How to Develop Sustainable Blogging Habits for Your Firm Website (and Why You Should)

Loren GrahamBlogging

How to Develop Sustainable Blogging Habits for Your Firm Website - conversations digital law firm marketing and web development

It’s the 21st century. You need to blog.

Speaking at symposiums, teaching CLEs, and publishing in law journals are wonderful professional accomplishments, but why should someone hire you to represent them?

Good reviews are great, but are you in a lofty, ivory tower, or will you reach across the digital table to speak to the non-legal masses? Clients want to know that you understand them, what they need, and that you care about their problems enough to not only seek out the answer, but to do so because you want to help them, because you like your job, and that you’re a lawyer who is also a human being. For your clients, being a good lawyer means caring about their case and getting them what they want or as close to it as they can get.

 

You can control your image in your blog.

You can’t respond when someone writes a bad review, even if it’s unwarranted. You can’t control whether the public knows if you have been disciplined or have suffered any professional setbacks. You can, however, control how much of the not-so-great stuff the world sees. Even though the Internet never forgives or forgets, you can bury bad media with good media in Google searches by maintaining a helpful, consistent, SEO-optimized blog.

 

Blogs are referrals magnets.

The top ways of getting referral business are still word of mouth and networking. However, in an ever-digital world, networking can mean connecting with colleagues online. There’s usually no better way for you to get business than from other lawyers. However, lawyers who maintain popular blogs can attract clients with needs outside of their expertise, and those clients can be referred out, too.

 

What should you blog about?

The best thing to blog about is whatever area of law you cover, specifically anything your potential clients will be interested in. Your clients may find it impressive that you can discuss the implications of a recent appellate court decision and think that you must be a very smart lawyer. However, they may not have any idea what any of that means or how it translates into what you can do for them.

 

How to Write a Sustainable Blog for Your Law Firm:

 

  • Set up a schedule.

 

You don’t personally have to write your blogs, but you do have to maintain a regular blog. You can publish daily, weekly, or monthly, but it has to be a business-related task that you do as part of your job as a lawyer in private practice. If you order more office supplies, you can write a blog.

One of the easiest ways to keep yourself on a schedule is to create topics for each weekly/monthly post, so when you sit down to write, you know exactly what you’ll be working on.

 

  • Keep it short.

Blog posts are not articles. Ideally, you blog entries are less than 1000 words, preferably closer to 500. If it can’t be read in one sitting, or on a cell phone, it’s too long. However, you can get away with 1,200 – 1,500 words if you’re writing an authoritative post on something in particular.

 

  • Keep it simple, but not unprofessional.

Legal writing is that it is technical and dry. These are anathema to good blog posts. However, you don’t want to be so informal as to seem unprofessional. Imagine that you’re writing an introduction to the law for 8th graders. This is the tone and reading level you should aim for when writing for the public. If anyone needs a dictionary to understand what you’re writing, you have to go back and make it simpler.

 

  • Keep it current or evergreen.

There’s really no shortage of new topics to write about. However, there’s not always time to translate legal news in your blog. Creating “evergreen” blog posts, on the other hand, will ensure that you won’t have to revise or take down any content because the content will always be relevant and useful. For example, writing about a criminal or common law topic relevant in your particular state, or about criminal or civil procedure will always be relevant. As you progress with your blog, you could tailor your posts around the search engine questions or keywords that send people to your website.

 

  • Keep it real

There’s only so much puffery and grandstanding you can get away with on the Internet. If you’re not Daniel Webster, don’t try to be. If you have a small firm, don’t try to be Kirkland Ellis. Use what you have to your advantage to attract the clients that keep your firm going. This may mean not being afraid to go to trial against big insurance companies, or it may mean a more collaborative than combative approach to divorces. Your blog is a narrative voice to present who you are and what kind of lawyer you will be for your potential clients. You’re not for everyone, but you want to be found by the ones you’re for.

 

  • Don’t forget about SEO

    • Utilize keywords throughout your post. Once you have targeted a couple of valuable, relevant keywords, it is important to place them where they will have the most impact for humans and search engine crawlers indexing your content. Try to include them in the following places:
      • Title
      • Headings and subheadings
      • Introductory sentence
      • Concluding paragraph
      • Anchor text (text you hyperlink to other related pages on your site)
      • Title tags and meta descriptions
    • Optimize your images. Whenever you upload a photo to your blog, be sure to include keywords in the file name and fill out the alternate text field with a brief, keyword rich description of the photo.

    • Reference others with links. When you mention another blogger or article in your blog post, include a link to the information you are referencing. Not only is it good blogging etiquette, but you may also get lucky and receive a link back.

 

  • Don’t replace yourself.

While you would never intend your blog posts to be legal advice (and you should include a disclaimer), you don’t want to be so thorough that you replace the need for a lawyer or find your blog being a one-stop shop for pro se litigants. Likewise, winning the attention of your peers is one thing, but saving them money on their LexisNexis costs is another. Keep your posts either laser-focused on one small topic, or as an overview of a larger topic.

 

  • Never forget your call to action.

Lawyers aren’t necessarily salespeople, but everyone understands that your own blog posts are marketing tools for your own law firm. Even if it’s just a one-sentence remark telling readers to contact you if they need legal advice on the blog post’s topic, you’ve done your job. Otherwise, you’re just waxing poetic about the law and that doesn’t necessarily convert clicks into clients unless you remind them that you are the source of all of this wisdom.

 

  • Your blog is a long game.

Most blogs don’t garner attention with first post, and it may take search engines a while to find you. This shouldn’t deter your efforts. Keep going. The more you write, the sooner you’ll find your voice, and the sooner you find your voice, the sooner you’ll find your audience.