So, you’ve started a law blog. Great! In this day and age, adding a blog to your firm website should be a no-brainer. We’ve previously written about the numerous benefits of blogging for lawyers. But, once you’ve decided to take the leap and start blogging, it’s important to maintain your blog, which includes coming up with interesting and relevant topics on a regular basis, and finding time to write regularly. Not always an easy feat…
Luckily, blogging does not have to as daunting as you may think. We’ve compiled a list of best practices and tips that should help make the whole process a lot easier.
1. Be Informative
Your blog, as a regularly updated extension of your website, should draw the traffic you want: prospective clients and referral sources. The best way to do this is to become a source of information about commonly asked questions or to explain relevant legal concepts.
Put yourself in a potential client’s shoes – what kind of information might they be seeking? What are they likely Googling? Thinking about questions like this can help you come up with informative, helpful content that is of interest to your target audience.
2. Write for your Audience
If you want your readers to be prospective clients and referral sources, write for them, not for other lawyers. Yes, other lawyers may read your blog, particularly once you establish yourself as a subject-matter expert (though be wary of explicitly referring to yourself as one), or an authoritative source of commentary on your practice area; however, your primary audience will be laypeople.
Think about how you would explain a difficult legal issue to someone who has no background in the law. Limit the use of legalese and always provide definitions of legal terms.
Summarizing a case? Don’t write like an associate drafting a memo for a partner, write in a conversational and familiar tone like you might do if you were summarizing a really good book you’re recommending to a friend.
3. Keep Readers Updated on an Ongoing Issue
A great way to engage your audience is to provide commentary on an ongoing issue. Are you a criminal lawyer? Blog about the ongoing debate over the use of solitary confinement in Canada. Are you a corporate lawyer? Blog about ongoing NAFTA discussions.
Blogging about a topic regularly allows you to showcase your knowledge, is an easy way to generate topics, and will benefit the regularity of your posts. Plus, any reader who happens to be interested in a topic you regularly blog about will keep coming back to your blog to read your thoughts on it.
4. Entice Your Readers
Make sure every element of your blog is enticing and engaging, starting with your blog’s title. Create a short, pithy, attention-grabbing headline that can’t be ignored. The blog’s title should intrigue potential readers to want to learn more about the topic.
From there, ensure that the opening lines of your blog post are just as inviting. Research shows that people only read the first few lines of an article before deciding whether or not to keep reading. Therefore, your opening lines are crucial. Start off with a quote, a question or a bold statement. You only have one shot at this, so make it count.
Know that most people will scan your post rather than read every single word. Think about writing skimmable content:
- Use Headings;
- Use Numbered Lists;
- Use Bullet Points.
5. Blog Regularly and Become a Thought Leader
Other than producing engaging and informative content tailored to your target audience, another key to a successful blog is consistency. Optimally, blogs should be updated at least once a week, and more often if there are major developments or a key discussion going on. The more you blog, the more you become a reliable source of commentary and opinions on matters that are important for your readers, and the more readily you will position yourself as an authority in your practice area.
On average, lawyers spend about 1.9 hours a week updating their blogs. Set aside some time in your schedule as you would any other important activity (billable or otherwise), and make sure you stick to your plan.
If you think you will not be able to blog consistently, are going on an extended vacation, or you’re involved in a case or trial that you know will completely occupy your time for a while, consider outsourcing your blogging. At Umbrella Legal Marketing, our editorial and writing team consists of lawyers with specific subject matter knowledge in a variety of practice areas. We offer custom blogging services tailored to our clients’ needs and help firms stand out in today’s ever-changing legal landscape. Contact us by email or at 416-356-4672.