A Two-part Solution For Lawyers Facing Writer’s Block
Are you bad at writing?
I’m not talking about the common documentation that’s part of your daily routine or even creative writing. I’m talking about creating compelling content for your law firm website.
It’s ok if this isn’t exactly where you shine. Writing doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Even among the best writers, putting pen to paper takes concentration, creativity and time. (And not the billable kind.)
That makes it easy to understand why writing doesn’t get top billing on most attorneys’ schedules. But having some fresh prose on your website is important to your firm’s visibility. So if writing never suited you or you’ve lost your “touch” it’s time to get past those hang-ups. Maybe all you need is a refresher on the basics and a bit of practice.
Part 1 – The Basics
The best thing about creating content for your website or blog is, most legal consumers aren’t looking for a deep dive into the vagaries of your practice area. You can glean a lot of value out of a simple informational blog post. One with a structure you probably learned back in high school.
This first section is as easy as it sounds. Simply set up your topic or your position on an issue. Ideally, you should do this in a way that grabs the reader’s attention and makes the rest of the document seem worth reading. For example, your introduction could open with the full financial impact of a DUI/DWI conviction in your state. Follow this with a position that states, “When faced with a DUI charge, the most important thing you can do is contact an attorney immediately. If you don’t, you could be risking everything.”
The “meat” of your document features roughly three paragraphs that support your position. Use easy-to-understand examples here and remember to keep your language and ideas on the level of your audience. Most legal consumers don’t know Latin and aren’t looking for a deep understanding of the law. They want practical help so tailor your content accordingly.
Paragraph 1 – DUI convictions will inevitably impact your ability to drive.
Paragraph 2 – From hefty fines to wage garnishment, a DUI can wreak havoc on your bank accounts.
Paragraph 3 –The long-term implications of a DUI conviction can even affect your job prospects.
A Strong Conclusion
The final section of your piece should serve two masters: wrapping up the preceding arguments and sending the reader away with a strong CTA (Call-to-action). This is the time to fire up your audience. Your examples should have done the heavy lifting already so use your conclusion to spur the desired activity from your readers. It doesn’t get much simpler than this: “If you’ve recently been charged with driving under the influence, don’t take any more risks. Click here to contact our expert attorneys today.”
Now, obviously the example above is pretty basic. Your time in law school surely worked your brain harder than that. But the point is, it’s easy to start writing again. If you’re facing a case of writer’s block, starting with something easy is an excellent way to break through. And odds are, there is some legal topic currently missing from your website. Could you explain it using an essay format? Then take a run at it. Even if you don’t end up publishing that piece, it’s still good practice.
Part 2 – Speaking of Practice
The general consensus among writers is that getting better and more comfortable with writing comes from doing it frequently. You can find pages and pages of advice online about how to improve your writing and the habits that surround it, but ultimately they all come down to this: write more. Once you dedicate yourself to writing on a regular basis you’ll be astonished at how easy it becomes.
Think of it this way, how much effort have you invested in perfecting your golf swing? Would your marketing task be easier if you spent 30 minutes slinging words instead of swinging irons?
Start this week. Identify three topics your website could be addressing but isn’t. Next, choose one of those topics to explore in a straightforward manner like the essay example above. Finally, dedicate 30-60 minutes in the next week to working on the second topic. Do this again the following week and you’ll see that writing isn’t so bad. It just takes a structure that works for you, and some time to work out the kinks.