Attorneys Ask, to Blog or Not to Blog?
It’s 2022 and the web has changed a lot over the years. Are people still interested in blogs, and are they still worth the time? In this post we’re going to define what blogging is and explore the benefits and drawbacks, leaving you to decide if blogging is right for your firm.
What is a Blog?
As an attorney, your written communication helps you achieve in and out of the courtroom, but can that same skill help you attract your ideal client? If you’ve ever considered writing about your legal expertise and opinions in the public sphere, you might have considered (or at least heard of) blogging.
The term “blogging” may bring to mind connotations of the early days of the internet, or something done as a labor of love by hobby enthusiasts but the actual definition, according to Merriam-Webster is, “a website that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photographs provided by the writer.” In other words:
A blog is an open platform for your firm in the public forum.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Legal Blogging, an Overview
In this article, we’ll first demonstrate how a blog connects you with our audience and signals your legal expertise. Next, we’ll show how a blog can help “get the word out” by generating valuable content and improving the SEO of your website. Then we’ll explain how blogging sets your firm apart from the competition and provides an opportunity to educate and support the community you work to serve. Lastly, we’ll cover some possible hurdles and downsides to running a blog, so that you’re aware of the challenges involved.
Blogging Demonstrates Passion, Expertise, and Increases Confidence
Chances are high – no matter the trade, that an expert has only become so through years of experience sustained by a burning passion for their line of work. Most people expect an expert to be deeply invested and can tell at the first conversation (or first glance online) whether that’s the case. Not demonstrating a passionate interest in your work can hurt you. And it increases the chance that your firm will be perceived as only willing to do the bare minimum or provide poor quality work. According to CareerExplorer, only 26% of attorneys rate the meaningfulness of their work above 3 stars (out of 5). Assuming that those in your firm are part of the 26% who find meaning and purpose in helping your clients succeed, you automatically set yourself apart from the competition. Blogging allows you to demonstrate passion and purpose, which signals to future clients that you are looking to invest heavily in them and the outcome of their case.
Not only does blogging display your passion for your clients, but it also demonstrates your expertise. Providing your opinions, advice, or reflections on your legal experience previews your talents. This grants potential clients an opportunity to verify you are an expert in your area of law. Service-providing businesses like law firms are also seen as more trustworthy when they offer free information or advice that applies to a general audience. Blogging is a resource that helps those seeking a law firm determine whether your services are needed, appropriate, and trustworthy. Potential clients are wary of contacting firms with platforms that restrict information while heavily attempting to drive a customer directly into a sale or contract. Writing content, especially in a personable tone, creates a favorable impression and avoids appearing overly predatory.
“Blogging allows you to demonstrate passion and purpose, which signals to future clients that you are looking to invest heavily in them and the outcome of their case. “
Blogging Improves SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Blogging helps readers decide if they want your legal services, and it can also help people find you online. Regularly posting quality content helps you get ranked on search engines. When attempting to find a lawyer to represent them, 96% of people search online, according to FindLaw. Most of these searches are “non-branded”, which means that individuals are searching terms like “family law” or “personal injury lawyer” instead of searching by name of attorney or firm. Publishing blog posts that include “keywords” or phrases helps people connect with your legal services. Searches for guidance on legal topics are also common, such as “What should I do if I am injured at work?” or “Do you pay taxes on a settlement?”. Writing posts on these topics and making them available online are great ways to expand your client base.
Providing engaging answers to these search questions can also keep readers on your post longer, which translates to more “dwell time”. Dwell time is simply an SEO term that means the amount of time someone spends on your page after clicking on it from a Google search. In general, the more dwell time the better, which increases the chances Google will display your post to more searchers as it deems it more valuable to them than other results.
Regularly posting facilitates SEO as well. Google will “index” a web page so that it can return it as a search result. When a page or post is indexed, it receives an index date, usually the day you publish it. To provide the most recent and relevant results, Google favors results with more recent index dates. This means blogging on a regular schedule helps keep your site recently and Google displaying it to potential clients.
Blogging Provides Content for Your Social Media
Blogging helps clients find you and trust you, but do the benefits of writing blog posts for your firm end there? No, blogging provides exponential online presence growth by giving you content to utilize on your social media platforms. By having long-form content available on your blog, you eliminate the extra effort needed for creating additional content just for your firm’s social media. Similar to a technique sometimes used in podcasts, you can take “segments” from your blog and post them or offer a condensed version.
