Lawyers have been blogging since the early days of the web – and it’s not hard to see why. Writing has always been a vital part of the legal profession, and with the advent of the internet, blogs have given lawyers an essential avenue to use their writing to connect with clients and share expertise.
However, for lawyers more comfortable drafting memos and legal documents than clickbait-y listicles, starting a law firm blog can feel like an impossible challenge. However, blogging isn’t an inherently elusive art: instead, it is a skill that naturally develops with time. If you take steps to hone your expertise in web writing, you’ll be a proficient blogger before long.
Ready to take the plunge into the wonderful world of blogging for lawyers? Here’s what you need to know.
Why start a law firm blog?
These days, it seems like nearly every legal and non-legal site you find has a blog of its very own. Why is that? It all comes down to a few primary reasons:
- Digital marketing: Modern websites live or die by their search engine optimization (SEO). A frequently updated blog is a vital tool to help you rank highly on Google and other search engines, attracting more traffic to your firm.
- Audience engagement: Your clients likely spend a large part of every day online, so building a robust digital presence with a law firm blog can give them an easy way to stay connected with you.
- Making a name for yourself: Many law firms live or die based on their reputation in the field. Writing an authoritative blog can help position your firm as a trustworthy member of the legal community.
These are only a few reasons why more and more lawyers are taking the plunge to start penning blogs of their very own. If you’re ready to join the crowd, keep these tips in mind.
Know your audience
Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, more likely), be sure to ask yourself who you’re writing for. Are you targeting fellow lawyers with an intricate understanding of the law, or are you hoping to educate a more general audience? Do you plan to answer common questions or dive deep into complicated problems related to your specific area of expertise?
Knowing your audience will affect every facet of writing and managing your blog. For example, if you hope to speak to a broad audience, relying on complicated legalese will likely send your average reader running for help. Meanwhile, keeping things too simple will bore or frustrate more educated audiences. Identifying a specific demographic before starting your blog will help you poise your posts for success.
Not only will understanding your readers help you settle on an appropriate tone, but it will also enable you to pick topics that resonate with your target audience. You may want to post a deep-dive analysis of an obscure case to interest fellow attorneys, but if you aim to engage uninformed readers, for instance, you might choose to blog about common legal questions people can have in specific scenarios.
Choose depth over breadth
If you’re trying to appeal to as broad of an audience as possible, you may be tempted to post about as many different subjects as possible to try and draw in a wide reader base. However, the opposite approach is far more reliable. Don’t scattershot your blog topics; instead, choose the most specific niche you can.
Rather than simply blogging about business law, real estate law, or immigration law, consider targeting your focus toward your specific region. Some of the most successful law firm blogs focus entirely on issues related to their local communities, posting about real estate law in Arizona or family law in Harris County, Texas.
You might not attract as many worldwide readers by keeping this regional focus with your blog, but the readers you do attract will likely be far more engaged with your content – which is ultimately the factor that matters the most.
Keep it brief
Lawyers are no strangers to voluminous writing projects. Thankfully, blogging doesn’t have to be one of those. Many high-performing blogs are around 2,000 words long, but many are even shorter than that.
Even then, one fact remains the same for most digital audiences: web users don’t have a long attention span. Don’t be surprised if many readers barely scan the headings and bullet points of your intricately crafted blog post. That’s why it’s always an excellent plan to strike a balance of comprehensiveness and concision on your law firm blog: write posts that are long enough to provide in-depth information without getting so long that they overwhelm readers.
Additionally, you can also keep your blogs reader-friendly by splitting them into short sections and keeping paragraphs brief. Don’t overwhelm your reader with walls of text; instead, consider using plenty of short three- or four-sentence paragraphs, headings, and bulleted or numbered lists to make things easy to digest.
Make a schedule and stick to it
While targeting a specific audience and writing engaging content are essential to creating successful posts, blogging for lawyers often boils down to one key ingredient: consistency. If you post two blogs in a week and then don’t update your page for two months, you’ll have a hard time attracting much readership.
Although you don’t need to post blogs on the same precise schedule all year round, it’s good to stay consistent with a general routine. For example, you may aim to post one article every other week, or four articles a month, or a new post every Thursday. The exact timeline doesn’t matter – just ensure that you’re putting out enough posts to keep your readers engaged in your blog.
Your focus should always be on your reader whenever you’re writing a blog, but it’s still important to take SEO into account. Simply sprinkling your target keywords throughout your copy or encouraging other law firm blogs to link to your site can go a long way to enhance your search engine rankings and make your work easy to find.
As with the rest of your blog’s contents, ensure that your SEO strategy uses niche and specially-tailored keywords that help you rank highly for your target audience. Additionally, consider using metrics tools like Google Analytics to help you track the traffic to your site and see whether your current strategy is working.
Blogging for lawyers allows legal professionals of all specialties and experiences to share their knowledge and connect with their audience on a deeper level. Take these tips into account, and your law firm blog will be on track for success.
This article was originally published on The National Law Review.