Today you’ll learn about blogging for lawyers.
Specifically, I’ll show you how to write a powerful law firm blog post that may help you:
Attract high-quality (and relevant) client leads.
Boost your website’s Google ranking.
Increase b2b referrals.
Bonus: I surveyed a number of Australian online marketing experts. Their best blogging for lawyers tips and tricks are included throughout this article.
Let’s dive in.
Chapter 1 (Topic)
Find a (Proven) Topic
The topic of your blog post is a BIG DEAL.
How do you find proven topics?
I’ve listed my favourite strategies.
…And you’re welcome to steal them!
#1 NeilPatel.Com “Top Pages”
Who are the industry-leaders in your niche?
Okay, now it’s time to steal their best topics.
Don’t worry. You’re not going to steal their articles. Just the topics they’ve written about.
First, grab a competitor and pop it into neilpatel.com
Note: Ahrefs.com will provide more detailed information. But I’m assuming most of you don’t want to pay for their platform. Luckily, Neilpatel.com is free to use.
Then hit ‘Top Pages’
And boom! You’ll see the content that performed best for that website.
Based on social shares, estimated visits and backlinks:
The beauty of this is you can see which types of news article work best.
What are people actually interested in?
Well, the evidence is in the numbers.
Consider finding the top-performing pages for your main competitors
And looking for patterns.
#2 BuzzSumo’s “Evergreen Score”
This is a great tool for finding content ideas.
It gets better though –
They’ve recently added a feature called the “Evergreen Score”.
Here’s how it works:
First, type a keyword into BuzzSumo
The platform will provide a list of content with the most social shares.
So, what’s wrong with that?
Well, you can’t tell whether the content went viral and quickly burned out
Or, if it’s consistently racking up shares and links.
Why does this matter?
Well, I know most lawyers love the word ‘set and forget’.
That’s where the Evergreen Score comes into play.
It shows you content that people share and link to MONTHS after it was launched.
Pretty neat, right?
#3 Keyword Research
What are people searching for? Find out and answer their questions.
How do you find out what they want? Use keyword tools.
There are a bunch of free options available.
You can simply type search queries into Google.
It will ‘auto-fill’ suggestions.
These are based off related searches from real people.
You can also download ‘Keywords Everywhere’. It’s one of the most affordable and basic keyword research tools available right now.
But, if you’re a Google Ads customer, you can access their keyword research tool. This shows you detailed information (e.g. cost per click, search volume, etc).
#4 Use Featured Snippets
Look below. See ‘People also ask’. The questions with answers are called a ‘featured snippet’. It’s great because the answer links to the website that provided the information. This is the end goal!
Matt Bassos (SEO Specialist) recommends using featured snippets to understand search intent. He said, ‘Look for examples of featured snippets, especially for existing blog content that you know you could improve on with your article. This provides an opportunity for your blog to secure the snippet instead.’
In other words, if you see a law firm has a featured snippet on a relevant topic, write a better piece of content. Then your website might get the featured snippet instead. This will attract more people to your website.
#5 Case Studies
People want to know ‘what to expect’ if they hire you.
So, have you had a really successful case recently?
Any clients that won’t stop raving about you?
Maybe someone left a really positive Facebook review?
Get in touch with this client and ask their permission to be featured in a case study.
This is a ‘real-life’ article that shows how someone got from A to B.
It’s powerful and persuasive.
Of course, use your best judgement. Don’t include any information that would jeopardise the client’s privacy or your business.
#6 Listen to your clients
This might sound obvious.
But, start paying close attention to what your clients are saying.
It’s usually the best market research you’ll ever get.
And it’s 100% free.
Great topics include:
- Common concerns (e.g. fees, communication and how long everything takes). Ask your admin staff to start writing down frequently asked questions. The same goes for your legal team.
