“You need to blog for your practice!”
You’ve likely heard this line from a coworker, marketer, or trainer. If your website is nothing more than a glorified resume and payments portal, potential customers may be turned off. They want to know more about the person they will be representing.
Everyone else does it too. Even the big law firms have blogs on their website. You have to do it for a reason.
So you decided to blog. But you don’t know how to start and you have a lot of questions. Should I use a free blogging host? Or should I use a paid one? What should I write about? How often should I write? What topics would attract the most customers? Or should I write about what concerns me? Should I Pay for SEO? Or are SEOs scams?
So, if you clicked that button trying to find the magic formula that will allow you to instantly reach more customers through your blog, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Blogging should be done but isn’t really necessary unless you have other marketing strategies. Some companies get customers regularly through their blogs. Others are fine without them.
Today I want to focus on the basics of how to set up and write a blog.
Set up. If your business already has a website, the easiest way to start a blog is to include it on your website. Create a blog section and start writing.
Some people prefer to have a separate website. There are free blog hosts like Blogger and WordPress. However, you may want to consult your local attorney’s group for further recommendations.
I recommend trying a couple of platforms and choosing the one that you are most comfortable with. This is important if you’ve never blogged before. Most blogging platforms should have basic word processing capabilities such as: bold, write in italics or underline words. The blogging platform should also be compatible with your computer. Finally, you should check that your posts are compatible with mobile platforms such as smartphones or tablets as they will be used by more people for reading.
Whether you want to try out the paid premium service of a platform is entirely up to you. You may want to inquire beforehand. The best reviews come from real people so be sure to look around. I’ve heard most of the people say that the premium services aren’t worth it.
Blog topics. A blog is empty with no content. So what should you write about? If you’re blogging for business, you should write about topics that your prospects would be interested in. Since we live in a time of short attention spans, your goal is to keep the reader reading until the end.
A very good topic for a blog post is a common question or problem that you get from potential customers. Usually their problems are so minor that hiring a lawyer would not be cost effective. However, a detailed blog post would be enough to help them out. These topics are good because customers with minor issues can reach out to your blog instead of asking for a free consultation. It can also build your expertise for potential clients with major problems who may need your help.
Another good subject is to analyze recently published court decisions related to your areas of activity. Since most court decisions contain many technical legal languages and citations, you can summarize the court’s decision and reasoning. You can also leave some comments explaining why this court case is important to the reader.
After all, if you’ve taught cases in law school, this skill could come in handy in the real world.
If there is a new emerging area of law that you’re interested in, write about it, too. Since the area is developing with no clear answers, you can be wrong as long as your reasoning is strong. It can also establish your expertise early on.
If the news has big stories about what you do, you can write and comment on it.
Finally, pay attention to your audience. If your main customers are from Main Street, minimize the use of jargon or legal language. If you are looking for experts in the field or a more sophisticated audience, complex prose can be more liberal.
Write frequency. I see a lot of legal blogs that are dead after a few months. Sometimes because the writers think they have nothing to write about. Others are discouraged because their blogging masterpieces didn’t make them their dream customers, but instead attracted tire-kickers. And others were just too busy to write.
Personally, I think it is a good habit to write regularly, even if it is once a month. Over time, your numerous contributions will demonstrate the depth of your expertise. But don’t feel compelled to write too often or it will feel like a chore.
A blog for your practice is a good idea. Probably someone will read your post at some point. I was contacted by people about posts I made here years ago. As with most new businesses, getting started is the hardest part. But once you get the hang of it, have fun with it, make your posts informative, and share your posts with as many people as possible.
Steven Chung is a tax attorney based in Los Angeles, California. He helps people with basic tax planning and tax dispute resolution. He is also personable with people with large student loans. He can be reached by email at [email protected] Or you can connect with him on Twitter (@stevenchung) and connect with him LinkedIn.