A well-written and well-received blog needs some planning. Start by blocking out some time to write the post—you’ll probably need two to three hours. Then:
- Review your description of your target reader— know who they are and plan to write to them.
- Think about your writing voice; write in a style that communicates your personality, builds a relationship with your potential clients, and makes you stand out.
- Choose topics that show your knowledge in your niche market and appeal to the largest possible audience.
- Every few months, plan for one 1,000 to 1,500-word post on a complicated topic that your readers will want to share.
Writing the Blog
- Once you’ve decided on a topic, create a headline that attracts attention. Effective headlines include a question (What is a Contract?), a news headline (New Marijuana Law), numbered list (7 Parts of a Trust) or a command (Now is the Time to Write Your Will).
- The content of your blog should be a professionally researched post on topics of interest to your intended reader. Your blog post can help build your reputation as a leader in your practice area. Start your post with the most important concept first, and then move to explain it.
- Use formatting such as numbered or bulleted lists to break up verbiage and subheadings as reference points. Keep your paragraphs and sentences short and avoid legalese. Adding pictures or graphics makes content more interesting.
- The frequently asked questions format is easy for readers to follow and can answer some of their most common concerns.
- Post regularly. Regular blog posts will keep content fresh and draw readers to your blog. Set a schedule you can live with—once a week, twice a week, or every two weeks—to give readers something to look forward to when they return.
- Include a call to action. Your call to action tells the reader how to interact with you. For example, ask them to set up an appointment, sign up for a newsletter, complete a contact form, or call the office. The call to action is usually put at the end of your blog.
- Once it is written, set it aside for a day, then go back to edit. Read it aloud to find the awkward parts and use spell check to find misspellings.
- Promote your blog with posts and links on social media and include your website and blog address on printed and promotional materials.
Remember to avoid giving legal advice or giving readers the impression that an attorney-client relationship was formed. If you want information on the ethical rules, call the SBM Helpline at (877) 558-4760.
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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