Is Content Really King?

The Answer: Yes, Only if It’s Quality Content

The very overused phrase of “content is king” needs to be updated to “valuable and helpful content is king and everything else is filler.” With a thoughtfully and strategically crafted content strategy, you can “passively” generate leads by targeting intent-driven keywords. Users often use long-tail keywords and have a goal in mind: “I need to better understand this topic before I take action.”

If valuable content is king, then cornerstone content would be the equivalent of a Greek god – it’s one of a select group of specialized content pages that stands out far above the rest. It’ll very often have a high engagement rate with users sticking around for 2-3 minutes (or more!) along with taking a conversion-related action. In the case of most law firms, the conversion is often a phone call, contact form submission, or engaging with chat.

Wordstream defines cornerstone content as:

“A high-value, foundational piece of content that is intended to help you start building traffic and brand awareness by showing people what you offer. Your cornerstone content should be highly relevant to your business goals – it helps you establish authority in your industry and will bring in a steady stream of site visitors who are likely interested in.. the services you offer.”

In short, investing the time and money in cornerstone content has these benefits:
Establishes authority and trust in your business
Increases your brand awareness
Brings in relevant site visitors
Builds natural links
Builds the top of your sales funnel

How to Determine What to Write

Crafting a piece of content worthy of wearing the cornerstone hat takes time and research. It’s not simply drafting a lengthy essay with a bunch of keywords shoved in there. This is where the help of a SEO manager comes in handy or setting aside a few hours on a Friday to think about key differentiators between you and your competition.

Here are some ways to approach your writing strategy:

What is your area of specialized expertise? For example, if you’re a personal injury attorney who primarily takes on multi-vehicle auto accidents, what information can you provide that’s helpful to someone searching the web if they’re stuck in insurance company limbo?

What relevant information can you provide to a potential lead in an easily digestible way? For example, you can break down a complex subject such as being arrested for felony weapons possession into a guide “5 Things To Do After You’ve Been Arrested for Weapons Possession.”

If you have the help of a SEO specialist, you can add a layer of data-backed strategy by exploring Google Search Console for keyword themes, mainly what your site is appearing for and not getting as many clicks. Here are some examples:

A criminal defense attorney appearing in SERP for drug offense terms in a different county. Is a “Guide to Drug Offense Charges in X-County” something worthwhile?

A personal injury attorney appearing for different child injury related keywords, users floating around to a couple pages, but no conversions. What are some themes on those couple pages you could expand on? Or could you consolidate those pages into one stronger page with expanded content?

Practical Application

Here are a couple of examples of cornerstone content in a real-life setting. One firm is specialized and has an established online presence that was built over time. The second firm handles cases in a broader practice area and has invested a significant amount of time in content and SEO over the course of 2021.

Personal Injury, Child Sexual Assault Cases

This firm is based in Louisiana with an emphasis in clergy sexual assault cases. They have a broader practice area of handling sexual assault cases specifically for minors by an adult. Much of their research-based information for long-tail queries is in their blog. They have been great about utilizing keyword data from Google Search Console as a guiding point for creating new content pieces.

Over the six months, they continually get clicks for these terms related to child predators.

For those keywords, we’re seeing these pages get clicks. There’s clearly a winner here in what page is getting the most attention and user interaction:

That blog post has relevant information that aligns with the user’s intent. That post is about four years old, received one minor content update last year, and has been a steady source of leads.

For this particular law firm, that post generates at least a few high-quality, high intent leads per month with one having turned into a major case. That alone has paid for the research time, getting the content written and optimized, and added to the site.

That post has been a versatile asset that could be used in various means from creating brand awareness, establishing thought leadership, and improving local authority.

Criminal Law, Defense

This firm is based in Kentucky with a primary focus in criminal defense cases. Throughout 2021, they worked closely with Mockingbird to develop a targeted content strategy aligned with specific themes, questions, and concerns of their potential clients. They have been great about connecting with their clients at a more human level and addressing each concern thoughtfully and tactfully. This provides a real-world context of what potential clients are experiencing.

There is a clear keyword theme over the past six months:

Further down the queries list are various terms related to gun laws and the age of consent in Kentucky.

