Why Should I Care About Blogging?
Blogging will bring you more and better clients. The more part is easy. The more you write on your blog, the more eyeballs will read your content. The more eyeballs the read your stuff the more people will call your office, schedule an appointment, hire you, pay you, and everyone is happy.
How can a blog get you “better” clients – and more to the point, what is a “better” client. First, you blog is your opportunity to showcase not only what you know, but who you are.
Some people will like who you are, others may not. But I promise you this, the people who like you, like the stuff you know, and like the way you share it will be the ones who call your office. From the beginning you will have clients who will be a better “fit” for your style of practice.
Next, when a potential client comes into your office for a consultation they will be ready to move forward. The articles you publish on your blog will lay the foundation and build the relationship of trust before they even meet you.
When they do finally meet you all you need to do is be yourself and seal the deal. Let’s get started.
How Do I Set Up a Blog?
Your blog is really nothing more than a location for you to post your various articles. Some firms have blogs built into their firm websites others have them completely separate.
My advice is to incorporate your blog into your firm website. Your firm website is your home base. It is your virtual real estate where more and more clients are going to find you. This is your platform for telling the world who you are and why out of the thousands of lawyers out there, they should hire you.
Before we go any further you need to know something. I am not a tech guy. I outsource all of the technical aspects of setting up a website, blog, and podcast to people who know what they are doing.
It is kind of like those clients who think they can handle complex legal matters on their own. They muddle around for a while, but in the end they come to you, the professional to help them out. Only now their case is likely all screwed up and your job is even harder.
Trust me, unless you have a background in web design you are better served in time and the overall product to outsource it to a true professional. A company who I have used many times is Rowboat Media. They do a great job and are true pros.
If You Build It, Will They Come?
Your goal as a business owner should be to make it easy for people to find you, engage people with valuable content, and then make it easy for those people to share what they have found with others.
The Web is a big place. How are people who need your legal services going to be able to find you and read the great content you are putting up on your blog?
Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing have automated web crawlers (sometimes called spiders) that crawl the web indexing websites and their content. Then when someone goes to one of the search engines and enters keywords the search engine will provide a list of what it has determined are the most relevant results. Your goal is to be relevant to the search engines in your area of law practice.
In order to be relevant you need your website and blog to be optimized so that your content is easily searchable by the web crawlers. This is where we get into Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While there are technical aspects of SEO, the only thing you should concern yourself is how the use of keywords in your content impacts your ability to be relevant to the search engines.
For example, if you are a bankruptcy lawyer you want to attract people who need to file bankruptcy to your blog. People who are looking for a bankruptcy lawyer will likely enter keywords into a Google search that have to do with debt, bankruptcy, collections, garnishment, etc. By using those types of keywords in the articles you write you will be more likely to be relevant to the search engines and appear in the list of results that the consumer is searching through.
Write Content that People Actually Want to Read
Most lawyer are very good writers. Very good legal writers. Writing for a blog requires you to maintain your writing skills but tweak them for a different audience.
This is tougher than it sounds. And this is the reason that most law firm blogs suck. They write as if they are drafting an appellate brief. Tons of legalese, lawyer jargon, and writing on a level that is too elevated to captivate your target audience.
It may impress the court or your colleagues for you to wax eloquent on the inherent power of bankruptcy’s Automatic Stay, but all your target audience –your potential clients – want to know is that their credit card debt is going to go away. As you write, never lose site who you are really writing for.
Some bloggers are tempted to load their articles with certain keywords with an eye towards increasing their relevance to the search engines. Don’t do this. Not only do you risk Google punishing you for trying to game the system, the article simply won’t read well and thus won’t keep people around on your site.
In my opinion, too many bloggers worry about the SEO aspect of their writing rather than just focusing on providing their audience with valuable information.
Be engaging. Show some personality. Have an opinion. Provide answers the questions that your potential clients are seeking answers to and you will be successful in your blogging efforts.
Spread the Word
Search engines are but one way that potential clients will find you. You need to spread the word about your blog –and better yet, get others to do it for you.
There is where social media comes into play. You can engage with potential clients and other attorneys online through social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus.
For instance, after writing an article for my blog I will often post a link to it on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This exposes all of my connections on each of those social media platforms to my articles and thus to my law office.
Many attorneys I have spoken with about this are hesitant to post links to their law-related articles on their personal Facebook page or Twitter account. I will agree that if you only use these platforms to spread your blog content it is not a good idea, but if you are actively engaging friends and family on Facebook or Twitter I don’t see any problem with sharing your professional side.
And in fact, in reviewing the Google Analytics to my law practice blog a large amount of my readers access my articles through Facebook and Twitter. Further, I have been posting links to my articles for years and have never had a single person complain.
In It to Win It!
It is important from the outset that you understand that creating a successful blog is a long term project. Many people start a blog with the best of intentions only to lose interest and steam a couple months (or weeks) later.
By committing yourself to your blog and putting out new and engaging articles on a regular basis you will build a following and create an entire new client base that will rival even the biggest law firms with the biggest budgets.