An up-to-date blog is essential for law firms serious about marketing their practice online. As the center of any effective digital marketing strategy, a blog serves several purposes. To name just a few, a blog:
- Allows for easy creation and management of content
- Gives lawyers a platform to publish thought-leadership pieces
- Gives the firm an opportunity to speak to pain points of clients and prospects
- Increases traffic to your firm’s website
Not convinced? Here are a few statistics to keep in mind:
- Websites with blogs have up to 430% more indexed pages
- Marketers using blogs report 67% more leads than those who don’t use blogs
- Companies including blogs are 13 times more likely to see a positive marketing ROI
- Sites with a blog receive almost twice as many incoming links as sites without
The bottom line is that your firm should be blogging.
Here’s a checklist for blogging to help guide you when you sit down to write a blog post to make the exercise more productive and beneficial.
Watch your word count. Word count makes a difference to both readers and search engines. If content is too short, it tends to be ignored by both. If there is such a thing as an industry standard, it would be 500-700 words per post. Most blog posts will fall within this range. 300 words is considered a bare minimum.
If you’re on a roll and end with with a thought-leadership piece over 1000 words, that’s also great.
The right title can take you to the top. Most readers will decide if they are going to read an article based solely on the title. Many writers say they spend just as much time creating a title as they do writing the article itself. Experts say that you should aim for titles with at least 6 words and no more than 13. That’s around 50-60 characters. It’s also highly recommended to make use of “power” words to grab attention.
Tip: The title of your posts can be in the form of questions from your clients.
Ask a question and offer a solution. Readers want to know what they’re going to get up front. Your introduction should include a question that you intend to answer or a brief explanation of how you’ll solve a problem. Bonus points if you can do both.
People (and social media) like pictures. You should always include at least one picture in a blog post. Try to include more if you have places where you can fit relevant images or videos. Pictures are visually pleasing on their own but also serve to break up blocks of text and make reading easier.
Studies show that users pay attention to information-carrying images that show relevant content, so choose your images wisely.
The image is also auto-added when you post links on social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn increasing the likelihood of the linked being clicked on and shared.
Use keywords in headings and text. Blogs are the perfect SEO tool. Don’t overdo anything, but make sure to include relevant keywords throughout the text. Try to work the most important ones into the title or headings. It’s also helpful to use keywords in “alt” image descriptions and captions.
Link to relevant internal content. There are benefits for both search engines and readers when you link to other relevant content on your site. To improve SEO, the words in your links should describe the content you are linking to.
For example, avoid “click here” type links. If you want to link to legal information, use a sentence like, “We have a large online library of legal information.” and link the words “library of legal information.”
Write a real meta description. The meta description is what the search engines will show to viewers when your pages appear in search results. Make sure it contains your main keyword or phrase and genuinely describes what a reader will find on the page. The meta description should be no more than 156 characters.
Include a call to action on each post. One of the most effective and most overlooked methods for generating leads and conversions is to simply tell the reader what you want them to do. Don’t be afraid to ask a direct question or give instructions. Just adding the phrase, “Get in touch with us today”, to the end of blog posts will increase the number of people who contact your firm.
Get the word out. It’s nice when readers find your content on their own, but that’s not going to happen for the most part — at least not right away. Whenever your law firm publishes a new piece of blog content it should be shared through any and all of your firm’s social media accounts. If possible, it should be shared several times over several days to get the most eyes on it.
If you go through each blog post you publish and make sure you’re marking off each of these checks on this list you’ll be well on your way to creating a well-oiled content marketing engine at your firm.