“So why should I read this?”
Harsh as it might sound, that’s what goes through the mind of practically everyone who visits your blog. And it happens quickly. You have approximately 200 milliseconds to make a good first impression on a website visitor. Unless you’ve built up a rabidly loyal readership base, you’ll lose readers if you fail to give them reasons why they should check out your law firm blog.
How can you ensure that your blog will captivate readers and keep them coming back for more? Here are four elements of a great post.
1. A well-defined strategy and topic
Before you start writing, ask yourself these questions:
What — in tangible terms — do you want the post to accomplish?
- For example, do you want it to position you as a practice area expert? Do you want it to showcase your personality and ability to connect with clients? In other words, consider your specific strategic goals.
What exactly do you want to say?
- Precisely defining your subject matter will make the post easier to write — and make it more meaningful to your readers.
2. An engaging title
The best titles not only grab people’s attention, they also provide a promise that the ensuing content will be worth their time. Writing titles can be deceptively difficult, however. They need to be descriptive, concise, and speak directly to the reader. Consider these two examples:
- Five Things to Do Immediately After a Car Accident
- New Perspective on Workers’ Compensation
The first one is specific and promises that readers will learn something. The second one? Vague and bland. Which would you click on?
3. A compelling first paragraph
Here’s where you begin to deliver on your title’s promise. Consider starting with a question, an eye-opening statistic or a statement that will resonate with your readers. And remember the rules of effective website copy: keep it short, to the point and focused on the reader.
With that last point in mind, consider two first paragraph examples:
- Imagine having credit card bills that you can barely keep up with. Then you fracture your shoulder, find yourself with a pile of medical expenses, and can’t work.
- Many issues facing individuals with excessive debt are often made worse when the people are involved in accidents. Those issues can become particularly important if the individual cannot pay their medical expenses and/or if they are unable to work for a prolonged period.
Again, which would draw you in?
4. Persuasive body text
A first-rate blog post is not unlike an effective legal brief. It needs to be clear and well researched. It shouldn’t have irrelevant details. It needs to reinforce your opening statements. And it needs to be concise — generally between 250 and 450 words. The key difference, of course, is that you’re writing for potential clients, not other attorneys or a judge.
By any measure, creating a single effective blog post is not an easy endeavor. Doing it on a regular basis (which is crucial, given the importance of freshly updated content) can test even the most gifted writers. While these four guidelines can’t guarantee success, they can make the process a little less challenging.
If you would like to learn more about how FindLaw can help your law firm with blogging solutions, please contact us for a free consultation.