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It’s not a question of “Should I blog?” anymore.

For attorneys who want to compete in today’s legal market, a blog is a must-have.

“About half of my new clients find me because of my blog,” says Attorney Ruth Carter in an article about why lawyers blog. “It gives me a way to showcase my knowledge in my practice areas as well as my personality so when clients meet with me they already have confidence that I can help them with their specific problem.”

Carter’s assessment makes a lot of sense. Blogs allow you, the lawyer, to:

  • Educate others
  • Address topics of interest to your potential clients
  • Exercise your writing skills outside of the law
  • Demonstrate who you are as an attorney
  • Help potential clients find answers to their questions

The best part of blogging is that it leads clients to do one very important thing: engage your law firm. Here are some other reasons why blogs are an important part of your law firm’s marketing strategy.

Law Firm Blogs Provide Trust & Authority

It’s not enough to say you’re the best lawyer in your particular practice area. Your potential clients expect proof. There’s no better way to do that — while building great relationships — than through a law firm blog.

Thought Leadership Is Vital For Attorneys

What is thought leadership, exactly? It can arrive in a lot of different forms. You might call a well-respected book author a thought leader. The same title could be applied to those lucky enough to give TED talks. And “thought leadership” can definitely be applied to attorneys that are regular bloggers. A Forbes article on the subject makes a smart point about what thought leadership should comprise:

As the name suggests, it requires two things:

Thought. Ask every possible question and ignite the critical-thinking process, which is a prerequisite for asking the right questions.

Leadership. Write with passion as an informed opinion leader to become the go-to-person in an area of interest or expertise. Thought leadership is a pursuit that is more about growth, innovation, and creating opportunities.

It starts when an idea is kindled, and it doesn’t stop when the fruits of that idea is delivered.

Thought leadership builds new opportunities to connect with potential clients and referral sources.

It turns uncertainty (“Can I get clients online? How do I do that? Will clients find me on the web?”) into a well-prepared opportunity for someone to engage your firm (“I know how to get clients online.”).

Attorneys Build Relationships When They Blog About What They Know

Right now, a client you haven’t met yet is typing a question into Google.

It’s a question you can answer — but how will that potential client ever find you if you don’t write about that question? Your potential clients are smart. They’re busy researching their case or problem on the web before they ever decide to hire an attorney.

Providing them with material that helps them understand the problem they’re facing (and what to do about it) helps establish trust with that person. When it comes time to pick a lawyer to represent them, you are more likely to be at the forefront.

Blogging encourages people to share what you’ve written with others. Did you write about something that’s highly shareable? Maybe you’re a divorce attorney and you write a blog called, “5 Things You Didn’t Know About Getting Divorced In Georgia.”

Blogs with short lists give readers a sense of quick time commitment. If you write a blog that teaches these potential clients something new, or something that may shock them, you’ve got an opportunity to have your work shared through email and social media. People tend to share things that they find surprising or interesting — or that may be of use to someone they know.

Blogging also encourages discourse, whether on social media or in the comments section of your blog. Writing about topics that people want to discuss can draw a lot of attention to your work.

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Law Firm Blogs Get SEO Benefits, No Technical Knowledge Required

I recently wrote a piece about why law firm SEO and content marketing aren’t that different. Despite various reports suggesting they’re two different things entirely, SEO and content marketing are really overlapping entities.  By blogging on a regular basis while keeping the questions of your potential client in mind, lawyers naturally end up using things like keywords — something many attorneys are told they need to worry about in terms of their web presence.

By placing your focus on writing meaningful content for your potential clients, keywords simply show up on their own. Focusing your efforts on content not only give you a blog that you can be proud of — especially for those lawyers worried about a potential merger — but also help create something that both your potential clients and Google naturally appreciate.

Legal Blogging: Great For Law Firm Business (And Can Be A Lot Of Fun)

As a lawyer, you know that one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is your ability to use words. You know your way around the legal realm — but your potential clients may not. The challenge becomes writing about the law in a non-legal way for the average consumer. How clearly can you explain complicated aspects of your practice?

Yet, just because your blog needs to be informative and useful doesn’t mean it has to be devoid of personality. In fact, I recently spotted a list of “The Most Awesome Law Blogs of 2014“. So not only can you write great blogs for potential clients, but you can also gain additional exposure on other law-related websites.

It’s important to develop your online writing voice so that your potential clients can not only understand what you have to say but can also get to know you as a person. The formula of meaningful content + your byline gives others something to remember.

Law firm blogs are growing archives that become assets for attorneys

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Content creation is like a 401k for your law firm. At the very least, if you were to take 15 minutes each day to write a good blog post about a topic relevant to your practice area, you’d have 5 blogs in a business week. Ten in two weeks. Fifteen blogs in three…see where this is going? But in order to do that at a consistent pace, you need to know the rules of the road for writing on the web and you’ll also need a solid content strategy. Great blogs don’t materialize out of thin air. They require structure and planning. But for those willing to put in the effort, that effort (and those blogs) compound in a way that will bring you new clients for years to come. In an information society, blogging has a lasting impact on your law firm.

What Lawyers Should Write About On Law Firm Blogs

Maybe you’re wondering how to get started with blogging, or you’re short on ideas. Here are some ways to get started right now.

Lawyers should blog about questions potential clients are asking

As I said earlier, you can bet that your potential clients are busy typing questions about their case into Google. Lawyers should forget the idea that potential clients are simply typing in keywords — in many cases, they ask questions to Google like they would to another human. It’s one reason Google is working so hard on projects like RankBrain, designed to deal with complex and obscure queries that the search engine sometimes receives.

Potential clients are looking for those answers, and so is Google — the more relevant your blog posts are to a searcher’s query, the more likely it is that Google will return that page in search results. So ask yourself: what questions do you answer most often for clients when you meet with them face-to-face? Put yourself in the mindset of a potential client when you write, and the number of potential clients who are ready to engage your law firm will likely grow.

Law Firm Blogs Can Be About Current Events

While your law firm’s website may contain a lot of evergreen content — that’s content that’s unlikely to change or changes very slowly — blogs are more like standing on a bridge and watching a river pass underneath. What passes by may change, and the flow may change. Current events can be part of what passes by on that “river.” Are there cases or topics in the news that you think your potential clients might be following (that are also relevant to your practice area)? Write about them.

Blogs are a great way to provide opinions on current events. You can tie what you write about to local laws or national current events of interest. (One that comes to mind for me recently is the “Stand Your Ground” law — that got brought to national attention with the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case.)

Current events also give you another opportunity to blog frequently — important for both your authority as an expertise your practice area as well as providing Google with new material to crawl and index on a regular basis.

How Long Do Law Firm Blogs Need To Be?

It depends, and the answer to how long a blog should be may surprise you. But in short, a blog needs to be given the number of words that adequately explains a subject. Too short and you run the risk of getting into “thin content” territory. Too long and you may lose your reader’s attention.

Keep in mind that the average reader on the web won’t read a piece in its entirety — they’re much more likely to skim and scan, looking for the information that’s valuable to them. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should only write short blogs. If a reader does find a piece of information they like, they may be compelled to read the rest of the piece.

Bottom line: give each blog the quantity of words — and the quality of writing — they deserve.