Best practices in selecting a CMS platform for Law firms

Author: Rahul Khosla | Categories: CMS, Legal, Professional Services

So your law firm is also looking to enhance its digital marketing platform with a content management solution. But there are over 1,000 content management systems available today, and they all sound like they have the features you’re looking for. Where do you start?

From our experience in helping law firms select a CMS platform, let’s take a quick look at some of the ways law firms are leveraging their CMS platforms in their digital marketing efforts, and some of the features you should look for in a CMS; and then we’ll review edynamic’s approach to CMS selection and how it can help you when it comes time to making a decision on a new CMS.

What can a CMS do for you?
At its most basic, a CMS helps you deliver the right content, to the right audience and at the right time.

As a law firm, you no doubt have a great repository of knowledge and content at your fingertips.

Your CMS will allow you to align your content creation and editing environments with the skill sets of your internal users, no matter their level of technical expertise. An effective CMS empowers your staff, at all levels, to become “content experts,” by providing an easy-to-use platform for all of your users to push content out to the Web and other channels.

In fact, many CMS systems offer a “write once, publish anywhere” environment, with support for multi-channel publishing from the same content. With your CMS, you’ll be able to publish content, like thought leadership, news, and alerts, to mobile, Twitter, LinkedIn and more.

Multi-channel publishing of your content adds a “richness” to your Web presence that allows you to stand out from your competition.

Optimize the Experience
Digging a bit deeper, a CMS can act as a “personalization engine” and deliver experiences to visitors based on their individual preferences.

This is especially important in law firms where a lot of material is available for site visitors, so delivering the right content to the right audience can drive engagement.

By leveraging the integrated analytics of a CMS, including browsing history, time-on-page, download stats and more, you can determine which visitors are viewing which content. From there, you can segment them into categories and evolve your content delivery based on visitor response and traction.

Furthermore, your analytics can help you develop strong content attributes and taxonomy to enable great search experiences. You can also add detailed metadata attributes to your content, helping ensure that search results align with visitor expectations.

All in all, your CMS helps ensure your visitors have a great experience with your Web site, no matter if it’s their first time on the site or if they are a regular visitor.

Delivering Opportunities
In addition to improving the experience of your web visitors, a CMS can provide plenty of opportunities for your firm to improve as well.

Overall, the better and more relevant your content, and the more “findable” it is on your Web site, the higher your page will rank on the leading search engines; this, of course will help increase your organic search results, and as you’re no doubt aware, the higher you show up in search rankings, the more traffic you’ll see.

Internally, your CMS can help your team members become contributors. As discussed earlier, a CMS can enable anyone to be a content provider – by empowering your staff, attorneys, talent and HR to publish content, you immediately make them feel more invested in your firm.

How to Choose
edynamic believes the foundation of a CMS selection process starts with your firm’s unique needs.

What are the ways that you want to communicate with your clients and Web site visitors? And how can a CMS help you execute and improve those strategies?

With that in mind, our strategic approach eight essential steps:

  • Digital Strategy Review
  • Identify Vendor Universe
  • Score Vendor RFIs
  • Vendor Demonstrations
  • Vendor Short-List
  • Vendor POCs
  • Final Selection
  • Selection Completion.

Each of these steps is fairly self-explanatory, but let’s take a closer look at the first. This is where you truly build the foundation for your CMS deployment – where you identify your goals and outline the CMS capabilities you need.

The Digital Strategy Review is the keystone on which the entire platform selection process rests. It’s here that you identify and refine your strategy – your goals and requirements, and the key capabilities you need from a CMS in order to meet those requirements.

From there, you can decide on the best vendors, review and shortlist them, before moving into the final stages.

If your law firm is looking to take its digital marketing to the next level, a web CMS is a great place to start.