Monday, January 14, 2013

Five Things You Must Do For Your Law Firm Blog In 2013

January can be a doldrum of a month.  The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is over, and it is easy to view January as the beginning of a long, dull winter stretch.  It is all perspective.  Instead of viewing January as the beginning of an isolated stretch of cold, it is also the ideal time to take advantage of a clean slate.  Any time is a good time to makes changes in your life or business.  But there is something welcome about using a New Year to make changes.

So what should you do in 2013 to make your law firm blog serve its purpose?  Here are five basics.  If you already have a grip on these things, then keep it up--slow and steady wins the race.  However, if you have yet to fully embrace these five principles, then slowly add them to your routine now. 

1) Write consistenly.  The single biggest mistake made by law firms (especially solo and mid-size attorneys) is failing to write enough.  It is not acceptable to crank out a single post every month or every other month.  At the very least, one post a week is needed so that your blog becomes a weekly destination for some and triggers search engines to identify new content connected to your name frequently.  There are two main ways to write more often:  hire others or set a schedule.  No matter what it takes, just do it.

2) Write sufficiently.  Writing weekly (or daily) is always the goal.  However, it only counts if the individual post is of sufficient length and quality.  Writing three sentences with a link to a court opinion does not quite cut it.  Instead, the posts need to be 450-600 words.  When commenting on a court opinion, there needs to be a layman's summary of the case with perhaps inclusion of outside perspectives and details on the long-term implications.  In other words, value to the reader needs to be provided.  If the whole purpose of the post is to send people elsewhere via a link and short paragraph, then you will not see benefit.

3) Stop overdoing the links.  If there was a single difference that you should make in your legal blogging in 2013 and compared to 2012, it is the way you approach links.  A year ago, many SEO advocates continued to push to idea that a firm needed to have many "Goldilocks" keyword phrases (i.e. Miami car accident attorney") and link those phrases to set pages on the firm website.  No more.  That sort of overt spamming simply does not work.  And it will begin to cause actual harm to your SEO efforts the longer you drag them out.  This is actually good news, because is means that more natural writing is now more beneficial writing.  Talk with blog writing professionals on the specifics of linking in 2013, but never forget that the overt link-baiting is a thing of the past.

4) Stop writing briefs.  The best legal blog writing threads the needle between writing mundane dense material and that which does not project expertise.  In other words, the tone of the best legal blogs is light and understandable to all community members.  Yet, it still must share useful legal information and ensure readers understand that the attorney is familiar with the law. 

5) View the blog as a library.  Wherever possible, the blog should be a comprehensive package of information, not isolated articles.  In other words, you should cross reference old posts where applicable and build on material that has already been published.  This encourages readers to delve into your archives, often getting lost in old posts that provie a wealth of information on any given topic.  All of this makes for great SEO and better conversion rates for potential clients who stumble upon the blog.

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