Monday, June 24, 2013

Narrow Your Practice Areas -- At Least On Your Blog

It's too late.  I can't compete.  Why bother.

Many medium to small firms--particularly in big, competitive markets--tend to feel overwhelmed about competing for online attention space.  After all, there are only a few names that can show up on the first page of Google for "New York injury lawyer," so why would a smaller operation even pretend to fight for that space against the juggernauts who have endless marketing budgets?

Is this a logical line of thought?  Not really.

That is for three reasons: (1) Blogging is about much more than search rankings; (2) Even still, the competition is sometimes not as strong as you think; (3) Niche blogging makes it possible to make a dent no matter what the situation.

It is the third point that we want to discuss here...the need to narrow the scope a bit.

A recent post from Solo Practice University (a general legal practice advice website) touched on the problem of trying to dabble in too many practice areas at once.  The main point of the post was that it is difficult to develop tailored experience and true mastery of any area of the law if one takes any case no matter what the area.  Bankruptcy, criminal defense, estate planning, and family law comprise vastly different knowledge bases and skill sets.  Just because lawyers, unlike doctors, usually do not formally specialize and are able to take on any case does not mean that it is in your best interest to do so.  Clients are not presented with the appearance of vast experience when many different practice areas are marketed.

Niche Blogging
Others may have opinions on the merits of tailoring one's practice to an area or two.  What we care about is legal content writing purposes, and in that regard the idea of narrowing the focus is very important.

Sure, it may be tough to compete with established firms on the most general keywords/practice areas in the largest markets.  However, the more narrow you address your online marketing efforts, the less robust the competition.    In other words even if you are a solo practitioner or a small practice that takes on a wide range of cases, it is best NOT to have a general legal blog that touches on every area under the sun.  Instead, focus the blog on one practice area and hammer it home.  In that way, over the months and years the blog will include content with laser precision and depth on a given subject.

Bouncing around with random blog posts between bankruptcy, criminal defense, injury, and family law is a scatter-shot approach that is less likely to make a dent in any of those areas.  But picking just one area for you blog (even if you are still taking many different types of cases) is a far more prudent use of marketing time and money.

It is not surprising to see the most successful law firm content writing efforts include very narrow blows (i.e. Smithville bike accident legal news) or for firms to have several blogs, each devoted to different areas.

Not a Straightjacket
To be clear, we are not advocating a blog that only talks about a single thing: i.e. bike accident examples in one town.  The actual topics can have a very wide scope, but the one unifying theme should be narrow.  A bike accident blog, for example, may include discussion of many things: cases, accidents in the news, issues of bike paths, new bike sharing programs, general legal cases affecting tort law (with reference to biking injuries), bike safety programs, new bike helmet designs, the list goes on...

You do not need to settle one single type of post or style of posting, but one general theme should at least be touched upon in each addition.  Niche blogging as a legal copywriting tool is not about limiting yourself but focusing yourself.  It is more than a semantic difference.

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