Having a law firm blog is no longer a pleasant option that you might do in your spare time. Blogging for lawyers has become an essential part of your law firm's marketing toolkit.
However, although most firms now recognise that consistently producing high quality content in their law firm blog is a good idea, most aren't sure how to go about it.
Let's fix that.
In this guide I'm going to show you:
- Why blogging for lawyers is an essential part of your firm's marketing toolkit;
- How to decide what legal topics to blog about;
- How long your blog posts should be;
- When and where you should publish your articles;
- How to see if your lawyers' blog is “working” and what to do about it.
Lots to cover – let's get into it – blogging for lawyers, in
24 2400 words or less
Why Is Blogging for Lawyers Worthwhile?
There are plenty of reasons that your firm should be blogging, so let's deal with the 3 main candidates:
- blogging brings you traffic – traffic becomes leads (if your website is done right) and leads become clients;
- blogging builds your authority as an expert;
- blogging builds you assets that keep working over the long term.
Traffic to your Site
Let's remember that “traffic to your site” is pointless if you don't have a functional website strategy.
But with that in mind, blogging consistently will form a foundation of useful information that people can find. Done right, blogging does your lead generation for you and helps bring qualified visitors to your site, some of whom may become clients.
Every article you write on a topic that matters is a chance for someone to find you who may not have otherwise found you.
As you build up a body of fantastic legal blogs, you're going to generate more and more traffic, which means more and more leads, which means more and more business.
Often I get told that lawyers “get all their clients from referrals” and therefore my delightful set of digital strategies are a colossal waste of time and effort.
Let's ask a simple question: what's the first thing someone's going to do if they are referred to you or become interested in engaging you?
Just like you do when someone recommends an accountant, electrician, washing machine or dating service (I'm married – that last one's just for you singles out there).
And when they find your site (which they will) are they going to find:
- a vibrant active series of blog posts on topics that interest them; or
- a “latest updates” section with a 24 word #humblebrag article about something that happened 9 months ago?
Please don't say 2.
Long Term Results
Your blog is an asset. Over time it does more and more work for you. Of course, part of that involves having an effective method of email capture to ensure repeat visitors.
A blog is a long term investment and you should treat it that way. It can and will produce fantastic results and gradually diminish your need to do other forms of marketing, but it won't do that if you don't approach it strategically and carefully.
This image from Hubspot helpfully explains how it works:
What Lawyers should Blog About?
[clickToTweet tweet=”Blogging for lawyers 101: Ask yourself this: what questions do my clients regularly ask me?” quote=”Blogging for lawyers 101: Ask yourself this: what questions do my clients regularly ask me?”]
Deciding what to actually blog about is one of the biggest challenges that many law firms struggle with.
As a result, their blogging becomes sporadic and unreliable.
Usually this is a side-effect of not having a real content marketing strategy and relying on “update” articles as your content pieces. The problem is this: if nothing exciting happens in your industry (no cases, no updates, no news) for a while, your blog stagnates.
You can figure out what your lawyers should be blogging about in a few simple steps though:
- Determine why you want to produce content in the first place (a business case – more on this below)
- Figure out who your desired clients are and what they care about
- Make a decision about what kind of content you're going to produce (in this case we're blogging, but that might not be all you do)
- Produce a content map of ideas, topics and matters that your desired clients care about
- Consistently produce content (hot tip: put someone in charge of making this happen!)
- Publish the content and share it.
It's actually that simple.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is this: what to your clients actually care about. Ask yourself this: what questions do my clients regularly ask me? What do they want to understand? What kind of language do they use?
And write about that!
Of course, you might choose to add podcasts, video or other media into the mix to keep things interesting – but words are powerful, and it can be good to start there.
Blogging for Lawyers Requires A Little (just a touch) SEO Knowledge… sorry.
I'm not going to give you a massive tutorial on search engine optimisation. After all, you're a lawyer and if you wanted to know that you would probably be in a different industry.
However, despite the love affair with social media, the fact is that search engines still provide a far greater chance of you getting relevant, targeted traffic to your site.
But there are some absolute basics that you should be aware of, and not just leave in the hands of your marketing team (if you're lucky enough to have one!).
Here are some SEO basics to get you on the right track:
- Your article heading doesn't need to be the same as your “SEO title” – you can think of what sounds better for your blog readers and use that, but use something more likely to be searched for by your clients for your SEO title;
- Make sure you have a short excerpt which delivers a snapshot of what your piece is about, to go into the search engine results (using any simple SEO plugin list Yoast makes this easy)
- Don't go nuts with keywords – if you're writing about “boating law” I don't want to read “boating law” in every single sentence. Just aim for making it clear what the article is about. That might include, ideally, using your keyword:
- in the SEO title and/or the Blog title
- in your opening paragraph
- in your image descriptions
- throughout your text.
- Just as there's more than one way to skin a cat, there's usually more than one phrase related to your keyword – feel free to use closely related phrases throughout your text.
- Make your article topic fairly narrow, but deal with it comprehensively (see above). Basically, you want to deliver the absolutely best piece of content you can on a particular topic that someone you choose is likely to be looking for.
