Your blog is a critical marketing tool. Since your law firm’s product is essentially expertise, populating a blog with posts that display that knowledge is a huge step for marketing. If you can get the people who actually have that expertise to contribute to your blog, that’s even better. The challenge is that it’s difficult to get lawyers involved in the blogging process – but it is necessary.
Your firm’s attorneys are the ones with the education, the experience, and the day-to-day interactions with clients that prospects are looking for. They understand what clients are asking about and which topics will strike a chord in content. Furthermore, contributing to your firm’s blog will help the lawyers themselves. They can build up their credibility, showcase the depth of their knowledge, and display the authority they have in their practice area. Clients will have a head start on getting to know them and take steps toward seeking them out. Plus, sharing these blogs through their network is great marketing for them as thought leaders, and for the firm overall. Here are some tips to motivate your firm’s attorneys to contribute to the blog.
1. Involve them in topic brainstorming
Lawyers will be more likely to contribute a blog if they are excited about the subject in the first place. Schedule 30 minutes to sit down with attorneys and discuss the subjects they’re passionate about, or hearing a lot about in the real world. Ask what they want to be known for, or the most interesting part of their role. Don’t interject with feedback – just give them room to be creative.
2. Encourage them to collaborate
A blog doesn’t need to be written by only one individual. Having people work as a team will cultivate accountability. You can use the same process as above to get a small group (2 or 3 people) to choose a topic. Then, have them commit to a deadline and deliverable. How they break up the writing is up to them (but using a project management tool like Basecamp can help keep everyone on track).
3. Make blogging part of their career goals
Have a conversation with higher-ups about thought leadership overall and some tangible steps that attorneys can take in that arena. If they want to be viewed as true thought leaders in their subject area, lawyers will need to develop and promote content. Show them a road map of the different types of content that can be created, and explain the resources available to them from your team. Encourage them to include writing a blog as one of their quarterly goals.
4. Share tangible business results
People want to feel like the work they’re doing is meaningful to the larger organization. Show the ways that blogging contributes to overall firm goals such as lead generation or client engagement. Use our tips for proving social media ROI to put together a brief report on all the ways that content makes a difference to the bottom line.
5. Set realistic milestones instead of a final deadline
Attorneys are very busy and have a lot of priorities to manage. Therefore, another deadline looming is likely to stress them out and may make them opt out before they even begin writing. Instead of focusing on one big deadline, have the contributor set smaller project milestones. Ask them what they think is a realistic timeline for creating an outline, a first draft, finding photos, etc. Make sure they are content to be held accountable to those milestones.
6. Manage using a content calendar
Simply putting milestones and a publish date into your content calendar, and sharing the calendar with attorney staff, can be a push toward accountability. This is a particularly helpful tactic when teams need to collaborate toward a final goal. People are less likely to miss deadlines when they know other people are depending on them completing their tasks.
7. Ensure your team treats content marketing as a priority
There are a lot of reasons why blogging is a critical part of today’s marketing mix – but does your firm treat it that way? If creating content is consistently pushed to the bottom of everyone’s list, or the benefits of blogging are not mentioned often, then your lawyers are not going to treat it as a priority. Your team needs to cultivate a culture where everyone understands the importance of content creation. The more that you can generate excitement from around the firm, the more likely it is that people will want to contribute to the effort (and stick to deadlines when they do).
8. Do what you say you will
Simply put, if your team misses deadlines, then there’s no reason for your blog contributors to take them seriously. This tip is an extension of the one above – treat blog deadlines as a priority. Hold your team accountable for showing the firm at large that items are published consistently on a reliable schedule. If the attorney you’re working with needs something from you to get their blog done, make sure you provide it on time. Create an environment of unmissable deadlines.
9. Show them how blogging creates experts
Your lawyers are going to expand their business if they can be viewed as a renowned expert in their field. People will share that information via word-of-mouth, but they’re just as likely to look for individuals online. If your lawyers can craft a substantial online presence, they will have more credibility, authority, and substance. Show them a few key blogs of true thought leaders, and make sure they understand the benefits of cultivating that thought leadership in their own spaces.
10. Create blog-related performance incentives
These can be individual or team based, but team based ones encourage more collaboration throughout the process. You could have a quarterly contest where the team who created the most blogs has a gourmet lunch brought in. Or, make a game of promoting content where the practice area with the most comments, likes, and shares wins some kind of prize.
11. Consider intangible benefits
Depending on how your firm is set up, it might not be up to you how to reward lawyers who contribute to your blog. Talk to firm leadership about what you might exchange in return for blogs – a couple extra hours of time off, an extra pass to a seminar coming up, a nice bottle of wine? Get creative about what you can use as an incentive other than money.
12. Offer writing help
Most people aren’t natural writers, and that’s ok. The trouble is that sometimes people commit to creating a blog and then get anxious and don’t actually write it – and the deadline has slipped by in the meantime. Let attorneys know what resources are at their disposal. Do you ever outsource blog writing? If so, let them know they can turn over an outline to a professional writer, and then edit what comes back to better manage firm tone and voice. Or, they could sit down with marketing staff for a short interview, which someone else will turn into a draft based on the conversation. This is particularly helpful for lawyers who are short on time, but do want to contribute.
Getting your lawyers to contribute to the firm’s blog is a win-win – for the firm, and for individual attorneys. Help them to see those benefits and support them along the way, and you’ll get a more diverse set of blog contributors. But don’t stop there! Promotion of your blog is just as important. Law firms who don’t leverage their lawyers’ networks are missing out on opportunities. Send them links to content that can be shared via social. Encourage them to post curated, pre-approved content across LinkedIn and other social networks.
Are you lacking the time and resources to keep up with a consistent law firm blog? We’ve got the largest cadre of legal writers and journalists in the industry, helping to take your idea and write the content as if you had the time to write it yourself. Let our experienced content professionals help you tell your story. Contact us today for a consultation.