As internet marketing specialists for lawyer websites, we can’t stress enough about the value of quality content on your website. Some of my law firm’s best site traffic and referrals come from posts that I authored years ago. In essence, these posts are “evergreen” marketing content that continue to drive clients through the door year after year. Although the end goal to writing my posts is to drive site traffic to rank well within the search engines, I wrote these posts from the viewpoint of a prospective client’s needs. In other words, I focused on writing quality content that gives value to the reader and establishes me as an authority on the legal subject that is the content of the post.
Unfortunately, many lawyers blog with an eye only towards search engine optimization and digital marketing that tries to “game” Google’s search engine. Even if these lawyers are successful at driving traffic to their law firm websites, their numbers mean nothing unless visitors convert into clients. When a visitor visits a page that consists of a poorly written, spammy blog post, they simply bounce out of that site and they’re on to the next one in their search results. With that being said, here are some common examples of why some law blogs (a.k.a blawgs) really stink and how to fix them:
Fluff, Fluff & More Fluff
Problem – I get the impression that some lawyers’ blogs are simply written for SEO purposes and nothing more. The articles are short, they have some key words or phrases thrown in, but they provide absolutely no useful information to the reader. Stated another way, the articles are nothing more than an obvious attempt to get the reader to “CALL NOW,” “LIVE CHAT NOW,” or “FILL OUT OUR CONTACT FORM NOW!”
Solution – Service-related pages on your website regarding your practice areas with calls-to-action are fine. However, if you are going to truly blog about something, take the time to write something of value to the reader whether it is an explanation of the law, a “how-to” piece, or something of interest.
Regurgitating News Articles
Problem – Many blawgs consist of rehashing news regarding criminal arrests, traffic accidents, and things of that nature. If visitors to your site want to catch up on the news, then they’ll go to a news feed. Like the fluff pieces I mentioned above, these articles seem to be nothing more than SEO-driven and transparent calls-to-action.
Solution – If you’re going to write about a news event, then consider tying it into something more information to illustrate a point about the law or your practice. Otherwise, leave the news to the newscasters. Please trust me when I say that if you are wanting to drive traffic to your site and prompt calls to your office, there’s no substitute for well-written articles.
Writing Like a Lawyer
Problem – Law school completely rewires students’ brains. Where once they could write like normal human beings, they learn to be wordy and to write in an archaic style. For example, instead of writing “before” we write “prior to.” Instead of writing “now” we write “contemporaneous with.” The list of these examples is LONG. The end result is boring, difficult to read, and stuffy.
Solution – Write like you speak. In a normal conversation, you wouldn’t say “heretofore,” “hereinafter,” or “in accordance with” now would you? Write like an average, normal, real person and you can’t go wrong.
Blogging Outside of Your Wheelhouse
Problem – Another way I would describe this is “blogging just for blogging’s sake.” For me, I have two other skills besides being a lawyer. Before law school, I studied marketing and for years I have developed websites and worked on law firm SEO, etc. So, I feel comfortable touching on these subjects. Although I manage my law practice, I don’t profess to be an authority on law practice management and so I don’t blog about it. The point is, stick with what you know otherwise you’ll undermine your credibility. In the words of Abraham Lincoln:
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
Along the lines of blogging for blogging’s sake, here’s a blawg article on “The Best Way to Serve Coffee in Your Office.” In fairness to the author, he did a good job of researching coffee makers. I’m a french press guy myself. “Do you take cream and sugar (or would you prefer I get you out of jail, get you divorced, get your medical bills paid, etc.)?”
Solution – When you’re writing, stick to what you know best. To come up with ideas for your law blog, start with the basics. Think of the most frequently asked questions you get from your clients and expand on your answer. As time goes on, think of more in depth challenges clients face and write about the solutions to these problems. In the end, you’ll convert more readers into clients by writing quality posts on the subjects you’re most familiar with.