- Q&A about your practice areas (e.g. how to get a divorce, how to contest a will, what’s the difference between a conveyancing solicitor and a conveyancer? etc)
- News and updates that your audience actually cares about. For example, if you offer criminal defence, write about ‘your rights when pulled over by police’. Don’t just write news articles about something because you find it interesting. Think, ‘Will people want to share this on social media?’ ‘Does it provide value to my target market?’
A friendly word of advice:
Give people a damn good reason to engage in your content. Why? They can always go elsewhere.
So, consider adding your own commentary and personal touch to the articles.
The most effective content is usually a bit polarising. If you stick to ‘vanilla’ content, you’ll probably get ‘vanilla’ results.
Chapter 2 (Headline/Title)
Create an Amazing Headline/Title
This can make or break your entire post.
So, it’s super important to nail this step.
That’s why I’m going to share with you my best tips and tricks for writing awesome blog post headlines.
Here are the most effective headline phrases (backed by research)
BuzzSumo recently analyzed 100 million headlines.
So, what did they find?
Headlines that start with these 20 phrases typically receive the most shares:
Here’s another interesting result from that BuzzSumo study…
They found that headlines with 12-18 words perform the best (when it comes to social shares).
Add Brackets (And Parentheses)
This is one of my favourite headline hacks.
A study by OutBrain found that adding brackets to headlines can improve CTR up to 38%.
Proven Headline Phrases for B2B
Maybe your law firm is more focussed on B2B? Such as business law.
If so, you’ll know that clickbait titles don’t work well.
Fortunately, BuzzSumo also analysed the best B2B titles.
They found that these 20 phrases work GREAT in B2B (based on LinkedIn shares):
Optimise For EMV (‘Emotional Marketing Value’)
CoSchedule recently published a blog post headline study.
Measuring the EMV of headlines.
They found a direct correlation between high EMV headlines and social shares.
Just pop your headline into the tool…
Now, a quick caveat –
Tailor your EMV based on the practice area.
Some legal services will call for more emotion. While others will require restraint.
Plus, it depends on the goal of your article.
If you’re writing an opinion piece about a current event, it might require a high EMV.
Use your best judgement.
Ask yourself, ‘What reaction do I want from my readers?’
Then adjust the EMV of your writing accordingly.
Naturally, I avoid high EMV writing because of my target market.
Most of my readers are after quick and actionable tips.
Plus, they’re smart and conscientious.
So, my articles are quite different from someone who is writing for a lifestyle and dating blog.
Chapter 3 (Intro)
Grab Their Attention With A Killer Intro
Now it’s time to grab your reader’s attention.
How? Your blog post introduction.
Sorry Diana, but no one likes intros like this:
After reading this, I feel like I need a nap.
That’s why I usually write short intros.
4-7 lines. Max.
This is just enough to hook people and get them excited for more.
- Let people know what your article will do for them in the first line.
- Include an example of how it’s worked for your business or clients (if applicable to your post)
- Use a transition sentence. For example, ‘let’s dive in’. It keeps the article moving forward.
Chapter 4 (Write the Post)
Write Your Post
Now it’s time to show you how to write SUPER engaging content.
Specifically, I’m going to share my favourite strategies that can make your blog posts more appealing to most people.
Want people to engage with your content?
Please avoid GIANT walls of text.
You know…like this:
I’ll level with you –
I didn’t even read it.
Instead, stick to paragraphs that are 1-2 sentences long.
Just like this article! hehe
Why is this important?
Short paragraphs are easier to read.
(Especially on mobile devices)
And chances are over 50% of your website traffic is now on mobile.
Did you know that most people don’t even read the full article?
Instead, they skim the headings and subheaders.
If they really like what they see, they might dive in deeper.
That’s why I’ve been mindful to include loads of headings throughout my article.
Quick Links / Table of Contents / Jumplinks
Did you appreciate the table of contents at the start of this blog? I added it for you (and for me). Since this is a sizable piece of content, I want my readers to easily find what they’re looking for.
Plus, I don’t expect many people to apply all of this advice in one go. Instead, they’ll probably want to do get through the content at their own pace. Thus, a simple table of contents makes it easier to work through this article.
