In order to be truly competitive in today’s legal marketplace, you need to have a blog. Why? For one thing, having a large number of regularly updated pages increases your web presence, making it easier for potential customers to find you. Second, you can establish your credibility as an expert in your practice area. Another reason to blog? You can show potential customers that you are human. Legal customers are attracted to a personal voice—and a blog is really the perfect vehicle to make that connection.
However, as legal blogs become the norm, they have started to become… boring. You’ve seen them: the online equivalent of junk food, some firm’s blogs are overstuffed with keywords and devoid of quality content. Many are just rehashed news stories or large chunks of statutes that have been copied and pasted above a “call to action.”
So how can you make your blog successful without spending a fortune?
Starting Your Blog
Today’s web tools make creating a blog easy—really. You don’t need any advanced web design skills. First—if you don’t already have your own website—you can register a domain name for as little as 99 cents at Godaddy.com. Domain name sites like GoDaddy typically offer low-cost hosting services as well. Next, you’ll need to install a blogging platform such as WordPress (free at WordPress.com), then follow the step-by-step web design instructions. You don’t need to pay a tech expert big bucks to do any of this, and WordPress pages look highly professional. Of course, you can also enlist the help of an online legal marketing company to set all of this up for you and get you started on posting content.
If you are simply adding a blog to an already existing website, focus on selecting a niche topic to blog about. If you have several practice areas, devote one blog to each. Writing about generic topics—like personal injury law in general—is not memorable. Also keep in mind that most of your potential clients are not too familiar with filing lawsuits. Explaining how the process works, what to expect, or why a case that seemed so clear-cut wasn’t a slam dunk are great ways to connect with readers and showcase your expertise.
Keep Your Blog Relevant
Make a bookmark tab on your browser where you can file interesting, newsworthy topics you come across. Use these as launch pads for your blog entries, but make sure to always add something new to the conversation—give each entry your own personal spin.
Use features like Google Alerts to stay abreast of developments in your practice area. Subscribe to local law journals online—many will send free content to your inbox daily.
It’s also important to post regularly. Daily posts are ideal, but weekly posts are enough to keep your blog fresh. If you are unable to maintain your blog, consider outsourcing to someone with strong analytic and writing skills who you can trust. Failing to update your blog regularly will lower your search engine rankings and turn readers away.
If you are going to blog, it is important to convert readers into active participants. Engage your readers through comments and discussions. Including your bio is another great way to turn passive leads into business by putting a face to the services you provide. End every blog post with a brief “call to action” that includes your contact information. But don’t overdo it. Too much salesmanship will turn readers off.
The hallmark of a good legal blog is quality content. By developing a readership and writing interesting blogs, you will build up your business’s reputation and maintain a competitive advantage.