EXPERT WITNESS - Internet Marketing: An Introduction for attorneys and other professional practitioners (part 2)

By John F. Sase, Ph.D.
Gerard J. Senick, Senior Editor
Julie G. Sase, Copyeditor

“Google’s algorithm changes are designed to emphasize quality websites while pushing down, in search results, low-quality sites.”
—Melih Oztalay, “SEO: Understanding Pandas, Penguins, and Pigeons” (, 22 September 2014)

In this month’s column, we continue our sojourn into the field of Internet Marketing and address Content Marketing, specifically. Last month, we took a break from our multi-part series “Sufficient Affluence/Sustainable Economy” in order to discuss the benefits of Internet marketing for law firms and other professional practices.

In Part One, we reviewed the state of marketing throughout the first decade and a half of this new millennium. Next, we compared traditional forms of marketing, which use print and broadcast media, to newer ones that rely upon the Internet. Then, we discussed the need for defining ourselves and our marketing efforts in terms of Business to Business (B2B), Business to Consumer (B2C), or a mix of both. Finally, we addressed two concepts that we can use to define each of our markets with clarity and focus in order to develop our message and to select an optimal mix of Internet-marketing tools.

In this month’s column, we will discuss a practical multi-modal structure (that is, a system composed of various kinds of media sites) for Internet presence, which any small law firm or professional practice can build. After that, we will delve into the importance of quality content that engages our site visitors and satisfies the hunger of the newer Google Search Engine Optimization algorithms known as Panda, Penguin, and Pigeon. Google uses them to calculate and rank all of the content that appears on its search engine.

In this second decade of the twenty-first century, the need for an Internet presence has moved well beyond the notion of “We should have a Web site for our business.” A complex of Internet presence now is a cornerstone of a successful business. Though our Web sites remain at the core of our Content Marketing, they serve primarily as destinations for prospective clients to heed the final Call to Action by contacting us and engaging our services.

The tools that we use to encourage those whom we serve form a multi-modal system. This is composed of multiple media sites that connect us with places that our potential clients go. Importantly, these sites are compatible to the learning styles of our potential clients and are most comfortable for them. Some of us respond best to auditory messages, such as those we hear on the radio. Others prefer to engage and learn through the written word and an occasional picture. However, more and more individuals have discovered the world of short information videos on YouTube and similar sites. Many searchers use this region of the Internet to gather information and to gain insights that lead them to the necessary conditions of knowing, liking, and trusting those persons with whom they may consider doing business.

As discussed in Part One of this series, potential clients searching for a prospective attorney or another professional first may ask relatives and friends for suggestions, which may include an online link. These searchers also may go online directly in order to search. Hopefully, where they go next will be somewhere in the multi-modal systems that we construct.

Making the Monster (Hey, It’s Almost Halloween)

As a model, we might envision a typical system as a six-pointed star on which the top point is our destination Web site. This means that there are fifteen possible two-way channels along which visitors can move through the content. The elements of this system might include YouTube, Vimeo or a similar video site; LinkedIn or a comparable professional networking site; a Blog site, which is either stand-alone or embedded on LinkedIn or elsewhere; Facebook, which is more relevant than LinkedIn as a portal for Business to Consumer (B2C) marketing; and Google Local, which has the potential for focused B2C marketing within a specific geographic area.

Optimally, we wish to interlink all of these cyberspace portals to one another in multiple coherent ways by using the fifteen channels described. Are we getting overwhelmed yet? If so, we may turn to inexpensive programs such as Lead Octopus (, which facilitate the operation and distribution of content throughout our system with one-action entry. This action means that we need only to submit our content once and the program disseminates it to our selected portals throughout the system.

Our goal is four-fold:  First, we want visitors to be able to contact us directly from any of the six portals. Second, we want to engage hesitant visitors in ways that allow them to develop the sense of know, like, and trust through the content of any of our six portals. Third, we want our visitors to find relevant content that leads them to our central Web site so that they will take action, with the goals of having them contact us and retain our services. Fourth, prospective clients rate a person as more important and successful when they have multiple citations on Internet search pages, YouTube, and Blog sites. Attorneys have been slow to engage in social media because of a risk/benefit analysis. However, the scales have been tipping over the past decade. The potential benefits of engaging in social media—both professional and monetary—outweigh the risks, provided that basic American Bar Association guidelines are kept in mind.

