When lawyers look for ways to increase the number of new clients at their law firm or, in practice areas where such is relevant, to give clients the incentive to hire the same law firm multiple times, they often run into lots of irrelevant advice online. Even when they consult professional marketing agencies, the strategies the marketing agencies come up with often seems tone deaf, because generic principles of marketing and customer satisfaction do not apply to law firms the way that they do to many other types of businesses.
People who hire lawyers are not exactly customers. No one wants to go back and fight another DUI charge because the lawyer they hired the first time was awesome; it is not like going back to the same restaurant next week because you enjoyed the food there so much the first time. Despite the differences between law firms and other types of businesses, a post on MyShingle encourages law firms to adopt some “client first” strategies, inspired by “customer first” marketing tactics employed by other businesses.
Walking Clients Through the Process
The services for which clients hire lawyers are complex and require specialized knowledge; if this were the case, then clients would simply write wills and draft business contracts on their own, instead of paying a lawyer to help them. Despite this, the more lawyers help clients understand every step of the legal action in which they are involved, the more empowered they feel. Explaining to clients, from a statutory and practical perspective, what you are doing build trust between attorneys and clients. Here are some ways lawyers can help clients see the big picture about the legal process in which they are involved and understand their role in it:
· Checklists on relevant pages of your law firm’s website
· Videos readily available on your law firm’s website
· Blog posts about specific cases in your practice area from your state
· Acknowledging, in person or by email, ways in which your clients’ actions have helped their case
Communication Is Key
Lawyers already work hard and have very little free time; no one is suggesting that you spend even more time working than you already do. Clients value responsiveness from lawyers, though. Here are some ways you can stay in touch with clients without giving up all your privacy and free time.
· Set up an email account or phone number for text messages where clients can ask their questions after hours. If your law firm is big enough, have different lawyers and paralegals be responsible for reading the messages on different nights of the week.
· Send a weekly newsletter by email about your law firm’s activities and about current news related to your practice area.
Let Law Blog Writers Do the Writing
Many “client first” services require your individual attention, but you can easily hire professional writers to write an informative blog. You can count on Law Blog Writers to create well researched, readable content to help your current and prospective clients stay informed.
What is wrong with the following statements? In my day, we used to listen to good music like the Temptations instead of garbage like “The Thong Song.” They say that Stanley Kubrick’s next movie will be about Napoleon. I followed The Rules, but he still acts like he doesn’t notice me; maybe I will try getting the Rachel haircut. The Internet is unanimous that Baby Sussex will be a girl; I wonder what Harry and Meghan will name her.
Despite the elegant use of semicolons in the latter two examples, all of the above statements are dated. Your content does not have to overflow with 90s pop culture references to be out of date; the predictions about the name and gender of Baby Sussex (now known as Archie) were trending as recently as last month. No matter where you click on the Internet, it is full of reminders that the world changes quickly, and your law firm’s website is no exception. Your choices are to follow the trends, which requires constant research, to rise above them by writing evergreen content, or to chart a middle course between the two.
Examples of Evergreen Content
Like its name suggests, evergreen content is blog content about subject matter that does not change quickly. When you write an evergreen blog post, statements you make in the present tense will still be accurate in a year or more. These are some examples of evergreen blog posts for a law firm blog:
· An explanation of basic concepts or terms in your practice area (for example, the types of alimony in your state, the Constitutional rights of defendants, or the concepts of negligence and duty of care in a personal injury lawsuit)
· Frequently asked questions about a sub-topic of your practice area
· Posts about Supreme Court cases that set important precedents in your practice area (such as the Daubert standard, based on a 1993 ruling)
Readers search for evergreen content the way they used to consult reference books in the pre-Internet age.
In Praise of Deciduous Content
Not all interesting and useful information is unchanging; in the old days, people got as much information from newspapers as from reference books. Publishing posts about current news related to your practice area is a sound blogging strategy. Crimes and criminal trials, celebrity divorce, and product liability frequently make the news headlines, so if your law firm deals with one of those practice areas (even if it is just regular people divorce, not celebrities), you might as well write about those news stories. If your blog posts contain insightful, readable analysis of the legal issues in the cases, people will still want to read them even when the news stories you reference are no longer current.
Legal Blog Writing
Whether or not your content is evergreen, readers will appreciate it if it is truthful and well-written. You can count on Law Blog Writers to create engaging, understandable content that will keep readers coming back for more.
It is as easy for business owners to find decontextualized, outdated, and misleading advice about search engine optimization (SEO) as it is for to find decontextualized, outdated, and misleading advice about dating and relationships. Lawyers are used to reading between the lines, so a fun parlor game to play with your buddies from law school after a night of drinking would be to read articles of dating advice and speculate on who the target audience for such advice is, as well as what would happen if someone were to apply said advice literally. Similarly, in this post, we deconstruct a post from the Elle and Company Design website, in which the author, Lauren Hooker, purports to reveal the “secret formula” for writing a successful blog post.
How to Write Blog Post Titles for Humans (and for Search Engines)
Hooker’s first piece of advice is to write a catchy title for your blog post, perhaps even before you write the post. This piece of advice is aimed at making your post appeal to humans. Google doesn’t care whether your post title is catchy. For purposes of attracting search engine, the most important criterion for a successful blog post title is that it should contain keywords, preferably the main keyword for which you are trying to optimize. For Google, a boring title that includes your main keyword is just as good.
