Top 12 blog writing tips for lawyers
High-quality blog posts take time and expertise to write, but it’s worth the effort. Here’s why:
- B2B (business-to-business) marketers who use blogs get 57% more leads than those who do not. Hubspot
- Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to achieve a positive return on investment on their efforts. Hubspot
- Companies that blog receive 97% more links to their website. Hubspot
To be effective, blog posts must be produced consistently and they must be genuinely useful to readers. Over 90% of people only share blog posts that they believe will be helpful to others.
Read our top blog writing tips for lawyers to discover how to create content that your clients and potential clients want to read.
1. Write timely legal blog posts
A legal blog needs to include both timely and evergreen topics.
Timely topics could be written around new legislation, court decisions, legal news that has featured in the main media, and so on. For example, if your firm specialises in property law a blog post titled How to view homes safely during Covid-19 might be appropriate now.
Timely topics that have been published while they are ‘hot’, optimized for search engines, and promoted through a business’s marketing channels (social media, business email list, etc.) are a highly effective method of drawing traffic to a website quickly.
2. Write evergreen legal blog posts
Evergreen topics are those that are of interest to your target audience at any time, e.g. How to write a lasting power of attorney.
Evergreen topics burn more slowly by drawing traffic to your website over time. This is content that will be shared by people repeatedly. It is cost-effective content because you can repurpose it in different ways (see below) and it also draws far more traffic to your website in the long term than timely topics do.
3. Find legal topics of interest
There are many methods you can use to find topics that establish you as an authority in your legal area.
Use keyword research for inspiration. For example, you might type ‘commercial conveyancing’ into a keyword tool such as KWFinder as a starting point. From there you will find posts published by other law firms that are showing up for the keyword. Read their posts carefully and decide whether you can write something more comprehensive and interesting than they have done. Perhaps you can address the same topic from a different angle?
If you have discovered a topic using keyword research, e.g. How does commercial conveyancing work? you could type it into Buzzsumo.com to find related ‘hot’ topics. You could also type your topic into Answerthepublic.com to find questions that might stimulate further ideas.
Keep a log of questions that clients and prospective clients ask you. These questions can spark brilliant ideas for blog posts.
Contract clauses can be blog post topics e.g. What are the benefits of termination clauses?
Publications you read for your professional development might provide inspiration for original blog posts.
Set up Google Alerts so you are immediately aware of any breaking news relevant to your area of legal expertise.
Seminars or presentations you have given or attended can be food for blog content.
Read Google’s search quality guidelines to find out what kinds of topics Google prefers and ranks.
4. Optimize legal blog writing for search engines (SEO)
The first step to appearing at the top of Google is to search engine optimize your content. The only other way to get to the top of Google is to pay for an advertisement. As you probably know from your own experience, people do not trust advertisements as much as organic results.
In a nutshell, here are the steps to SEO success:
Write down all the keywords (or more accurately ‘key phrases’) you think people will type into a search engine to find your post. Be very specific about your keywords. More general keywords will attract a higher search volume, but specific keywords attract only those who are genuinely interested in what you are offering. Always choose quality of leads over quantity.
Type your list of keywords into a Google search to find related keywords that may be relevant. These tend to appear as you type. They also show up as a list of ‘related searches’ at the very bottom of the page.
Type your keywords into a keyword tool such as KWFinder. Identify relevant keywords that are ‘low competition’ if you are a new legal practice. If you are established, then you may be able to compete with other firms for ‘medium competition’ keywords. The number of searches each keyword receives is less important than the level of competition. It is also important to look at the domain authority of other websites currently ranking for the keywords that interest you. Websites with a high domain authority are harder to compete with. You can use Alexa to check a company’s domain authority.
Once you have selected your keywords rank them in order of importance.
When writing your blog post use your best keywords in the title. Use keywords in subheadings where you can and at the beginning and towards the end of your post. Always use keywords naturally and never be tempted to ‘keyword stuff’ – people and search engines do not like it! Keyword placement is more important than volume.
