According to Lexblog and the ABA’s Journal Blog Directory, there are roughly 3,500 established law blogs, not including small side-blogs run by individual firms. Intimidating, right? If there are so many blawgs, why should you have one?
The answer is marketing, marketing, marketing. Law firm marketing can’t rely on radio ads and phone books anymore – everyone is using Google, making online legal marketing is a must. A blawg will expand your online presence, boost your Google rankings, and help you reach potential clients. You’ll be offering clients a taste of your knowledge base and build familiarity with who you are and the services you offer, making you their first choice when hiring a lawyer.
Sounds great, right? Let’s get you started with essential tools to utilize when starting a blawg.
Solid Blogging Platform
Choose a blogging platform from sites likes WordPress, Blogger, LexBlog or Squarespace. WordPress is, by far, the the most widely used, and for good reason. It’s flexible, functional, easy to use, and offers thousands of useful plugins for your every need: link patrolling, keyword tools, SEO tracking, page speed, optimizing images, sitemaps, social sharing, etc. Plugins are a must, yes, but add with caution. Check out these plugins that WordPress bloggers swear by:
- WordPress SEO by Yoast
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Analytics
- Contact Form 7
Any firm worth its salt is running a blog, and most of them sound incredibly boring. Will “Jensen and Son’s Legal Blog” stand out among thousands of blogs? Probably not. Get creative, and focus on what content you’ll be providing. Look at the list below – which blogs would you want to check out?
- Legal Geeks – James’ Law Blog
- Above the Law – Legal Blog
- Lowering the Bar – Winston and Hart
- Legally Weird – Your Law Access Blog
- Hollywood Reporter – Law Blog
The ones on the left, right? Every title is clever, descriptive, or backed by a well-known site.
You know what you’re getting right in the title. The blogs on the right? All real, and all real boring. You have no idea what you’re getting into, nothing about them stands out and grabs you.
Design and Graphics
Choose a theme and layout that’s clean and easy to use. Don’t clutter up your page with unnecessary functions or excessive imagery. Your graphics should be minimal, fresh, and directly related to your content.
Good Writing, Good Writers
We’ll say it – lawyers don’t always make the best writers. We’re great technical writers, sure, but it takes more than technical skills to start and maintain a successful blog. It takes dedication and creative writing, even if you’re writing about the basics, like legal marketing services. Sure, it sounds easy to just throw up a technical post about online marketing for law firms, but technical writing often comes across as cold and impersonal. This is your chance to forge a personal connection with potential clients, so your writing should be accessible and inviting. Tap into your creative side to write posts that are both informative and warm.
Know your voice. A good writer knows their singular style and way of saying things. Your voice should be clear, professional, and unique. In the blawgosphere, original content is hard to come by, and you might find yourself writing about topics that have been explored a dozen times. So what makes your voice, your writing, special?
Not confident in your writing? No worries! Read popular legal blogs, pay attention author’s voices, note the format of their posts. Start by copying those structures, and practice, practice, practice.
Your blawg has two distinct audiences – your peers, and potential clients. Sure, some posts will be relevant to both, but it’s vital to define your target audience with each topic. Creating engaging content doesn’t mean you have to be original – blawgs often get the highest hits on posts offering basic insight. Try writing about these issues:
- Local and national legal news
- Practice tips
- Getting into law school
- Lawyer health
- When and how to hire a lawyer
- Answer questions potential clients ask in consultations and emails
Don’t be afraid to write about niche topics. Firms are moving from generalized to niche services; posts should reflect your practice areas.
Communication and Interaction
Your posts should communicate to potential clients (and fellow lawyers) that you’re knowledgeable and accessible. Accessibility is huge. Writing a post that deconstructs a complex legal matter tells your clients that you’re approachable. Skip the legalese, use layman’s terms, and write conversationally.
You’re not giving out legal advice on your blog, but feel free to respond to comments and point readers to resources.
Your blog is the summation of your firm’s online presence and activity, and key to online legal marketing. Link all your social media – Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. Any new post should be crossposted across all your platforms to generate interest, pull potential clients, and liven up all your feeds.