Why Blogging is Important for Lawyers
Your blog is the best channel that you can leverage to attract new clients and sign new cases. It has the highest return on investment than every other method because it is the only channel capable of compounding growth.
Blogging allows you to be found whenever people need your services and search for them. Unlike in-your-face advertising (a.k.a. interruptive marketing), when someone lands on your blog from Google, they're already in the right mindset to reach out.
Think of it like this, whenever someone sees your law firm's ad on TV or social media, it may be relevant to them or it may not. More often, it's the latter. While that doesn't mean that every dollar you spend on advertising can't bring you a positive return, it does mean that you're inevitably playing a volume game that needs careful tracking to be effective.
When someone searches on Google for something like "how long should my chest hurt after a car accident" and clicks on a law firm's page that ranks for it, that person is, by definition, a warm lead and ideal for converting into a client.
Blog Articles Can Generate A Lot of Cases
Beyond just growing your firm's ability to get cases, a blog can enable attorneys at your firm to share content with clients whenever they have questions.
This can help save time managing client relationships, something that's extremely important to be mindful of if you're a personal injury lawyer and working on a contingency basis.
But you can't just write about anything you want and expect it to work for you. For a blog to be successful, you need a few core things:
- A content strategy that outlines your goals and a plan to track them.
- A plan for what topics to write about that align with your content strategy.
- Knowledge of how to optimize content to ensure the content actually ranks on Google.
- A plan for how often to post to maintain consistency.
- A plan on how to distribute your content around the web to maximize exposure.
Let's explore these and provide a proven framework to refer to—the same principles our team at Rankings.io uses to help our clients outrank their competition over and over again.
What Should You Write About?
One of the most common problems we see with law firm website blogs is a complete lack of strategy and the erroneous thought that your blog is an outlet for your internal company news.
Not if you want to maximize the number of leads you get from it anyway.
Whenever you publish news-related content on your site, it needs to either be noindexed (meaning it won't show up in search engines) or, even better, not published at all and shared via an email newsletter or on social media.
The only exception to this is whenever you have Earth-shattering news that journalists will want to link to.
Now, we know that most firms think that every little piece of news that happens will be worth posting about, so a good litmus test to help you determine whether or not something truly is newsworthy is whether or not you already have journalists and reporters reaching out to you to do a story on it.
If you don't, it's probably not newsworthy.
You want your law firm's content to maintain a consistent focus on the tenets of your practice, not your internal news. Let's cover a few of the ways you can generate good topics that are worth blogging about on your firm's blog.
Tip #1: Listen to Your Clients
Listening to your clients is a great way to develop topic ideas that will resonate with people. You probably have questions that clients routinely ask you, right?
Note those down and write content over them. If you get asked it all the time, that's a good sign people are probably searching for it frequently as well.
You can ask the other attorneys, paralegals, intake assistants, et cetera for their ideas as well. They all likely have some questions that will come to mind that they know they answer over and over again.
This content performs well for two reasons:
- They're real questions asked by real people. If you write your content and address their question in the same way you would over a phone call or in-person, your tone will come off as authentic and trustworthy when they read it as well. This is something that most people would find refreshing when searching for an attorney.
- It establishes you as an authority on the topic. There's something psychologically different about a potential client reading an article written by you addressing their very question vs hearing from you in person. There's something about it being published that gives it this extra sense of credibility.
Tip #2: Do Keyword Research
Doing keyword research will help you develop additional ideas whenever you've tapped out your reservoir of client questions. It also has the benefit of giving you insight into which topics people search for the most so you can prioritize your time when writing.
Keyword research is one of the most complicated parts of SEO because there is no one formulaic right way to do it. It's part science and part art.
Knowing the nuances of how people think and having the technical skillset to extract data from the tools in novel ways takes time to master.
Regardless, some keyword research is better than none at all. If you want a quick way to come up with topics for free, you can use Ahrefs Free Keyword Generator.
Ahrefs Free Keyword Generator
You can use the Keyword Generator to quickly come up with keywords and gather additional metrics to help you understand how hard it might be to rank for that keyword and how many people search for it each month.
