Updated May 23, 2020: You’ve got yourself a website. You’ve got yourself a blog. You’ve committed to dedicating time to blogging, but as an attorney you don’t know what the hell to write about that anyone would want to read. You’re in the right spot. Many similar articles present a cliché laundry list of legal blog topics that you can write about. Before you read those articles, this is the precursor citation that you should read before typing the first word. Think of this as guidance for you to help steer your efforts in writing legal content for the purposes of increasing traffic, earning backlinks and getting new clients.
Before we discuss what you should write, we should first explore how to research what to write to attract traffic and potential clients. This is known as the top-of-the-funnel, what are people researching before they become your potential client. After all, you don’t want to spend a bunch of time writing for topics no one is searching. Do you want to know how you landed on this blog?
What Legal Subjects Are People Searching That I Can Write About?
In order to help guide your potential client to you, you first need to get into their brain and discover what they’re searching. You can use a couple tools for this:
- Wordtracker is a straightforward keyword research tool that allows 10 free keyword/phrase searches without the need to log in or set up a password. Wordtracker can help tell you if a topic or phrase is worth pursuing and suggest other phrases with higher search volume.
- Keywords Everywhere is a plugin/extension for your Google Chrome or Firefox browser. This software helps suggest high volume search topics right in Google search results based on what you’re searching, and high lights how many monthly searches there are.
- Google Trends is the wildcard. While this doesn’t provide as much keyword specific information, it does show you the popularity of a given topic or search phrase has had over time on Google. This is good for broad topic oriented blogs, or can help you with a place to start your research. Unfortunately the more a topic is searched, generally the more competition for rankings & traffic.
You don’t think you landed on this blog by chance do you?
Who is the Audience for a Lawyer’s Blog?
Most consumer attorneys tend to think that their entire audience are the potential clients who will hire them. While that’s probably mostly true, an attorney’s total audience actually consists of the following:
- Potential clients
- Attorneys or judges
- Potential citation sources (backlinks from content creators)
- Journalists researching a story
- Professors and students
I’ve had many clients say that when they need to read a quick Penal Code they do a Google search and look for a particular attorney’s website because it’s always accurate; I’ve also had attorneys tell me that a judge emailed or called them to discuss a blog they had written. While writing your blogs, think of who you want to be the reader of a particular article. If you’re trying to attract referrals from fellow lawyers or judges, you should be blogging on topics and in a manner that would attract that traffic and ranking. If referrals from other lawyers is a big part of your business, own it and write for it.
One way attorneys ALWAYS drop the ball is failing to write blogs designed specifically for citation sources – that is, content that is designed for creators & bloggers to find and link to from an article that they’re writing. This is often referred to as “link bait”, but it really just refers to a well written, well titled and authoritative blog. If you’re a criminal defense lawyer and write a well researched article about what to do if you’re pulled over for DUI, you cite other authoritative websites, credible statistics and some general “dos and don’ts”, this should be considered an article written to attract a citation source. Think about it… will a person who was just arrested for DUI need to know about what to do if they’re pulled over and arrested on suspicion of DUI? No, they’re past that part of the funnel. That article should actually be written to cater to a content creator who’s writing an article about the rights of an individual who’s being pulled over for a DUI. It may sound like a subtle difference, but it can actually make the difference in earning an editorial backlink from the Huffington Post, LA Times, Washington Post, etc.
Knowing who to write for is just as critical as knowing what to write.
What Legal Topics Get Good Traffic for a Law Firm’s Blog?
We see a lot of attorneys blogging about recent, local news or incidents that are relevant to their practice. However, it often attracts traffic that are mostly people seeking more information or facts about the incident, usually not potential clients. Here are 5 legal topics any attorney can blog about that will get traffic and attention from potential link sources & potential clients:
1. “How To” Legal Guides
It may sound counter intuitive, but often times people have grand ideas about doing something themselves until they learn the complexities involved and effort required. If they read your article, and you’ve linked to your relevant internal practice pages chances are good you’ll not only scoop up some of these clients who have verified legal issues, but you might earn a few backlinks from other sources in the process. Examples might be: “How to file for bankruptcy”, “How to apply for an expungement”, or “How to write an air tight contract”. It goes without saying you should have a good disclaimer regarding legal advice in the Footer of your website, and may want to repeat in within the article.
2. Answer Specific Legal Questions
The rise of voice search means that people are asking Google and Alexa legal questions more often. Also, what better place to turn than to the Internet to get questions about legal problems answered. If your blog post asks and answers a legal question in a fairly concise manner you’ll get traffic, however you may not see the number of “conversions” from this type of content you’d want – after all, you are answering their question. Make sure to implement a methodology to not provide legal advice, while simultaneously prompting the reader to call you to discuss the matter further. Here’s some more info about voice search for lawyers where I was quoted.
3. Top 5 Lists
Top anything lists really. These are easy to share, and easy to read articles on the things your potential client is interested in learning about regarding their legal matter. As an experienced lawyer, you can probably easily assemble the top 3, 4 or 5 things that clients mess up when doing something themselves. These tend to attract traffic from people who are trying to do something themselves, but are trying to avoid messing it up. For instance: “Top 5 Ways your Workers’ Comp Claim Can be Denied”, “Top 3 Reasons People Fire Their Divorce Lawyers”, “Top 3 Ways to Save Your Driver’s License After a DUI”.
4. Case or Decision Analysis
No matter where you are, there’s probably a case or legal decision you can comment on and discuss for your audience. If there’s a notable case where the police department, DA or judge botched something or made an incredible decision that deserves attention you should consider writing about it. Content like this often gets links from other attorney’s blogs or legal websites.
5. How Does a Specific Law Impact Your Case?
Regardless of what type of lawyer you are, there’s always at least a handful of specific laws, penal codes, civil codes or regulations that will impact the majority of your client’s cases. My suggestion is to write a long-form article on those specific laws one at a time. Why? If those laws are often impactful to your client, they may have already learned that those laws may impact their case. Now is your opportunity to have content available when they search for more information about that law.
Don’t Compete With Other Pages of Your Website
A lot of attorneys who blog themselves often think that if they constantly write more content about one or two of their focus areas of practice it will be helpful. In fact, you may be killing your website. I’ve had one client who had hired a content writer and had him publish nearly 100 articles within a year about “car accident lawyer” topics in his city. This is a concept known as “cannibalization”. Yoast has a great article on keyphrase cannibalization going into the details, but you should focus your efforts on writing unique supporting articles about what you do, how you do it, unique circumstances or cases you’ve experienced, and common answers to questions about your practice that some one may be at home researching.
Why Does Any of This Matter?
The lifeblood of the Google Algorithm is still good content + quality backlinks. If you write good quality content, other websites will often link to your article as a reference on their own. Great content = backlinks = visibility = traffic = leads!