In this week’s edition of Things I Wish I Knew, solo attorney, Joleena Louis, shares the methods she uses to come up with ideas for her law firm blog.
Blogging is an important part of the legal marketing toolkit, especially for solo attorneys who have to work independently to promote themselves and establish their credibility.
Creating and sharing useful content increases brand recognition and makes you look like an expert in your field. In the end, this will help attract new clients.
Despite knowing the benefits of blogging, it can be difficult to get started if you don’t know what to write about. I sometimes have writers block so I wish I had a process for finding ideas when I first started blogging to promote my solo practice.
These are my tips to help solo attorneys come up with new ideas when starting a law firm blog:
1. Write about common problems
For my posts about solo practice I get a lot of inspiration from what is going on in my practice. If I’m dealing with a problem that other solos might have, then I turn that into a post.
If you are starting a law firm blog, then you can write about issues your clients are dealing with. Take a look at your previous cases and try to identity the pain points that are common among your target audience.
You can take one story you have of a particularly interesting or challenging case and write about how you helped your client find a solution. Posts like these will provide prospects with concrete examples of your experience and will highlight your problem-solving skills.
Be careful not to sound too egocentric in these types of articles. Focus on the story and explain how you contributed to the solution in a meaningful, advice-driven way.
2. Look at the news
Providing commentary and analysis on recent developments relevant to your practice area is one of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise. For example, if you’re an attorney with a focus in intellectual properly, then you could write a blog article explaining your thoughts on Apple recently being sued over its touch screen technology.
When starting a law firm blog, make sure you’re offering compelling, valuable thoughts that differentiate you. Avoid writing a summary with dry commentary filled with confusing legal jargon. Write a simple, interesting analysis that a prospective client can understand and offers some insight they wouldn’t find from a news outlet.
When I have writer’s block I ask my network of clients and colleagues, as well as my followers on social media.
Crowdsourcing for ideas is effective because you’re giving readers what they want and you might find fresh ideas you never would have come up with. Sometimes it’s better to get out of your own head and simply ask your target audience what type of information they are looking for.
4. Answer questions from clients
I often receive questions via email or social media, and if I get the same question more than once I know it may be a good idea for a post.
After you have a consult with a potential clients, write down some of the basic legal questions they asked during the meeting. You can build your credibility and authority by writing a blog article answering common questions.
While this may feel like you’re giving away free legal advice, it shows prospective clients that you are competent and knowledgeable. In today’s technology-driven world, any advice you give can eventually be found somewhere. It’s much better for a potential client to get the information from you than from a competing attorney.
5. Read other Industry blogs
Keep up with blogs that are similar to yours. The idea is not to copy their post, because that won’t be beneficial, but you can expand on it and add your own thoughts, experiences, and commentary.
Basically, you can take interesting content and make it better. For example, there are many posts on child support in New York, but my goal would be to write something useful or comprehensive based on my individual experience as a family law attorney.
Additionally, you should try discussing your blog with other attorneys in your practice area. This is a good way to seek out potential guest blogging opportunities from your colleagues. Think about ways you might even collaborate on a blog article and offer to link back to their blog or firm website to give them an SEO boost.
6. Visit forums
If you want to find out what information real people are looking for, then forums are the perfect place. I learned that I can get a lot of ideas from Avvo or Quora questions. You can even try looking at what users are posting on Reddit if you can find a thread related to your practice area.
I have found many people looking for legal advice or sharing personal stories in the Family Law thread. For example, one user posted a question about retaining custody of his step son if his wife were to pass away.
If I were to use this for a blog article, I would answer the question, write a blog post on the topic linking to the thread and share my answer on social media with a link to my article. Remember, when answering legal questions on a forum or blog, try to keep your response general and advise your audience to seek further guidance from a personal attorney.
7. Use the Hubspot Blog Topic Generator
I recently started using this tool to get my creative juices flowing. You put in three terms you want to blog about and it will generate a week’s worth of blog ideas. They are not all winners, but I can usually get a topic or two out of it.
The key to writing posts that people want to read is to share valuable information and keep it simple. Your writing should be concise and clear using short paragraphs, lists, or bullets for readability. Focus more on helping the reader than promoting yourself.
Blogging does not have to be intimidating and doing it right will result in new revenue for your firm.