Blogging can act as a needle mover for attorneys who want to market their firm online.
Blog posts — as opposed to other types of pages on your law firm’s website — can help you declare your stance and opinions to the world. When it’s done right, blogging can allow you to become an influencer of people; it helps you attract followers who want to know what you’ll say next, and it can help you become part of the news cycle.
Blog posts can help you to declare what you’re thinking about and what you want readers to consider on a given date.
One of the best things you can do aside from developing rich substantive and local content is to have a blog that you tend to on a regular basis. Blogging regularly makes it more likely that your blogs will get found (and new followers created), and it also has an amplifying effect on the content on the rest of your website.
How are blog posts different from other pages on my law firm’s website?
Think of the difference between blog posts and other pages (such as your practice area pages) in this way:
The non-blog content on your law firm’s website is a kind of static monument: You build it, it’s fairly predictable, and, barring any major changes in the law, it generally remains the same once you’re done building it. There’s a reason that these pages — such as your practice area pages — are often referred to as “evergreen” content — they usually remain the same once you’ve created them.
A blog, unlike your substantive content, is like a moving river. When you look at a blog’s index page, you’re likely to see the most recent post at the top. As more content is added, that post will be pushed further down in the queue.
Blog posts are a great way to capture a variety of search terms that might otherwise not be addressed in your evergreen pages. They help you capture more readers, develop your brand, and establish yourself as a thought-leader.
While the substantive evergreen pages you create likely contain information that will be relevant for a long time, blog posts tend to cover more immediate topics.
The importance of publishing new blogs
When you visit a blog and you see that the content has a recent date, it looks good. It means that the blog is being tended to and likely covering relevant topics.
If you see the most recent post is from last year or even earlier, you may think that this blog is out of date and unattended. That might make you think it’s not useful, and it can send a message that the website — as a whole — may be less well attended. It’s possible that your firm is very busy, and that’s the reason why things haven’t been updated recently, but often, that’s not the message that it sends to clients who don’t know you.
Using your law firm’s blog to add to the online conversation
A blog is meant to add to the online conversation. You should be saying things on your blog that supplement information already out there — you want to add your spin on things. You can use your blog to develop your online voice, your niche, and your personality. When you do, and your readers learn about your take on the topic you’re writing about, they get to know you, your personality, and your voice.
The more you can develop your online voice through blogging, the better for your potential clients and clients — when they read your online posts and also interact with you in person, there is a continuity of experience that reinforces the good feelings that they have about you. It can make you seem more comfortable and predictable. And it can also make the things you say resonate more with potential clients and clients; these things are often remembered more because of the repetitive element — they’ll read what you have to say on your blog and likely hear it reinforced when you say it to them face-to-face.
When you develop a unique voice, it can also give influencers and media reason to seek you out. In the information age, Information is abundant; but when you really develop your own online personality and spin on things, that’s when you start getting asked for commentary on news broadcasts or quotes in articles, and so forth. Blogging, when it’s done correctly, can really set you apart.
How to choose topics for your law firm’s blog
A number of attorneys realize that they can benefit from writing blog posts, but struggle to select blog topics. But there’s no shortage of ideas out there if you know where you look.
As a general rule, make sure the topics you select are current and relevant to your practice. (You want to be sure that these topics are also relevant to potential new clients who could actually end up hiring you.)
The most popular sources of inspiration are looking at law developments: legislation, advance sheets, opinions, local opinions, rulemaking actions, and so on.
You can really choose from anything that’s happening in government or politics that might affect the law in your practice area(s).
What about proposed legislation? It might not have any bearing on your potential new clients yet, but it’s still potentially worth writing about. It can show your potential clients and referral sources that you’ve got your ear to the ground. Plus, before this legislation becomes law, fewer people are likely to write about it. That can put you ahead of the curve, especially if you’re linking back to substantive pages on your law firm’s website that are relevant and discuss the law as it currently exists.
You may want to use your blog as a vehicle to compare and contrast: You can discuss the law as it exists right now, referencing your substantive pages, and then discuss what could change if this proposed legislation were to pass. You can also do things like breaking it down into various hypothetical scenarios and conducting analysis. For example, what would happen to a potential client if they were facing this matter right now? What would happen to them if the proposed legislation passes?
Looking at the news for inspiration can also be a good choice. If you’re a criminal defense lawyer or personal injury attorney, there’s rarely a shortage of news articles that you can draw from. Keep in mind — the stories don’t necessarily have to come from your jurisdiction, so long as you can draw a connection to the geographic area(s) where you practice.
For example — a story about a celebrity DUI arrest isn’t off-limits to you if you practice in Florida but the arrest occurs in California, so long as you can connect it to your practice. For example, you could discuss what potential punishments that celebrity would face for a DUI arrest in Florida had they been arrested there.
How long should a law firm blog post be?
Publishing frequent blog posts generally results in better results for law firms. However, be sure that the content you’re publishing is both relevant and useful to your potential clients.
As noted above, letting your blog languish can send the wrong message to your potential clients. But it can be just as detrimental to publish low-quality posts. You’ll want to be sure that each time you publish a blog post, you’re adding something new to the conversation. (To learn more about blogging best practices see our post, “Are You Blogging Against Your Best Interests?”)
Deciding whether a blog post should be long or short should be taken on a case-by-case basis. There are lots of good reasons to write a long blog post, just as there are good reasons to write a short post.
We generally tell attorneys to write a post to the length that it needs to be written to convey the right message. If everything that needs to be said can be said in 500 words, stop there. However, the topic you’re writing about may warrant a post that’s a thousand or two thousand words — or possibly even longer. If it does, don’t stop short of the length required to write a detailed, meaningful piece for your potential clients. Both quantity (and quality) counts when it comes to law firm content marketing.
Learn more about basic law firm blogging strategy
Blogging for law firms has become a popular topic in recent years, but there is generally an order of operations to creating the law firm website content that will help you get the best return on your investment. To learn more about developing your content strategy in a way that will benefit your law firm, see our post, “When to Write Evergreen Pages & Blog Posts For Your Law Firm’s Website.”