And we’re not talking about esoteric constitutional issues such as the limits of executive power or the emoluments clause.The current administration is making moves that are affecting real people on a day-to-day basis, often resulting in significant uncertainty about legal issues that can have a direct impact on the most important aspects of their lives.
How does this affect legal content marketing? For one thing, it is providing lawyers and law firms (and their marketing teams) ample opportunity to create new, fresh content that is relevant and of interest to their target audience.
The First Travel Ban: A Case Study
To understand how this works, it is illustrative to look at a concrete example. On January 27th, the President issued an executive order banning travel to the United States for people from certain countries, and it was not immediately clear whether legal permanent residents (green card holders) from the affected countries would be allowed to reenter the country if they were overseas when the order was issued, which proved to be a source of significant controversy.
Here is a chart showing the number of searches for “Green Card Entry” over the past 90 days:
(Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. Likewise a score of 0 means the term was less than 1% as popular as the peak.)
As these data make clear, the number of people searching for “green card entry” spiked soon after the executive order was issued. Granted, some of these searches were people simply seeking information for information’s sake, but is also safe to assume that some of them were concerned that the order would apply to them or their family members – people who, for some attorneys, are potential clients.
Importantly, other words that are semantically related to the issue show similar spikes in traffic, and identifying these words and phrases is the foundation of creating a timely content marketing campaign.
By identifying the legal questions that people are asking and creating content that answers those questions, lawyers in any area of law can connect with individuals who are actively seeking their services. Here are some of the areas of law that recent actions taken by the Trump administration have affected as well as specific issues on which relevant, timely, and informative content could be created.
Immigration law has perhaps been the most volatile area of law since Trump took office and the uncertainty has certainly captured the media’s attention.
The executive order banning travel from certain countries referenced above is just one area where there is significant uncertainty. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted under President Obama directed federal authorities to use prosecutorial discretion regarding the removal of certain undocumented individuals who arrived in the United States as children. The program provides those eligible with a renewable 2-year work authorization as well as deferred action regarding their undocumented status. In other words, they may live and work in the United States without immediate fear of removal. The new administration has taken a tough stance on immigration and has yet to indicate what it plans to do with DACA – a program that Trump could decide to end at any moment.
Issues regarding the enforcement of immigration laws has also generated significant interest, as the administration recently expanded the list of individuals who were removal priorities significantly.
In late summer of 2013, the Obama administration issued a memo to U.S. Attorneys in all 50 states indicating that “in jurisdictions that have enacted laws legalizing marijuana in some form… conduct in compliance with those laws and regulations is less likely to threaten the federal priorities..” and that “state and local law enforcement and regulatory bodies should remain the primary means of addressing marijuana-related activity.”
In practice, this directive has meant there is a lack of federal enforcement against marijuana operations and users who are in compliance with state law. Importantly, however, this could change with the stroke of a pen under the new administration. Aggressive enforcement could create chaos in states that have robust and established marijuana economies and could result in significant criminal penalties for individuals who have been operating under the belief that they are not an enforcement priority for the feds.
While personal injury matters are generally matters of state law, there are certain cases in which federal regulations may have an impact on the outcome of litigation. For example, in some jurisdictions, noncompliance with FMCSR regulations could be used as prima facie evidence of negligence in truck accident litigation. In light of the president’s directive to repeal two regulations for every new one implemented, the regulatory landscape is on shaky ground, including for the trucking industry. Some regulations that were poised to take effect (i.e. speed limiters on newly manufactured heavy trucks) may never be implemented, and others may be repealed.
Last May, the Obama administration issued guidance that directed all educational institutions to allow students to use facilities that are consistent with their gender identity. On February 22nd, the Trump administration withdrew the previous guidance, calling into question whether federal officials will enforce Title IX against schools that discriminate against transgender students in this manner. The issue is now headed to the U.S. Supreme Court in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, where the court is expected to decide whether Title IX requires schools to treat students consistent with their gender identity.
Use Current Events to Generate Long-Tail Keyword Phrases
Of course, when creating SEO-friendly content, one of the main concerns is incorporating keywords that will signal that the content is relevant to particular topic. Long-tail keyword phrases that exactly match what a potential client is looking for will ensure that you are attracting the right kinds of visitors to your site. Some examples of long-tail keyword phrases that may be relevant to the practice areas listed above include:
- Will the speed limiter rule be enacted
- What are defenses to deportation?
- Enforcement of federal marijuana laws
- Will DACA be Repealed?
Of course, these are just a few basic examples of phrases that legal consumers may search in response to political developments, and using tools like Google Trends’ Related Queries feature can help you come up with long-tail keywords to target.
As Questions Arise, so do Opportunities to Connect with Clients
These are just a few of the areas of law in which questions raised by the actions of the new administration are creating opportunities for lawyers and their marketing teams to create compelling and informative content of interest to their potential clients. If the trend established in the past six weeks is any indication, the questions will continue to arise.
To discuss your legal content strategy, call Lexicon Legal Content today at 877-486-8123 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.