Where Writers See Outlines, Google Sees Subheadings
Hooker’s second piece of advice is to write an outline before you write your blog post. While this piece of advice seems to be aimed primarily at making it easier for writers to write high quality blog posts quickly, it has fringe benefits for both readers and search engines. If you outline before you write, the resulting post will be well organized, so readers will be able to find the information they need easily. Meanwhile, Google will see the remnants of your outline in subheadings, which are an ideal place to include keywords.
Are Short Paragraphs an SEO Gimmick?
Hooker, like other purveyors of content creation advice, recommends writing short paragraphs. The main purpose of this advice is to make the text easier for readers to follow, and not because they have short attention spans. The real purpose of this advice is that it is easy to lose your place when reading long blocks of text on a screen, especially the small screen of a mobile phone. Google likes small paragraphs, but readers, especially those reading blog posts on their phones, as many people do when doing research to help them choose a lawyer, appreciate them even more.
Professional Legal Content Writers
Many lawyers are great writers and enjoy writing, but most of them have grueling work schedules that leave no time for blogging. You can count on Law Blog Writers to create informative, original content that appeals to Google and to the human beings who search it when they need legal advice.
It is virtually impossible to survive law school unless you enjoy writing at least to some extent. Lawyers write for a living more than most people outside the legal profession appreciate; the opening scene of Roman J. Israel, Esq. does a great job of dramatizing this. Even without Denzel Washington’s narration, Roman’s unique voice as a writer would come through, despite that he is following the strict formulaic style of a document intended, at least in theory, to be read in court.
Lawyers write so many documents to be read by judges and by other lawyers that it is easy to forget that you are writing for a different audience when writing a blog on your law firm’s website. How can you establish the most effective tone in your blog posts? In other words, who is your audience, and how should you address them?
If You Imagined That Your Undergraduate Thesis Was a Letter to Your Mother
Imagine that the clients you met with today are the ones you will read your blog; it helps to imagine a real person, with facial features you have seen and a laugh you have heard in real life. What did they know about the laws related to your practice area when you met them for the first time? What are their pet peeves? Which pop culture references do they understand? Details about your clients that seem irrelevant when you argue their cases in court or file documents on their behalf can help you connect with them, and with other prospective clients like them, by writing a blog. Even the things that annoy you about your clients can help you identify blog post topics that will interest them or a writing style that will engage them or alienate them. Consider the following examples.
· You are a workers’ compensation lawyer. Most of your clients, who suffered serious injuries at physically dangerous and demanding jobs, do not have a college education and do not know things about the law, history, civics, and such that you consider common knowledge. Use what they do and don’t know as a guide to help you write posts that will make them feel empowered to consult you and find out more about their legal rights.
· You are a business lawyer in a community that values individualism and where grumbling about taxes and regulations is a part of everyday conversation. Use your blog to highlight ways that your clients, who are small business owners and pride themselves on being law-abiding citizens, can meet legal requirements in the most frugal way possible.
· You are a divorce lawyer whose clients are bitter about love. Your blog can lighten the mood with pop culture references about breakups and moving on after divorce; choose your pop culture references based on the time period most likely to resonate with your clients.
Contact Law Blog Writers
Of course, you can also hire professional writers to write a blog that your target audience will enjoy. You can count on Law Blog Writers to draft well-researched, engaging blog posts to connect with your website’s readership.
Outside of rap battles and in-game banter, bragging is almost always an undesirable quality. If you doubt this, just count the times you avoided entering your co-worker’s office just so he wouldn’t brag to you about his children’s most recent accomplishments. Think about how often the bragging on social media (often in the guise of self-deprecation, the dreaded humblebrag) ruins your mood so much that you have to click on law journals to cheer yourself up.
The obvious solution to this problem is “don’t brag,” but then, how do you convince people you have never met of what an awesome lawyer you are? What is a blog, if not a place for bragging and self-promotion? How can you make your law firm’s blog brag without wearing out its welcome with prospective clients?
If It Feels Disingenuous, It Probably Is
Just as an experiment, write a paragraph talking about how great you are. Once you get past the easily measurable accomplishments already listed on your resume, such as your law school GPA or articles you have published, it probably makes you cringe to write self-aggrandizing copy, even if you are not an especially self-critical person. Sentences like “Mortimer G. Blogwright, Esq. is an excellent lawyer who shows extraordinary dedication to his profession” grate on the ears, and they should.
Now, as another experiment, write a paragraph about a colleague, perhaps a former classmate from law school, and what makes him or her a good lawyer. You can probably name specific things the person has done that, while they are not listed on the person’s resume, make him or her stand out. Perhaps your classmate found an important piece of information for a case, not by consulting the Law Library but rather a different department of the Library of Congress. When describing your friend, you tell the entire story, instead of trying to summarize it in platitudes like “Lillian Blogsworth, Esq. thinks outside the box.” It’s just easier to write about other people.
Let Other People Brag About You
Perhaps, then, the solution is to let other people talk up your law firm. The best way to leverage this indirect bragging strategy for your blog is to link to content that mentions your law firm or any of its employees in a positive or neutral way. (Cynics call this “link bait,” but it works.) For example, if a partner at your firm spoke about the legal profession at the Career Day event at a local elementary school, link to the newsletter on the school’s website that mentions this, even if the partner is only mentioned by name in a long list of participants.
Then write a post entitled “Mortimer Blogwright of Blogwright, Blogsworth, and Bloggerson Participates in Career Day at Snail Run Elementary.” Write a paragraph about the school’s event and your colleague’s role in it; then include a link to the original content. Linking to other people’s sites is a great way to promote your site and the site to which you have linked.
Let Law Blog Writers Do the Writing
Still feeling creeped out by writing what feels like self-aggrandizing copy? You can count on Law Blog Writers to create original content that strikes just the right tone.