By Gina Rubel
Solo and small firm lawyers should blog if they wish to increase their online presence and relevance. Blogging is a type of content marketing that is an important ingredient in the communications plans that Furia Rubel creates as a part of legal marketing strategy to help our clients get noticed, but oftentimes, getting them to actually create the content is tough.
Lawyers are busy, usually with work for which they can bill a client. Taking the time to write a blog post on a new development in their practice area or an article to submit to a journal often falls way down on their list of priorities.
There are several ways for solo and small firm attorneys to blog. One way is to contribute to a relevant public blog once a month and link back to the firm’s website. Another way is to develop a firm blog and populate it bi-weekly.
It is also important to understand that there are different types of blogs relevant to your target audience.
Types of blog content for lawyers
Two types of blog content have proven most effective for lawyers:
- Timely posts about court decisions, legislative rulings, breaking news, etc., and
- Evergreen blog topics that are general and can be posted at any time and still be relevant to your target audience.
Both types of posts are important for effective relationship development and legal marketing and public relations.
Breaking news blogs
If you are going to blog about topics that are current, you must write the posts and publish them in a timely manner. If you’re discussing a Supreme Court decision and how it affects the firm’s target audience, you want to get it written and posted within 24 to 72 hours of the decision (preferably closer to the 24-hour mark). Otherwise, it’s no longer news and will garner less attention. These are the types of topics we refer to in process as “topics that need to be shared ASAP.”
Evergreen topics are vital to your law firm content marketing plan. These usually address issues that you deal with every day, issues that can be discussed in general terms and that don’t change frequently. Think about the questions that your clients ask you regularly (aside from “how much will it cost?”). Your answers make for great evergreen blogs.
Evergreen blog content can be shared repeatedly over time, generating three and four times the amount of traffic and maximizing your investment in law firm content marketing.
If you plan to develop a firm blog on your own, choose a blog URL and name relevant to your geographic region and/or area of practice.
How to Come up with Blog Topics
Blogging does not have to be a daunting task for lawyers. As most blogs address a single topic in a short and concise manner, it should be easy to come up with blog topics that serve your target audience with information about your areas of practice to establish you as an authority.
- Keep a notepad next to your phone or keep notes in your mobile device. Every time a colleague, client or prospect asks you a substantive question, write it down. The answers to those questions are almost always worth blogging about.
- If you’re a transactional attorney, consider every transaction for a blog topic. For example, every contract has many clauses. Contract attorneys can write short blogs about the benefits and/or pitfalls of various contract clauses such as termination clauses, non-compete clauses, liability clauses, etc.
- Review your memos of law and briefs for substantive (non-fact-specific) content that can be edited and sanitized of client-specific information and turned into blogs.
- Utilize materials from CLE programs and seminars you have presented for blog topics. In fact, CLE presentations are a great source of imagery to support blog topics (such as screenshots of a single PowerPoint slide that supports the premise of the blog post).
- Set up a free Google Alert on specific topics in your area of practice and review them daily. If something is breaking in the news, you’ll be on top of it. If you do set up a Google Alert, consider creating a rule in your email system that sends the alerts to a dedicated folder that you check once a day. That way, alerts will not clutter your inbox.
- Subscribe to or regularly review any of the following syndicated news feeds to stay on top of the issues being discussed by other firms throughout the country: Lexology, Mondaq, JD Supra, National Law Review.
- Have someone record presentations you are giving and then have them transcribed. Edit the transcription into several blog posts.
Blogging for solo and small firm lawyers doesn’t need to take a lot of time and resources. It just requires a small investment of strategically focused legal marketing time in order to support your firm’s business development and client retention goals.