These pages are the popular places according to Google Search Console:

Those pages get a lot of screen time with the average user spending over a minute, clicking to another page, then taking a conversion action such as calling the office or submitting a contact form. For the time invested into creating those pages, they’ve generated dozens of new clients.

Invest in Meaningful, Quality Content

I wish I could kick the phrase “content is king” to the curb. Adding content for the sake of adding content bloats your site and diminishes its effectiveness.

This is where working with a SEO manager becomes helpful – they will help you understand the data, pair with your practical experience as an attorney, and create helpful, quality pieces that will not only help improve the organic performance of your site, but also establish you as an authority in your market.

The strongest cornerstone content pieces are built with ongoing collaboration between the attorney and SEO advisor. It’s definitely worth taking a few hours every month to brainstorm, create, craft, and launch a new content piece that aligns with your greater business goals.

What is the Marketing Funnel and How Can Law Firms Use It?

Hey, I’m Tyler, and while I’m new(ish) to Mockingbird, I have a decade of experience in the marketing world, both traditional and digital. I have worked on all types of campaigns from national to local, spanning across multiple verticals and markets. My expertise lies specifically within lead generation. But before we dive in, it is important for us to define the basic marketing sales funnel.

The Funnel

You have probably heard or come across some variation of the marketing funnel (or sales funnel) when researching different ways to market your firm. In a sentence, the funnel allows you to visualize the path your customers take from discovering your brand to becoming a matter. It helps you understand, plan, and strategize your marketing and advertising tactics.

Let’s explore each phase of the traditional funnel in a little more detail.

  • Awareness
  • Interest/Consideration
  • Intent
  • Purchase


Before we flip this funnel upside down and side to side to show how it works for law firms, let’s explore each stage of the funnel and how it works from a traditional business and sales perspective.

Awareness – Do your customers know who you are?

What is your brand equity? Do consumers know who you are and what you do? Have they used your service before? Answering these questions is the first step in acquiring new business. Most consumer products are low cost and low risk, so eCommerce and retail locations convert users to customers more cheaply, efficiently and in a much higher quantity. Their customers become aware and can move all the way through the funnel in a single session or visit (think Facebook ad for shoes). This happens because the decision and the overall cost to the user is low and, of course,  they want the item.  Typically an impulse purchase. 


Hiring an attorney is not a “What the hell, I’ll buy those shoes!” transaction. People who are in the market for an attorney will likely shop around and research for a few weeks or more before making a decision.  Rarely do law firms see immediate conversions from an initial web session (or billboard or TV commercial). It’s a big decision, and therefore, a process. With legal we know the user likely knows a lawyer is expensive and rarely do they have a positive reason for hiring you. These factors create much more friction of the bat in the funnel for law firms.


I look at it the same way I look at other service based industries. Let’s use HVAC as an example. I can watch commercials all day long or see a Facebook ad promoting the brand and not even consider purchasing. Whereas I could see a Pizza Hut commercial and immediately pick up the phone or log in to their app and order a pizza. Why? Because before I buy an HVAC unit for $20k, no matter how much I want it, I’m going to think about it and consider all my options.


Just like with personal injury, I may see a bus advertisement everyday for five years for “1-800-accident” and then suddenly that very bus hits my car and I injure my back. Boom, I am now unexpectedly in the market. Because of the spontaneity of when someone is in the market for an attorney, it is difficult to drive conversions at the same frequency and volume of a retail or eCommerce shop. As a result, when you are looking for DIY marketing and advertising campaign resources, most of the literature out there refers to eCommerce or retail, thus creating expectations and goals that are unattainable. 


This example is extreme, but it perfectly illustrates how we need to look at marketing for law firms. Yes, awareness is important but it isn’t going to drive business to your firm today or this year.

Interest and Consideration – Do people care about your product and would they ultimately buy it?

You can look at these stages of the funnel in a few different ways. Ultimately, we want to know if the people who see your content are interested. If they are interested, they may fill out a form, call-in, or chat through your website. But in most cases we likely won’t know for sure until they visit our site or engage with your social profiles. Once we have collected those users in a remarketing list and segment them out, we can then reach them again with more personalized ads that leads to more valuable actions on site. This is where remarketing comes in… Remarketing is a very powerful tool in building and creating interest after the fact. Email newsletters and offerings are also valuable. 


