How Blogging Makes You an Authority in the Legal Community

Content marketing is one of the most powerful tools you have for boosting SEO and for establishing your reputation across the internet. It gets you noticed by search engines, but perhaps more importantly, sharing your ideas and opinions gets you the respect of potential clients, colleagues, and the legal community in general.

Your content marketing tool box should include regular blogs.

One of the strongest content tools you have is your blog. If you are like some attorneys, your blog was an afterthought when you first launched your website. The goal was to get the basic information about your firm online so potential clients could find you.

But now that your site is up and running, it needs fresh content to keep it relevant, and a blog is the best way to do this.

Establishes Trust

Establishing trust online is very similar to doing so offline. In order for your audience to trust you, they must be aware of your experience and qualifications. But it also means showing how you can help a potential client. You not only want someone’s business because it will benefit you, but because you truly believe your service is right for them. In a nutshell? Make sure you are showing you care about your audience and want what is best for them – even if it’s not you.

Gaining authority, though, is about more than just making people like you and ensuring you come across as nice or thoughtful. You must also speak with confidence and have proof to back up your opinions. If you believe someone else would be better to represent a potential client, what’s your reasoning? If you think you are the right choice, why? And if you have something to say about current legal events, what’s your rationale for forming your opinion. People don’t want to know your opinion – they want to know why they should care about your opinion.

Keeps Your Website Relevant

Your law firm’s blog is a great place to comment on current events.

One of the best things about blogging is it allows you to comment on current events. Many of the pages of your website need to be timeless – or as timeless as search engines will allow – but your blog can be current.

Your blog is your opportunity to let people know what you think about the latest developments, be they legal or just news in general. You might not think your opinion is all that valuable to the masses, but it can be.

By sharing your thoughts on certain issues, you are connecting with your audience and allowing them to see into how you form your views and opinions. And it doesn’t hurt SEO – talking about a popular or trending topic is a great way to get attention from search engines.

Highlights Your Experience

Finally, blogging helps you develop into an authority because it enables you to highlight your experience without feeling as if you are bragging.

Do you share information about your achievements, but wonder if maybe you’re going overboard and rubbing people the wrong way? A blog makes it easy to showcase what you’ve done without feeling boastful.

Use your blog as a microphone to share your achievements.

Your blog serves as a microphone, but you’re using it to convey important information about your law firm for those interested. You can even do so in a way that helps your audience by answering a question or fulfilling a need.

Over time your list of accomplishments adds up on your blog, but the accumulation was subtle and organic.

Dealing with the Time Crunch

Your blog allows you to speak directly to your audience, explaining your position on something or sharing information. It lets you connect with readers. Of course blogging brings traffic to your site, but it accomplishes so much more than that. It keeps your website fresh and alive, and make it easier for potential clients to begin to make their decision about hiring you before you even come face to face.

If you’ve found yourself wishing you could maintain a blog, but falling short on time or topics, you aren’t alone. Not only do lawyers struggle with managing content, just about everyone who has a website does, too.

The good news is there are ways around this. You can have a relevant blog in your voice even if you don’t have endless hours to spend writing. There are plenty of tips and tricks for keeping things up to date, and not falling into the trap that so many website owners face – a blog gone dead.

If you’ve figured out how to manage a busy, successful law firm and still manage to keep your blog content recent, share your secret below! And if you are looking for help managing your content, you’ve come to the right place!

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Building Your Brand: Have You Defined Your Brand?

Helping You Build Your Brand Block by Block

Build your brand block by block by reflecting on your goals for your firm.

Establishing a well-defined brand for your law firm makes promoting it easier. A clear brand message only shows you have a firm grasp of where you are and where you’re headed, it makes what you do more interesting to others.

Though you might be familiar with how other businesses use branding to market what they sell, maybe you’ve never thought about how branding could work for your firm. In this first of several posts in a series on branding, I’ll talk about how defining your brand can help you make an impact on your audience.