Here's a quick overview of how to operate it:
- Go to https://ahrefs.com/keyword-generator
- Enter a broad term into the search box like car accident injury or car accident compensation
- Set the country to your country if you're not in the U.S.
- Click Find keywords
You'll get back a non-exhaustive list of keywords that you can review and begin brainstorming how you might write about them.
If you click on the button that says Questions, it will give you a list of questions that contain your search term in it.
This is often an easy way to come up with different angles to write about the same topic.
Using this small list, we can already see several different ways we could talk about compensation for car accident injuries.
Without using a tool like Ahrefs, you might not even consider writing about the amount of compensation a person could get, but you should.
Note: While you can't ethically predict the amount of compensation a person will get without risking your career, you can talk report on past results (so long as you use a disclaimer that keeps you in compliance with your state's guidelines on advertising).
Going deeper than just how much compensation for a car accident, we can see that people are searching for more specific things like:
- *how much compensation for car accident whiplash*
- how much compensation for back injury car accident
That can easily be two separate articles you write about on your blog. Also, it may seem like a good idea to cover both of these topics in a single piece, but that isn't always the best idea. If Google determines that the searcher's intent is different for each of these, you likely won't rank very well for either. You'll want to segment your topics into content hubs for maximum effectiveness.
How to Write Good Content for a Law Firm Blog
Now that you've identified your topics, you're ready to start writing. Writing for your blog isn't like it was in college and definitely isn't the same as the interoffice memorandums you're probably used to.
Writing for the web (specifically for Google) is an entirely different skill set.
Here are some best practices on writing good content that people will enjoy reading and rank more quickly on Google.
Pick a Format
There are a variety of formats you can use when writing content, but some of the best we've seen work well for law firms are guides and lists.
Guides work great because the format allows you to fully cover a complex topic that can map to the various stages a person might be going through as an injured person.
For example, a guide covering everything to know from the time a person first gets injured through the settlement phase and recovery process would be immensely helpful.
A page like that can also rank for hundreds of keywords.
Lists work great for topics that cover topics that map well to questions that have types. For example, topics that cover the types of injuries that can happen to a person injured in a workplace accident/car accident/bicycle accident, etc.
They also work great for discussing the types of compensation a person might be eligible for (e.g., medical, lost wages, pain, and suffering, etc.).
Keep Headings Succinct and in The Proper Order
The way you format your content for the web is extremely important. You'll want to use headings to break up key ideas and make things easier for the reader to digest.
Headings are also an important signal that Google evaluates to determine what your content is about and how well it covers the topic.
Most modern writing tools can create heads. Here are some resources for the most common that lawyers might use:
Your headings should adhere to a logical order as well. For example, you shouldn't have an H3 heading without a parent-level H2 heading.
Use Examples & Tell Stories
Google likes unique content. The easiest way to make your content unique is to tell your own stories. Use former cases you've worked on to help describe things to people (without violating confidentiality). Stories have two key benefits that will work in your favor:
- They're unique yours, so people cannot copy them.
- People love & remember stories better than they do textbook-style information.
Keep Paragraphs Short
As a general rule, you should keep your paragraphs to no more than 3-5 lines before adding in a paragraph break.
This is very different from the type of things you're probably used to writing but trust us; it's better to break things up.
No one wants to read a long block of text on a website. People have short attention spans. Don't let walls of text turn someone away and prevent them from reading what might otherwise have a lot of valuable and interesting information for them.
Use Lists, Tables, & Images to Keep Things Interesting
Lists: You can use a variety of special formatting elements to help break up your paragraphs. For example, you can easily use a list when discussing the types of injuries that can happen due to a car accident.
Tables: Tables are excellent when you want to show information in a way that needs comparison or quick scanning. For example, a table of the most expensive vs inexpensive states for car insurance is easy to understand and digest.
Images: Images are a very visual way to keep things broken up but are often misused. If you're going to use images, be thoughtful about them. Don't simply grab stock photography from Pixabay or Pexels and throw them into your content. As a best practice, every image in your content should convey something meaningful and be capable of doing so if it were the only thing on the page.
Bold/Italics: Using simple formatting like bold and italics can add a bit of contrast to make your content more scannable and enjoyable as well. Don't overdo it though.
