In one of my recent posts, I discussed why it’s so important for lawyers to avoid hoarding content and keep a regular blog. But even if you recognize why blogging is so crucial to the success of your law firm, it can feel overwhelming to try and produce ideas for content when you’re already busy. However, coming up with ideas for blogs filled with useful, intriguing content is easier than you’d think.
Here are a few ways to set your imagination in motion and write blogs your audience will happily engage with.
Read (or watch) the news
If you’re anything like me in the morning, you stumble into the kitchen, grab a cup of coffee and sit down in front of your laptop to read the news. Or, maybe you still like reading newspapers. Maybe mornings leave you a little bleary-eyed and you prefer to watch the news instead while you find your bearings. Perhaps you even listen to news radio on your way to the office. Whatever your preferred method of keeping up with current events, you have an easy, mostly effortless way to find blog material as soon as you’re out of bed.
Reading the newspaper, news websites, a news aggregate, or even other blogs are excellent ways to come up with timely, relevant topics that are definitely blog-worthy. Plucking a headline from the news that’s relevant to the type of law you practice — or finding a headline that you can relate to what you practice — will grab your reader’s attention, particularly if they’ve been paying attention to that headline themselves.
Consider keeping a little notepad or scratch paper handy so that, when you see an idea that’s interesting, you can scribble it down, save it, and remember it for when you have time to write.
Conduct interviews with other lawyers
This is both a fun way to create an interlude from everyday blogging content and utilize some multimedia tools (podcasts, videos) while you’re at it. Think about interviewing other experts in the field, local judges, or clients who have had success with your firm. This can be a worthwhile networking opportunity, as well as providing your readers with exciting, unexpected content.
If you’re feeling a little rusty when it comes to interviews, check out my post on how to do a great interview for your law firm blog.
Provide educational legal content for your readers
Remember how I talked about the significance of blogging what you know as a lawyer? This is an area in which you can really shine — improving your reputation and credibility as an attorney while enlightening and engaging your readership. It’s a win-win.
Here are a few ideas for giving your readers valuable, educational content:
Q&A Sessions: In these blogs, you can either write and answer commonly asked questions yourself, write hypotheticals, or encourage your subscribers to contact you with questions they have about your area of practice.
Success/inspirational stories: Maybe you have a recent court win that you’re really excited about sharing with your readership, or you’ve heard a story that inspired you and you think it will move your readers, too. Blogging about either of these is a wonderful way to reach people and have them understand why being an attorney matters to you.
Case studies: This is a good way to engage your readers by putting them in a position to understand broader concepts about the law and how the law applies to various cases by examining a single case at a time. Here, you can lay out the conditions surrounding the problem, and ultimately, how it was resolved. Educating readers about cases that involve landmark decisions can be particularly interesting in that they establish new legal principles or change how we interpret the law.
Vocabulary enrichment: Here’s an easy blog to write that your audience will appreciate. Think about writing a blog that offers up a “Legal Term of the Day.” You can educate your readers on jargon that’s likely confusing or off-putting to them. (“What’s a tort?” “What do you mean when you say, cause of action?” “How do you pronounce prima facie, and what does that term mean?”) Define these in layman’s terms; use them in a sentence; find a practical example to show readers how they’re used in the legal world. These blogs will be easy for you to write, and fun for your audience to read.
Upcoming events: Blog about seminars or conferences that may be of interest to your readership.
Webinars and podcasts: Have you recently created a webinar or been featured on a podcast? A blog is a great way to showcase either of these. You can easily embed audio, video or slides into your blog, putting them front and center where interested readers can engage with them.
Write quick, easy reads
Here’s a hypothetical: you’re in a coffee shop by yourself, looking over some work, when a stranger approaches you. Perhaps they find you attractive and they’re bold enough to try and ask you out on a date. However, if they decide to sit down at your table to chat, you might feel a little uncomfortable. You were busy doing work, and now they’ve interrupted you. You start to wonder:
Just how long is this person going to be here?
In an alternate scenario, maybe you’re working alone when a stranger comes up and asks if they can sit at your table momentarily — the coffee shop is crowded, and they just need a place to sip their latté for a few minutes. They have a seat, you have a friendly chat, and before you know it, they’re on their way. That stranger found somewhere to sit, and you got a little break from your work. Not so bad, right? Even better, maybe they turn out to be someone rather interesting, and you exchange contact information.
These are two scenarios involving strangers, but one is fundamentally different from the other. In both instances, you’re letting someone unfamiliar into your personal space. However, in the second hypothetical, this stranger has done something different by telling you just how much of your time they’re going to take up.
Think of your audience in the same way. They’re busy people, and you’re asking for their attention. Knowing how much time something takes matters to them. That’s why it can be helpful to label your blogs in a way that tell your reader how much of their time they’re going to invest. It’s one reason why blogs and articles that make use of numbered lists do so well. Right off the bat, readers get a sense of how long they’ll be engaged with your content.
Lists are also a good way to present information because they’re easily digestible and tend to stick in people’s minds better than lengthy paragraphs. It gives people a sense of what they’re supposed to take away from your piece.
Think about using numbered lists as a vehicle to show readers what you know. Try using titles like, “Five mistakes you’re making…” or “Ten ways to…” as a way to take commitment pressure off of your readers and ease them into enjoying what you have to say.
Tell clients what’s happening at your law firm
Are you offering a new service? Is a new attorney joining your firm? Do you have a new practice certification that you’re proud of? This is all bloggable material. However, just keep in mind that you should try and keep law office-related material to a minimum. In the same way that you might find a friend irritating when they do nothing but post photos of themselves to Facebook, incessantly telling your subscribers about yourself or your law firm can get old, fast.
Once you’ve written your blogs…
You’ll want to make sure that everyone has a chance to read them. Don’t forget to promote your blog posts through your social media accounts and email. If you want to learn about how you can reach more people through email marketing, check out our email marketing series for lawyers.