Blogging is an incredibly powerful way to market a law firm at all levels of the funnel. This means everything from generating awareness and top of mind advertising, through to consideration, conversion and contact stages of a lawyer’s marketing funnel.
In this guide, we’re going to look at blogging for lawyers and litigators from start to finish. We’ll go through:
- Why blogging is important
- Choosing what to blog about
- Where to host your Blawg
- Finding Legal Topics to Blog about
- Blogging SEO
- Syndicating your Blog
- Measure your Blawg’s Performance
It’s going to be a long article, so let’s get started.
Why is Blogging Important?
Some of the best performing websites in terms of generating new business and leads use blogging do pull in more traffic than they ever thought possible. As we’ll see below, a lawyer blogging on their website is probably the single most powerful thing they can do for their SEO and organic traffic.
We conducted a study, looking at the top-performing law firm websites ranking in search results. In terms of generating massive amounts of traffic and ranking for keywords, the data was evident on what separated the average law firm website from the top performers: blogging.
In short, the research we conducted found:
- Lawyers that were actively blogging on their websites ranked for 1781% more keywords than law firms that didn’t blog (averaging: 5,389 vs. 287 keywords)
- This translated into those law firms generating 15.9 times more traffic to their blogs and websites than those that didn’t (average monthly organic traffic: 3,083 vs. 182 visitors from search)
The rationale behind these findings is sound. Search engines and their supporting technologies are evolving and we are getting more specific in what we ask and look for through search engines like Google and Bing. In essence, we’re becoming more demanding and specific with our search queries and questions. We type in longer questions into the search bar and seeking more accurate answers and information.
This brings us to the idea of long-tail versus short-tail keywords. When someone types in something like “attorney ct” or “attorney connecticut”, the search engine interprets that as the person searching looking for a lawyer or list of lawyers in Connecticut to contact. Therefore, Google satisfies that search by showing a list of lawyers.
If someone performed a search about whether or not disability benefits were taxable in Connecticut, they would see a very different list of search results. All are attempting to provide adequate information for the searcher’s query.
This example illustrates the difference between short-tail and long-tail keywords. Traditional SEO will help your website improve rankings for its primary keywords. However, blogging can expand your rankings much further. In turn, this helps your firm connect with people at all stages of the funnel before they hire a lawyer.
Law firms with active blogs also generated backlinks from 85% more websites than ones that didn’t (215 RDs vs. 116 RDs). For those that don’t know, backlinks are hyperlinks from other sites linking to yours. They are considered an essential nutrient for a website’s off-page SEO.
Decide What Type of Legal Content to Publish on your Blawg
One of the critical challenges when starting a legal blog is choosing what you’re going to publish. If you look at your competitors’ or other law firms’ blogs or article libraries, you’ll notice that there are shared commonalities in the types of things they blog about and in other circumstances, it will vary.
Don’t get too caught up in the content strategy quite yet. First, we want to define the objectives for your Blawg.
What Do You Want Your Blawg to Accomplish?
Below is a list of different goals and objectives you can set for your blog:
- Acquire new leads and clients
- Earn Authoritative Backlinks
- Generate Journalist and Media Attention
- Build Authority in your Area of Law
- Business Development & Nurture Relationships
These goals aren’t mutually exclusive. Many of them will work synergistically with each other. However, trying to juggle all of them will significantly grow the complexity of your blogging and content strategy. We’ll break down what each one requires, in terms of content and then you can decide what you’ll objectives your practice wants to focus on most.
Acquire New Leads and Clients
For legal blogs with a primary objective of attracting new clients, you should aim to answer legal questions that people in your geographic area are searching for online. There are many different law blog topics that can cover this type of target visitors.
Target Audience: People in your geographic market researching legal information on your target areas of practice.
Content Recommendations: Legal information for prospective clients.Answer your clients’ FAQs, laws and legal information specific to your geographic area (usually the state level, sometimes municipal or federal). Focus on areas of law you want to market as well as things that people search for leading up to them hiring a lawyer. An example for a family lawyer might be to create a blog article titled “Common ways to resolve issues with your spouse before giving up”.
Earn Authoritative Backlinks
For many law firms heavily invested in an online and SEO strategy, earning links back to your website will be a core off-page SEO activity and focus. There are several different strategies you can take. Taking a blog topic from ideation to the drafting board will require passing a test: is it link-worthy content?
Link-worthy content can be thought of like a Ph.D.’s research paper or publication; will people cite this work in the future? Content that gets linked to frequently, include newsworthy, unique and statistically-rich content.
Who will you write for: Content writers, editors and publishers with access to their own or other websites.