- Blog posts that include images receive 94% more views than those without and images make blog posts more pleasant to read. Always include keywords in image Alt tags.
Include your top keywords in the blog post URL and metadescription.
Include links in your blog posts (see below).
5. Include links in your blog posts
It is important to include high quality links in your blog posts to raise your Google ranking. You need both internal links (to content you have produced) and external links (to other people’s content). Only include links that will be truly valuable to your reader.
Internal links should be relevant to the topic of your blog post. Do not just link to your home page or contact page. Link to services on your website that make you money or other relevant blog posts.
External links must add to the credibility of your website and not diminish it. This means only linking to high authority websites. You can check the domain authority of a website by using Alexa. Never link to your competitors’ pages.
When you create internal and external links make sure the anchor text (the words people click on to reach a link) are words that are relevant to the linking page. This is a good opportunity to use keywords that might increase your Google ranking.
6. Write long blog posts
A study by Hubspot found that the best performing pages in organic Google searches are between 2,250 and 2,500 words long. Readers also tend to stay on pages with more detailed and valuable content for a longer period of time.
Hubspot found that longer content earns more social shares because it tends to be higher quality (it is difficult to bluff your way through a longer post). Longer blog posts help position companies as market leaders.
7. Use language your reader understands
Avoid legal language whenever possible, especially in blog posts written for the general public. For example, exchange ‘acquitted’ for ‘not found guilty’ and ‘affidavit’ for ‘signed statement under oath’.
When you cannot avoid legal language then include clear, concise explanations. If you are writing a blog post about how to make a Will you might explain the word ‘estate’ like this: ‘….how you would like your estate (everything you own) to be distributed…’
8. Avoid walls of text
Break your writing down into digestible paragraphs and use bullet points and lists as much as possible. Use subheadings (these are important for SEO and should include keywords where possible).
Include white space and images. Think about the webpages you like to read online and how they are laid out in a user-friendly format.
9. Write strong headlines
How to write legal blog headlines
- Main keywords must appear in the headline (otherwise known as the H1 heading).
- Keep headlines to 50-60 characters so they display properly on Google.
- Use verbs and an active voice.
- ‘How to’ headlines, lists and numbers work well. ‘How to…’, ’10 ways to…’ etc.
- Test the effectiveness of a headline by typing it into a headline analyser tool such as Coschedule or Advanced Marketing Institute.
- When you read a headline aloud think, ‘Why should my reader care?’
10. Conclude with a clear 'call to action'
What do you want your reader to do once they have read your blog post? Whatever it is, tell them.
Make sure your call to action is relevant to your post. For example, if you have written a blog post for divorced parents who have been denied access to their children you might write: ‘Talk to our family lawyers today for free, over-the-phone advice and start planning a happier future.’
Call to actions should be 15-20 words long and include actionable words: ‘Learn more’, ‘Find out how’, ‘Join’, ‘Get’ etc.
Find out more about how to structure a blog post by reading How to start a blog that gets noticed.
11. Share your blog post
Once you have published your blog post, tell everybody about it.
Tell your social media followers and those on your email subscribers list. Share your blog post with relevant social media groups and any influencers in your field.
If you have linked to organisations and individuals in your blog post tell them – they might share your post with their friends and colleagues.
12. Top blog writing tip for lawyers: repurpose blog post content
You can create webinars, podcasts and email newsletters from the information in your blog post. You could make presentations and infographics to share on social media and upload to SlideShare.
For more about repurposing blog posts read, The Ultimate Guide to Repurposing Content: 12 Ways to Extend the Life of Every Article You Write.
Do you need an experienced legal copywriter?
Writing regular, high-quality blog posts takes a considerable amount of time. Hiring me to write your posts will save you time so you can focus on running your legal practice.
My legal content writing experience includes criminal and family law, civil litigation and residential and property law, but I can produce content for most areas.