Example: This list of ways to keep things interesting in your content is an example of us using bolded items over an unordered list of bullet points to demonstrate this.
Internally Link to Your Other Content When Useful
Internally linking out to other useful content on your site can help guide readers to something they'll find more useful and keep them on your site longer.
For example, you could link to an article that more specifically covers a type of injury you've written about.
Other best practices for internally linking include:
- Linking from new articles to older relevant articles.
- Adding internal links from older articles to the new one (an often forgotten about but critical practice).
- Add internal links from your articles to relevant service pages (e.g., an article about car accident injuries should link to your landing page that addresses car accident injuries but probably shouldn't link to your article about workers' compensation).
When you link between pages on your blog, you also help Google understand which pages are most important, boosting their ability to rank higher for queries.
Use Semantically Similar Keywords
When writing content, it helps if you use terms and phrases that Google would expect to see in content about that subject. As a subject-matter expert, this should be easy for you to do. There can be some nuance in it, though, and we're often unaware of our blind spots.
Various tools can help you add the relevant keywords and phrases (more precisely: entities) to your content, but most of them aren't free.
The most powerful are tools like Clearscope and MarketMuse (which now has a free plan).
Search for your keyword in the MarketMuse Optimize application, and it will return a list of relevant entities you should be using throughout your content.
Add a Call to Action
Last but not least, don't forget to let the reader know what they should do next. Most people won't read your content in its entirety. They'll skim it, figure out if it has the information they're looking for, and then decide what to do next.
It may seem obvious to you that if they want to hire a lawyer, they can engage your chat, go to your contact page, or fill out a form (usually at the bottom of your blog on mobile)—but it's not always that simple.
Don't assume people will know what to do next. Make it clear to them how to contact you if they want to. Guide them to that next step. It's helpful to do this throughout the article, as they may scroll to a particular section, get the info they want, and never bother to continue to the conclusion.
How Often Should You Post?
How often should you post is a question law firms ask frequently, and there's no perfect answer.
Your blog is not a news publication, so you don't need to pressure yourself into publishing every single day or week.
As a general rule, you should plan out the various topics you will cover well in advance and schedule those to be written and published throughout the quarter or year. It's also best practice to periodically return to your old content and update it for clarity, new insights, or new angles.
Again, this doesn't mean you should update it whenever you have additional news to add but rather whenever you realize you've discovered a new question worth answering that would fit perfectly within an already existing piece of content you've written about the topic.
Your blog is not a static document. It is a living, breathing channel for client acquisition. Do not be afraid to update old content so long as you're improving it and adding more value for anyone who happens upon it from Google.
Repurposing for other Channels
The last thing that's very important to cover is the concept of repurposing. You can take the content you've written on your blog and repurpose it for other channels like social media and email. The most important thing here is that you put some extra thought and effort into it by following these best practices:
- Post the right content to the right channel. People on Facebook don't care about your firm's latest news. People on LinkedIn might, however. Facebook is a channel to share fun and entertaining information. This isn't always something that will be easy to do with your blog content.
The last thing people want to encounter on Facebook is a dreary topic about car accident injuries. A Facebook post that talks about the most dangerous roads in the state or things to know when selecting an insurance premium would work better.
- Don't share links. Share rewritten snippets of the content. Social media platforms want to keep people on their platform, not direct them away from it. Don't add links to your content to your posts.
Instead, write a brief summary of a section within your post to share on social.
It's even better to add an element that will encourage engagement (like asking a question or saying something controversial).
Making the Time When Time is Scarce
Writing great content for the web that will rank is a time-consuming process. If you're a solo attorney trying to make a name for yourself, you probably have more time than money—so writing your own content is a sensible thing to do.
If you're at a more prominent firm and need to focus more of your time on negotiating settlements and consulting with clients, you're better off letting someone else help you create content.
Two great options are:
- Legal assistants
- Marketing agencies that specialize in personal injury
Creating content and ranking personal injury law firms at the top of Google is our specialty. A legal assistant is a great alternative, but they often lack the skills necessary to optimize your content for search engines.
If you're an elite personal injury law firm and want to outrank your competitors on Google, reach out, and let's have a chat. You'll know after just one call whether we're a good fit or not.