A lawyer's guide to blogging
So, a prospective client has visited your website. Thankfully, it’s just had a facelift, and couldn’t look any sharper. While 46% of consumers consider web design the top factor in a company’s credibility, what happens after the initial wow-factor of your website? Well, you’ve all heard it: content is king. But the wrong kind of content could push prospects away. A lot of law firms tend to produce content for contents sake, and miss the point completely: your blog (or rather, blawg) should prove to your prospects that you are a thought-leader, not a thought-follower.
In light of this, we’ve put together some dos and don’ts of legal blogging.
Do – be yourself, but be professional
I recently posted a blog about remembering to be human online, in which I advised that the best method of standing out against your competitors was to put across personality in your company posts. While this is crucial in being “different, not better”, remember that you are representing your company. Attempts to be controversial, funny or edgy by swearing or getting into arguments over the comments section will only make you look unprofessional. However, being professional doesn’t mean filling your blog with legal jargon. You’re targeting the public, not your colleagues or competitors.
Don’t – forget to spellcheck
A typo is an innocent mistake that everyone makes from time to time. It’s the slip between ‘think’ and ‘htink’ or using ‘effect’ instead of ‘affect.’ We’ve all done it, and we’ve all read others typos and cringed slightly on the inside (and some of us have even left comments with the spelling correction.) If it’s a personal Facebook post, it’s not so bad. But, if it’s the blog that represents your law firm, it’s a mistake that could lower your credibility and lead to theassumption that you’ve hurriedly keyboard-bashed out a few paragraphs without care. It could also lead to your readers assuming you’re lazy – too lazy to check your spelling, so perhaps too lazy to research your topic. It’s crucial to have at least two colleagues proofread your blog before it goes live, and to write it on a word processor like MS Word so your mistakes are automatically underlined. Perhpas thsi wlli stop you form mssing future typos.
Do – be original
The good news about law firm publishing is that it exists, and many firms now have a ‘blog’ section of their website. The bad news is, the content is rarely original. A lot of the time, one law firm will post an interesting piece and within the next few weeks many will reword it and repost it. The secret to being original is by caring. Be passionate about what you’re writing! If you’re passionate about it, and helping others to understand the subject as you do, it will come across. If you’re already bored writing the headline, don’t bother writing the rest. In the wise words of C.S Lewis, “Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”
Don’t – use clickbait headlines
In case it’s not obvious, I wanted to point out how blatantly poor these kinds of headlines are. They work by method of teasing and under the assumption that we will definitely want to know more if we are given half of a headline. They are also associated with viruses and malware, and people like to know that clicking on your link won’t eat their computers brains. Blog titles are the very first thing your readers will take in, and will make a snap decision based on the title alone as to whether they should read on. They are also the first thing search engines take in, so make your subject matter crystal clear. This doesn’t mean you have to mention every subtopic your blog post discusses, it just needs to be to-the-point and lead readers in without begging.
Do – use keywords cleverly
Your blog is a great place to incorporate long-tail keywords to your site. Long tail keywords are generally more specific search terms, for example "was I sacked wrongfully from my job" as opposed to "wrongful termination." This colloquial method of searching is on the rise, and by using long tail keyword phrases you can be sure that your blog reader sought out the exact information you are providing and are therefore more likely to become your client. However, choose your words wisely: how would you search for your blog? You need not just repeat these phrases over and over. Generally, it's a good idea to include your long-tail keywords once in your headline, once in your opening paragraph and once more in the final section. Remember, you want to be the answer to your readers’ question.
Don’t – keyword stuff
If you’re only writing with search rankings in mind, your blog will sound like an advert. Back in the early days of SEO, keyword stuffing was the way forward. We would stuff our blogs like turkeys at Christmas, throwing in as many keywords as possible. Nowadays, this may have a short-term effect, but eventually Google will penalize you, and your site could be removed as a result of this. Let it flow, and you’ll throw in those keywords without even A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER BRISTOL noticing!
Do – include a Call To Action
So, your reader has enjoyed your blog. Congratulations! But – wait, what’s that – they’re clicking away from your site! Why are they leaving? Don’t they want to get in touch to see how you can help? Unless you prompt them to do so, it’s not certain they will. So why not throw in a cheeky CTA? Make sure to build up to it, and keep it relevant. For example:
“Blogs are a way of showing your expertise in your practice area. However, writing takes time, and we at Conscious understand that you may have a lot on your plate already. Why not get in touch to discuss how we can help?” Smooth...
Don’t – forget to update!
There’s nothing worse than an un-updated blog. The glaring date-stamp signaling that the last time you bothered was in June 2013, and before that, December 2011. Content creation is vital for so many reasons, but mostly to prove to your prospects that you’re in the loop, ahead of the curve and at hand for advice.
Blogging for the legal sector is definitely a skill to hone. The key is to find the balance between informative and engaging, but above all, believe in what you blog. We provide a range of services including bespoke blogging for the legal sector, tailored to suit your firms personality and practice areas.