This is the next post in my “Blogging Basics for Lawyers” series. In this article I provide tips for dealing with the most common problem faced by legal bloggers – coming up with content. A key for me in developing my law firm’s blog, which was crucial to my SEO strategy, was to regularly develop a series of blog posts for given topics rather than just writing individual articles from week to week. If you try this approach then you should see the amount and quality of your content go up. The best part is that the number of potential clients reading your blog will rise right along with it.
Attorneys can simplify finding blog content by utilizing a series for their individual posts
When I first started my former law firm’s blog I struggled to develop content. I often felt I didn’t know what to write about and wasn’t sure where to find good sources of material. It wasn’t uncommon for me to say “I need to post something to my blog today” and, without an idea of what I should write, to come up with something general and usually not longer than a paragraph. There was one instance where this one paragraph was a quick discussion of how uncontested divorces work in Nevada. In researching the article you are reading now I found several Nevada family law blogs with one paragraph articles on that same subject – looks like I wasn’t alone in my struggles. These blogs, like mine in the early days, had little content and the articles that were written tended to be thin at best. These struggles are shared by many lawyers (and bloggers in general) and it stems from the simple fact that we often sit down to write without considering what our blog should look like several weeks out.
Writing posts which are part of a larger series provides a long-term fix to the dilemma of blog content. By coming up with a larger topic, and breaking it down into posts over a course of weeks and months, we develop a plethora of content that is liked by both potential clients and search engines. For example, in 2008 the Nevada Supreme Court issued a decision that redefined child custody law in my state. Rather than writing one article about this case I planned out and wrote a series of posts on each area of custody law that was impacted by the case. This was the approach I took with the majority of my posts and, as a result, I seldom struggled with the “what am I going to write this week” problem. This approach can work regardless of your area of law. Approaching your blogging as a collection or series rather than individual posts, gives you an advantage over most attorneys.
Steps for attorneys to develop a series of blog posts
The first step in planning a series is to pick a topic that is broad enough to include several well developed posts. If a topic can’t be stretched in at least three substantive posts then I would suggest that it likely should be made into part of another larger series. Start by sitting down and brainstorming around a topic relevant to your practice area. When coming up with potential articles in a series make sure you are only using topics that can be related to real-world situations that your potential clients face; as I mentioned in my post on attorneys finding their blogging focus, writing about topics not regularly faced by a potential client is a great way to ensure that the reader leaves your blog and goes onto reading someone else’s for the information they want. If your topic revolves around a change in Fourth Amendment law then make sure your posts deal with search and seizure issues which occur on a regular basis.
Once you’ve developed a list of posts for your series it is important you write an “introduction” to the series and finish with a “wrap up” post at the end. Writing a series with a clear beginning and a clear end will greatly improve your blog’s readership. I explained in my discussion of why attorneys should blog that writing articles will help you place for informational searches that lead to potential clients. If a client comes across a post in your series through such a search and you are using a “related posts” feature at the bottom of your entry (which you should be) then you can expect your client to continue reading your related posts in the series as the posts will likely also be relevant to your client. By including an introductory and ending post then this client will know that they are reading a finite amount of information and will be more likely to finish the series; if they don’t know that the information is finite then they may stop after one or two posts out of a mistaken belief that that your entire blog is about this one topic.
Timing is important for attorneys who wish to publish a blog series
Once your series is planned out it will be important that you execute. The point of a series is to provide you with plenty of material to update your blog, in a relevant manner, on a regular basis. If you don’t update the series regularly then you lose one of the benefits for which you developed the idea in the first place. We write many blog posts for attorneys as part of our lawyer website design and seo packages. Depending on the subject matter, I typically write 1-2 posts in a series each week. Posting regularly can also be a great benefit if you are writing on a recent development in the law. Recent legal developments lead to a high number of search queries in the short term and the faster you finish a series on the topic then the more likely it is that potential clients will find your blog.
This approach can help you conquer one of the biggest problems attorneys face with their blogging – coming up with ideas for content. In my next post I will be discussing how to structure the content of your posts so they appeal to the average reader as well as search engines.
When you are posting to your firm’s blog do you do so with individual posts or one’s that make up part of a larger discussion? What do you think are the pros and cons of taking this approach to your blog? Please add to this discussion through the comment form below.