- You've probably heard this one before: write for people, not for search engines. At the end of the day, content that's valuable to people (the right people) will get shared, linked and generate enquiries. Content that's not valuable, impossible to read or transparently focused on keyword stuffing won't.
Naturally there are a million other SEO tactics (some good, some bad) that lawyers could use, but these simple strategies should help you out without you having to go insane trying to get everything 100% right.
When Should Lawyers Publish Their Blog Posts?
I don't care what anybody says – there's no right answer to this question.
Common “wisdom” says Monday morning is best, because people aren't yet frazzled enough and they're trying to avoid starting work. But then, if everyone does that won't your post get lost in the noise?
Lunch times can be good if people are working at their desks.
Evenings are sometimes good as people sit down for social media.
Here's the easiest thing to do: try something for a while and see what happens.
If you decide to publish twice a week, the try publishing at 7:00am Monday morning, and 7:00am Thursday morning for a while.
Then change it up, and move one of the times. Then the day. And, of course, you can try different things at different times.
However if you're paying attention to your email marketing software and your social media accounts, you'll be able to get a good picture of what's happening. The information available to you is huge, and you'll be able to see:
- when your readers are online
- when people open your emails
- which emails do well
- when your site gets the most traffic
These statistics will help you refine and test other iterations of your plan, until you have something that works for you.
But this kind of question can hold people up for weeks while they try to find the “perfect” posting schedule. It doesn't exist – just publish.
Sharing is Caring
OK so you've got your blog topics chosen, you know your audience, and you're comfortable with the SEO basics that your law firm needs. What next?
Now you need to hit publish.
Once you've done that, you probably want to share, and here's where it can get powerful. Let's start with the basics:
- send an email to your email marketing list with the article or a link to it (only the people who care about this topic please, and if you haven't segmented your list then DO IT);
- publish on your law firm's social media pages.
This is about all that most lawyers do with their blogs. But what if you could do more?
What if you then:
- published the blog again on LinkedIn
- made a video of the blog
- recorded the audio of the blog as a podcast
- published the blog on Medium
- had all of your relevant staff share the post as well?
This last one is powerful. If every lawyer in your firm has 300 connections on LinkedIn, and 5 of them share the article, that's automatically another 1500 potential readers.
If another 10 of those people share it, then that's another 3000 potential connections (4500 now).
And so on, and so forth.
This is the power of social media, but for some reason most firm's don't leverage their most powerful asset: their own lawyers' connections.
The power of blogging for lawyers isn't just in the individual author's reach – it's inside the connections and network that they utilise with their entire firm behind them.
Look at What's Happening – Measure your Metrics
Do you know what information most lawyers actually collect about their blogs? Nothing.
They have no idea how far their articles are going, where traffic is coming from, whether people read things at all, or anything else that might matter to someone running a business.
Using the free tools from Google Analytics, at the very least you can try to take a look at these absolutely basic blog metrics:
- Where are your visitors coming from? Social? Email? Search? This will help you know what's “worth it” and what isn't (but don't be too quick to discount a particular channel – sometimes good things take a bit of time).
- How many views of each post are there? This will give you an idea whether your topics and headlines are capturing enough attention.
- How long are people on the page? This will tell you if people are reading your posts – if you have a 2400 word guide and the average time on page is 14 seconds, people are leaving too fast…
- What do people do next? Do they sign up to your email system? Do they click around your site? Do they call? Do they make an appointment?
There is a huge amount of information out there for people who choose to capture it.
You don't want all of it, for sure – but you want some.
Without that, you can't start to refine your law firm's blog into something remarkable.
Refine your Firm's Blog
If you're going to collect data, then you need to do something with it.
If people aren't clicking your articles, then:
- your headlines are terrible; or
- your topics are wrong; or
- you are publishing in the wrong places; or
- you don't know your audience well enough.
If people are clicking but not staying long enough to read, then:
- your articles are ultra-boring
- your headline was clickbait and you're not delivering on the promise you made
- your blog is hard to read or looks bad on screen
If people are visiting your site but not doing what you wanted them to do then:
- your website strategy needs work
- your calls to action are weak
- what you want them to do isn't obvious enough
See how easy it is?
Look what's happening, decide the likely candidate for that, and fix it.
Commit to Getting your Firm's Blog Right
Do you know why most efforts at blogging for lawyers fail? Because the firm doesn't commit – to the time, training and effort it takes to succeed with a law firm blog.
First, if you're going to start a blog for your law firm, then you need to know why. Not just “Because all the cool kids are doing it” but a serious, business reason to engage in content marketing for your law firm.
The “why” will instruct your topics, your audience, your design, your headlines, your calls to action – everything.
Without it, nothing else will work.
So let's start with this: why does your law firm blog? Or why doesn't it blog?
Understanding why you're blogging means:
- committing to the effort required
- training yourself and your staff in basic copywriting skills
- understanding the business case for your blog
- measuring what's happening
- fixing things that need it.
Your blog is a serious tool to build leads and generate business for your firm. If you don't treat it like that… then it won't be.
Need help with your firm's blog? Apply for consulting today and let's see if I can help you out.