You have a few hours in between client calls to catch up on some emails and check in on your law firm’s website performance. You remember a few days ago when you had an idea for a blog post you want to write for your firm’s legal blog, so you start typing away and send it off to your website manager to post.
While you mean well, developing an effective strategy for your law firm’s website content and legal blog requires preparation, careful thought, and a thorough strategy. Writing a blog post without proper planning is like stepping into a courtroom without adequately preparing for a trial.
“Can I just write my website content myself?” is something we sometimes hear from attorneys. Yes, technically you can. But will it be optimized for SEO and follow website writing best practices? Will it have clear calls to action? How will you consider your law firm’s website design and how to structure your content appropriately? Do you actually have the time? We’ll go out on a limb and say the answer to a few of these questions may be “No.”
Before you sit down to write a web page or legal blog post, here are 5 things that must be done.
One of the most challenging aspects of a law firm website is developing a unique brand voice. You want to communicate your expertise, but not overwhelm potential clients with legalese. You want to sound authentic. It’s also important to understand the formats and style of writing that works best on websites and blog, as this differs vastly from other forms of communication you may be used to writing.
Before you write any content for your website, you should establish your tone and create guidelines on how you’ll use language to convey your firm’s unique message and story. Will you use humor? If so, to what extent? How do you want someone to feel when they read your webpage or blog post? How will you maintain consistency across your website?
Often, what makes a great content writer stand out is their ability to adapt their tone and writing style to fit the particular brand voice they’re writing for. At Postali, we have many different types of law firms as clients and no two pieces of content we write are ever the same. This is because we work with each law firm to develop a brand voice that is unique and sets them apart from their competition.
It’s important that each page on your website and blog convey a consistent and effective brand voice.
You’re not writing your website content for yourself, and you’re often not writing it for other attorneys. Your audience is current and potential clients of your law firm. So how do you know what topics you should write about? How much do you actually know about their questions or concerns? Is that blog post idea you had something that would even resonate with your target audience?
These questions aren’t things you should guess at. Before you sit down to write, you should conduct the proper research to ensure your content addresses the right topics.
If you write about a subject, your potential for that page to receive traffic from SEO is dependent on if people actually search for information about that topic or not. Keyword research will help identify how people search for information and give you a guideline for keywords you will want to target in your copy in order to maximize its exposure.
How will your content be structured? In order to be digestible on a screen, most content will need to be organized into sub-topics. Keyword and audience research should inform how you structure your content and which topics you may need to go into more detail about.
Should your blog post be a short, 500-word article? Should it be long-form? Before you write, you should have an idea of the level of depth your webpage or blog post needs to have. This will vary based on the complexity of the topic.
With legal marketing, you need to have a clear plan before you do anything, and content writing is no different. In fact, this is what separates content writing with content strategy. Content strategy is what will make your law firm website appear in search results and ultimately serve as a means to bring new business to your firm. Content writing is one component, but it’s certainly not the only one.
Writing effective website content takes time. And you know what they say about time. It’s money. If you’re spending the time to sit down and write a webpage for your firm’s website or a blog post, first consider the purpose of the piece.
It may be that the purpose is to increase your website traffic through optimizing the piece for presence in organic search results. It could be to improve the readability of a page and provide prospective clients with more information, therefore increasing their likelihood to pick up the phone and call your firm for a consultation. It may be an opinion piece meant to showcase you as a thought leader in your field of law.
Each piece of content on your website should have a purpose. If you don’t have a clear purpose, how will you know if it’s effective or not? Writing a piece of content simply for the sake of writing it isn’t an effective use of your time.
A website is like a puzzle. Each webpage should work together to create your website experience. As you plan new pages or blogs, it’s important not to view them in isolation. How will this new page fit into the overall hierarchy of your website? Where will you link to it from? These decisions will have impacts to your law firm’s SEO strategy. It’s best to have a wholistic map of all of the pages on your website and your blog’s content calendar. If you establish this first, it will be easier to maintain and update it in the future as you build out more content on your website.
When people browse a website, they expect consistency in both how things are written and how they’re structured. Before you develop any website content, you should create templates for how each type of page should flow. Of course, a blog post is going to be very different than an attorney biography page, and that’s okay. But your attorney biographies should all have a consistent structure.
For example, you may want to ensure that each practice area page has a clear call-to-action, an explanation of what types of cases you cover and an overview of your firm’s experience in that area. Developing guidelines for what to include in each type of page will also help create consistency if there are multiple people contributing content to your firm’s website.
Website content and design go hand-in-hand. With law firm websites, it’s important to understand how you’ll use visual design to help make your content more digestible to your readers. This requires working with your website designer to understand what formats will work best, especially to ensure your content is readable on mobile devices. You’ll also want to understand if your piece may need images or videos to help convey your message, as this may affect how you’ll write the piece.
Writing a blog piece cannot be a one-off project. If a potential client comes to your website and sees you haven’t posted to your blog in 2 years, that could reflect poorly on your firm.
As you launch your legal blog strategy, it’s important to have a plan in place for how frequently you’ll post new blog articles and what types of content you’ll be writing about. Keeping a consistent cadence of updating your blog will aid your SEO efforts and show potential clients that you make an effort to provide expertise in your area of law.
You’ll also want to align your topics to a schedule that makes sense. For example, a personal injury attorney may want to create a blog calendar that includes winter safety topics as the cold weather approaches.
Writing content for legal websites requires a level of expertise that many other forms of web writing do not. If you want your content to be engaging and help drive business for your law firm, it’s important that you understand the best practices associated with writing website content.
People generally have pretty short attention spans, so you’ll want to ensure you understand how to write effective introductions, how to create compelling calls to action and the importance of structuring content in a way that’s readable on both desktop and mobile screens. If you’re working on content strategy for an attorney website, it’s likely that SEO is going to be an important piece of your marketing efforts. Before you write any content, you should understand SEO best practices.
Even the best website content writer may not be able to seamlessly transition into writing content for a law firm website. That’s because there are additional rules that must be followed. The American Bar Association sets attorney advertising rules that apply to all forms of advertising, including websites.
Your state’s bar association may have additional guidelines. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of attorney advertising ethical guidelines before you begin writing content for your website.
Lastly, it’s important to remember who your website is for. In most cases, your website visitors will be current or prospective clients. Your website is a way to help these visitors get to know your law firm. As an attorney, you know that your communication is often different based on your audience, and the same concept applies here.
You may think something is a great topic for a blog post. But is it really something your intended audience would find valuable? Is it a topic that will resonate?
If you put yourself in your audience’s shoes first, you’ll be able to write content they will resonate with. Remember that you likely have a much deeper understanding of the subject matter, but you need to communicate it in a way that someone without a legal background can understand. Avoid legalese in your website content. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of your audience and keep them top-of-mind with every sentence you write.
If you’d like to discuss your law firm website’s content or blog strategy, we’d love to talk.
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