I qualified as a solicitor in 1990 and practised as a sole practitioner for just under 20 years specialising in residential landlord & tenant law. For the last seven of those years I wrote a blog, the Landlord Law blog.
I consider it to be a major part of the success of my business.
It’s quite tough running a small law firm. I know, I have done it. Many firms turn to various forms of referral agency to get work. However these can be expensive and the quality of the work obtained can be variable.
I always preferred to generate my own leads and one of the best ways I found of doing this was via my blog.
Making yourself visible
Think of it. If you are in need of specialised legal advice – where do you go nowadays? The internet.
However for Google (the most popular search engine) to bring up your website ahead of all the others, there needs to be something special about it.
What Google is looking for, what its algorithms are trying to do, is bring up authoritative, up to date information articles relevant to the search term entered into the box.
If you regularly write on your niche (say one article per week) then after above six months you will (or should) have a series posts based around the search terms which people will use to find you.
If you take care in the writing and promote your content via social media, Google will (eventually) reward you, as your content is the very sort of thing it is looking for.
Writing errors to avoid
One big problem though, is that most lawyers write as if they are writing for other lawyers. But other lawyers are not going to bring you in any fees!
You need to write for CLIENTS.
- Absolutely no legal jargon – this will put potential clients off big time
- Short sentences using ordinary words – find out what newspapers your target clients generally read and try to mimic the style
- Use short paragraphs with white space around them – many lawyers write in one big block of text – but this is almost impossible to read on screen and most people won’t even try
- Lots of headings to break up the text and bullet points, and
- At least one picture per post
If you follow this advice it will mean that any clients who find your blog post are more likely to actually read it
Giving away the ‘crown jewels’?
Lawyers are often reluctant to blog as they are worried about giving away legal information – the foundation of their livelihood. “If I give everything I know away on the blog” they reason “Why should anyone want to instruct me to do legal work for them? They can just read it all for free”
However its a bit late to about worry about giving away legal information. The legal information is already out there. Wikipedia, for example has many excellent legal articles.
However, a lawyer’s training is not just learning legal facts and figures. It is about interpretation and the diagnosis of a client’s problem. Lawyers are trained to THINK and analyse information in a legal way. This is what people pay us for – not for reciting the Law of Property Act (or whatever).
Most people, particularly business people, will realise this. When they search the internet – if they are looking for a lawyer they want to find
- Someone who knows what they are talking about and
- Someone who can communicate with them in a meaningful way
So if they are looking for a lawyer in a particular area of law and find a blog full of easy to read and informative posts from someone who obviously knows what they are talking about – they will seriously consider using them.
Even if they don’t consult you immediately – they may come back later.
So writing a blog is a way of making your firm visible in the search engines and then impressing potential clients who find you.
What should you write about?
As you get accustomed to writing this will get less and less of a problem. I know when I started I found it hard to think of anything to write about at all, whereas now after 10 years of landlord & tenant law blogging I write a blog post most days without much difficulty.
Here are some ideas:
- Do a series of posts explaining the legal terminology in your niche
- Write about any legal cases which you or your firm have acted in (particularly if these are Court of Appeal or Supreme Court cases)
- Write reports on legal developments in your area – such as new case law or legislation
- Write about the sort of problems that can arise and why people need legal help to resolve them
- Do a series of ‘tips’ posts on your niche to help people avoid basic problems
- Do a “Q&A” page where you answer readers qustions – people love reading about other people’s problems
The big caveat
Before you launch into blogging however, I need to warn you that blogging is playing a long game. You need time to build up your presence on Google and to get your blog known.
So you need to blog consistently over a long period of time.
It follows therefore that if you hate writing, you should avoid blogging like the plague! It is really only for people who genuinely like writing – and are therefore willing to put in the hours.
But if this is you – blogging may be one of the best things you ever did. My blog has done a massive amount to promote my services and raise my profile as an expert in my niche. It is hugely important to my business.
Yours could be too.