The adage of “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” could not ring more true for brands. This stage is particularly important for brands like Apple, Microsoft, and so on. Yes, a large portion of their customer loyalty comes from them creating a closed ecosystem of products, but they also have earned that loyalty by establishing confidence in their consumers about their brand.


For law firms, this stage is a bit different, but we can apply the same philosophy that big brands use to guide our own strategy. We still want to capture people’s attention, even though they may not be buying now or in the immediate future, but we want to leave a lasting impression that brings us top of mind for when that person is in-market.

Intent – Am I ready to sign a retainer?

It’s time to start the decision-making process. The intent stage is where consumers have decided they are going to buy. For brands like Amazon, this is a forgone conclusion. Rarely does Amazon lose a sale after a consumer has proceeded to checkout. 


Law firms, however, have many more hurdles they have to jump. There are consultations (which even if the consumer wants to buy, you aren’t selling to them). Then the agreements/fees and paperwork, which means you as the law firm are ready, but as we all know too well, this is rarely a done deal. There is plenty of friction between accepting a case and your potential client actually signing on the dotted line and forking over the cash to retain you.


This stage of the funnel speaks for itself. Did they become a matter? However, even this stage can muddy the waters for law firms. Again, like the Amazon model, a consumer checks out, receives shipping notification and their purchase is on the doorstep a few days later. As attorneys, you know that just because they signed and/or paid their fees, the intake process can be a hill to climb in and of itself.



This is my revised model of the funnel specifically for law firms:

  • Intent
  • Interest/Consideration
  • Awareness
  • Matter



The marketing funnel for law firms starts with when a user has defined themselves as in-market, the intent is there from the beginning. Because legal services are on a “do i need this now” basis, it can be difficult to rise above the noise until a consumer is in-market for legal services. 


The cool thing about having a niche service area like law firms is that each of your prospective clients have already pre-qualified themselves as either needing an attorney or needing advice from an attorney by searching for topics related to your practice area. The vast majority of law firms’ leads come from organic search results or search ads. Being seen when a consumer is in the market for your services (within the legal industry this can be immediate and come with a sense of urgency) is where 99% of your conversions will come from. Google Business Profile, Local Service Ads, Paid Search Ads, and regular organic search results for your website are how these consumers will find you and what they will use to determine if you are the right fit for them. However, immediate conversion can happen but oftentimes is rare, primarily dependent upon the type of law you practice. 


Interest/Consideration phase comes after the initial exposure to your firm. The user is weighing their different options. At this point they are doing their research and discovering other firms that could help them. Why should they choose yours? What you communicate with your website is paramount to whether or not the user calls or submits a form. As we all know, not every call or form submission will always be 100% qualified (as in right lead for your firm, and in some instances they are spam or marketing folks). At this point they will likely continue researching and weighing the pros and cons of different firms. This is why we need to continue to make sure we able to recapture the user after the first touch (if they don’t convert on this initial visit)


Awareness. Let’s make sure we stay top of mind. Let’s make sure every time they search for another attorney or your specific type of practice your firm is still visible. If we are not going to procure business on the first touch, we need to get some stuff in return. An email address, a phone number, anything that allows us to contact them or use to retarget them in the future. Your first touch may be GMB, but the final conversion may come from a search ad or a direct visit to your domain. It is so crucial to keep your firm top of mind during the few weeks a potential client is in the market. 


From here you and your intake team will put each lead through your own qualification process and make sure they have a case or can afford you etc. You have your own internal funnel for weeding out the poor leads. 


In conclusion,

Each firm will require some degree of a custom-tailored strategy, but each will likely follow this same model. Your money will be most effectively spent on the platforms, tools and tactics that drive the most qualified leads, most efficiently. Some attorneys might find most of their success through paid means, others may find it primarily through SEO or a combination of the two.. The next step in utilizing this model effectively is knowing where your leads come from, but more importantly where your clients come from. Check out our AWESOME article about Hubspot for Lawyers to level your firm up and really track like a pro.

Why We Didn’t Send Holiday Gifts

Like most Americans, I’m enjoying putting 2020 firmly in our rearview mirror.  Having said that, last year was particularly kind to Mockingbird – we developed capabilities significantly, (most) of our clients outperformed expectations, and Mockingbird staff upgraded significantly. We ended the year on very solid financial footing. The dissonance of economic calamity for millions of small business owners and their employees coinciding with a soaring stock market has hit me particularly hard this year.  Mockingbird has been among the fortunate.