In order to define a brand for your firm, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Start with the basics:

How do you describe your firm and the services you offer, and what does your firm do better than others? When someone asks what you do, what’s the answer you give, and do you think it’s the perfect description for your firm?

What is your firm’s one biggest asset? Is it experience, compassion, resources? Whatever it is you should be emphasizing it, so get a clear understanding of what makes you unique.

Who is Your Ideal Client?

Now think about who you consider your perfect client. Take some time to really create a personality and life for your ideal client. You can base it on an actual person with whom you have already worked or not, or it can be entirely fictitious.

I suggest you create a description that includes all of the qualities your ideal client has. This might seem as if it’s just for fun, but having a clear picture of who the person is and why he or she needs a lawyer helps you now and in the long run. All of your marketing efforts should be directed at this ideal client, so knowing this person inside and out helps you long-term.

What Emotions Does Your Brand Elicit?

Once that’s done, think about how your firm stands out from the competition. List a few emotions you’d like people to experience when thinking about your brand.

For instance, when someone thinks of your firm, do you want them to feel excited? Comfortable? At ease? Secure? The emotion your brand should invoke is based on the specific area of law you practice and what you want to provide to clients. There are no right or wrong answers, only what you think feels right for your brand.

What’s the Point?

These exercises help you define your brand. They make it easier to move forward with building a brand for your firm because you understand what makes it unique and what you should emphasize to draw your ideal clients to you. Your branding affects the visual components of your marketing, the structure of your website, your content marketing, and every other component of what you do to promote your firm. It should also play a role in your day-to-day operations and how you work with clients.

If you believe you’ve developed a clearly defined brand for your firm and you have tips to help others, comment below. I’d love to hear about where you started and what you did to bring it all together, and I’m also interested in how your brand affects your content.

The Power of an Editorial Calendar

attorney blogging

Planning blog posts in advance saves you time and frustration.

Staying organized and on top of things is essential to operating a successful law firm. Unfortunately when it comes to their blogs, far too many firms fall behind and neglect this powerful marketing tool. An editorial calendar can help you get back on track and make the most of the money you’ve invested in internet marketing.

Importance of Updated Blog Content

First, let’s discuss content for a minute. Most website owners have heard of content marketing and have some idea what it is and maybe an idea of how it could help them. Content marketing is a way to get your message out there and establish your firm as a go-to resource on the internet. It not only helps you drive traffic to your site, it also helps you become a valuable resource for potential clients and convert site visitors into paying clients.

Content is all of the material you share on your site and elsewhere on the internet. It’s your online voice  and should reflect your brand. It should also flow from your firm on a regular basis – a challenge most firms face because they are busy dealing with day-to-day matters and managing clients.

That’s where an editorial calendar comes in. Having a plan in place for your content helps you automate the work and ensures there will be a steady stream flowing from your firm out into the internet.

What is an Editorial Calendar?

Consider using an editorial calendar to keep your blog organized.

An editorial calendar is a planning and management system for content. Many publications use them to manage content and keep things organized for their staff.

You might think of an editorial calendar in terms of magazine publishing – what articles and other material a magazine will publish from week to week or month to month. Magazine publishers know months, sometimes even years in advance what’s going to be in upcoming issues.

An editorial calendar not only helps you manage the content on your blog, it’s also great for newsletters, social media, and other content. It’s a one-stop-location for content management.

Resource for Your Firm’s Staff

Some versions of an editorial calendar also allow multiple people to work with the content. For instance, if you implement your editorial calendar using Google Drive or another file sharing site, you can add multiple contributors and editors all able to work on the same pieces. It’s a great way to organize content pieces from start to finish – brainstorming right through to the final edit and fact-checking before it’s posted.

Editorial calendars can also be just simple paper calendars with a schedule of post ideas. This gives you a broad overview of the content you need to create and posting for the entire month or year, and makes it easier to plan ahead and tie current events into what you create. It removes that “I wish I’d thought of that sooner!” feeling you get when something happens and you feel you’ve missed out on a marketing opportunity for your firm because you were disorganized and unprepared.

