Laying Down the Law: 10 Blog Writing Tips for Lawyers
A blog is an essential element of any content marketing strategy for lawyers. Your blog can help keep your clients up to date on changes to the law that might affect them, as well as giving you a chance to showcase your expertise and knowledge.
The challenge of blog writing for lawyers is to distill complex legal issues and convey them in a way that is easy for others to understand and act upon.
Here are my top 10 tips for lawyers to keep in mind when writing for your blog:
1 Publish with Purpose
Never publish content just for the sake of publishing – what’s the point of that? Before you start writing, you need to work out what you’re trying to achieve. Are you building your profile as a thought leader? Extending your professional network? Looking for a steady stream of leads? Improving brand awareness? Focus on one and then tailor your content to reach your goal.
2 Define Your Audience
Who are you writing for? Your clients? Other lawyers? Professionals in related fields? It’s crucial to identify your desired audience before you start hitting the keyboard. What are their needs? What do they want? Once you know that, you can start writing relevant content that provides answers to the questions you’d expect them to ask.
3 Explain – Don’t Sell
Okay, so the law changed. Big deal. Why should I care? This is the sort of response you could expect from clients – so you need to be able to answer this in terms of what it means to them, rather than merely touting your own practice. For example, if your client is a business owner then your message boils down to illustrating how the change in the law will impact on their business and what they need to do about it.
4 Head for Hits
Your content is competing with everything else on the web and your clients will only take moments to decide whether they want to read your article. A catchy heading is a good first step to capture their attention and encourage them to read on.
5 Apply the Pub Test
Imagine you’re explaining the latest changes to the law to your friends at the pub. What would you tell them? How would you word it? Try to summarise the change and its impact for your clients in 30 words or less. Make this your first paragraph.
6 Keep it Short
Don’t overwrite and try to keep your blog post to around 500 words – enough to explain the issue and its implications without entangling the reader in unnecessary detail. Use subheadings and bullet points – these help to break up the copy but also act as signposts, helping the reader navigate your piece.
7 Lose the Jargon
Even if you are writing for other lawyers, not everyone is going to know as much about your specialty as you do (unless of course they’re competing with you in this space). Don’t assume that people will understand legal jargon terms – what’s more, they shouldn’t be necessary to convey your message. Lose words like appellant, respondent, ratio and obiter. Cogito that?
8 Spread the Word
Even if you have the best written content in the world, it won’t do you any good unless you can get people reading it. And that means paying for social media promotion on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. You get what you pay for.
9 Measure Your Success
The more you post, the more you’ll be able to work out what resonates with your audience by analysing the performance of your blogs and social channels. Look at which posts generate the most number of comments, social shares, likes, and page views. Learn from what works to achieve maximum impact.
10 Call to Action
At the end of every blog post, include a strong ‘call to action’ – suggest some activity your reader can take in relation to the issue you have described.
There are of course many other considerations I may have included in this article, like writing with SEO in mind, keyword and social media research, or working with influencers and other promoters.
But perhaps the most important thing to do is to start writing and keep writing, then write some more. The more you write the easier it will be, and over time your writing will improve.
So what are you waiting for? Consider this your call to action – get blogging!