So in December, instead of sending out a typical Seattle themed gift basket or schwag festooned with the (awesome) Mockingbird logo, we’ve made a donation to a food pantry near each of our largest clients. We did well enough last year that this isn’t just a token gesture and I’m deeply grateful that through our clients, we’re able to make a difference in the lives of many Americans who really need the help right now. Our contribution from snowflakes from Seattle to bubble up economics instead of the trickle down economics; which clearly hasn’t served those in greatest need.


RBG and the Lawyer Mom Owner Conference

It’s 2:00am Saturday morning and I can’t sleep. The massive implications of RBG’s death on my mind. I have a daughter; time to watch On the Basis of Sex with her.

What to do?

This morning is the perfect time to make sure everyone I know is aware of Carolyn Elefant and  Jeena Belil’s Mom Owner Lawyer Summit, a conference dedicated to enterprising female lawyers.  I’ve first met Carolyn back in 2007 and have always referred to her as the Godmother of solo practitioners.  She’s inspirational, entrepreneurial, upfront and delightfully innately nerdy.  She started her law firm in 1993 and has made sharing her experiences to other enterprising lawyers a side gig primarily through her blog MyShingle.

When:  September 30-October 1
Where:  Online!

To me, Carolyn has always seen law firm ownership as the answer to both personal professional fulfillment.  If you have an inkling that there might be more to your profession and your life than the current status quo…. spend two days at this conference.  

This Summit has an entirely female speaker lineup and features some of the amazing women I’ve met during my sojourn in the legal marketing world.

I’ve bought tickets for all of my agency’s female clients and have a few left so if you’d like to attend the Lawyer Owner Mom Virtual Summit as my guest…. just add a comment (your email won’t be public) and I’ll delete it once I’ve sent you a ticket.  And please spread the word… there’s a target of 1,000 attendees and Jeena and Carolyn are not that far off their goal.

Oh, and to bring things back full circle to RBG… please vote. Early.


The Chasm Between BLM and Lawyers: Part I

During this 50 minute conversation, I sit down virtually with two lawyers who are intimately involved in social justice in Minneapolis. Travis Kowitz is white man, shot by a pepper bullet while live streaming the first two nights of the protests after George Floyd’s murder. Emily Cooper is a black woman pushing the cause of entrepreneurship to Minneapolis’ black community as the path to financial and personal freedom. Both are gritty, ambitious, lightly profane, and deeply committed to the part lawyers can play in the movement for social justice. We spend time talking through the history of systemic racism, specifically in Minneapolis.

From a lawyer marketing perspective, get inspired with some of the tactical approaches these two have taken in getting deeply involved in the community. My hope is that by listening to this, you may be inspired to go beyond carefully worded statements and donations and get more involved.

“words are just words, but when I take notice its about what actions people take behind the words; because words are just pandering.  Is anyone actually doing anything?” – Emily Cooper

The focus of this series is exposing the huge gap between the Black Lives Matter movement and lawyers, many of whom went into the profession specifically to advance the cause of social justice. We talk with hands-on, driven lawyers who are actively involved, on the streets in their communities, far beyond making bail fund donations or publishing carefully worded statements of support. We challenge the trepidations felt by many lawyers, starting with “I don’t want to say the wrong thing.” This is a raw, uncomfortable, and oftentimes painful dialogue that needs to happen. You won’t agree with everything you hear; you’ll probably feel offended. All the more reason to listen.

Lawyers and Cops and BLM and Branding

This started as my musings around police as a brand, but quickly begged the question: why is the lawyer brand so tarnished even in light of today’s social justice movement?

