Trying to decide whether to start blogging? Veteran attorney blogger looking for tips? Here are a few legal blog tips for attorneys from attorneys:
My Legal Blog Tips
- Your Time - Before you start thinking about the nuts and bolts of blogging, you need to consider whether you have the time needed to publish a blog. That's not intended to scare you. You could spend a few minutes here and there posting "stuff." But if you're blogging to establish yourself as an expert on a particular subject, it just isn't going to happen by churning out regular low-quality articles, or paying someone to do it for you. Sure, you might pick up some long-tail search traffic, but more likely, your "blog" will become more static in the online echo chamber. If the purpose of your blog is to attract readers, you're going to have to put in some time. How much time? That depends on your skill level.
- Your Platform - From open-source content management systems, to proprietary platforms, to micro-blogging, blogging platform choices are overwhelming. I can think of pluses and minuses for each of these. If pushed to choose just one, my vote is to just use WordPress.org. If you'd like to know why, ask me.
- Your Blog Theme - Successful blogs have themes and reflect the voices of their authors. "Personal Injury Blog" and "Criminal Defense Blog" really aren't themes. Sure, there are many successful blogs written by personal injury attorneys and criminal defense attorneys on their subject matter, but the successful bloggers develop post themes. Whether your blog's theme is editorial, journalistic, entertaining or "all of the above," having a theme is key to keeping readers interested.
- Your Post Headlines - I've seen a lot of really good posts get lost because of poor post headlines. Writing compelling headlines has been a key part of journalism for a long time. Your post titles are what appear in search engines and feed readers. Write your posts for people. After all, it's people, not search engines, that will read, link to, share and further publicize your posts.
- Your Audiences - Everyone wants to "write for prospective clients." But this one-dimensional audience thinking is sure to fail. Your audience is made up of a variety of different people. Further, even your prospective clients don't want to hear the same boring regurgitated posts week after week. Brainstorm all of the people that make up your target audience. Brainstorm what they might be interested in. Ask them what they might be interested in. Listen to what they're telling you that they're interested in online. Deliver that.
- Your Network
- Who's in your professional network? Are they online? Are you interacting with them online? Leveraging your network is the starting place for getting your blog attention. Don't know anyone in your network who is online? Get to know some attorneys who blog: ABA Journal Blawg 100
- Your Credibility & Authenticity - These are the most important. If you blog under "admin" or "law firm name," people who actually read blogs regularly won't take you seriously. Can you effectively blog under pseudonym? Maybe. But you're probably creating a huge obstacle for gaining credibility. Be yourself. Let "you" come through in your writing. Maintain editorial control of everything that is posted under your "brand."
Blogging Tips from Lawyerist
Lawyerist also has some great posts on blogging and legal marketing more generally. Here are some that I think are especially helpful: