Create Once, Publish Everywhere or "COPE" (as it is often known) has been a strategy that has been used for many years to distribute content for both Business to Business and Business to Consumer organisations. The idea is pretty simple and probably does not need too much explanation from me!
Over the past 5 years, I have been working with lots of big law, consultancy and advisory firms and with the law firms in particular, there is a great opportunity to really put "COPE" into practice.
There is no doubt that a big challenge for a law firm is getting the busy experts (i.e. the lawyers/attorneys) engaged in creating an insight or piece of content. It may be a short piece, it may be a white paper or it may be a Podcast, a video or even a collaboration between multiple lawyers - but getting that content created, approved and published can be a huge effort. It can take many hours or even days and weeks, for the larger content pieces, to be created. Then it has to go through an approval process to check that it is in compliant with the firm's editorial guidelines and finally, published on the website, microsite or platform that will be home for that piece of content.
The cost of this can run into the thousands and sometimes into the tens of thousands of dollars in the lawyers' time alone. That's before we even add in the time invested from the marketing and communications team and any external help. The point being, that every piece of expert-led content is very, very expensive to create, so it's really important to make the most of it.
However, what I have seen often happens at law firms, is that the new piece of content is published to the website and then everyone hopes that somehow that content will be found. The hope is that clients will come to your website, navigate to your insights section and then find that relevant piece of content. In reality, this does not happen, not even for the biggest and most sophisticated firms.
This is where COPE comes in. The hard and expensive part of the content process is getting your lawyers writing and producing the client-centric insight. If you can do that, then there are lots of easy ways to get that content to the world, and more importantly to the people in the world that really matter.
WHERE TO PUBLISH TO: A list of the best places for law firms to share insights once it is published on your website
The Social Networks: But mainly LinkedIn. Not just the corporate LinkedIn page - get all the lawyers from that team or sector that have created the content to push to their LinkedIn pages. It's really important to note that when people create their own content or the content is created by other experts in their team, they are much more likely to share and their engagement on LinkedIn will go through the roof. Head of Communications at Ropes & Gray, Rupert Winlaw says they have seen a 720% increase in LinkedIn posting by lawyers once he had provided the platform to enable them to create regular insights:
Law Firm Professional Content Distribution Services: There are three of these: Lexology, Mondaq and JD Supra. All of them provide a superb service and outstanding reach for law firm insights. These companies have a wide-reaching list of subscribers in the legal world including hundreds of thousands of lawyers and in-house counsels. A subscription to these services means that your content, once published to your website, can automatically be pulled into these platforms and the content shared with their huge distribution lists.
I am often asked by law firms which of these services I would recommend them using. My answer is always "all three of them". With all the time and expense going into content production don't scrimp and save at the final hurdle.
All three platforms will provide wonderful feedback including what firms are reading your insights and what content is getting the most engagement.
Email Marketing Engines: Most law firms we talk to or are working with are using a tool such as Vuture or Concep to share their insights with a list of clients and "future" clients. Keeping those people informed with everything they need to know to help them do their jobs more effectively.
Get over that GDPR hurdle and ensure that you are sharing the right content with the right clients. Once more, Vuture and Concep will provide detailed feedback on who is engaging with and reading the content. It is vital that this information is shared not just with the Marketing, Communications and Business Development team ... but also with the lawyers themselves. This feedback is what will drive the lawyers to engage in the content process for the long term.
Directly with Key Contacts at your Key Clients: I've worked with law firms where they can narrow down all their clients into a list of just 20-30 of their most important clients with often one or two key contacts at each of these. Sometimes the most effective way to get an insight in front of that key contact is to email it to them 1-2-1 with a little bit of added context. The chances are they will open the email form their trusted lawyer that they pay $1,000/hour to and read it.
Time to COPE: All the platforms I have mentioned above are very accessible and all very much designed for the unique needs of law firms. They will all provide lots of feedback that can be fed into your Business Development goals. Law firm content is expensive to create so make sure you get the maximum return on every piece of content you publish.
2022 is the year for law firms to COPE.