Law firms routinely send timely and informative content to clients and contacts. The problem is that too often, the distribution of content is inconsistent and the firm has no strategic plan to fully exploit the information. The best article in the world only goes so far because people have short memories. A firm has to provide and promote useful content regularly. That’s where a blog comes in. When done correctly, a blog provides a flexible format to highlight a firm or an attorney’s expertise in order to attract and retain clients and achieve other business goals.
Why start a legal blog?
Blogging builds credibility and trust and can help establish an attorney as a thought leader. Even if a prospect is referred, they are likely to check out the firm online. With a blog, attorneys can prove they are knowledgeable by providing valuable information on important topics. Regularly producing content also keeps an attorney or firm at the top of mind with existing contacts (which can lead to more referrals) as well as reach new audiences through channels like social media marketing and search engine optimization.
Importantly, a blog is in the firm’s control. Unlike writing or giving presentations to third-party organizations, the individual attorney or firm decides what the content looks like, when and how it is published and promoted, and to whom.
Know the audience
- Who is the audience? Identify the ideal reader, including their demographics, pain points, interests and level of knowledge about the topics the firm intends to write about.
- What will be the subject matter? Is the blog going to focus on a certain area of law, industry or type of client? It’s best to focus on a niche to stand out from competitors.
- Where will the blog reside? Will the blog appear on the firm’s main website, on a microsite or be hosted by a third-party (ex. LexBlog)?
- How often will it appear? Decide on a frequency that is realistic for the firm.
- Why create a blog? Be specific. Does the firm or do individual attorneys want to position themselves as experts or thought leaders in a niche, expand into a new practice area, drive traffic to the site or another goal?
- How will the blog get done? Develop an action plan. Then allocate time, money and people to support every aspect of the blog (writing, editing, publication and marketing).
Decide on the topic
Deciding on the general subject matter is only the beginning. If the firm is serious about wanting the blog to be read, it has to be interesting. Here are a few tips:
- Answer real questions. Write about the frequently asked questions from clients and prospects. Check social media, read relevant publications and go to conferences to find out what the target audience is talking about. Research popular questions searched on Google and look at what the competitors are doing for ideas.
- Make it easy to read. Avoid unnecessary details or legalese. Be concise and use headings and bullet points. Use the same terminology as your readers.
- Provide analysis. Explain how a law or new development impacts the reader’s situation. Offer insights and practical advice to help them with their problems.
- Tell stories. Provide real-life examples of problems and solutions. Confidential or identifying information can be omitted without sacrificing the value of the story.
- Use video and other visuals. Studies show that people find visual content more memorable and engaging. Add photos, charts and graphics to text posts. Start a video blog or create short clips discussing content from the blog post.
Keep it going
It’s essential to develop an editorial and marketing calendar, assign people to each task and establish deadlines. Most importantly, hold people accountable. That has to come from the top. If there are no consequences for failing to do the work, it won’t get done. However, those at the top have to be realistic. If no one has time, someone has to make time or get help from elsewhere, whether that means internal resources or hiring outside assistance.
On the editorial side, regularly brainstorm topics. It’s best to list at least three-months’ worth of topics so you aren’t scrambling to come up with an idea on short notice. If something timely comes up, that can be slotted in.
Just because the firm created a blog doesn’t mean anyone will read it. The blog has to be promoted through all the marketing channels. . Make it easy to find on the website and optimize it for search engines so the posts rank high when people are searching online for information on the topic.
Promote the blog on all the firm’s social media platforms. Keep in mind individual posts can be promoted multiple times over weeks, months or even years if they are still relevant. Also, encourage attorneys within the firm to share them with their individual networks.
Use email to send it to contacts. I recommend firms have a monthly email newsletter that includes links to blog posts, articles and other content the firm has created on the topic. The blog can also be promoted in an email signature block.
Encourage people to sign up for updates so the firm can collect email addresses and send other relevant information.
A blog is a valuable marketing tool that can differentiate a firm from its competitors and help bring in more business. However, it is a long-term commitment. The key to success is appropriate strategic planning and putting the right resources in place so the firm stays focused on its goals.
Edie Reinhardt, Esq. is principal of RDT Content Marketing, which specializes in helping attorneys showcase their expertise and target their marketing to attract more clients. She can be reached at [email protected]