Some attorneys choose not to blog out of disdain. They see the blogosphere as an amateur’s playground, not a place for esteemed legal counsel. Others eschew blogging due to intimidation. Even the most suave and eloquent attorney occasionally can be brought to a halt by a blank page. Both objections ignore the proven fact that blogs offer concrete business benefits that far outweigh the challenges most attorneys ascribe to them.
Think of a law firm blog as a professional space that should serve your business interests, not your own personal soapbox. Good legal blogs are more informal than the web’s typical business content, but any author should know where to draw the line between themselves and their audience – and toe it religiously.
There is far more to be said about what makes for good content online, but ultimately it comes down to this: The content on your blog should be valuable to the reader. If you deliver value to them, your blog will deliver value to you. The following are a few questions to help you ensure the success of your firm’s blog.
Who is your audience vs. targeted personas?
Audiences paint a general picture of the firm’s targeted demographic, and should encompass the entire population of people the firm serves. Audiences inform the firm’s overall content strategy. You can do some quick research online by checking census data to see what these people are like. By taking a look at the demographics of the community you are targeting, you can gain insights like age, occupation, and whether they rent or own their homes.
Personas describe specific – though hypothetical – individuals. They inform the strategy for a specific piece of content. Personas promote empathy and relevance by allowing writers to connect with a specific end user.
For example, Bob is 65 years old, about to retire, and owns a large amount of property in a rural community. Bob is likely concerned about making sure that he can support himself and his family when he retires and that his property is protected from creditors so that his family doesn’t have to sell the property when he passes away.
Weaving in blog posts directed to targeted personas is a good way to highlight the unique attributes of your firm and serves as a solid compliment to your firm’s overall content strategy.
What is your topic?
Be judicious in your choice of topics and the stances you take. Always start a new blog entry by thinking about your audience’s interests. For the casual legal consumer, news items like Supreme Court decisions or noteworthy legislation are fair game. Feel free to chime in on these when it’s relevant. But remember that the vast majority of your clients are facing the same issues year after year. So blogging about their ongoing, basic legal needs can be very lucrative: Explaining common issues your clients typically face is good. Providing a checklist of what materials to bring to an initial meeting is better.
Also be sure keep your eyes on the news, and blogging can be easy. For example, if your state alters its criteria for drunk-driving arrests, a blog post explaining the “Four Things to Know if You’re Pulled Over” is sure to resonate.
How often should you post?
There is no perfect time to post your blog or number of entries to target. Each law firm has a unique set of skills, clients and perspectives that will inform its content, volume and schedule.
Bear in mind that the term “schedule” is used loosely here. There may be some law firms with a loyal and dedicated audience who eagerly anticipate each new blog post, but that’s pretty rare within the industry.
Your best bet is to identify a frequency that you can commit to, and stick to it. For your firm, that might mean posting weekly, or even every other week. You can always publish more when you have something time-sensitive or particularly important to say.
The key is to avoid biting off more than you can chew. Too many law firms try to blog daily only to peter out after a couple of weeks. It’s better to start out more slowly but stick with it.
Creating the perfect blog post for your law firm takes practice. It doesn’t come easily, but it can be extremely beneficial to your firm. Blog posts can expand your reach, establish your authority in the field, and pull in more clients and, in turn, revenue for your firm. For more insights about effectively using your blog to market your law firm, view our on-demand webcast, How to make your law firm’s blog worth reading.
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