If you are young enough to have gone to college in the Internet age, then your parents or teachers probably cautioned you against posting comments or pictures of yourself that would make you appear unprofessional. That meant no pictures where alcoholic beverages are visible and no text that contained profanity. Now that you are a lawyer, the bar for professionalism is a bit higher than “no cursing and no drunkenness where prospective clients can see you.” Meanwhile, the Internet has crept into virtually every corner of our lives; people who Google your name can read online reviews of your legal practice, and your only defense is confidence that prospective clients will be able to tell the difference between honest criticisms (written by people honest enough to sign their names to the review, one can hope), out-of-context screeds written by people who took major offense to a minor social faux pas on your part, and fabrications by trolls.
Like it or not, the web brims with content about you, most of which you cannot control. What you can control is your law firm’s website. People who are seriously considering hiring you will read your website in enough detail to find out about what makes you unique. Here is how to present yourself in the best light.
You Are a Person, Not Just a Business
Most law firm websites contain a page about each lawyer working at the law firm. Your law firm bio should be specific enough that people know you are not trying to hide a lack of credentials, and it should focus on your legal career but contain enough personal details to make people feel like they are getting to know you. Here are some tips.
· Mention your law school and undergraduate university by name, and mention graduation dates. So what if people can tell approximately how old you are? They know you are a real lawyer.
· Include a few sentences about what got you interested in the legal profession or in the practice area you chose.
· Link to news articles or the text of court decisions for cases on which you worked and which highlight your accomplishments.
· Limit the mention of your spouse, children, and pets to one sentence. People may relate to you if their family has something in common with yours, such as if they got married the same year as you did, if they also are the parents of twins, or if they have a dog of the same breed.
· Do not talk about your travels or hobbies; it comes across as rubbing it in your clients’ faces that you have money and free time. Once you meet prospective clients in person, feel free to discuss your travels, your cooking adventures, your vinyl record collection, your favorite sports team, or any other topic that is appropriate to discuss with someone you just met.
Get Legal Writing Help
Only you know yourself well enough to write your bio, but when it comes to writing informative blog posts for a general audience, you can rely on professional writers to produce regular updates to your blog. You can count on Law Blog Writers to create engaging, readable content with just the right tone for your target audience.
Your experiences studying for the LSAT taught you not to waste even a fraction of a second by reading irrelevant parts of texts too slowly, and law school cemented that lesson. By the time they graduate from law school, lawyers have developed a virtually superhuman ability to simultaneously skim texts to weed out unimportant information and to think through the implications of the important parts. When prospective clients read blog posts, they are likely to skim the post and then click back to the list of search results. In fact, an essential feature of business website blog posts is that they are made to be skimmed by people who are not giving the text their full attention.
A Copyblogger post by Belinda Weaver suggests ways in which the formatting of numbers can help commercial blog posts get their point across to distracted readers. It goes without saying that law firms are not just any business and that law firm blog posts require more careful reading than most web content, but much of her advice applies to law firm blogs, too.
Belinda Weaver’s Advice on Numbers in Blog Posts
Here are some of Weaver’s key points:
· Numbers Are Eye Catching - Many web content style guides advise writers to write out the numbers “zero” through” nine” in words, but to use numerals for numbers with two or more digits. Weaver encourages the use of single-digit numerals in blogs, as they are eye-catching and memorable. It appears that many listicle authors agree with her.
· Blog Readers Are Math-Phobic – Weaver cautions bloggers against making readers do calculations. For example, you should mention the total amount of damages a plaintiff won in a personal injury lawsuit, rather than mentioning the economic and non-economic damages separately and leaving it to readers to add them together.
· Don’t Fear the Percent Sign – Weaver argues that “90%” is more eye-catching and more conducive to fast reading than “90 percent.”
· Numbers Are Convincing – Using specific numbers in a blog post, no matter how you format them, strengthens your argument with specific details.
Take Marketing Advice with a Grain of Salt
If you follow Weaver’s advice, or any commercial blogging advice, to the letter, you will end up with a blog post that looks and sounds like an ad. Hiring a lawyer is a serious matter, and law firm blogs need the gravitas that is absent from most web content. For example, it is appropriate to write “$5,000” in a law firm blog post (where you might write “five thousand dollars” in a legal memorandum), but “$5K” looks like it belongs in a text message or tweet, not on a law firm’s website.
Legal Blog Writing
What lawyer has the time to write 500 words of blog content per week? You can count on Law Blog Writers to create informative, readable content that your prospective clients can easily skim, savor, or use as a reference.
In the age of mobile phones, everyone is a know-it-all. If you have a smartphone, you can find the answer to almost any question in a matter of seconds. This is relevant to law firms, not because the partners in your law firm are grumpy because, at most of the parties they attended in law school, the conversation was dominated by a single know-it-all, but because, at every minute, around the clock, someone somewhere is using Google on their phone to find an answer to a legal question.
For better or worse, short attention spans rule the day, and if people cannot find the answer to their questions quickly on your website, they will click back to the search results and then navigate to someone else’s website. Making your law firm’s blog accessible and useful to mobile phone users will enhance the search engine optimization (SEO) rankings of your website.
Not Just Readable, but Skimmable
By the time you graduate from law school, you are an expert at skimming documents, even if the text appears as a single block, without paragraph divisions. The audience of your law firm’s blog, though, needs some help from the formatting of the blog posts to enable them to find the information they are looking for quickly through skimming. The small screens of mobile phones are not ideal for reading, even for people with good vision, as it is very easy to lose your place. Therefore, you should employ the following formatting tactics to make it easier for users to find information on your site.