An editorial calendar is another tool you can use to build your brand and convert website visitors to paying clients.

Editorial Calendars and Building Your Firm’s Brand Identity

An editorial calendar is also beneficial for helping you build your brand. Scheduling content in advance allows you to hone your message and comment on topics relevant to your brand.

For instance, if you know a change in a particular law is on the horizon, your editorial calendar can help you stay on top of current news and comment on social media, your blog, and in your newsletter concerning the changes.

This is a simple overview of how an editorial calendar helps you better manage your blog and other online content. You can create as complex a system as you choose, but even with a simple plan, you’re already taking steps in the right direction. Editorial calendars make consistency possible – arguably the most important long-term component to building an online presence for your firm.

Are you currently using an editorial calendar? Have you tried and failed to find a system that works for you? Comment below with your experience and thoughts on how an editorial calendar could help your firm.

Keeping Up with Content

Blogging is one of the best ways to grow your practice and ensure the investment you’ve made in your website is worth it. Unfortunately, too many lawyers don’t take their blogs seriously and in many cases, these platforms just become dead space dragging down their website and their brand.

The good news is if you’ve failed to keep up with blogging or you never took advantage of the opportunity in the past, it’s easy to fix the problem now. You’re already one step ahead of the blogging game: you have a built-in niche and target audience that makes it easy to establish yourself as an expert and build trust with potential clients. Now all you need to do is decide how to turn your message into interesting blog posts and stay on top of posting the content you create.

What Should a Lawyer Blog About?

For everyone who wants to blog but hasn’t gotten their blog off the ground yet, the toughest part is coming up with topics for blog posts. You might have a lot to say about your field, but unless you can organize it into relevant, search engine-friendly, and reader-friendly posts, what you say won’t do you much good.

There are plenty of ways to come up with blog topics. A good way to brainstorm is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are there questions I repeatedly hear from clients or in my industry in general?
  • Have I seen topics explained on other sites and I believe I could do it better?
  • Have I seen topics explained on other sites and I believe I need to correct misconceptions or dive deeper?
  • Does a topic keep coming up on social media  related to my industry or are there current topics trending on social media that are relevant to the legal industry?
  • Have I attended a recent event or presentation and learned information that would be interesting to my audience?
  • Is my firm offering something new or is there a service I want to highlight?

Once you’ve gone through this entire list,  chances are good you’ll have a list of potential topics to keep you writing for at least a few weeks. You can do this exercise once a month or as often as necessary and you’ll see how changes in the industry and current events affect your answers – and give you great topics for content.

organizing lawyer content

A plan for blogging helps attorney’s stay organized and up-to-date with their content.

Staying Organized

As you accumulate content ideas, you’ll need to keep things organized. Especially as you begin to build a list of post ideas that are time-sensitive and “ever green.” This allows you to change directions and respond to current events, setting aside a less timely post for when things are slower.

There are plenty of systems out there for organizing content, and for some, it’s as simple as bookmarking ideas online or making notes in a blank document. The important thing is you find an organization system that works for you, even if it seems rudimentary or isn’t the latest and greatest option. Investing time and money in a system that isn’t comfortable is a waste of resources and is the fastest way to fall behind with your blog content.

Outsourcing Your Blog

outsourcing attorney blog content

Outsourcing your law firm’s blog can help you keep content fresh and up-to-date.

Though your blog is a valuable resource for sharing your firm’s message with the world, keeping up with it isn’t always your first priority. And sometimes it’s a catch-22. At first you’ll have no problem keeping up, but as your site begins to convert visitors to clients, and you get bogged down with work, you won’t have time to keep up. Your blog helped you reach your goals, but in order to keep up the pace, you need to also keep up with your blog.

Outsourcing blog content is an option for keeping things rolling along at a steady pace, but you need to be careful. Not everyone is capable of creating content that meets your standards and conveys your message. And if your voice suddenly changes, blog readers are going to notice and you’re going to lose credibility. The best thing you can do is to team up with someone who understands your industry and is willing to invest time and effort into familiarizing themselves with your brand and staying on message.