I’m not sure how the police, as a brand, evolve past this. Even making the fallacious assumptions that next week America unifies and completely solves social justice issues and 100% reforms the police force…how does the public see a blue uniform and a badge and not immediately associate those things with anything other than murdering black men, teargassing protestors, abandoning their offices, assaulting the elderly and shooting the homeless in wheelchairs? The word uniform serves two purposes here: the police uniform is part of the brand and it encourages us to apply the same perspective uniformly to all police officers. Whether you argue this is an issue of a “few bad apples” or believe it’s a result of the systemic militarization of the cops, public sentiment around all police will be applied uniformly. That is the function of brand: setting expectations of what you are going to get – i.e. you have a very clear and set expectation about what you are going to get when you order an Egg McMuffin or drive an Audi R8 or use tax services from H&R Block.  And right now, what America is getting across the country from the police brand is disgusting.  
And yes, I fully grok that my white male perspective on policing has evolved dramatically over the past 2 weeks, that many communities have always associated the police brand with fear and violence and that that evolution is a large part of the point of today’s movement.
I go back to the future of the police… If they were any other brand – a car, a fashion line, an airline, a power tool, they’d be shelved immediately because of what is now indelibly and universally linked to that brand. There would be no attempt to recover, evolve, and adjust the positioning and messaging.

Lawyers as a Brand

I spent the first two nights of the Minneapolis protests watching a livestream of attorney Travis Kowitz who was on the streets and watched by tens of thousands via Facebook.  Travis’ feed was through his law firm’s Facebook page – it was clear he was an attorney and as I texted back and forth with him I noted how many of the comments on his feed pushed an alarming and frequently violent anti-lawyer vitriol.  This was a man doing what I’ve been pushing lawyers to do in many circumstances – getting deeply and intimately involved in the community and tacking flack for being a lawyer.  Many of you went into this profession to make the world a better place and yet, lawyers are frequently seen as part of the problem, not part of the solution.  As a non-lawyer, working in legal for 15 years, I’ve been afforded a unique insider’s view into the good lawyers do.  We’ve codified this in our agency’s 10 Commandments – even presciently calling out police brutality.

  1. We Love Lawyers – Attorneys, especially those who represent individuals, are the primary counterbalance to corporate greed and the widespread abuse of police and political power and the abusive insurance industry. We are honored to play a small role in this system.
The lawyer brand is frequently unfairly painted with negative connotations – a cruel irony – and yes this is painting with unfairly broad brush strokes, which is what happens every time we generalize – police or lawyers. Here’s just a smattering of the anti-lawyer commentary on Travis’s feed those first three nights:
I’d encourage you, at this moment to take the opportunity to get deeply involved in your community – well beyond a law firm donation to bail for protestors or a carefully worded statement on your law firm’s social media profiles. There’s a lot that can be done that goes beyond these gestures.

Inspiration for the Lawyer Brand…

To offer some new perspective and perhaps provide a small dose of inspiration, I’m hosting a webinar this Friday with two Minneapolis lawyers who are deeply and intimately involved in social justice – Travis Kowitz and Emily Cooper – in the first part of our series on the Chasm Between BLM and Lawyers. Register here to join us and listen. The conversation will be raw, uncomfortable and you probably won’t love everything you hear.

Making Sure Your Business is Prepared for the Virus

Things aren’t great right now. As a Seattle-based company, we’re feeling the squeeze. Our office is just about empty, the buses haven’t been full in a week, and we just had to move our upcoming conference to virtual, instead of the Las Vegas rager we had planned. Since we’re figuring out how to run our business during this viral time, I decided to try and help you with some tips and tricks.


1. Adjust your GMB listing

The first thing you need to do is to let your customers know when you are and are not going to be available. If you’re shutting down your office for the foreseeable future, make that clear. Google has created a Google My Business advice doc for COVID-19 with instructions on how to update your listing. 


2. Change your voicemail

Don’t expect people to know what’s going on. You will probably still get incoming calls, and if they get sent to voicemail during your listed working hours they will probably be upset. Leave a voicemail message with a number or email where they can reach you. Explain why you’re not in the office. If they don’t understand, they just don’t understand the severity of the situation. 


3. Get ready to take calls remotely

Make sure you have online meeting capabilities. This means having access to quality wifi, a microphone that doesn’t make you sound like you’re shouting from the bottom of a well. Find a place where you can have a professional video call while working remotely. As a lawyer, you should be able to do a good chunk of your work from home. Don’t completely shut off consultations; if people are willing to trade in-person for over the phone, don’t throw that away.


4. Think long term

We don’t know how long this is going to last. Prepare for it to last a few months. How will your firm need to adapt? Maybe you’ll need to make your services more advice-based than representational if courts begin to shut down. Think about how you might need to stretch your operating budget and how you’ll keep getting clients. Everyone’s going to be hit hard by this, so at least you’re not alone.