If you’re using WordPress, this article will walk you through the steps to create ‘anchor links’. I’ve used a plug-in that creates a table of contents. With a little bit of coding, you should be up and running.
Adam from Cashcow Media encourages people to use jump links. Especially for long pieces of content.
‘Think about how many times you’ve gone to Wikipedia, for example, and there’s a lot of information about a broad subject, but you just want something specific. In these cases, utilizing the table of contents is a must – especially on mobile – so you should apply the same thought process to your own article. This should help to reduce the bounce rate while also providing a more satisfactory result for the user. As a bonus benefit: Google may include your jump links as site links within the search results page which can attract additional clicks and increase exposure.’
For the love of…
Just use an active voice.
I learned this during my days at uni.
It could have been ‘professional writing’ or one of those courses I did for my communication degree.
The teacher explained the difference between active and passive voice.
…that line just then was written in an active voice.
The difference between active and passive voice was explained by the teacher.
…there’s the passive voice.
According to Grammarly, ‘Using the active voice conveys a strong, clear tone and the passive voice is subtler and weaker…A good rule of thumb is to try to put the majority of your sentences in the active voice, unless you truly can’t write your sentence in any other way.’
Have you ever noticed that a lot of people have increased the default font size on their phone?
Especially people over 35.
The thing is, bigger fonts are just easier to read.
Don’t take my word for it –
The largest blogging website in the world uses 21px!
What website am I referring to?
If you’re using anything less than 15px, you’re losing a lot of people.
Here at Legalsites, we use 18px.
Write Like You Talk
Read your articles out loud –
Do they sound natural?
Or a bit…weird?
Here’s the thing –
If you’re trying to appeal to most people, you should use a natural writing style.
It’s backed up by best-selling authors. Think Mark Manson and J.K. Rowling.
But, the general rule of thumb is to consider your audience.
Perhaps your articles need to be written formally. I’ll let you be the judge.
This part leads nicely into the next tip…
Use Writing Apps
I use several writing tools. They’ve made me a better (and more efficient) writer.
Here’s what I recommend:
You can download it as a browser extension and software directly from their website.
It automatically proof-reads your writing.
And makes suggestions.
In fact, it’s working away as I write this post!
Have you ever had a misunderstanding with someone via email or message?
Well, Grammarly will also analyse the tone of your writing
Apparently this post has a ‘friendly tone
I told you I was a nice guy!
What can you use Grammarly on?
- Social media
- WordPress blogs
- Google documents
- and pretty much anything else that involves a computer and writing
This tool will ‘grade’ the quality of your writing style.
Aim for the lowest ‘grade’ possible.
Most of my articles are 4-5.
It provides suggestions and explanations on how to improve.
In fact, I learned more about writing in one week using this app than I did from five years of law school.
Is your website on WordPress?
If so, download ‘Yoast’ and check out the writing suggestions for each page and post.
This plugin will check how SEO-friendly your writing style is.
It’s actually the #1 SEO tool for WordPress.
Chances are most websites you visit are using Yoast.
Lots of Visuals
Don’t be afraid to use a ton of visuals in every post.
In fact, you’ve probably noticed that this article has quite a lot of visuals.
Well, it’s intentional!
Fact: 2,000-word blogs (usually) rank better on Google.
Don’t take my word for it.
According to Backlinko, the average word count of #1 ranked website pages is 1,890.
Why is this?
- Google is looking for authoritative content.
- ‘Complete’ and ‘Definitive’ guides rank better. Most people want to find one source of information that explores a topic in depth. They don’t want to waste time finding pieces of information from various sources.
- Long-form content compliments other Google ranking factors. Including time-on-page, attracting more backlinks, outbound links, keywords, heading tags and more.
Blake Smith (SEO Consultant) encourages his clients to stop worrying about smashing out small articles every week. It’s usually based on an ‘imaginary’ deadline they’ve set themselves. Instead, he recommends in-depth articles that explore a topic in detail.