Content Recommendations: Write about changes in the law or new precedence, publish statistics or research your firm compiled or conducted related to your focus areas of law. This could include a case your firm litigated. Provide a unique take, better or more in-depth information than anyone else has published on a particular legal topic/subject.
Generate Journalist and Media Attention
Similar to earning backlinks, you’ll want to take the same approach to create content for the same or relatively similar audience. Part of this objective will take further defining who or what types of journalists you’re aiming to attract. This could vary, range or include local to national media and journalism organizations. It could also be niche or industry-specific, such as a legal magazine geared toward lawyers or a related industry.
Who will you write for: Similar to Earn Authoritative Backlinks, but ultimately will depend on the types of media organizations from which you seek to attract attention.
Content Recommendations: Statistics on areas of law, case studies or cases your firm (or another firm has litigated), instead of having a legal blog, consider having a News section on your firm’s website.
Build Authority in your Area of Law
Becoming known as an authority, but the authority in your field of practice can be a great way to generate free advertising in the form of press. An example of this would include being asked to do interviews for TV, journal or radio media. Internet forms of media such as YouTube and podcasting are also great forms of media that continue to grow in popularity.
Becoming an authority could also lean towards business development, whereby you become an authority in your market may be at a local, state, federal or international scale. This somewhat depends on your area of practice, but furthermore the types of cases you specialize in. Returning to the point, you can build your authority in your area of law within the legal community (other lawyers) or even connected industries.
Who will you write for: Depending on your authority-building strategy, you could be writing for media, other lawyers or related industries. You may even write for other well-known lawyers and give them material to reference in conferences and CLE events.
Content Recommendations: Determine who you’ll write for and then write the content for them. Unlike many of the other types of audiences here, if your target audience is other lawyers, you’ll be much more comfortable using legalese.
Business Development & Nurture Referral Relationships
Perhaps your practice’s business generation and marketing strategy rely heavily on referrals and word of mouth. For instance, larger law firms and practices focused on business and corporate areas of practice spend proportionately less on marketing than small, solos and firms that concentrate on consumer-facing legal services. However, these firms tend to survive or thrive off of referral business and building a reputation. If any of these criteria apply to your practice, then perhaps you should consider writing for lawyers and companies connected to your firm or services. This means writing for your networking and business development groups, referral partners and connected professional services. Let’s look at an example of connected professional services. For a lawyer practicing estate planning, a connected service may be a financial planner, since estate planning lawyers often can generate new clients from financial planners.
Who will you write for: Referral sources, related professional service providers and networking groups.
Content Recommendations: Write for these audiences, educate them and provide information that relates to your areas of practice. Approach it in a way that would interest them. Discuss the relationships or connections between your industries or provide free, valuable information that will help them with their businesses.
Overall Content and Blogging Recommendations
Unless your legal practice falls into a select category, (i.e. ones mentioned in the Business Development and Referrals section), then generally, we recommend focusing the majority of your blogging efforts on lead and client acquisition. Blog about questions your and topics your prospective clients are going to have at different stages of the funnel.
The remainder of this guide will be tailored with the assumption that your blogging needs will have a primary objective or strong focus content geared toward client acquisition. If you focus on something else, you’ll still find the techniques applicable to your situation.
Hosting your Blawg: Where will you Publish your Articles?
Once you have a clearer understanding about your blog’s target audience and the legal topics you’ll write about, you’ll need to figure out where you’re going to publish all of this content. In this regard, we mean the actual website where you’ll host your blog, rather than the technology or host provider.
There are three main options where you can choose to set up your law blog:
- Personal blog
- Your Law Firm’s Main Website
- An Annexed website, owned by your law firm
Many attorneys have their own personal blogs. They write articles and blog posts about their areas of practice, but also on topics that interest them, including politics, government and law. Usually, these can do well for generating attention, clients and referrals directly for that lawyer. Many lawyers prefer this approach as they don’t need to review with others and it helps them develop their name and personal brand in the legal community.
There are several drawbacks to doing this, namely around building a web presence and authority. Generally, we’ve found that personal blogs attract links with less friction or work than a law blog. However, this also means that your personal blog is building more authority and links than it’s actually building to your law firm’s website. Some link equity and authority can be transferred to your legal practice’s main site, but it’s a second-order result.
If you’re considering a personal blog approach and starting a new website, then it may take longer for your article to rank. Compare that to your law firm’s site, which is most likely already indexed by Google and other search engines; this can speed up the process of ranking.
Blogging on the Law Firm’s Main Website
The most popular approach to law firm’s blogging is to host their blog as a sub-path on their main website. There are many advantages to this, including attracting links and traffic to your practice’s main website and therefore focusing your content marketing, blogging and SEO efforts on one domain instead of several different sites.
