Law firm’s don’t have a lot of time to use social media, so it’s important to get your blog up fast, otherwise you’ll never find the time.
A law firm’s blog serves as the central component for your firm’s social media strategy. I’ve compiled my suggested best practices to help you to get your firm’s blog up, focused and running quickly to rapidly start building your firm’s credibility within this space.
A law firm’s blog is like fishing. You want to fish for a particular fish, with a particular bait, and you want to get the bait away from the boat so you don’t scare off the fish.
To get your legal blog up and running quickly, you’ll need to do the following:
- Have a clear objective. Create content important to your clients and readers.
- Identify your target audience.
- Compose a descriptor statement, or subtitle, that states emphatically what your blog is about (i.e. A Guide for all of your Legal Needs, A Source of Legal News, etc.).
- Create a unique title for the blog. It’s helpful if you can also tie in the title with the blog’s URL.
- Be sure that you own your URL instead of having a WordPress.com, Typepad.com or Blogspot.com site. That way you can change blogging platforms without losing your online traffic. If possible, use your law firm’s name or a partner’s name in the URL.
- Know the key words that you want to dominate in Google search. For example: legal, law news, attorneys, etc. Be consistent to include your key words into your post titles.
- Come up with 10 to 12 categories that you will write to. These will help guide your writing and will facilitate navigation of your blog’s content for your readers.
- Start with a simple blogging platform that you can easily switch from in the future. My suggestion would be WordPress.com.
- Keep IT and creativity out of the picture in the beginning stages. Keep the process as simple as possible and focus on the blog’s content. Don’t spend your time worrying about how it looks.
- Set a goal for writing 50 posts within 30 days, I know this is a lot, so if you can’t do this just make sure you are consistently writing posts. This will help you to develop your research, resourcing, writing and publishing processes. You will quickly know what obstacles will inhibit you and allow you to figure out workarounds to keep the process moving.
- Navigation is critical. Make your blog easy to navigate with top posts, categories, etc. Install a search widget that is included in your blog’s sidebar and located above the fold.
- Create a “welcome for your blog” and include your photo to make it more personable. The “welcome” copy should be an expansion of your blog’s descriptor statement.
- Add these pages: About, Services, Legal Events, Contact.
- Add social media buttons for your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
- Be sure to add an RSS subscription button and create a Feedburner account through Google to get your link.
- Add a subscription button for an email newsletter that is directly linked to your email provider account, such as Vertical Response, Emma, Constant Contact, etc.
- Jump start traffic by sending out an email newsletter at least monthly, preferably every other week. Use content from your blog in the email newsletter. Don’t assume that just because you’ve written it, everyone has read it.
- Generate initial traffic through Twitter, using tools like SocialOomph and TweetAdder.
Create a format that you can use for every post:
- Incorporate your key words into every blog post title.
- Create a benefit/takeaway statement that begins each post. It should answer the question, “What is my benefit if I commit to read this post?”. This is the inverted pyramid style of writing, like a newspaper report would use. It leads with the conclusion.
- Write easy-to-read copy, breaking up long paragraphs and editing to make the post concise – on average 350 to 450 words.
- For the best return on your time investment, write posts that are “evergreen.” Try not to “date” your content. This is also a hard thing to do when writing about certain legal topics or current law changes – so keep most posts basic when you can.
- Consistently create valued content that is “reader-centric.”
- Hyperlink to resources and attribution to primary sources, such as the American Bar Association.
- Select one or more categories that are reflective of the blog’s content.
- Add tags for people, places and entities that are referenced in your post.
- Include “additional articles that may be of interest” at the bottom of the post with titles and links to four to five other posts that you’ve written.
- Include a photo or graphic in every post to make it visually pleasing.
Follow these steps, and you’ll have your blog up and running in no time.