They say that law school changes everything you ever knew about reading and writing. Think back to high school, before you had to read a 20-page court decision in 60 seconds and figure out what the important issues in it were. Remember high school creative writing class and the cardinal rule of storytelling, namely Show, Don’t Tell. (Some high school debate events have you do this, too.) Robert Rose of Content Marketing Institute has identified four story structures for marketing content, which communicate the brand’s values in ways that writing about the brand never could. He has named each of these story structures after the role that the storyteller assumes I telling the story. Some of them are more applicable to legal blog content than others.
Performer, Promoter, Professor, Poet
According to Rose, the four story structures are those of the performer, the promoter, the professor, and the poet. Here is how each of them might manifest themselves in a law firm blog post:
· Performer – You are trying to make the reader feel something. This is an excellent choice for law firm blogs. Depending on your practice area, tell them about the lurid details of a probate dispute or high net worth divorce or about the physical and financial hardships of living with an injury caused by a preventable accident.
· Promoter- Try to make them do something. Depending on your practice area, show them that they need your services when filing for bankruptcy, writing a will, or modifying a parenting plan.
· Professor – Make a persuasive argument based on your knowledge of facts; this is easy for lawyers. Depending on your practice area, convince them that this year’s executive order about non-compete contracts can benefit small businesses or that a prenuptial agreement is the best gift you can give to the family member who will be the personal representative of your estate.
· Poet- Try to change the audience’s perspective on something. A poet story is the most complex story structure. In a law firm blog post, you can take on the role of the poet to show the audience how a particular law or court decision, or even your practice area as a whole, affects their lives. For example, you can illustrate how (as every divorce lawyer but knows but few couples do), the state is a party in every divorce case. You can also show how “declaring bankruptcy” really just means making a budget where most of your income goes to debt repayment while the court makes some of your debts disappear.
It is possible to make any of these story structures fit into a 500-word blog post; conciseness is a virtue in storytelling, no matter which story structure you adopt.
None of the Above?
Perhaps you should stick to being a lawyer and leave the four Ps of professional storytelling to, well, professional storytellers. The legal content writers at Law Blog Writers are poets, professors, promoters, and performers, depending on what your law firm’s blog needs.