As a graduate of law school, you have learned to see the invisible templates that underlie virtually every piece of writing. Starting with a template and then filling in content makes you a more organized writer and a more organized reader.
Of course, the key is to make your content so engaging that readers do not see the template. You, as a lawyer, are such an astute reader that you know that almost every piece of writing conforms in some way to genre conventions, whether or not this was its author’s intention. In the 90s, the “rants” of teen authors, published first in handwritten zines and then later on lovingly crafted personal websites with garish background colors, had formal conventions and common themes, despite their claims to free-wheeling individuality.
Anyone who goes online looking for thoughtful commentary on popular movies and TV shows from their childhood will find pieces that are thought-provoking indeed, and noticeably similar to each other in form and content.
A Farewell to Listicles
Perhaps the most maligned form of Internet writing, though, is the listicle, a literary form that proudly displays its outline. Listicles have many applications, but they are particularly common on business blogs. Whether they still have a place in content marketing is too broad a question for purposes of this post, which will not take the form of a listicle, so as to avoid the charges of tone-deaf lack of self-awareness so often leveled at Internet writers. The better question is this: Do listicles belong on a law firm blog?
A 2015 post from DesignCo Marketing says that they do not. The post’s greatest virtue is its graphic, which appears to depict proboscis eggplants. The post makes important points about the drawbacks of listicles. Here are some highlights.
· Listicles present the wrong level of detail for most topics. If you want to present a simple list, just use bullet points. If you want to go into enough detail to be informative, make each item on the list several paragraphs long, at which point they become sub-headings, not list items.
· Listicles assume that the reader’s attention span is shorter than it is. Posting listicles means that you really just want readers to click on your page and skim through it, without really learning anything new.
· It is usually more effective to tell a story in the form of a story than in the form of a list. Both stories and checklists have a place in the legal profession; decide which one you want to write.
If You Must Use Listicles
Internet writers love listicles because you can write them quickly, and because in the hands of a skilled writer, they are well organized. If you want to write listicles on your blog, link them to longer content. For example, your listicle can be five Supreme Court decisions that relate to a certain topic. Then link each item to the text of the decision or to an article on a law school’s website explaining the decision in more detail.
Legal Content Writing Help
Are you too overworked to decide whether you love listicles or hate them? You can count on Law Blog Writers to provide blog posts that your readers will not merely skim but will reread as reliable sources of information.