Considerations for Starting a Legal Marketing Blog
A legal marketing blog is a powerful tool to have on your law firm website. With a blog, you can create engaging content to connect with potential clients. In addition, you can add content to your site that helps with search engine optimization.
Today, prospective clients have so many options via the internet when it comes to choosing the right attorney for them. Another way to make you stand out to gather more followers and potential clients is to write a blog. This will help with your law firm marketing efforts. Even one blog post per month is better than no blog posts at all. If you feel like you already have something to say then why not parlay that into something that can help you and increase your website traffic.
As an attorney your reputation is more important than anything else you have. A blog will establish your legitimacy and prove you to be an expert on the subject you are blogging about. When writing blog posts it is best to come up with original and valuable content that your readers can share with others and keep them coming back on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis for more.
If you have a social media account such as Facebook or Twitter then you are already one step ahead in the game. By blogging you can automatically integrate those posts with your social media and market them to an already existing audience. When a follower re-tweets, shares or like’s your post that tells Google and other search engines that a real person is visiting your site and using your content. Integrating your blog with your already existing social media does nothing but help your SEO presence.
If the above reasons are not enough for you to start blogging then consider these numbers. The most convincing statistic we have found is that 79 percent of law firms that have a blog are reporting a positive return on their investment for their lawyer marketing campaigns this year. When comparing that statistic to those law firms that do not have an existing blog, those firms are only seeing a 20% ROI on their law firm marketing campaigns. In addition to that impressive stat 60% of SEO firms rate blogging as one of their top ways of driving in bound traffic to their clients websites. And we, James Attorney Marketing, include ourselves in that 60% figure as we cannot stress enough the importance of blogging as it is the best way to provide original content to your prospective clients and readers.
If you want to start gaining clients from the competition and build a user base that will keep visiting your website every time a new piece of content is added then start blogging today!
However, blogging may not be for everyone. It takes a lot of work and it can take time to find your voice. Here are five things you should ask yourself before starting a blog for your law firm website:
1. What’s Your Niche?
You need to focus your writing on a specific legal area. Typically, you will want to blog about your practice areas. Try to think about what your potential clients will want to read and address those topics.
2. Can You Write?
Law firm marketing blog writing is very different from legal writing. You are writing to the lay audience and you will need to adjust your writing accordingly. Some tips to keep in mind are to avoid legalese and to keep your sentences short and punchy.
3. Do You Understand SEO?
To get the most out of your law firm blog, you will want to incorporate some search engine optimization techniques. SEO is not prohibitively difficult. But you will need to devote some time to it.
4. How Much Time Do You Have?
Regular updates to your blog are important. In other words, it is not enough to simply start a blog and write a post once a month. Instead, you should post several times a week. Ask yourself if you have the time and energy to devote to maintaining the blog.
5. Are You Motivated?
The main key to success for your blog may be motivation. Attorneys are busy and you will need motivation to find the time to develop your writing style and to learn SEO. Without motivation, it can be difficult to create a successful law blog.
Blog Steps You Can’t Afford To Forget
Make sure that you’re uploading new content to your blog at least once a week (twice a week is best). Remember, blog content doesn’t have to be long, drawn out articles, and it’s probably a good thing that it’s not. Captivate your readers, and provide content that’s valuable and engaging—no matter the length.
TIP: Content goes beyond the written word, even on blogs. Make sure to upload pictures, videos, infographs, etc.
Stay Active on Social Media
Social media has become a determining factor in the overall success of a blog. Maintaining an active presence on social giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ can drive traffic to and from your website, blog, and other social networks. This can boost your online visibility profoundly.
Don’t Forget About SEO
Always keep in mind the SEO aspects of blogging by way of descriptions, titles, keywords, performance tracking, and more. By implementing effective SEO techniques, you’ll get more bang for your (blog) buck, and keep your blog in good standing on the SERP’s.
Notify search engines of your blog’s existence.
Attracting readers to your attorney marketing blog starts with them finding the site via search engines like Google and Bing. To determine whether your blog page is currently listed in Google’s directory of websites, for instance, simply “Google” your webpage’s URL. If your blog page appears on the search results page, it is already indexed in Google’s system and can be found by Internet users.
If it does not appear on the search results page, go to Google’s Webmaster Tools page and follow the instructions for indexing your webpage’s URL.
Address your audience’s needs.
Most people don’t leisurely browse a law firm’s website; they visit a webpage when they need legal counsel or believe they might be in a situation that warrants legal assistance. Use this knowledge to your advantage and be sure to provide much-needed information and advice on your attorney marketing blog.
