Blog: "A regularly updated web page, typically run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style."—Oxford English Dictionary
The basics of a blog are included in the above definition:
- It is a web page posted on the internet.
- It is regularly updated.
- It is managed by a person or a small group.
- It is written in a conversational style.
If you follow the steps of the definition, you will have a good blog read by a few people, but your blog can be better. Add the following tips for a bigger following:
- Research before you write. Look at your niche practice and the services you offer. Use keywords such as “elder law, DUI in Flint, or motorcycle accident” to discover what’s already out there and fill in any missing information.
- Write in plain English. Use short sentences, insert periods rather than commas, and remove useless adjectives. Your readers are in hurry and they are scanning for information.
- Write in second person. Second person helps address the reader directly. Use the pronoun "you" to talk to the reader.
- Write a great headline to keep them reading.
- Link to your sources.
- Be consistent. Try to post the same day of the week or month so readers will come to expect it.
- End with a call to action. Ask them to sign up for your newsletter or follow you on Twitter. Be sure they know how to reach you.
Formatting is your friend. Use white space to give readers’ eyes a rest. Utilize short paragraphs. Bold words you want to stand out. Convert lists with commas into numbered or bulleted lists. Add images to your post, and remember to add captions to make sure the connection between the image and the material is clear.
Set goals and record your progress. If you want to get somewhere with your blog, you have to write down your goals and then record your progress to make sure you’re headed in the right direction. For example, your goals for a month could be:
- Newsletter signups
- Facebook likes
- Twitter followers
Let your blog rest for a few hours or even overnight before you post. Then proofread it and read it out loud. This will reveal errors in flow, grammar, and syntax. You may find gaps in logic or information in your post. Clean it up, tinker with it, and have some fun.
Lastly, after you publish it, let the world know it’s out there. Post it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and the SBM Member Directory. Remember, it takes time to build up a following, so be consistent and they will come.
After years practicing law, Roberta Gubbins served as editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides writing services to lawyers ghostwriting content for websites, blogs, and articles. She is editor of The Mentor, the SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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