· Headings and subheadings, perhaps using different fonts, sizes, or covers
· A font of at least 12-point type for body text
· Short paragraphs, perhaps even a single sentence per paragraph
· Single-spaced text within paragraphs, with an additional space after every paragraph
· Images spaced throughout the post, so that there is a limited amount of text between images
· Posts that are not too long
These techniques are also important for mobile sites because people often visit websites via their mobile phones when there are other things besides the text competing for their attention. They might be fact-checking a legal question during a work meeting. They might be trying to settle a friendly disagreement at a social gathering.
Although no lawyer wants his or her website to encourage distracted driving, the reality is that people sometimes even search for legal questions while stopped at a red light on the way to work. Important information should be easy to find on your law firm’s website even when the reader frequently looks up from the screen when reading blog posts on your site.
Content Legal Blog Writers
Formatting is important, but when it comes to digital marketing for law firms, content still reigns as king. You can count on Law Blog Writers to create informative, readable content that your prospective clients can easily access on their mobile phones.
Happy birthday! You owe thousands of dollars in back child support! Happy birthday! You still have two more years of probation, thanks to your friendly neighborhood criminal defense lawyer! Happy birthday! You are one year closer to death, so celebrate with your estate planning attorney! Lots of adults do not like to be reminded of their birthdays, even if the birthday greetings do not also come with a reminder of their legal troubles. Despite this, birthday promotions are an effective form of marketing for many businesses. At first glance, law firms may not seem like an appropriate fit for birthday marketing, but if done right, sending birthday greetings to your clients can be an asset to your law firm’s marketing strategy.
Birthday Marketing Is Not One-Size-Fits-All
Sending coupons for people’s birthdays is an excellent marketing tactic for restaurants, clothing stores, nail salons, and similar businesses. Customers who like burgers well enough to sign up for the mailing list of a burger restaurant are likely to use a coupon for a free burger during their birthday month. Likewise, a free manicure for customers who regularly get manicures is a good way to encourage repeat business. Law firms cannot, however offer freebies the way that restaurants and retailers can. No one wants a free divorce or a free felony defense, if the other option is not needing a divorce lawyer or a criminal defense lawyer in the first place.
Don’t Advertise, Just Wish Them a Happy Birthday
Some law practice areas require lawyers to develop long-standing relationships with clients, while others offer services that no individual will need more than a few times in his or her life, and, in fact, most clients need these legal services only once. Therefore, birthday marketing (or any kind of marketing, for that matter) will not make the difference between a one-time visit and repeat business; that is already dictated by your practice area. Instead, the goal of birthday marketing for law firms is to get the recipients to remember that your law firm exists. Therefore, they will contact you when they eventually need legal services in your practice area or when someone asks them to recommend a lawyer to them.
Thus, the most effective kind of birthday marketing for law firms is a simple birthday card, wishing the recipient a happy, healthy, and prosperous year, and signed by the attorneys and staff at your law firm. It makes the recipients feel that someone remembers their birthday. If the card is especially beautiful or funny, then some recipients will save it or display it, which is even better. In this regard, physical cards are a better investment of your marketing budget than email birthday greetings, even though physical cards are more expensive. The recipients can be anyone who has entered a physical address in the online contact form on your law firm’s website, not just people who have already used your services.
Contact Legal Blog Writers
Your time is better spent redeeming all those birthday freebie coupons you receive in the mail, rather than writing blog content. You can count on Law Blog Writers to create engaging, readable content to inform and entertain your prospective clients all year round.
Almost every family has one, the relative who is so enamored of apparent bargain prices that he or she will do financially foolish things just to be able to brag about getting the item for a low price. Maybe it’s the uncle who buys a used car off of Craigslist and then, when it turns out to be a lemon spends thousands of dollars repairing it and hundreds more trying to unload it on another bargain-hungry buyer. Perhaps it’s the grandma who drives many miles out of her way to buy bulk quantities of more canned soup than she can possibly eat before its expiration date.
These behaviors are different from the behavior of people whose dedication to living way below their means motivates them to plan every financial decision months or even years in advance, the ones who don’t own credit cards and who don’t buy bread even at the dollar store because they bake their bread at home using a bread maker they bought from a thrift store. Buying cheap content for your website is a similar financial fallacy to allowing a discount coupon to lead you on a wild goose chase. These are some examples of types of bargain basement web content to avoid.
The Bargain Sub-Basement: Robo Content
Bots are the worst writers of all. The lowest priced web content services will provide content that is copied and pasted from other sites and then perhaps spun by bots, or else created from whole cloth by bots that have been programmed with a few keywords and with basic knowledge of English syntax. In the latter category, the ideas are unoriginal even if the wording passes Google’s plagiarism tests. You can easily recognize bargain sub-basement content by reading it out loud; it is painful to read more than a few sentences.
The Bargain Basement: Content Mills
These companies offer low prices for web content that is technically original and produced by humans. The writers are paid exploitatively low wages, usually a penny or less per word; some of them are non-native English speakers, while others are native English speakers living in countries where content mill income buys them even less. To make ends meet, the writers must turn out so many words per day that they have no time to put adequate research and thought into their content.
The Bargain Ground Floor: Marketplace Sites
On sites like Fiverr, you contact the writer directly, so you are not going through a company that churns out high volumes of content by paying writers a pittance. Even though you contact the writer directly, and the writer pays slightly more, these sites still operate in the realm of small gigs for small amounts of money, low pay for low commitment and low quality.
Legal Content Writing
The best solution is to engage the services of a content marketing company that exclusively produces original web content for law firms, where the writers are knowledgeable about the law. You can count on Law Blog Writers to create affordable, readable content that is worth every penny.