By now, most law firms know that consistently producing relevant, helpful articles for their clients and prospects is a good way of attracting new leads and retaining existing clients. That means you have got to be blogging, and you've got to be doing it right.
Unfortunately, that knowledge is often the beginning and end of how law firms approach their blogging efforts.
As a result, here's a common “strategy” that law firms use to get their blogs done:
- Person 1 – “we really need to write more articles”
- Person 2 – “I agree – let's make sure we're keeping an eye out for things to write about”
- Person 1 – “ok – let's try get an article out each couple of weeks”
Unfortunately that kind of approach to your law firm's blog isn't going to achieve much – sure, it might, but there are ways of improving your prospects. Let's dive in for a little refresher.
#1 – Blog on a Consistent Schedule
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I admit that I'm not the king of consistency – my articles have a tendency to be spread out depending on my focus. But since I write for 1 law firm and 3 websites, I'm hoping you'll forgive me.
The reality is that I write every single day.
If your firm is going to have a blog then you need to blog. This means you are going to need to produce a fair amount of content over time, not just randomly throw stuff on the internet.
Having a link to “Articles” or “Blog” on your law firm's website with the most recent article 6 months old is actually going to do you harm. If you were a client, and you wanted to poke around to check out the firm, how would you feel about a firm that can't even update its blog more than every 6 months?
I'm not saying you need to adhere to a rigid schedule (every Monday at 9:02am we'll publish an article) but you should have a system that consistently provides you with content to produce and publish.
If you can't blog consistently across your firm, then you might be better off not doing it at all.
#2 – Blog for your Clients
Many law firms only seem to write articles on topics that other lawyers find interesting.
Which is fine… if your prospective clients or referrals are all lawyers.
But usually that's not true.
Knowing who your clients are, what your clients care about, writing on those topics, and using the language of your prospective client are key if you're going to see success with your blogging. efforts.
#3 – Un-boring Yourself
In real life, most lawyers can come up with lively banter, war stories and interesting anecdotes.
But for some reason, when our fingers hit the keyboard we launch into “ultra-boring-academic” mode.
While I'm sympathetic to those in a fairly dry industry or legal area, that doesn't mean you have to pull your writing style straight from the most stodgy, dull and robotic parts of your heart.
Hot tip to avoid the boring creeping in: write how you speak. If you wouldn't be prepared to read your post out aloud to someone, then it might need a re-draft.
#4 – Cover the Topic Properly
In our quest to keep things snappy, some law firms actually have a rule* requiring articles to be a particular length. Often this rule is designed to ensure that articles are shorter.
This is a terrible idea, and betrays that none of the lawyers have been taught to write properly. There is no hard and fast rule about how long an article should be.
If you're selecting topics appropriately, then you should be able to cover them in depth within a single article.
If I find your article and determine that it's on a topic I care about, do you think I want to click through to your site only to find half the information I need?
Do you think I'm seriously going to “call you for more information”? (nobody does this).
No – if your article doesn't cover the topic properly, then I'm going to find another one that does.
And this is why imposed word counts are silly. Your articles should be covering topics of interest in a way that gives helpful and comprehensive information to your prospects.
If it doesn't, then fix it.
And get rid of the “blog posts should be XXX words” rule.
#5 – Break up the Words
Hand in hand with “cover the topic properly” comes the wall of text problem.
If your topic requires a longer article, then ensure you make it readable.
Use headings, images, quotes and other tools to break up the text of the article and add some interest. This has the added benefit of making your article scannable and more approachable too, even if it's a complex topic.
#6 – Give your Lawyers a Voice
Although I appreciate most firms want to maintain a vice-like grip on their content and “protect their brand”, it categorically ruins most firm's blogging efforts.
Let me put it this way. You're happy for your lawyers to:
- have coffee with people
- go to networking functions
- attend lunches
- provide legal services
- attend Court
- take statements
- interact with people generally.
But apparently you're not happy for them to have a personality in writing?
By a significant margin, the law firm blogs that see the most success are those who allow their writers to be themselves. That means their language, tone, style and topics all show some personality.
This is more authentic, more approachable, and ultimately a far better use of your time.
How's Your Blog Performing?
Are you using these strategies? What do you struggle with when it comes to your firm's blog? Let me know in the comments!