We’re currently in a pandemic situation. We’ve heard some response that this is an overreaction, but since no one here is a health official we choose to take the health officials seriously when they say this is a crisis. It’s better to have an abundance of caution than pay the price for negligence. 


If you are one of our clients and are wondering how to reach your account executive, send them an email or call their direct line. Calling into our mainline could easily get you to voicemail, and we want to avoid that.

Is Your Agency Selling You More Than You Need?

Judging Your Marketing Plan by Your Firm

Law firm marketing is an industry full of swindlers. Bad marketers are always trying to sell you more than you need, won’t tell you how their add-ons are helping you, and don’t produce the results they promise.  Scams are all over, which is why you need to be able to recognize when you’re overpaying or are paying for the wrong things. 


But what are the things you should be paying for? This depends on your practice, your firm, and your goals. Any marketer who says they have a one-size-fits-all, guaranteed to work plan is lying. No marketer can guarantee digital marketing success unless they’re physically (and illegally) paying off someone at Google, and every plan should be customizable. Every firm is different.


What Does My Practice Need?

Every practice has its strengths and weaknesses. Personal injury firms tend to need large amounts of advertising due to the highly competitive market and can afford it because of their high case values. Immigration lawyers, on the other hand, tend to have high caseloads with lower case values, meaning they need specific and cost-effective advertising. If an immigration lawyer is being sold an expensive new website and thousands of dollars in monthly ad-spend they are likely being ripped off. 


Before speaking with a digital marketing firm you need to make sure you know your business. What is your budget and what are your goals? A good firm should be able to work with your needs. If they are pressuring you to spend more than you are comfortable with without providing data to support their suggestions, run. 


But what does your firm actually need? This depends on the infrastructure you already have built up. If you have a functional, scalable, beautiful website ready to go, you shouldn’t have to purchase a new one. When you already have Local SEO services set up you might not need to purchase more. If you are just starting out, you might need to invest a bit more. The best way to avoid being scammed is by doing research into what’s typically needed for a firm of your size and practice.


Ask Questions

The best indicator of a scam is a lack of transparency. If the firm you are talking to refuses to answer your questions directly you might want to raise a red flag. Marketers are good at making their product sound appealing, and rhetoric can be powerful and deceiving. Make sure your questions get answered and keep an eye out for non-answers. If you realize they didn’t actually tell you anything, press them harder. Make sure you know exactly what you should be getting and why you’re paying for it.


Talk to a Firm You Can Trust

If you’re curious about a trustworthy firm, call Mockingbird! We’re proud of our transparency, work ethic, and relationships with our clients and would love to talk with you about your firm.

The 3 Best Resources for Beginner Website Owners

Running a website for a business is complicated and sometimes frustrating, and when you add advertising on top of general up-keep it gets even more complicated. When an issue arises, you might not even notice until you check back through your ad results. There might be a sudden, unexplained drop in conversions or interactions, and you’ll be left wondering if the problem is with your website or the ad platform.


Lucky for you, there are plenty of good resources to help you figure out if the problem is on you or Google:


1. Google Webmaster Central Blog

From the horse’s mouth itself, Google’s webmaster blog is one of the best places to hear about news and updates that could impact your website. You’ll learn about new features available through Google Analytics and Search Console and how to access them.


2. Search Engine Journal

SEJ publishes multiple blog posts every day from various experts in the field of digital marketing. Even if you aren’t a digital marketer, many of the posts are useful in providing tips and tricks of the trade. If you think an update is screwing with your data, just glance at SEJ. If there was an update, they’ll be the first to know.


3. Google Webmasters Help Community

Any question you have has probably been asked before, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask it again. The Help community is made up of seasoned webmasters, experts, and Google employees. You can learn from other people’s misunderstandings and get answers for yourself.


Of course, there are hundreds of other resources you can use. Knowledge and helpful guides saturate the internet. Go out and learn! Find your own path! Running a business is hard, but it’s always an opportunity for personal growth.

If running a website and a law firm is more of a time commitment than you can make, we get it. Leave the website to us. Mockingbird runs websites and advertising for law firms and knows how to keep up with the constant changes. Contact us to learn more.