By Peter Boyd, a Florida attorney who founded PaperStreet. He has helped over 1,500 law firms with their websites, content and marketing.
Blogging offers a low-cost way for law firms to attract new clients and stay top of mind with referral sources. But there is nothing more frustrating than setting aside time to plan blogs only to have your mind draw a blank when it comes to picking a topic.
While many firms choose to use their blog as a vehicle to show off accomplishments, there are many other options for subjects that can increase your appeal to potential clients and enhance relationships with current clients.
1. Answer Some Of The Questions You Get Most Often
Off the top of your head, you can probably think of a few questions that current or prospective clients ask frequently. If your firm has staff who interact with clients frequently, check with them to see what questions they find themselves answering repeatedly. For future topic ideas, start keeping a list or have someone on staff keep a list of client questions.
This type of blog can be especially helpful to members of the public who are looking for information, and when your site becomes an authority on the subject, that can improve your credibility with search engines, which can lead to improvements in search results.
2. Discuss Changes In The Law Or Developments In A Related Business
New statutes or regulations that affect your area of practice are a natural topic for a blog. Changes in judicial or administrative procedures also make good blog topics because they provide information that can be extremely helpful to clients in your practice area. Like blog posts that cover popular questions, blogs explaining the impact of legal changes can prove to be popular and authoritative posts that can help boost your website’s SEO.
In addition to statutes and regulations, consider writing about judicial opinions involving your practice area, even if they involve a different jurisdiction. They may serve as a persuasive authority or signal a coming trend. At the very least, they can provide arguments that could appeal to prospective or current clients.
Industry developments with a connection to your practice area can also provide topics for a law firm blog. For instance, personal injury lawyers could discuss the effect of new driver-assist features on cars. Divorce lawyers might blog about trendy practices such as birdnesting.
3. Surprise Or Entertain The Reader
Some of the blogs that can appeal most to readers are those that start out with a surprise. Discussing little-known laws or fun facts can provide the full topic for a post or just serve as an attention-getting introduction.
Did you know that there’s a National Lost Sock Memorial Day? How about National Lima Bean Respect Day? Highlighting little-known commemorations can provide a great lead-in for certain topics. More traditional holidays also work well as a source for blog topics, such as writing about VA long-term care benefits for Veterans Day during November. These blogs can be fun for writers as well as readers.
4. Expand On Topics Covered In Your Practice Area Pages
A well-constructed website contains informational pages that delve into your practice areas and the services you provide to clients. You can use your blog to explore additional areas or expand on information introduced in your practice area pages.
For instance, an estate planning attorney might go into detail about funding a revocable trust or the various steps involved in the probate process. A personal injury lawyer might discuss what not to do after a car accident. A criminal lawyer might discuss a probation-before-judgment program.
5. Share Information You Wish Clients Understood
Law firms can even use their blogs to make their job a little easier by explaining things they wish their clients knew. They might discuss the etiquette for an online hearing or what to expect in a deposition. A blog could explain what a firm provides in an initial consultation or how clients should prepare for a mediation session. They can also use blogs to reinforce information contained on the practice area pages, such as explaining how comparative negligence can reduce a settlement or verdict.
Getting Help With Blogs And Blog Topics
If an obvious topic does not come to mind, scan posts that others in your practice area have written, particularly those in different cities or regions of your state. You might also talk to your marketing staff or consultant. They should be able to suggest valuable topics that will build your credibility with potential clients and with search engines.
You can also outsource the entire blog process, although you should reserve the right to approve any posts before they go live and to insist on quality work befitting your firm. Blogs can serve as a valuable tool, and they need to provide accurate information, but they are only a small part of the big picture and should not take an inordinate amount of firm resources.