Blogging is a critical marketing tactic for lawyers. A strong law firm blog will help you to build relationships and generate new business. However, that’s only possible if your legal blog conveys trust, competency, and reliability. Blogs should be professional, but not too stuffy. They should be informal without being sloppy.
If that sounds like a tall order, that’s because it is. One of the best ways to ensure you’re putting out the highest quality blogs is to run through a checklist of blogging best practices. In this blog we’ll cover some common blogging mistakes – and share eight hallmarks of a good law firm blog post.
3 Blogging Mistakes That Can Cost You
Even very successful practitioners can make mistakes when it comes to blogging, an area that is often unfamiliar to them. Before you run through the best practices, make sure you’re avoiding these common mistakes.
1. Relying on blog “mills”
These blogs are often advertised as custom services, but in actuality they are delivered on a large scale for multiple lawyers. Often they are “regurgitating” blogs based on trending topics, tweaking them slightly for each client. These blogs are mass-produced in what some people call a “content mill”. You can often spot these blogs if the author line mentions being “on behalf of” a firm or lawyer. Because they are rarely written by actual attorneys and they’re typically based only on keywords and word count, they rarely add value for your practice and can actually seriously harm your reputation and online presence.
2. Rarely updating your blog
Many lawyers begin a law firm blog with the best of intentions, but don’t have an understanding of how hard it will be to keep up. Writing well-researched and high quality blogs takes a lot of time and effort. That being said, if you’re going to blog, it’s important to commit to it and keep up with it. Blogging consistently is one of the most valuable things you can do for your online presence.
3. Writing your blog like a legal document
Remember that potential clients are reading your blog for advice and potentially for help with an issue. They don’t need a lengthy treatise on the legal terminology surrounding an issue. Just write informally and explain things in a way that everyone can understand.
8 Elements of a Good Blog Post
As you refine your law firm blog, run through this checklist to make sure you’ve covered the hallmarks of a great blog.
1. An optimized title
You want to create a title that appeals to both readers and search engines. The blog title is your best tool for grabbing attention from people. Your title should show how the blog will answer a question, offer unique information, or create a sense of urgency.
2. User-friendly language
Formal legal prose is great for most of your day-to-day work, but it could be off-putting to readers. As we mentioned above, make sure the language you’re using is informal and conversational while remaining professional.
3. A solution to a problem
Most people searching online for lawyers are doing so for a specific reason. They want answers to a question that is on their mind or a legal issue they’re facing – make sure your blog centers on that information. Do some research and find out what your blog should be about by finding out what common questions are being asked by searchers.
Internet readers tend to scan. It’s important to break up text and use other heading formats that include keywords. Ideally, if a person quickly reads each of your subheadings, they will know what the blog is generally about.
5. Short chunks of text
Lengthy portions of text will intimidate readers. Remember that they are used to scanning and quickly absorbing information. Write with short sentences and paragraphs if you want people to really read your blog.
6. A keyword strategy
It’s essential to have keywords in mind for your blogs. You should have research that points to which words you need to incorporate into your content. However, it’s important that these keywords are incorporated organically and in a way that feels natural.
7. Internal links
Linking to internal website content is an important part of your law firm blog strategy. Internal linking is essential for SEO and helping to establish authority, and can also point people to more resources and next steps. Make sure any blogs you publish also link to further information or education for your readers.
8. An appropriate tone
Legal issues tend to be somewhat serious in nature. After all, you don’t want to use humor when writing about divorce or car accidents or several other subjects. However, you also want to show that you’re a genuine and approachable person. It’s ok to share a little personality and let readers see the person behind the law firm blog.
The best thing you can do when you set out to blog is commit to a regular and consistent schedule. However, that can be intimidating if you’re unsure about actually writing the blogs. Start by reviewing this checklist each time you blog. Does your work contain each element? Many lawyers find that they simply don’t have the bandwidth to create original, high quality blogs that contain each of these components.
In that case, getting help from an outside resource can be useful. We help lawyers to craft compelling and customized blog content that demonstrates their expertise and reinforces their brand.