Alternatively, Reeva from Cutting Edge Digital said that you don’t have to write over 2,000 words to rank. ‘This just isn’t true. Shorter content can rank as long as it’s well-written, and is relevant to the keyword phrase you want to rank for.’
So, what’s the answer? According to the Search Engine Journal, it’s more about attracting backlinks. Yes, you can achieve this with shorter content (if it’s really good). But the data shows that longer content usually receives more links.
I suggest you focus on in-depth articles while experimenting with shorter pieces. Just ensure each piece of content is the best it can be. If the topic doesn’t require a large article, only write what’s necessary. But don’t smash out small pieces of content simply because you feel pressured to adhere to a fictitious release schedule.
Chapter 5 (The Conclusion)
Add a Conclusion
Let’s cap things off with your conclusion.
And let me be clear about something:
Your conclusion is VERY important.
(Especially if you want lots of people to comment on your post or contact you).
This is what I suggest:
Start with a ‘transition’ sentence. For example ‘Now I’d like to hear from you…’
Then ask a question. For example ‘What part of this article was the most surprising to you?’ or ‘What’s one thing you can use from this article right now?’
Finally, throw in a CTA (‘Call to Action’). For example, ‘Hit the link below to set up a free consultation. It doesn’t cost you anything to know where you stand.’ Or something similar.
It’s very important to clearly explain what people can expect if they contact your law firm. After all, the number one objection is ‘what’s it going to cost me?’. If someone has never contacted a lawyer, it could be quite daunting. Put yourselves in their shoes.
Capping off –
The point of the conclusion is to lead to the CTA. You want people to TAKE ACTION.
Don’t just say ‘get in touch’.
No. You need to overcome objections and be specific.
After all, if it was that ‘easy’ to contact a lawyer, everyone would do it.
Chapter 6 (Frequency, Schedule, Consistency, SEO, Outsourcing and Backlinks)
No, you don’t need to post weekly
First, let’s address the most common question I get from lawyers about blogging:
‘Apparently, I should start a blog because Google likes websites that frequently produce new content’
Why is this wrong?
So many reasons.
Essentially, it all boils down to this –
Google rewards websites that provide users with useful information.
But it wasn’t always this way…
In the past, websites could rank well by ‘stuffing’ keywords into their blogs and pumping out 300-word pieces of crap.
Times have changed.
If someone clicks on your article, spends a lot of ‘time on page’, shares it and makes an online enquiry – Google notices. Additionally, Google has become very good at measuring the effectiveness of a website. That’s why it’s essential to deliver outstanding value with every blog post.
Remember this –
Consistency matters (only a little bit).
So, does consistency matter?
Yes, but for other reasons. Including:
- It helps you establish an audience because they know when to expect new content.
- You’ll become better at what you do because you’ll be doing it consistently
- Google does favour websites that add fresh content. But, it’s more related to the effects that consistent new content has on a website (e.g. regular traffic, time on page, social shares, etc).
Storm McManus from Virtual Storm also encourages her clients to consistently publish ‘…new content or freshen up older content that isn’t getting as much traffic as you’d like. The more relevant, fresh, and optimised content you have, the better, in Google’s eyes!
Pick a realistic schedule (and stick to it)
So, how often should you post?
For most law firms, I suggest 1-2 times per month. Every month.
But, as I said earlier, don’t post something ‘sub-par’ because of the deadline. That’s why you might want to consider outsourcing. More on that shortly.
1 x 2,000-word article per month for 12 months =
12 industry-leading articles.
These are pieces of content that actually help people. Better yet, they position you as the ‘go-to’ source on a topic. That means more website traffic for you, and less for the competition.
Before you start, be honest with yourself.
In the past 12 months, has your schedule been affected by unexpected events?
e.g. court dates, urgent client matters, personal events, etc
If the answer is ‘yes’, consider asking for help.
Outsource your blogging
‘Can’t someone else do it?’