For example, a law firm specializing in personal injury and workers’ compensation could feature blog articles regarding the first steps to take after being injured in the workplace and the importance of having injuries documented by a medical professional. Posts like these that are relevant and informative to the firm’s target audience will automatically engage readers.
Easy Ways to Help Your Blog Content Going Viral
Producing engaging legal marketing blog content that showcases your law firm’s expertise is step one toward marketing success. The second step is spreading this content to the appropriate channels to ensure that it reaches the people who may respond to your call to action.
Strategically position your legal marketing blog content to go viral and potentially increase your incoming business using the tips below.
1. Design content to be widely relevant.
Readers will only engage with your content if it’s easy to read, relevant, and provides some value to those they share it with. Therefore, while your law firm’s blog content may be written to appeal to a specific demographic, ensure that all topics are relevant and valuable to multiple types of readers.
For example, an article highlighting the importance of documenting injuries after a hit-and-run accident in San Diego County, California limits the potential spread of a personal injury firm’s legal marketing blog content because the topic only appeals to a small group of readers. On the other hand, many types of readers may enjoy reading and sharing a human interest feature demonstrating the merits of consulting a Southern California personal injury law firm after a harmful incident.
2. Provide an easy way to share.
The first step in promoting content is enabling readers to easily share it. Provide ‘share’ links on the side or bottom of all legal marketing blog articles that allow readers to spread content via email or to their social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) and blog pages. Requiring more than a few simple clicks to promote an article decreases the probability that readers will take action.
3. Identify and leverage brand champions.
Former and current clients who are raving fans are a law firm marketing gold mine. Just as criticism can be exponentially more detrimental to your firm when spread to the Internet and by word of mouth, enthusiastic promotion can have compounding positive effects for your firm.
10 Must-Use Words That Build Trust In a Law Firm’s Blog
Every blog written by your firm needs to build trust with your readers. If a reader doesn’t trust you, they won’t seek your firm for legal representation, or refer your firm to others.
Although blogs can’t simply flash words that immediately secure a reader’s trust, there are 10 words when used in conjunction with great content, descriptive tone, and authoritative presentation that can build trust among your audience. Let’s take a look at each.
1. Trust or Trusted
Not surprisingly, the word “trust” generates trust. If you want a prospective client to trust you, it’s important to tell them that they can. Phrases such as “Our firm can be trusted to…,” or “Trust us with your…,” etc., are meaningful statements that are received well.
Legal fees make many people weary, so using the word “affordable” when describing your firm’s services can ease a client’s concerns that your firm is not out to rip them off, and they won’t have to take out a bank loan to hire your firm.
3. Care or Caring
“Our caring legal staff…,” or “Our firm cares about…” communicates that your firm is concerned about a client’s well-being, and that their case will be handled with sensitivity. These words are especially important for blogs associated with personal injury, family law, and elder law.
All clients want to feel respected, no matter their legal situation. By using “respect” in your blogs, this conveys that every client will be valued and represented in high regard.
5. Honest or Honesty
Lawyers aren’t always perceived as being the most honest of professionals, so using this word when describing your law firm and how you conduct your business is important in building trust, and challenging stereotypes.
“Quality” is an assurance word that can establish credibility for your firm, and instill confidence in a client who wants to make sure they’re hiring legal representation of merit and prestige.
“Satisfaction” is exactly what a prospective client wants to hear. If you can communicate that your client’s legal needs will be met with satisfaction, this will quickly build trust among prospects.
A wishy-washy attorney is the last thing a client wants to deal with. “Consistency” represents stability, and imparts that your behavior and actions will remain reliable whether you’ve had a great day on a client’s case, or a stressful one.
“Always” is another assurance word, as it precedes phrases that mean a lot to begin with; e.g. “Our firm will always handle your case with utmost priority.” Adding “always” to a phrase is like adding icing to a cake.
“Never” is a negative statement, but it can be used to communicate positive actions. “Our firm will never keep you waiting,” or “We will never fail to provide exceptional client service,” sound just as trustworthy as if you rephrased the statements with “always.”
Common Mistakes Made on Attorney Blogs
Many attorneys have turned to blogging as a form of attorney marketing and reaching out to potential clients. However, not all attorney blogs are created equal. In fact, an improperly executed attorney blog can have the opposite effect and drive away clients.
Here’s a look at five common mistakes that attorneys make with their blogs:
The words you write on your attorney blog may be the first experience that a potential client has with you. If you are sloppy and have many spelling and grammatical errors, a client may assume that you will be sloppy handling their legal matters too. If you have a blog on your website, make sure you take the time to carefully review the posts and ensure that they reflect your law firm.
The flip side of bad English may be Legalese. This is basically the language that lawyers turn to when trying too hard to speak smartly or when having a conversation with another experienced attorney. Attorneys should realize that 99% of their audience does not have a law degree and does not understand what terms like “res judicata” mean.
