In the past few years, law firms of all sizes have become more and more involved with blogging. Blogging provides an opportunity for lawyers to demonstrate their expertise in an area of law on a regular basis without needing to adhere to someone else’s publication schedule. In a way, the widespread acceptance of blogging has solved an important problem for lawyers and legal marketers – how to comment frequently on developments in the news without seeming to be shameless self-promoters.
Legal marketers need to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity, of course, and to advise partners and associates on how to make the most of it. There are several keys to successful blogging. One that has not yet been used by law firms as well as it could have been involves the ways to frame an interesting, highly readable blog post.
Around the Internet, for example, you might frequently see articles and blog posts in the style of “Eleven Ways of Using LinkedIn That You Didn’t Know About,” or “Seven Child Movie Stars Who Flamed Out as Adults,” or “Fifteen Memorable All-Star Games.” There’s no reason that legal blogs can’t use the same attention-grabbing concept: “Five Cross-Examination Techniques From the Movies That Actually Work,” or “Seven FCC Decisions From the ‘90s That You Need to Know,” or “Eleven Things A Company Needs to Do When It Gets a Subpoena.” For whatever reason, numbers – especially odd numbers – make people take notice.
Beyond that idea, there are other widely accepted principles for writing a legal blog post. Don’t write it too short, since this isn’t Twitter or Facebook after all. But it isn’t a law review article, and if at all possible, stay away from footnotes. A good post can be 350 to 600 words.
Keep up to date; a blog post discussing a court decision, news development, or regulatory action from yesterday is ideal, and one from a week ago is fine. Don’t comment on something that happened three months ago. It’s too old.
Don’t write a case note just summarizing something that happened. Express a point of view. It shouldn’t be blatantly political: criticize if you will the FTC for overreaching, not the “Obama FTC for a power grab,” or the “U.S. Chamber of Commerce for slavishly bowing to big business.” You want to enlighten your readers and show how much you know and how much you keep up, not to bludgeon the readers.
Most important, keep posting. Don’t let a blog just wither and sit there.
By Jonathan Groner, PR Specialist and Freelance Writer for the May/June 2013 Issue of the Capital Ideas Newsletter.