Let’s face it:
Writing great content for your law firm’s blog or website is difficult. I’ve definitely been there, and had to learn some hard lessons over the years.
In this post, I’ll give you 3 reasons that your firm’s blog content is bad. You can compare these to yours, and use this to triage your existing content and your law firm’s overall content marketing strategy.
Let get started.
#1 – You’re writing too much about current events
Some lawyers love to comment about the latest news on their blogs. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Maybe you’re a family lawyer, and a famous celebrity just had a rocky divorce. Maybe there’s some new news about trademark law that you want to touch on.
However, if you spend too much time doing these kinds of posts on your blog, they’re not going to help bring in new clients.
Why is it bad?
Mainly, because if a potential client is out there looking for this latest news, they will most likely search Google and end up with a news site as their source. Rarely is a law firm’s blog going to come up near the first page of Google results for news items.
The whole point of a law firm blog is to get clients onto your site, where you can demonstrate your legal expertise
If you’re using this type of blogging as the backbone for your content strategy, you’re going to be disappointed.
How to fix it?
It’s a simple fix, actually – put those posts on other sites, preferably news sites. You can do this in a few ways:
- Use a service like HARO to get notifications when reporters are looking for expert sources
- Reach out proactively to various journalists who write about relevant issues and see if they need a source for these types of stories
- Reach out to non-news websites that are in the same industry or topic area as the latest news, and offer a guest post about the legal aspects of that news story
Making those changes should have you on your way to leveraging other sites’ popularity to get you clients.
Why is this better?
Because these sites have a built-in audience, will most likely appear in searches about news, and can direct readers back to your site through a “backlink.”
A backlink is a link back to your site. It serves two purposes:
- Readers of that site can click the link if they’re interested, and are led back to your site (and your email signups, blog content, contact forms, etc.)
- Google sees that someone is linking to you and registers that as increasing your site’s authority – this helps you rise up in the Google search rankings
As you can see, putting these current events posts on higher-trafficked news sites is the way to go.
Note: I’m not saying you should NEVER do this, but it shouldn’t be the focus. People simply aren’t searching for “[recent celebrity issue] + [lawyer],” at least not consistently. So it’s not a good idea to build your law firm blog around it.
Occasional posts is fine 🙂
#2 – Your posts don’t have any substance
If you’ve taken my SparkSOLO e-course, you’ve probably read that in my first year of solo practice right out of school I worked for a company creating content for lawyer blogs.
They were mostly trash.
The main reason? There was no substance – most of them consisted of rewriting a basic news story about a car accident or celebrity news. We tacked on a “call to action” at the end to contact a lawyer, and called it a day.
We can do better.
I get it – often, lawyers are afraid to give away the “good stuff.” They want to keep their expertise and methods close to the vest, so that clients need to pay them in order to do it.
This is wrong. Business and finance guru Ramit Sethi has a policy of giving away 99% of his information for free. It’s that last 1% that the clients are paying for.
The situation here is the same. You can explain nearly everything about how to file a personal injury case, how to properly draft an employment agreement, or how to file a trademark. But in the end, a good client will come to you because they know that they don’t know everything. They want your expertise.
And they’re willing to pay for it.
Your law firm’s blog and website is the perfect place for you to demonstrate your competence in whatever area of law or industry you’re working in. A prospective client will read that and know that they’re in good hands.
Rarely will they read your site and then go on to do it themselves. At least, not the kind of clients you want to have.
How to fix it?
Easy – create content that is informative and valuable for the reader. The more you can explain, in a way that makes sense to a non-lawyer, the more they will respect that you are an expert in your field.
And, in my opinion, the more likely they are to hire you (if they were going to hire a lawyer in the first place).
Why is this better?
I’ll give an example from my own practice.
Back in 2017, I wrote a guest article for a video game industry website, about game publishing agreements. In that article, I basically laid out everything I look for in a publishing agreement in order to help game developer clients not get screwed.
Just using the article’s info, a prospective client could probably do a good job issue spotting and adjusting an agreement themselves.
However, since it was published, I get multiple new clients per month, just from that one article. Game developers find it through various Google searches, read it, and see that I know what I’m talking about.
Most of all, they see that I’ve thought through a lot of the issues they’re afraid of, and some that they’re not. Because of this, they are more apt to hire me for this exact kind of work, despite me giving all the info away “for free.”
Trust me, it works.
#3 – Your content is really hard to read
Let’s steer away from the actual content for the third point.
Take an honest look at your law firm’s blog, from the point of view of a potential client. Load it up on your smartphone and see what the experience is like.
When you click on a post, are you greeted by a giant wall of text? Do you scroll and scroll, and only see more and more text full of long words and legal jargon?
It’s pretty common – most law firms don’t make the effort to enhance readability of their content.
If you’ve got a ton of great content, but a reader is instantly bored and clicks the back button, you’re going to lose a potential client AND your Google rankings are going to suffer.
This is because of something called the “bounce rate” – it’s basically the percentage of users who click to your site, and then click off of your site (or hit the back button) before clicking through to another one of your pages.
You can see the bounce rate for each article on your Google Analytics, if you’ve got that set up. (If you don’t, please do it now!)
How to fix it?
There are many things you can do to increase the readability of your blog. First, however, I suggest that you check out Matthew Butterick’s book, Typography for Lawyers. (affiliate link) It’s a pretty nerdy deep dive into various typography issues that lawyers deal with in drafting all kinds of documents. But it’s super helpful if you care about making your writing more accessible and easy on the eyes.
Once you’ve got that background, I recommend that you do the following things, at a minimum:
- Make use of headings – add H2 main headings and H3 subheadings wherever possible to break up the text into a logically flowing sequence of ideas.
- Break up your paragraphs into 2-3 lines, at the most. I know this probably goes against all of your writing instincts as a lawyer, but it’s absolutely essential for readability on a phone.
- Use bulleted and numbered lists wherever possible. These are a huge help for breaking up the “wall of text” issues, when used in combination with #1 and #2 above.
- Add images and infographics where you can, to give the reader something to keep their eye moving and break up the text.
- Keep your words simple and understandable, minimize legal jargon (or at least explain it using layman’s terms), and stick to one “idea” per sentence.
I’ve tried to do most of these in this post. If you implement these changes when you’re writing and posting your articles, I guarantee it will help the reader out immensely and keep them on the site longer.
Why is this better?
Do a comparison on readability between these two posts (preferably on a smartphone, so you can really see what I mean):
- This random personal injury law blog post I searched for (note: I’m not commenting on the content itself, which is probably wonderful, or their skill as lawyers, which is also probably exemplary – no idea!)
- My post on the Amazon Brand Registry and related trademark issues
If you read the two posts, the varied content formatting and shorter paragraphs in my post, I believe, are much easier to read. Maybe it’s just me, but when I’m scrolling through endless text I just lose focus and end up leaving the post.
Especially on a phone.
I’ve also taken the step to remove the sidebar, which is just causing unnecessary distraction on the desktop, and which is already pushed to the bottom on the post on mobile. Just doesn’t seem useful.
In the end, I’ll let you be the judge.
But after writing literally thousands of blog posts for myself, other sites, and other lawyers, I’ve seen enough of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Need help getting content for your own law firm site? I’m launching a service to create content specifically tailored to lawyers, which will:
- Rank quickly on Google
- Attract clients who are motivated to get legal help
- Keep the clients reading and get them clicking to contact you
If you’re interested, just jump over to the contact page and let me know.