The world of content marketing is an intensely competitive environment for attorneys and law firms. As time goes on, the clear trend in this space is for firms to provide lengthier, more informative content to their readers—starting on their blogs. For attorneys who outsource their writing to legal blog ghostwriters, this means they must make sure the people creating their content are actually providing value to their target audience.
Shallow content just doesn’t cut it
Gone are the days when firms could work with a freelance writer or copywriting service to produce generic, fairly short blog posts on topics like “what do do after a car accident” or “what to look for in a divorce lawyer.” Today, legal blog ghostwriters need to be able to dive much deeper into a wide range of pertinent issues, which often means longer pieces of content that more comprehensively cover each topic.
Unfortunately, too many outsourced legal writers are stuck in the old ways of doing things. Just a couple years ago, it was perfectly acceptable for law firms to populate their blogs with short, 300- to 350-word posts that only briefly covered legal issues at a surface level. The idea was to give readers a taste of the firm’s knowledge, prompting them to pick up the phone or fill out a contact form to get more information.
But now, with recent updates to Google’s algorithms and industry trends pointing toward more substantial digital content, attorneys need to adjust their approach to keep up.
There’s also the matter of social media, as longer blog content is more likely to generate shares. According to marketing research firm TrackMaven, users’ thresholds for what they consider worth sharing on social media has become more stringent in recent years. They tend to only share content they deem to be truly valuable. Thus, a short blog post on a generic and uninteresting subject is unlikely to see significant shares.
Quality over quantity
To maximize the attention your content receives, you must dive deeper into legal issues that matter to your target audience. If you practice bankruptcy law, for example, go beyond posts with headlines like “What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy?” and more into how changes in state or federal law will impact individuals’ ability to declare bankruptcy in the short and long terms.
The same goes for if you serve small and medium-sized businesses as your primary clientele. Give your readers insights into existing and upcoming regulations (changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rule is a good recent example). Or, you may go into how someone may remove himself or herself from a business partnership gone bad, including details on how that process would work and the potential legal pitfalls.
As you might be able to tell, this really comes down to quality over quantity. If your law firm currently posts several times per week, but each post is 400 words or fewer, it may be time to adjust your strategy. Consider taking your publishing frequency down to once per week, perhaps with a 600- to 1,000-word article providing meaningful and interesting insights to your readers on a topic related to your area of practice.
Working with the right legal writers
As you may know, it’s common for attorneys and law firms to outsource their blogging—either partially or entirely—to a single freelancer or a team of legal blog ghostwriters. This can be a great option, considering how busy attorneys tend to be with the day-to-day tasks of serving their clients. However, it is important to ensure you are working with writers who can go beyond very simple topics and really dive into the issues that matter to your current and potential clients.
This is not to say that your legal blog ghostwriters should be attorneys themselves. In fact, some of the best writers do not have legal degrees, but do have significant experience writing marketing content for law firms. This allows writers to step out of the bubble in which most attorneys find themselves simply because of their extensive education and detailed knowledge of the law. After all, when you know so much about a subject, it’s difficult to avoid speaking over the head of the layperson.
To that end, take another look at the types of content your legal blog ghostwriters are delivering, and if it is really what you need considering the evolving rules of legal content marketing. If it’s time to look for other options, do a little research and see if there are any content writing services out there that can do a better job for you, your firm and your potential clients.
Steve Bailey is president of ProPRcopy, a leading provider of content creation services for attorneys, law firms and legal organizations throughout North America.