Additionally, when visitors find your blog posts and read them on your law firm’s website, they see your branding and phone number. Seeing a local area code and having an impression of your firm’s brand is important. Recognizing it could make the difference between them contacting your firm as opposed to your competition when they’re ready to talk to a lawyer. For some people, it will even prompt them to call your firm earlier.
Annexing your Legal Blog your Practice’s Main Website
An approach that’s more or less down the middle involves having a website that is dedicated to blogging on the firm’s behalf. We’ve seen this take several different forms. A law firm may choose to host several blogs in this fashion or merely one blog on a separate domain.
In the former scenario, a firm may focus on one area of practice, create service core pages and articles on that specific area of law. This allows them to modify their branding and logo to position themselves as ‘specialists’ in that area of law.
The former case where a firm has one separate blog website can be used similarly too. It cuts down on the amount of overhead and allows the firm to invest in a single, additional property. An advantage to having a separate site is it will enable your firm to focus its content more narrowly on one area of law. This is better in terms of Google’s new direction towards websites focused on expertise, authority and trust.
Note: If you already have a CMS like WordPress and are set up with hosting, you can skip the rest of this section.
What Content Management System Should You Use?
There are many different content management systems to choose from and many of them are free. Some of the most popular are:
WordPress, Joomla and Drupal come in free and premium hosted versions. We recommend WordPress for several reasons:
- It’s by far the most popular, well-documented and supported system on the market.
- In our study, we found over 60% of top-performing (SEO-wise) law firm websites used the WordPress CMS
Then there are premium-only, all-in-one systems, such as Wix and SquareSpace. These have the advantage of bundling hosting and CMS together, but you’ll be paying a monthly fee. If you don’t care about paying a reasonable, but additional monthly premium, then these are decent options. You’ll also benefit out-of-the-box SEO and performance enhancements. This is not to say that your site will have great or better performance than a WordPress site or other CMS. However, if you’re okay with spending a little extra to go fully DIY, then these are good options.
Overall, we still recommend WordPress. It has the most flexibility in terms of being developer friendly, marketer-friendly and host-friendly. It is extremely reliable and extendable with tens of thousands of different plugins and themes to customize the functionality and aesthetics of your website or blog.
Finding & Researching Legal Topics to Blog About
Finding topics for your law firm to write about is easier than you think. Sure, there are some advanced techniques you can use to build your hit-list of blog topics. However, we’re going to start with some simple, surefire methods that work really, really well.
1. Ignore your Competition’s Content
Many people are tempted to look at their competitor’s blogs, other law firm’s in their market and even outside of the market to see what they’re writing content on. We don’t recommend you do this to get a sense of what to write.
We do recommend that you look at their blogs to:
- Understand their writing style: good legal blogs are professionally written, but simple for average, non-attorney folk to read
- Gather Creative Inspiration: look at how their blog website is styled and what type of imagery they use in their posts. Writing style, use of headings, bold text and other elements are a good way to think about how you can make your own articles more engaging and better reads
We don’t recommend that you look at their blogs to:
- Gauge Length / Depth: If your competitor is writing short, 400-600 word blog posts and you think that will cut it. Usually, we recommend 800-1,000 words minimum per blog article. Typically, articles that you publish should be longer than this minimum.
- Reverse Engineer their Topics & Content Strategy: You may read some of their blogs and quickly get a sense of what topics they’re focused on writing about. Sometimes, their blogging strategy may be unclear and could mislead you. Unless you have SEO tools like Ahrefs or Moz, it’s hard for you to tell if your competitor’s articles are even attracting readers and organic search traffic. This is a mousetrap you want to avoid falling prey to.
2. Answer your Client’s Common Questions
Compile a list of FAQs to answer. We’ll want to turn each FAQ into full-fledged articles, instead of FAQ snippets. Each post should be a minimum of 1,000 words and in many cases, can probably be longer. If your article falls short of that, it could be an article topic or FAQ that has a more concise answer. However, in many cases, we find that the author could have gone further or more in-depth with the FAQ’s blog response.
Tip: Part of the reason why your website stands a good chance of ranking for keywords and getting traffic with these FAQ-style blog posts is that many areas of law will require you to specify at the state -evel. Therefore, you can deliver unique information by writing specifically for the state you practice in and for people looking up legal information for the types of cases you focus on.
3. Find Out What your Prospective Clients are Researching
Once you have a good foundation of articles composed of FAQ response posts, you’ll want to continue blogging and finding new keyword and topic opportunities with a high chance of ranking for keywords and pulling in new, relevant traffic to your firm’s website.