Making False Promises.
You should never make bold proclamations or offer promises through your attorney blog. If you say you offer “free consultations,” you better make sure you offer them. Additionally, any guarantees of victory or other success may came back to haunt you when a judge makes an unfavorable ruling. Instead of making promises and guarantees, you should explain to your audience how you can help and the services that you offer.
Many attorneys turn to their attorney blogs to announce recent successes. However, you should make sure to redact any identifying information. In the alternative, you should get permission from the parties involved.
Get SEO Happy.
Lawyers are generally not search engine optimization experts. As a result, lawyers often go overboard on SEO when they launch their attorney blog. In the process, lawyers may fill their blogs with “keywords” but offer little substantive content. Most search engines flag such posts and leave you off search results.
A properly maintained attorney blog is a great way to reach potential clients. You just have to make sure to avoid some of the many mistakes attorneys make. To learn more about Internet marketing and attorney blogs, contact us to discuss your marketing goals.
Not Blogging Regularly
This is probably the top reason of why blogging strategies fail. If you’re not uploading new content to your blog at least 2-3 times a week, you’ll appear disinterested in maintaining a blog for your readers. It really comes down to this: either blog consistently, or don’t blog at all.
If you’re really stretched for time, and would rather spend more time on your social media pages, or your website, make a decision to do so. A blog can only be successful when consistent, quality time is spent on it.
Second in line to unsuccessful blogging is to carelessly blog. This means posting a blog with little to no planning, effort, or concern for the content you’re uploading. This can include content with bad grammar, nonsensical or boring topics, or content that’s too salesy and self-promoting.
Every blog your firm posts should be in some way valuable, engaging, and useful to your readers.
Not Interacting With Your Readers
You may be posting consistent, high-quality content to your blog, but if you’re not interacting with your readers, this can cause a drop in followers. It’s important that you respond regularly to comments, and answer questions within 24-hours, if possible. The more interaction you have with your readers, the more loyal their readership will be.
Layout Is Annoying
Great content isn’t going to appear great when it’s set against a confusing background, music playing on your blog, etc. A blog’s layout should be clean and simple, with not too many graphics or loud colors. And most people don’t like listening to auto tracks while they’re reading. Embedded music on your blog, whatever the style, can lead to quick exits and high bounce rates.
Not Being Personal
Blogging gives lawyers a chance to showcase their legal knowledge and expertise, but it’s also a great opportunity to put a face to a name. Be personal on your blog, and not just a legal professional.
Upload photos of yourself and your firm at events outside of the office. Share videos, and post content that isn’t always legal-related. Showing your human side will build trust and interest with your readers.
Have A Failing Attorney Blog? Here’s How To Fix It
As a qualified attorney, you may know everything there is to know about your practice area, and love to talk about it every chance you get.
That’s the beauty of blogs—you get to share your knowledge and opinion online with readers who are interested in what you have to say—as long as it stays interesting and keeps them engaged.
Not every blog is successful, and there are reasons why.
If your blog is not getting the results you’re looking for, whether you’ve been at it for a few months or a few years, there are things you can do to improve your blogging status to keep your readers satisfied, and give them a reason to return.
This is critical to the success of any blog. Daily posts to your social media pages is best, while uploading quality content to your blog (quality is the operative word here) is recommended at least 3 times a week.
Tip: Try to establish a blog schedule. For instance, if readers know you update your blog on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, keep to this schedule, as this gives readers a regular time to return, and to share your blog schedule with others.
Don’t Be Mean
Blogging is a personal forum where you’re the star of the show—but what you say can damage your online image and send readers packing. Make sure to keep your blog professional and positive.
This is not to say you can’t discuss your objective views on current events, but don’t get too political or opinionated—especially if it’s a negative opinion. This will cause a divide between you and some, if not all, of your readers.
Don’t Blog For the Sake of Blogging
One of the worst things you can do is post a blog with no planning, effort, or regard to the content you’re uploading. Examples of this is content with bad grammar or typos, run-on ideas that never make a point, or content that’s too salesy about your firm.
Show your readers you care enough about their interests to post engaging, useful, and valuable blogs. Also, you never know which blog post will be someone’s first read. Make sure all of your blogs are worthy for first-timers to return, and to share your blog with others.
Use Images & Video
Images and video can make your blog posts more attractive and entertaining. Google loves video, and now indexes websites and blogs with priority who use them, so don’t forget the importance of video’s SEO juice.
Have Fun With Your Blog
Last, but certainly not least, is to have fun with your blog. If you’re truly invested in what you’re blogging about, and showing passion for your subject matter, this will shine through, and help to build respect and trust with your readers.