This allows your firm to post quality and engaging content and to do so more frequently without much-added effort. Both of these factors are critical for increasing your social media following. Links embedded in your posts can greatly increase the amount of traffic to your website – and lead ultimately to more clients retaining your firm.
Blogging Sets Your Firm Apart from the Competition
Another important statistic to consider in understanding the benefits of blogging for a law firm is that only 25-30% of responding firms to the American Bar Association 2020 survey noted they have and maintain a blog. You are instantly gaining a competitive advantage in marketing over 70% of other firms just by having a blog. To compound the differentiating benefits of simply blogging, ensure unique, personal, and engaging content comprises most of your posts. This further establishes your firm’s identity and helps create a memorable experience for those who come across your content. According to the ABA, of those firms surveyed in 2020, 30% of single attorney firms and 25% of firms with two to nine lawyers practicing report they have had a client retain them just because of their blog!
According to the ABA, of those firms surveyed in 2020, 30% of single attorney firms and 25% of firms with two to nine lawyers practicing report they have had a client retain them just because of their blog!
Legal Blogging Helps Serve the Community
While most of the benefits of blogging are related to retaining more clients, there is an additional bonus to providing information about your legal area of expertise online. Individuals searching the web for legal topics similar to those mentioned earlier such as, “What are my workplace rights?” may not need to retain an attorney but may simply need to become more informed about the laws regarding their current situation. Your content can be good for the community and many may find your answers helpful to their legal situation. Who doesn’t like to help others, right?
Drawbacks to Running a Legal Blog
Of course, with any endeavor there are challenges, and running a blog is no exception. Some potential problems may be a lack of time to produce quality posts regularly. This can leave your blog archive looking sparse and may create the opposite effect by making your firm appear sluggish or apathetic. Also, some legal advice will be different depending on jurisdictions, state law, etc. This can be circumvented by focusing on broader legal issues (that are still helpful) or limiting yourself to opinions on current high-profile trials.
A blogger will also need patience. Blogging takes time to gain momentum – experts recommend three months to one year before your blog begins to gain significant traction. At Forerunner, we’ve personally seen our clients gain traffic sooner than three months, but it depends largely on the content/topic and the “discretion” of the search engine. How many blog posts should you do a month? As of 2022, 11 a month seems to be a good number. That may seem overwhelming, but lawyers can hire a marketing company to do their blogging for them. The key is to focus on quality and not quantity – it’s better to have one quality blog a month than 11 poorly written articles. Also, you’re not obligated to put the date on your blogs, and such blogs that aren’t date-specific can still rank very well in search engines. So if you just want to blog intermittently in your free time, that’s still an option.
Is blogging still worth it in 2022? Blogging is still a very profitable and viable way to increase web traffic and get new clients. Your legal knowledge and your ability to write well is something you can leverage to establish a legal blog, but it may not be right for every firm. Let’s go over some key points of the advantages of running a legal blog:
- It can demonstrate your passion for helping others and inspires confidence in those looking to retain you.
- Writing on legal topics using relevant keywords helps the SEO for your site and helps people find you online.
- Blog content can be reused for social media posts and can drive traffic to your website.
- Your firm’s identity can be more firmly established with a blog, which sets you apart from the competition.
- Provides an opportunity to serve your community by offering free advice.
- Blogging gets you new clients – with 25 – 30% of lawyers reporting that they get clients because of their blog.
Possible downsides to running a blog:
- Blogging is time consuming.
- If posts are done sporadically, it can make your firm seem disengaged or disorganized.
- Finding topics can be challenging and not all legal advice is best to communicate broadly.
- Hiring a marketing company to do your blog posts can be profitable in the long term, but it costs money upfront.
- The rewards of blogging (such as increased web traffic) take usually 3 months to one year to see. This might be too long of a wait for some firms.
We hope you found this article helpful, and we’ve got more lawyer marketing topics coming down the pipe. If you’re looking for a lawyer marketing company that considers all the angles when it comes to promoting your firm (blogging included), then feel free to schedule an appointment so we can create a ROI-centered plan for you.