, ensure your blogs discuss topics designed to build “top-of-the-funnel” awareness, which attracts prospects who may not yet be fully aware of the underlying causes of their struggles. Make sure you’ve got an adequate number of case studies and white papers addressing the appropriate topics for prospects in the consideration stage of the buyer journey who want to learn more on their own.
Mapping your content for each buyer persona.
Make sure you address the many varied concerns of the diverse members of your target audience. You don’t want to be overly focused on, say, end users, without ever addressing the needs of the IT team.
Take advantage of Airtable content strategy and marketing templates.
Airtable offers a plethora of useful templates to help plan and organize your content marketing efforts.
Tables can contain notes, check boxes, dates, URLS, and more. They can include video, audio and image and other attachments. You can establish customized tags (e.g., stages of the buyer journey) and add them through a pull-down menu. You can create itemized checklists, and on and on. Name almost any file type or tracking criteria and Airtable found a way to include it in your bases.
Here’s a powerful Content Marketing Management template that allows you to track all your content in one place, including keywords, assignments and deadlines, and much more such as metrics and audience feedback to inform future posts.
Note: The hand-drawn arrows point to interconnected tables inside this Airtable base. You enter information once, and it can appear in other tables as needed.
Now check out the SEO Keywords table from the Content Marketing Management template above. It tracks how many times a keyword is used and where.
Best thing about Airtable? The free version is robust.
I recommend starting with one of Airtable’s many marketing templates that’s close to what you want, then editing it to suit your needs. That’s because there is a teensy bit of a learning curve involved with Airtable. Not much! But it’s still easier to use a template rather than establish all the interlinking elements among tables on your own.
Trello for Daily Task Management
Trello is my daily planner. My handy to-do list wherever I go. I enter your project’s start and end date in Trello, along with content creation tasks on the days in between that tell me when I should be researching, writing, and delivering your content.
Trello is especially helpful if you like to break goals or projects into steps, or subtasks. Trello’s flexibility gives you so many ways to organize your boards, cards, and lists that it’s darn near impossible to not build a system that suits your work style perfectly.
Create a Trello board to manage legal tech content creation.
Set up a Trello board to keep the creation of new content on schedule. Add cards that represent the various phases of the content creation process and create checklists for tasks within each phase. Or, create a board for content creation, make each card represent a writing project, and create a checklist for the phases each one needs to go through. Whatever floats your boat.
That’s just a small – very small – sampling of what’s possible with Trello.
Trello also has a healthy store of templates for marketing, content management, sales, and other projects.
Here’s a Blog Content Schedule template designed to plan content, assign to authors and manage the editing & publishing of a post.
Also have a look at this Editorial Calendar template used by content writers, designers, front-end developers, and members of a lead-generation team to schedule and prioritize their deliverables.
Trello keeps me organized on a day-to-day basis. But I didn’t fall in love with Trello completely until I discovered its calendar view. I add tasks, set a due date, then flip to calendar mode. There, I can better visualize my schedule for the upcoming weeks.
You can do a LOT more with Trello than what I represent here. For example, I’ve also created a board with cards that outline my workflows, then store those as templates that allow me to complete repetitive business processes faster and with fewer errors.
Seems like there’s some overlap …
Airtable and Trello do have overlapping capabilities. I find Airtable useful for managing the planning and tracking of content for individual clients. I use Trello as a daily task master that makes sure I get everything done on time. You may need only one or the other.
One thing is certain: You’ve got the flexibility with either to create the systems you need.
Content Strategy: Google Docs for Sharing & Editing
Gather input from various stakeholders on content using Google docs.
Yes, I know it’s not MS Word.
Yes, I know MS is the still the de facto word processing software for legal professionals today.
But it shouldn’t be when you need to share drafts for review and feedback.
Using Google Drive, you share a link to your Google doc with anyone who needs to review it. That link takes them to the one and only version of the document, which lives in the cloud. All edits and comments by all reviewers are kept within that one document version.
It seems Microsoft tried to match Google’s online ease of use by allowing people to share a link and collaborate on a document via One Drive. But no one seems to know how to use it. I don’t know what it is with Word docs, but everyone wants to download the copy you send and create their own personal version of it. When you send a blog to four people for review, you get back four different versions with edits from each person that you then must manually add to your original version.
Save hours of wrangling edits from multiple document versions. Simply sharing a Google docs link. Then instruct people to make edits using Google’s “Suggestion” tool. They can also add comments as needed.
Create a Strategic Legal Tech Content Calendar
The whole point is to be thoughtful about planning your content. Have a strategic process for creating legal tech marketing content rather than a well-intended but otherwise haphazard brain-storming session.
If you like step-by-step processes, check out this article How to Create a Strategic Editorial Calendar. If you skip some of the important preparatory steps described in the article, it leads to weaker results and creates more work for you in the end.
Content marketing is like anything else — the best results come from solid foundations. I hope you find these tools as useful as I do. And remember, whenever you’re ready for help, I’m here to plan your content strategy for you.