There are many SEO and keyword research tools on the market, both free and premium. However, we’re going to go with a simpler and more direct approach to keyword research by using Google.
As we saw earlier, you can search for nearly anything on Google and in most cases, find a good amount of information on the subject. Whether what you find is trustworthy or not, will depend of course 😉
If you’re a disability or injury lawyer in Connecticut, the above query or similar would be a decent place to start your topic research. From there, you can look at two different areas on the page:
- “People also ask” section
- “Searches related to” section
These two areas on the search results page are a gold mine for lawyers and legal professionals looking to find topics on Google to write about. Because instead of using a fancy SEO tool to find out the proper keywords you should be targeting. Rather, Google is telling you what people are searching for!
SEO Considerations for your Blawg
There’s a lot that you can do in terms of SEO to improve your ability to rank in search. Check out our article on SEO tips for legal blogging for our recommendations and best practices on applying on-page optimization techniques to your blog and articles.
In short, you should do the following when writing blog articles:
- Use a captivating heading to describe your content and draw search users to click on it
- Create subheadings to break up content and make your content quickly scannable
- Use bold text to highlight the short answers and points of emphasis throughout your articles
- Use exact keywords and synonyms to grab the audience’s attention
- Don’t keyword stuff for SEO and algorithmic purposes
- Optimize your headings and content for local searches (i.e. legal information specific to the state/jurisdiction you practice law in)
- Use images, graphics and tables to illustrate and simplify complicated legal topics
- Make your content longer, more in-depth and valuable than other articles competing for your topic’s target search terms and keywords
- Link to related articles in the content and at the bottom of your posts to:
- keep your audience on-site, longer
- increase brand impressions
- generate more case leads
- Post at a consistent frequency, at least once per month to get better results
- Use a plugin like Yoast to clean up in-content, SEO issues and optimize title, URL and text
Syndicating your Blog
Now that you have written top-shelf, valuable legal information on your firm’s blog, it’s time for it to reach your target audience. There are several mediums you’ll want to think about incorporating into your content marketing strategy.
Organic Traffic from Search
Your long term plan may be to acquire traffic organically. Meaning, you’re aiming to rank for keywords and topics your audience is searching for through Google, Bing or another search engine. As it’s been a significant part of this article, it’s reasonable to set such an expectation. Keep in mind that it can take time for your blog posts to appear in the search rankings. In simple terms, search engines have to:
- Find your content
- Index it
- Test where and for what queries it should rank for
Because of this, you could sit on it and wait for it to rank, but it’s recommended to start broadcasting your new content as soon as possible.
Traffic from Social Media
If your firm has a page or account on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook then these are ideal places for you to share your blog’s new content. While you’re waiting for your articles to rank, be proactive in sharing your blog content. You can get fresh eyeballs on your posts through your social accounts and have it shared further by your network.
If your law firm uses e-newsletters, then this can be an excellent way to share your content with your closest followers. Unlike social media and organic traffic, contacts registered to receive your firm’s email newsletter are in most cases among your greatest supporters. Your email list is generally made up of your past clients, business partners and other lawyers. When email marketing is done right, they’re going to be highly receptive to reading or sharing your content.
Share with other Publishers
If your content is newsworthy, then you’re going to want to put more effort into promoting this to other publishers. Reach out to influencers, authors and bloggers on other websites, news outlets and media journalists. The more people from media organizations you can contact and share your articles with, the better your odds of having your work shared or linked to.
Measuring Your Blog’s Performance
Before you start publishing your posts and preparing for a flood of new traffic to your website, you’ll want to install a tool such as Google Analytics. This will help you track the performance of your blog articles.
Web analytics can be invaluable in gauging how well your blogs perform in terms of:
- How much traffic they generate
- How many leads they immediately generate
- How much time people spend on-page
Use this information to determine trends in which content performs best to reproduce similar results for new content in the future. You can use the data to go back and fix existing posts that need some tweaking to the odd paragraph or heading to keep the reader’s attention. There’s a lot that website analytics tools can do.
Even if you can’t dedicate the time to learn how to use Google Analytics, installing it on your website would be a smart move. Although you may not have time to use it, it can still be working away, tracking your site data. That way, when you have time to invest in it, you have a decent bank of historical data to analyze.
After reading through this guide, it may seem like there’s a lot to do, just to start writing articles to drive more traffic to your law firm. It may be a lot to digest, but it’s all here. Start by deciding what you want to accomplish with your legal blog and who your target audience is. Then move onto defining topics that you’ll blog about.
You’re almost ready to start writing. First, make sure you install Google Analytics. Then, look at our SEO blogging tips for lawyers to make sure your articles are primed to drive new traffic.