If we think of this system as an office space that has six doors, we know that many people will be the most comfortable coming through the main entrance to our front desk—our Web-site Home page. Others may prefer to use a different entrance and to take the opportunity to look around and to collect additional information before making a decision. Within a closed system as described, our guests can feel free to invest whatever amount of time that they need to acquire information from our content without wandering off into the wilds of cyberspace.

Depending on whether or not we have the necessary in-house talent and ability to make all of this happen, the marginal cost of assembling this monster is relatively inexpensive. A Web site that includes a Domain Name and Hosting package through a reputable company is about $125.00 per year. The remaining elements, which include a YouTube or basic Vimeo channel, a LinkedIn account, a Facebook page, a Blog area on LinkedIn, a Word Press site hosted on our central Web site, and access to a Google Local Business listing, are free. Let us remember, we have plenty of opportunities to spend money for various services in the cyberspace pond after we get our feet wet.

The Keyword Phrase “Metro Detroit Attorney” Produces 3.3 Million Results on Google

At this point, some of us may be saying “I’m a lawyer” or “I’m a doctor” and “I don’t know how to build a Web site, make videos, and write blogs that anyone will want to view or read.” How does an attorney avoid getting lost in the shuffle of 3.3 million results on Google, as referred to in our heading? Our response to this statement may be that we can outsource all or some of the necessary functions with a bit of planning and do so frugally. If we don’t have the talent in-house, we often can find the basic help that we need in “How-to” videos on YouTube or by contacting upper-division students with computer and video skills at a local university. They appreciate the work and can help us to get started painlessly. (Here is a sample video on the Atwater Brewery in Detroit that was done by a group of Wayne State University students:

If we choose to outsource the task of developing a Content Marketing system, we should become educated contractors of various services and know where to turn to find a variety of online groups in specific areas of expertise. From personal experience, I (Dr. Sase) do not advise any of us to jump into the cyber pond of services without acquiring some firsthand knowledge of the tasks that we will be contracting others to perform.  We do not want to be up to our waists in alligators. Unfortunately, there seem to be more scam artists in cyberspace than there are reputable practitioners. Consequently, it takes time and experience to learn our way around the landscape in order to avoid their pitfalls.

After extensive searching, I (Dr. Sase) have enjoyed working with a few trustworthy providers who offer a generous bundle of introductory material for free, who avoid high-pressure sales tactics, and who have earned a significant degree of Know, Like, and Trust from me. Basically, I took a gratis introductory online course from each of these providers. They did a great job of teaching video production and placement as well as copywriting to me; Now, I turn to them for specific issues in Content Marketing. For example, there is much more to making a two-minute video with an iPhone or a compact video camera than pointing, clicking, and uploading. If any of us want to learn the basics of using video for Content Marketing, I suggest making a visit to James Wedmore at Video Traffic Academy ( and discover the five videos that any small business should have. Similarly, for effective content copywriting advice and loads of useful information, I suggest a visit to Sonia Simone at Copyblogger ( Having built their company upon Content Marketing, Copyblogger shows us that it is not (just) about SEO, social media, and blogging. Rather, it is about giving value through quality content. We may want to go through Copyblogger’s twenty free lessons on Content Marketing before diving into the deep end.

In respect to copywriting, Internet Marketing has moved to Content Marketing. Google has enabled this move to a significant degree through changes to its widely used search engine. Their little spiders crawl around the Web searching for keywords and evaluating sites for the purpose of ranking those sites on Google. These spiders are dancing to a different tune since Google changed the search algorithms that it uses for Web-site ranking. For the past three years, the three Google search algorithms that have had the greatest impact are Panda, Penguin, and Pigeon. In effect, these algorithms have been designed to emphasize quality websites while pushing down low-quality sites (for more detail, see

One Bear, Two Birds

What are the differences among Panda, Penguin, and Pigeon? Panda aims to make low-quality or thin Web sites less visible in search results, ranking them lower than high-quality sites. Penguin addresses the quality of in-bound links, those links that come from the outside to our pages. Google eliminates or lowers the ranking of sites that artificially increase their rankings by manipulating the number of links that point to a Web page. Pigeon concentrates on providing accurate and useful search results on a local level.

Content Is King Once Again

For a number of years, content quality took a back seat to “gaming the system” with keywords and other devices intended to get high rankings. Google is responsible for the return of the importance of high-quality content. Since Google earns 90% of its revenue from Adwords (paid advertisements on search pages), it created a system of checks and balances—the bear and birds—that resulted in higher-quality content that brings more advertising revenue to them.