It’s important to keep up with content and ensure your blog is doing its main job – bringing clients to your business – but if it’s a tough challenge. If you’re overwhelmed and need help keeping it all together, let me know.

Popular Blog Posts for Lawyers – And Why You Should Avoid Them

If you’re stuck for where to start when it comes to blogging, you aren’t alone. It’s common for lawyers to jump headfirst into blogging and run out of steam after a few posts, but it’s just as common to have the best intentions and no idea where to begin.

The best thing to do is to consider your audience. Obviously, an estate planning attorney targets a different client than a criminal attorney. Despite their difference, though, both types of clients are searching for advice.

overdone blog topics get you nowhere

Knowing what not to do on your blog helps you make smart content decisions.

The problem is legal advice is everywhere online. Google any common legal question and you’ll get pages and pages of what you should do and why you should do it. Blogging about these topics isn’t going to do much for you search engine-wise, and unless you’ve already established yourself as an online authority, most people don’t care what you have to say about something that’s already been talked about over and over.

 

Know the Type of Content to Avoid

So how can knowing the five most popular types of blog posts help you?

It’s going to show you what to avoid. Saying the same old thing about the same old thing is boring and it does nothing to make your firm stand out.

It’ll also give you a jumping off point for creating a blog post that is interesting.

After all, there’s no need to re-invent the wheel.

Instead of wracking your brain for completely new topics to blog about – and let’s be honest, there really isn’t anything completely new at this point – take an old standby and put your own spin on it. This works for lawyers just starting to grow a blog, as well as seasoned ones who are stuck for something to say.

Take this popular post for instance:

Why You Need a Lawyer

Search any legal blog and you are bound to find a least one (or three dozen) “Why You Need a Lawyer … to Help Write a Will… before You Speak to Law Enforcement… to Write a Pre-nup… before You Buy a House…”

How can you put your own spin on this type of post? Simple. Think about your particular field of law. Then narrow what you have to say down to what you bring to the table. That same old boring post is a chance to showcase what you do best.

Try this:

Another popular type of post is Choosing a Lawyer. Most posts like this talk about a few general tips for interviewing a lawyer and provide a few questions to ask during a consultation. But what if you spin it so a client begins to think about why he or she should choose you, specifically?  Popular, over-done posts are a great way to pre-qualify yourself. You aren’t breaking ground by sharing any new legal advice, you’re simply using a done-before format to explain why you’re the best at what you do.

How can you use a Choosing a Lawyer post in a new way? How about this:

Tips for Choosing a Lawyer

• Choose a lawyer that has dealt with cases like yours (and then give one or more examples of cases you’ve handled that are examples of this)
• Choose a lawyer comfortable communicating in the way you feel comfortable communicating (and then give examples of how your firm communicates… weekly email updates, monthly meetings, etc.)
• Choose a lawyer with resources you need or experience dealing with the local court system (again, qualify yourself with examples of your network or resources or talk about how you spend so much time in the whatever county family court)

You get the point.

What are a few other examples of overdone lawyer blog posts?

• Knowing Your Rights
• Why You Need an Attorney to Help You…
• Don’t Do…
• Prepare for Such and Such…

Plug in whatever pertains to your field of practice. Prepare for Marriage with a Pre-Nup. Why You Need an Attorney to Help You Write a Will. Don’t Ever Talk to Police without an Attorney Present. And so on.

lawyer content marketing

Choose blog topics that allow you to highlight your experience as a lawyer.

Now, come up with how to spin the content so it highlights your strengths. It might take a little practice, but eventually you’ll be able to put together a blog post based on a very basic idea, but turn it into something special. Something that really showcases why you’re the best choice.

Want to know more or just feeling overwhelmed by having to do this every week? I can help. Send me an email and we can start brainstorming ideas for posts that will take your blog to the next level.