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Blogging helps attorneys develop their online persona and increase their reach. Good law firm blog posts have several things in common. They have compelling titles and text, user-friendly language, and provide value to the reader by analyzing a particular topic. Read on to learn more about what separates effective law firm blog posts from ineffective ones.

Select a compelling title for your law firm blog post.

Your title is probably one of the first things that a potential client will see of your blog post. How do you compel a web visitor to click on your title and continue reading? The answer to that is to create a compelling title for your post. Compelling titles usually have several features — they tend to be unique, comprehensive, and contain a local element. (The same is often true of headers in your body text.)

Let’s say that you’re an estate planning attorney, and you’re writing a blog post that covers the topic of wills and trusts. What would you title this blog post? If your first instinct is “Information on Wills and Trusts,” think about how many other pages on the web might have similar titles.

Your titles and headers should be both descriptive and unique. You might want to choose a title such as: “What You Need to Know About Wills and Trusts in Phoenix,” or “5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Creating a Will or Trust in Maricopa County,” or “What’s the Difference Between a Will and Trust in Arizona?”

Note how these example titles tell the reader a great deal more about what they might find on the page — and whether it’s relevant to their geographic location. Regardless of the title you choose, be sure that it’s an accurate reflection of what a potential client is going to find in your post.

Choose the language that will appeal to your potential clients.

It can be useful to capitalize on topics that are trending in the news, or recent changes in the law. Whichever topic you choose, use language that’s easy for your potential clients to understand.

Keep in mind that your potential clients aren’t likely familiar with the law, and legal concepts can seem intimidating. Most attorneys will benefit by writing in layman’s terms. If you have to use statutory language, follow up by explaining it in plain English. You may also want to provide a few examples of what is meant by a particular legal term or phrase.

Use short blocks of text in your law firm’s blog posts.

Long blocks of text are difficult to read. Even if your law firm’s content is detailed and educational, you may end up turning away web visitors if you don’t break your content into shorter, more manageable blocks of text.

Good law firm blog posts provide value to readers through analysis.

One of the mistakes that we see most often in law firm blog posts is when an attorney writes nothing more than a recap of a news story.

Doing this misses the point of blogging and doesn’t allow you to develop your online voice as a thought leader.

There’s nothing wrong with using a news story as the catalyst for a blog post, but the news story alone will not drive traffic to your law firm. Use the news story as a jumping-off point for your analysis.

As it relates to the news story, convey to your readers what this piece of news means for your potential clients or what it could mean in the future.

If you’re a criminal defense lawyer or personal injury attorney, there’s rarely a shortage of news articles that you can draw from. 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, so long as you can connect it to your practice, a story about a celebrity DUI arrest in California isn’t off-limits to you if you practice in Texas. For example, you could discuss what potential punishments that celebrity would face for a DUI arrest in Texas had they been arrested there.

Among the many reasons to be careful about regurgitating news stories is that, sometimes, writers don’t often frame news stories in a way that’s sympathetic toward the accused. Stories about domestic violence, drunk driving, or sex offenses, for example, often sound as if they’re presuming guilt. If a criminal defense attorney repeats this news story onto his or her blog without weighing in with their analysis, what might a reader think about it? It could dissuade a potential client from contacting your firm.

A criminal defense attorney who takes that news story and adds his or her analysis to it is likely to get much more attention from that blog post.

Include links to related pages on your law firm website.

Once you’ve finished your blog post, look for opportunities to link to other relevant pages on your website. Adding internal links keeps visitors on your site longer and provides them with additional, relevant information about their case or problem. Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’re an attorney who handles medical malpractice, and you write a blog post about a recent case in which a jury awarded a substantial amount of money to parents whose child experienced a severe birth injury. Look for opportunities to link to your pages on birth injuries, common types of birth injuries, pages about specific birth injuries like Erb’s palsy, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, and so on.

These additions to your blog post provide value. They help potential clients find new information which can help them conclude that they should contact your law firm.

As a side note, if you don’t have many practice area pages or detailed law pages to link to from a blog post, you may want to take some time to develop those before diving into an aggressive blogging strategy.

Learn more about writing law firm blog posts the right way.

A law firm blog can be an essential part of your law firm’s online marketing. To learn more about how to blog the right way, listen to our podcast: “Strategies for Writing Evergreen Pages and Blog Posts.”