Now, let us think about what we want our content to accomplish before we plan the creation and distribution of video and text to our Web system. We are competing against a lot of Internet garbage in our attempt to be seen. Therefore, we want our content to stand out due to its quality, relevance, and presentation.

First, we should ask ourselves if our content is educational, practical, entertaining, or a combination of these three.

Second, we are well-advised to outline the types and topics of video and text that we want to create before we implement them. We could begin by discovering the questions that our target audiences are asking and then proceed to answer them with high-quality content.

Third, we want to identify the members of our respective teams who will be responsible for developing the creative concepts, for writing the scripts, for producing the video and text, and for distributing these works throughout our systems.

Fourth, we need to identify where we want our completed videos and texts to reside on our six-point system. It is desirable to have at least one piece residing on the Home or Landing page of our Web sites. In the case of videos, we may want to embed them from depositories such as YouTube and Vimeo if we do not have a good player or sufficient space on our hosting platform.

Fifth, how can we measure and monitor the performance of our videos, blogs, and other postings? Our ultimate goal is to serve those visitors who contact and retain us. Therefore, some important metrics to consider include 1) Attention span and drop-off rate in the case of videos, 2) An estimate of the total amount of online video and text consumed daily or weekly by members of our focal audience along with identifying which days are peak days for viewing, and 3) The percentage of visitors who follow through and retain us.

In summary, establishing an overall strategy for our media content helps to keep this content focused on the purpose that we align to our business goals. This month, we have addressed a number of important issues toward this end. We have considered a practical multi-modal structure for maintaining a quality content presence on the Internet. Then we have delved into the need for quality content that engages our visitors and works well for Google ranking.

In conclusion, we thought that it would be helpful to have me (Dr. Sase) share my own process with the six points of the star as outlined above. I have had a Web site for about fifteen years with Network Solutions hosting ( With a variety of cut-and-paste tools, I have been able to build, maintain, and expand my site by myself with a minimum of time and effort. In 2009, I began to make and post YouTube videos and have created more than 200 videos to date. Of these, the general economic videos reside on while those of specific relevance to attorneys are on In addition I have put some videos on Vimeo to facilitate content management. In 2011, I created my LinkedIn account and have built a network of about 800 members to date, of which more than half are attorneys. Though I have been on Facebook as a personal social site for a number of years, I recently created a separate page called the VideoEconomist that I use for limited business purposes because my market is mostly B2B. For the same reasons, I have used Google Local to a minor extent because the industry organs include legal newspapers—such as this one—to reach out to my client base. Finally, I have been developing two interconnected Blog spaces. One is a Word Press site that is a free extension of my hosted Web site and the other is the Blog space on LinkedIn for members.

By doing an increased amount of content marketing over the years, I have set myself out as a growing expert and authority in my professional field. The amount of content marketing that I have done has led to a much greater presence among attorneys and others who search for the services of an economist. These efforts have widened and further stabilized my revenue base.

I want this kind of positive growth for all of my clients and potential clients as well. For our readership, which also includes law students and support staff at firms, we want the same benefits for you—greater presence among potential clients and employers as well as further professional growth, including increased revenue and earnings.

Next month, we will explore the basics of video- and text-content production in more detail. In addition, we will discuss the application of the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Formulas to our video scripts and text content in order to focus our messages on our target audiences. Finally, we will consider the use of Standard English and Closed Captioning for the benefit of our visitors who speak and write English as a Second Language (ESL).


Dr. John F. Sase has taught Economics for more than three decades and has practiced Forensic and Investigative Economics since the early 1990s. He earned an M.A. in Economics and an MBA at the University of Detroit and a Ph.D. in Economics at Wayne State University. He is a graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School. Dr. Sase can be reached at 248-569-5228 and at You can find his educational videos of interest to attorneys at

Gerard J. Senick is a freelance writer, editor, and musician. He earned his degree in English at the University of Detroit and was a supervisory editor at Gale Research Company (now Cengage) for over twenty years. Currently, he edits books for publication and gives seminars on writing and music. Senick can be reached at 313-342-4048 and at You can find some of his writing tips at

Julie G. Sase is a freelance copyeditor and proofreader. She earned her degree in English at Marygrove College and her graduate certificate in Parent Coaching from Seattle Pacific University. As a consultant, Ms. Sase coaches clients, writes articles for publication, and gives interviews to various media. Ms. Sase can be reached at and

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