So your law firm just got done setting up a new blog on your website and you are now ready to write your first legal blog article. But, what’s the best way to get started with writing your first article?
Or better yet, what about the first 10 articles?
Let’s find out! Below, I’m going to give you a complete process for writing not just your first legal blog article, but your first ten articles.
1) Think About The Different Types of Legal Blog Posts
With general blogging, there are many different types of formats and types of blog posts you can create to publish information to your audience. With legal blogging, we only need to focus on three types that will perform the best for attracting a new client or getting ranked on Google.
The three types are:
- How-To Article or Guide: This is a blog post that will teach somehow how to do something step by step.
- Round-Up / Listicle: This is a round-up list of resources, ideas, or information that can be presented to the reader.
- Informational: This type will provide the reader with information on an interesting topic they are searching for. It’s usually a shorter article and can be presented in a number of ways. Sometimes it can even be a How-To article or Round-Up
Before you start writing a legal blog article for your law firm’s blog you need to decide which topics will be most interesting to your clients. You also want to make sure people are actively searching for that topic, so you’ll need to do some keyword research (we’ll review this more in the next section.)
After you write down a few topic ideas, you can start thinking about which type of blog post will be the best.
If you are new to writing and having difficulty thinking of which type of blog post to use you can try searching online for your topic and read the articles of what others have written already. See which format they used and then you can decide which blog type to consider.
Let’s quickly run through a couple of real life examples.
Let’s pretend we are a bankruptcy law firm and want to get our first three articles out.
For our first example, we chose the topic of “Am I Ready For Bankruptcy?”. For this topic we know it’s searched for frequently in the search engines, and clients frequently ask you about it all the time. So a great idea for a blog post would be to create a “round-up” post of ideas for the reader to check and verify to know if their financial situation might qualify for a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy.
For the second example, let’s choose a closely related topic of “How Do I File For Bankruptcy?” For this topic, it’s easy to see that a “How-to” blog post is a perfect fit. Again, this is an obviously popular search and the search intent has the word “how” in it. So a step-by-step guide for walking someone through the bankruptcy process just makes sense.
With these examples fresh in your mind let’s discuss a little bit about legal SEO keyword research in the next section.
2) Be Analytical In Your Legal SEO Keyword Research
The secret to good legal SEO keyword research is aligning frequently searched legal terms to the practices of your law firm. Search volume also matters but is not the most important factor to consider. In fact, a lot of times the search volume reported on very popular search keyword tools (and even Google’s own keyword tool for Adwords) is not very accurate.
Your number one goal for doing legal SEO keyword research is to align keywords that will inspire good legal topics for your law firm’s blog.
You can get there by doing Google searches like you are your customer. Start by searching for terms and see what Google auto-suggests to you in the search box. Also, at the bottom of each search page, it will provide you with “related searches” which are popular search terms your customers are using.
Another key area to focus on is the questions area on the Google search page, if one exists take notes of which questions are being asked.
SemRush, Ubersuggest, and Ahrefs are all elite small business search tools that will also do a great job of providing you with extensive topic and search research to help you create topics for your blog posts.
One last thing to keep in mind is that doing keyword research requires a lot of practice and analysis. You also want to use the search tools to research “domain authority” competition and “ranking difficulty”.
3) Plan Ahead By Making an Outline of Legal Topics and Headlines
The key to producing cutting-edge legal content on your law firm’s blog is to be organized with a list of legal topics and headlines. This will allow you to get organized and see a roadmap of your blog’s content at a high level so you can prioritize a publishing schedule.
I always recommend my law firm clients to consider prioritizing their content around seasons of the year and the most profitable types of cases they’d like to take on. These priorities are different for each law firm and location has a big influence on what is prioritized.
For example, for a personal injury attorney in San Diego, the weather is fairly nice all year so accidents like slips and falls or car accidents may be fairly common year round and not surge during the fall and winter months. Unlike if you were practicing personal injury law in Seattle.
Besides the location, the other factor we can use as an example for prioritizing content is around the types of cases that are the most profitable for your law firm. So if you are the one creating the content for your law firm’s blog it’s easy to find out what is profitable by asking the other lawyers around the firm what types of cases they work on and want more of.
4) Writing For Clients, Not Other Lawyers
Before you even write the first word in your new article for your law firm’s blog you need to remember one thing! You are writing for the everyday person searching on Google, not someone with a law degree.
So remember to keep the tone of your writing professional but casual. You want it to be conversational and written at a high-school reading level. If you want to briefly check the grade level of your written article you can use a free grammar checker called Hemingway App.
It will give you a grade-level score. We recommend you aim for an 8th grade to 11th grade level.
By focusing on the readability of your legal article, it will engage and reach the audience you want to attract as clients.
Here are some legal word examples we can compare.
- Instead of using “Acquitted”, use “Not Guilty”.
- Don’t use “Convicted, use “Guilty”.
- “Decision” is better than “Judgment”.
So the takeaway is to avoid textbook legal terms and legal jargon and make it presentable like you are writing the article for a friend who knows nothing about the law. But, keep it professional and informative, without offering any direct legal advice.
5) Writing a Law Firm Blog Post From Start To Finish
Ok, so far we’ve discussed the following:
- The different types of legal blog posts that people enjoy reading the most. They are informative and typically a “How-To Guide” or “Round-Up” post.
