8 Tips for Writing Engaging Law Firm Content
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood
How often does this happen to you: You sit down to write a blog post and you have a few ideas, but nothing you write seems to come out as engaging or entertaining as you want. You know what you want to write, you're just not sure the best way to write it. But you know you need to write to bring in clients.
Many lawyers recognize that they need to write blog posts to keep their website updated and bring in more leads. The problem is in writing law firm content that's engaging, compelling and converts readers to clients.
Lawyers are busy and writing compelling blog posts is difficult work. Furthermore, many lawyers are more comfortable using legal jargon and technical words, but those don't resonate with readers. They may work well in the courtroom but they don't help you or your audience online.
What resonates with readers are useful, interesting stories that are easy to understand and that impact them directly.
Here are some tips to writing blog posts that establish your credibility and develop a relationship with your readers.
1. Tell a story
A common mantra in writing is "Show, don't tell." Unfortunately, when writing blog posts, many lawyers fall into a trap of discussing the overall legal ramifications of legislation and telling the audience what something means. The trouble is that the general public doesn't understand how the law specifically affects them. Or, they get too bored of reading explanations to finish the post.
One way around this is to share a typical story. Create a client who is typical of your ideal client. Show how the law affects this client and how your services can help them out of their situation.
Don't tell readers you're an expert, show them by giving solid information. Give them evidence you're an expert.
Write about important victories you've had or recognition you've received.
Write about how many years you've practiced this area of law, or how many clients you've helped.
If you've written articles about this topic or given talks on it, or if you've been on advisory committees related to your topic, write about that.
If you can get testimonials from past clients, use them.
2. Write for your clients, not for other lawyers
Lawyers often fall into a trap of using language that other lawyers or judges understand. But unless those people are your target clients, you're missing the mark. Your content must be written in language and style that the people you want to help can easily read and understand.
- Write as though you're talking with a close friend who has no background in law. It's a casual chat, over coffee. Imagine how that conversation would go and how you'd speak with that person.
- Don't write to sound smart, write to be understood. Use plain language. The less legal-speak, the better. Use legal terms and phrases only when introducing them. Seriously, drop the "heretofore" type language.
- Pay attention to the language your clients use and reflect that in your writing. Chances are, that's the type of language your ideal clients relate to.
- Use short sentences. Don't use lots of commas and clauses. Keep your sentences to the point.
- Use short paragraphs. Break up those paragraphs with headers.
3. Write about topics your clients want to read about
You might want to explore a wide range of legal topics on your blog, but if they aren't related to the law you practice and what your clients want to read they won't help you. Make a note of the questions your clients and ask and the information they seek from you.
Remember, people are searching for answers to their questions and information that shows how you can help them. For example: a person wanting information about claims related to a car crash likely doesn't need to know about all the elements required to prove negligence on the part of the other driver. They probably do want to know about how you'll determine if they have a claim.
Likewise, readers likely don't need a lot of information about the ins and outs of daily life in your law firm. But a checklist of steps to take to deal with a complex legal issue could be helpful.
4. Inject your personality into your posts
Your blog is a place to showcase your personality—and clients tend to trust people whose personalities they relate to. Don't be standoffish or aloof in your posts.
If you have a great sense of humour, inject some lightness in your writing. You don't have to be sarcastic, but showing you have a lighter side sometimes (depending on the topic) can help clients relate to you. Show your excitement about a topic. If you're an extraordinarily compassionate person, let that shine through.
Let potential clients see the human side of you, so your they have a sense of who you are before they reach out.
5. Vary posts between timely information and evergreen information
Both timely and evergreen posts have an important place on your law firm blog. Timely posts are those that are relevant right now. This can include things like recent Supreme Court decisions and how they affect your audience, or news about an important court victory you've obtained.
Evergreen posts are those about topics that are general enough that someone could read them in a year or two or even three and the content is still relevant. Often these include things such as questions your clients frequently ask or important considerations for your clients. An evergreen topic might include the pitfalls of a non-compete clause in a contract.
Using both keeps your website up-to-date while still ensuring that some of your posts stay relevant over the course of a few years. Both help you build a relationship with your audience.
6. Answer readers' main questions
Often readers come to legal websites because they need legal advice. That means their number one question is usually "Can this lawyer help me?" (or, "Should I hire this lawyer?") Use your law firm content to show them you can help them and why you're exactly the lawyer to give them the help they need.
Beyond this, people looking for a lawyer's services likely have a lot of questions. It's your job to offer them some solutions.
7. Know your client personas
Of all the people using the Internet, a select group is looking for your services. Of those, an even smaller group could be considered your best-fit clients. You need to determine which people your law firm wants to attract, and of those, which are most likely ready to hire an attorney today.
Keep in mind, you want to reach out to the people who will hire you, which aren't always the same people you'll represent. If you are regularly hired by parents to represent their children, for example, you need to appeal to the parents.
8. Know why you're writing
Every piece of content you write must have a goal. The goal can be to inform, to persuade, to sell, to generate discussion, or something else, but you can't be writing just for the sake of writing.
Know what your goal is and work backward from that. If your goal is to inform, make sure the post is informative. If it's to get people to sign up for your newsletter, make sure there's a call to action.
Since 2006, I've written millions of words for countless law firms to help them find clients. I've written articles, blog posts, bios, campaign pages, safety interviews, news releases and websites and am an expert in creating compelling, engaging content for lawyers. My content showcases law firms for potential clients and establishes my clients' expertise. Contact me to find out how my copywriting and content marketing services can help your law firm thrive.