how to manualThis post continues my discussion on how attorneys can go about building links the right way. My last article focused on how law firms can get backlinks by participating in social media. In this post I’m going to go over the benefits of doing something that seems counter-intuitive at first – providing free “how-to” information to people who don’t want to hire a lawyer. It turns out this is a great way to build your practice  and get links in the process.

It’s understandable that one would be hesitant about giving away free information to those who aren’t looking to hire a lawyer. Last time I checked, the attorney business model wasn’t based on giving away information. After all, 5 hours x $0 = unhappy lawyer. It’s important to understand, however, that giving away a certain level of information will actually lead to more clients and not fewer.

I started my law firm in my living room in 2006. One of the first thing I did was begin volunteering time at our Family Court Self Help Center’s weekly “ask a lawyer” program. I did this more to get my name out; my fledgling operation was brand new and I had plenty of spare time. I didn’t expect that this program, which consisted of giving pro-bono advice to people who were going to be representing themselves, would result in clients. I was surprised that a lot of the people going to the self-help center, it turned out, had the funds to hire an attorney but simply wanted to handle their own case for various reasons. Many of these people, when they realized they were in over their heads, would then call me because they remembered the free advice I gave. In other words, that free information I gave away led to business. Applying this concept to your law firm’s blog will result in clients and yield backlinks at the same time.

Lawyers can get more clients by writing a series of blog posts helping those who are trying to represent themselves

I’ve written previously on why lawyers need to write their blog posts in the form of a series. A great series topic would be a how-to. Consider the following:

  • A bankruptcy lawyer could draft a series of posts on how to file your own chapter 13 case
  • A family law attorney could write a group of posts on how one can handle their own child support modification
  • A criminal law attorney could write on how one can seal their own record

In-depth discussions on these topics would do extremely well for your firm. Just think of how many people, every day, search with terms such as “how do I file my own bankruptcy,” “how do I lower my child support,” “how do I seal my criminal record,” etc. Many of these people are looking for information on how to do it themselves. When they come across an article, saying they should retain an attorney rather than handling the matter pro se, many will ignore that advice and continue to look for how-to articles. So ask yourself, do you want people getting that information from other websites or from your blog? If you’re interested in prosperity then hopefully you want these people looking at your site; many of them will later decide to hire you. Providing this type of useful information, to people who aren’t looking to immediately retain an attorney, can help you look like this guy:

Main and raining money


If you’re not providing this form of information to the public then you may want to read my post on why your law blog doesn’t connect well with clients because you probably look like this guy:

Man counting pennies

Personally I would rather be the first of these two fellows.

Generating how-to articles also results in backlinks to a law firm’s website

There are a lot of people out there who would link to this type of a series. People who regularly blog on “fathers’ rights” for example, many of whom aren’t lawyers, would link to a series on adjusting child support because it is relevant to many of their readers. Likewise, lot’s of financial advice websites/bloggers would link to a discussion on how to handle one’s own bankruptcy. The list goes on. If you want to build the meaningful backlinks, which will stand the test of time, then this is a great approach and will help establish you as a “go-to” authority in the process.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting an in-depth discussion on how to go about generating a how-to series like the one’s suggested here.