- We also touched on being analytical and thorough on our legal topic and SEO research.
- We talked about the proper planning of headlines and topics to write about by creating a publishing outline.
- And the most important concept was the idea of writing to our audience like a friend and avoiding any type of technical legal terms or jargon to the reader.
Let’s run through the entire process of writing a legal blog post from start to finish.
Step1: Brainstorming and Researching a Legal Topic To Write About
This is the most crucial step in writing an effective legal blog post for your law firm. The more prepared you are in this step, the better and faster you’ll write your article without hitting any writer’s block. Using the information we just discussed previously, you’ll be well prepared.
Let’s summarize the research process in these points below. Make sure you’re taking notes down as you do your research.
- Start with a topic idea you know is important to your clients.
- Type it into Google and find any auto-suggested results in the search box.
- Review any related search terms at the bottom of the search page.
- Check to see if any questions are on the search page for your topic.
- If there are not any questions or good related search suggestions, it’s not a big deal, just move on.
- While you are researching your topic on Google, review the other articles already ranking and see what kind of blog posts they are written as and how well they are written.
- Pay attention to if it’s a “How-To” or “Round-Up” type of post.
- Now, using a search tool like Ubersuggest, SemRush, or Ahrefs, do even more research. Verify how competitive the search term/topic is as well.
- Always prioritize less competitive legal topics first, unless you can write a better piece of content for something that is already published, that is more competitive.
- If you are going to state any legal facts in your article, you’ll need sources to link to, so take some notes on good authority legal sites you can use.
- With all the notes you just took on doing your research, you are now ready to begin writing.
Sometimes when you do research you will find multiple topic ideas to write about, if that happens to you just write the other ideas on a list and review them over at a later time, for a future legal article you want to write.
Step 2: Writing The Words in Your Legal Article
It’s time to let the words flow. There’s not a wrong or right way to begin writing a legal article. It’s best to just let your creative mind do its thing.
Generally, this is the order I recommend for writing an article. Keeping in mind that you’ve done most of your research already in the previous step.
- Create a sample headline first, it does not have to be finalized until you are done actually writing the article.
- Your article needs to have sub-headings to make it easy for the reader to follow along when reading your article. Because you’ve already made your headline, it will be easier to create the sub-headings from the main keyword and topic in your headline.
- With sub-headings added, you now have a basic outline to follow for your article. In no particular order just start writing in the content to complete each section.
- Remember to include citations and references for any legal facts you make.
- For the introduction and conclusion, sometimes it’s easier to finish them last.
Step 3: Editing and Proofreading Your Legal Blog Article
When it comes to editing and proofreading you will need to turn off your creativity and judgment in your mind. It’s best to wait a day and then come back to doing the editing and proofreading. This way your brain can reset to be more objective and logical when editing what you wrote the previous day.
As you proofread and edit your rough draft make sure you’re checking for grammar mistakes, better words that can be used, and that your tone is the way you want. For the tone, I recommend it to be conversational, with the intent for a beginner-level audience, just like we discussed previously.
Learning to self-edit your work can take a lot of practice. Sometimes, it’s worth your time to just hand over your draft to an actual editor who can do this part of the work for you.
Once you are happy with the final draft you’ve produced, it’s time to publish it online to your law firm’s blog.
Step 4: Publishing Your Legal Blog Article
Taking your written legal blog article from a Word document and publishing it online to your law firm’s WordPress blog is not as straightforward as a simple copy and paste.
To get started, open up the document and do a select all, copy, and then paste that into a new blank WordPress post.
There are a few more things you’ll have to complete to get this blog post ready for publishing.
- Make sure your headline is finalized.
- You want to select at least one image to feature at the top. We recommend using premium stock photos at Shutterstock, Getty, or Canva.
- On WordPress, you want to modify the default URL it assigns to your article by shortening it to be optimized for your topic and keyword. If your title says “9 Ways To Know You Are Ready To File Bankruptcy”, your URL should be something like “be-ready-to-file-bankruptcy”. By not having the “9” in there, you don’t have to worry about having to update the URL if you decide to make this article “10” in the future when you update it. Also, it’s a good rule to keep your Url’s around 3-6 words in length.
- Assign your post to a category on WordPress.
- Interlink articles on your legal blog post if you have other related topics published. Sometimes readers will click on those to read more articles on your site.
- Give the article one last read, and break out big paragraphs into smaller ones when it makes sense. Make any last-minute tweaks and changes you need to.
- Verify that all your hyperlinks are valid.
- Schedule to publish it or publish it right away.
- Then, share the new post with your fans on social media and promote it in your newsletter.
With time, Google will detect and index your blog post. Expect it to take around 3-6 months to see any search traffic to it. All though, it’s not uncommon for legal articles to take 6-12 months to gain any real significant SEO traffic.
Social Media and Legal Blog Posts
Sometimes your blog post can be written just for a social media audience. So if you have an idea you’d like to write for your law firm’s blog then just write it. SEO Keyword research is not always a requirement. Especially for blog posts relating to news about your law firm or other subject matters that show an inside look to the people working in your firm.
Thanks so much for making it to the end of this guide for making a legal blog post. If you have any questions or need help writing the content on your legal blog because you just don’t have the time, feel free to reach out to me anytime if you need help.
Also, feel free to comment below with any questions you have, have a good one!