Options include hiring staff, training existing staff, procuring a digital agency or freelancer websites.
Want to try hiring a freelancer?
I’ve had a lot of success using Airtasker.
First, it’s Australian. So you deal in AUD. Plus, there usually aren’t any time-zone complications.
I also found that our beautiful country has a pretty good work ethic. And most people want to do the right thing by you.
Unfortunately, some of my experiences with offshore freelancing platforms were less than satisfying.
The reality is that there are plenty of skilled copywriters who want to be hired. If you clearly explain your expectations, provide a detailed guide and monitor their performance – you should be golden.
Want the reliability and professionalism of a law firm marketing agency? Consider reaching out to us for help.
Understand your audience
Most law firms fall into the trap of writing about their law firm.
Including company announcements, new team members, changes in management, etc.
Here’s the thing –
Your audience doesn’t care. Well, most of them don’t.
‘I think the #1 misconception about blogging for SEO is people thinking any content will do. So, they’ll make company announcements and write about team news — which can be good for gaining trust and authority — but overall isn’t going to make a dent in your SEO.’
Instead, Laura recommends the following:
- Pick your topic based on user search behaviours. How? Keyword research. Once you’ve done this, choose one primary keyword and two secondary keywords.
- Write valuable and helpful content. If you’re writing about wills and estates, maybe create a step-by-step guide on contesting a will.
- Don’t forget to include relevant internal and external links. An ‘internal link’ will link the user to a related page or post on your website. Whereas an ‘external link’ will direct them ‘offsite’ to a related website. If you read my blogs, you’ll see that I include external (or outbound) links when I reference a source. This is generally considered ‘best practice’ (and it’s much easier than AGLC!).
If you’ve researched SEO, chances are the following concepts will sound familiar. According to Reeva Cutting (Cutting Edge Digital), you can improve your blog SEO by doing the following:
- Write a custom title tag and meta description – don’t leave these blank or use what Yoast tells you! Also, include variations of your keyword phrase and alt text
- Use optimised images to break up your text and rank better in search results
- Don’t forget to add headings – H1s/H2s etc – these still carry some SEO benefit so make sure to add them and use relevant phrases.
My favourite way to optimise the onsite SEO of a post or page is Yoast (WordPress plug-in). Once you add your target keyword, Yoast will provide recommendations. The goal is to get the green light for SEO and readability.
While we’re talking about readability, here’s some advice from Irena from Insightland:
‘Take care of the readability of your blog post. Divide your text into paragraphs, use H1, H2, H3 properly, highlight the most important sections. Try to make your sentences short, so they are not wordy, they are easy to comprehend.’
Re-purpose old content
Have you created a few pieces of old content that performed well? Or maybe they didn’t get the traffic they deserved and you’d like to re-release them? Great!
Refreshing and repurposing old content can be an effective way to keep the content machine churning.
According to Coral from Wyatt International (PR and Branding), ‘Going back and repurposing existing content is a really simple and quick way to increase rankings and visibility. Utilising older content that already ranks is a great way to compete for featured snippets, as content has already been indexed and crawled.’
Alexander Porter from Searchitlocal likes to focus on ‘content upgrading over content marketing’. He said, ‘Instead of creating a new resource from scratch and waiting months for results that may never arrive, focus on upgrading existing content. Study the data to see which of your existing blogs already has minor ranking success.’
‘Link building is hard. But by reaching out to industry experts and micro-influencers you’ll have expert commentary that sets your blog content apart. Not only will this provide a new angle, but you’ll be able to tap into the audiences of these commentators and leverage their reach.’
…See what I did there? 😉
One of my favourite ways to build links it to use Sourcebottle. Try sending a call out with a link to your latest blog article. Ask people if they can provide a blog article link that you can link to. For example, if you make a point about something in your blog post, you should link to a reputable source. This is a great opportunity for someone to provide a link to their blog post. In return, ask that all links are reciprocated. Don’t deal with free-loaders!