Brevity Is Great, but Beware of Broetry
Lawyers, of all people, are used to receiving criticism for their verbose writing style. From impenetrable legal memorandums to long-winded Christmas letters, it is obvious that lawyers love to write more than anyone enjoys reading their prose. Most advice on how to become a better writer follows the same line of logic, namely, say more in fewer words. Reduce your word count. Trim the fat. In short, shut your face. Websites on improving your writing style, much like their predecessors, books on improving your writing style, tend to valorize the laconic style of Ernest Hemingway and his contemporaries.
They also, implicitly or explicitly, enjoin the “man to man” writing style made famous by Hemingway’s tales of war and self-imposed exile or Raymond Chandler’s hardboiled detective stories. The message comes through loud and clear: adjectives are for sissies. Real men don’t need auxiliary verbs. All of this is old news, but the man of few words writing style has taken on a new life on business blogs, often with counterproductive results. Here is why “broetry” does not serve the purposes of your legal blog content.
What is Broetry, and Why Doesn’t It Belong on Your Law Firm’s Blog?
Carina Rampelt has observed a writing style she terms “broetry” on business blogs and professional networking sites in a variety of industries. She describes the hallmarks of a broetry blog post as follows:
· A clickbait opening sentence (on a law firm blog, it might be something like “Is the family court system rigged against fathers?”)
· Lots of single-sentence paragraphs
· A self-aggrandizing anecdote
· A cliché ending sentence (on a post about appealing your divorce judgment or modifying your child support order, this might be something like “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over”)
According to Rampelt, the biggest problem with broetry blog posts is not that they assume that the reader’s attention span is shorter than it is. The problem is with what she terms the tech bro mindset, which we might consider the law bro mindset in the context of law firm blogs. It puffs up its chest and says “I’m the winner. Everyone else is a loser. The only way to win is to be like me.”
No matter your industry, the purpose of a commercial blog is not to tell people how great you are. It is to show them how much you can help them. If your eight-sentence paragraph tells people the next steps they should take to address their legal or financial problem (for example, getting injured in a car accident or being served with divorce papers), then you have provided more value than 100 single-sentence paragraphs of broetic bravado could.
The Bottom Line
Eschew the broetry. Just write straightforward, informative posts that address your prospective clients’ concerns. Let the bro bloggers call you a sissy for using the word “eschew” while prospective clients click the contact link at the bottom of your blog posts.
Straightforward Law Firm Blog Content Without the Dudebro Attitude
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