Sydney, Australia, May 13, 2014 --(PR.com
)-- It might horrify some lawyers to know that they have been at the forefront of advertising. But lawyer turned ad agency founder, Ralph Grayden, says that one technique lawyers have been using for years has now become the hottest trend in the world of advertising and marketing.
“Lawyers have long known that good content can build trust with potential clients and attract new business,” Grayden says. “Why else would they have been diverting so many of their billable hours into producing the humble law firm newsletter?”
The rest of the world has caught up and with internet and social media making it easier than ever to put that content in front of a wide audience, content marketing has become a crucial advertising tool for all businesses.
So if lawyers are ahead of the pack, what prompted Grayden to found Antelope Media, a content, copywriting and advertising agency dedicated to the law and professional services industries?
“Even though most firms are doing at least some form of content marketing, few firms do it well,” Grayden says. “Most don’t properly utilise their social media and other tools. In fact, many are a little scared of the modern online world, where anyone and everyone can have their say.”
And since everyone is now using content as a way of building relationships it’s getting harder and harder to get cut through.
“Take, for example an investment banker we worked with,” explains Grayden. “Because a lot of lawyers want to do deals with him he gets dozens of law firm eNewsletters each month. They all come with the same kind of "April 2014 - Newsletter" subject line and they all cover the same ground in long-winded lawyer speak. So all he does is delete each email without even opening it.”
“It breaks my heart to see the time and effort law firms put in to content go completely to waste.”
A bespoke approach to law firm promotion
Grayden, who worked at some of Australia’s leading ad agencies before striking out on his own 4 years ago, says it’s important that targeted content marketing is supported by more traditional advertising. He argues that print advertising, publicity and traditional digital advertising - like websites and banner ads - all have their place, so his agency, Antelope Media, provides them all.
“These forms of advertising have been an achilles heel for lawyers, because they tend to approach everything from an analytical angle, which is great for helping clients solve legal problems, but not the best approach for advertising or publicity,” Grayden says.
“There might be 10 good reasons why someone should see you for legal advice and you could list every one of them. But it’s more effective to connect with people emotionally.”
It can be easier said than done, especially when there are so many restrictions on the way lawyers can advertise, particularly in the areas of personal injury and negligence.
“I find my background as a practising lawyer helps me know where to draw the line as well as the consequences of getting it wrong.”
It also helps him get the balance right. “What lawyers do is serious. If you buy a can of Coke, not much is at stake. It’s the opposite when you deal with a lawyer, so you don’t want to advertise in the same way,” Grayden says. “You can still have fun, but you can’t afford to be flippant.”
The difference between marketing and advertising
While there are many law firm marketing specialists, Grayden says that there is a difference between marketing and advertising.
“It’s a little like the difference between barristers and solicitors,” he says. “While the line sometimes can be a little blurry, marketers look at the strategy while advertising is about coming up with the idea that will give effect to that strategy and then executing it well.”
As an example of this, Grayden cites some recent work he did with the Law Society of NSW over their CTP Green Slip Campaign.
“The Law Society believed that the government’s proposed reforms were short-sighted and were going to hurt people more than help them. After they briefed us we expressed it in emotional terms through the simple slogan ‘Fifty bucks off your Green Slip. A lifetime on welfare.’”
That line ran as an ad in both major Sydney newspapers and was supported by evidence about how the government’s attempt to bring the price of Green Slips down was going to be at the expense of benefits for injured motorists. The following week the government changed it’s mind and postponed the legislation.
“I’d like to think the raw emotion we stirred up with the ad campaign at at least something to do with the the government’s decision,” says Grayden.
Antelope Media is a communications agency focusing exclusively on the professional services space, providing content marketing, traditional or digital advertising and publicity.