Only Blog if You Can Handle More Clients
One of the questions I am asked most often by attorneys is: “Should I have a Blog?”
The answer is a resounding and emphatic “YES”.
This is true even though many attorneys complain that their blog has not helped them develop new business. They go on and on about how they post new content and they don’t see any improvement in their website traffic. And they talk about how much time it takes to blog.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard:
- “There is no payoff from blogging. It is too time-consuming. I have to think of something to write, actually write the content and then look it over and post it to the website. It sometimes takes me over an hour just to write one article. At my billing rate it is actually COSTING me money to blog!”
These folks also complain that the blogging software is challenging and they have trouble formatting the content and making it “look right”.
These complaints are absolutely true.
Unfortunately, the blog, the Internet or even the software are not to blame.
These issues – including the new business lead-generation issue- are cause by user error. Blogging has proven to be a high-payoff activity for many attorneys.
If it isn’t working for you, you may want to examine your approach. There are ten keys to building a successful blog – a blog that attracts qualified traffic and helps convert that traffic into paying clients.
Here are the ten keys to attracting clients with a blog:
1.) Cover topics that are relevant to your clients - People will read articles – both on-line and in print - when they are relevant to them. Your blog should allow you to enter the conversation that the client is already having with their friends, family and most importantly in their own mind.
This is critically important.
You must write for your reader and not for yourself. They want content they find interesting and relevant.
2.) Post articles frequently – You have to post a few times each week. That’s right. Each week. A blog is a communication tool. It should help you build up trust with your client base. Frequency of communication will help build trust.
3.) Grab attention right from the beginning – You must have powerful article titles and a strong opening paragraph for each article you write. You need to pull the reader into the article.
Too many attorneys write as though they are trying to build up to a crescendo with a compelling article. This style is not going to work on a blog. You are not making an argument to a jury. You are competing for attention. You need to reach out and grab the reader right away.
4.) Write the way you speak – A blog is a discussion with your clients. You should have a conversation on your blog the same way you would have it around the water cooler in your office. Remember that you are trying to develop a relationship with your reader. Speak in a natural voice and using common, plain, everyday language.
5.) Educate the reader on the issue – Every article is an opportunity for you to enhance your credibility with your readers. You can do this by educating your clients on a topic relevant to them. Good old common sense, educational content is great for helping people realize how smart and qualified you really are.
6.) Include lists, interviews and links – People love to read and save “bite size” information. Your readers will love lists, short interviews and links to more detailed information on important topics. Keep in mind that if the readers are interested in a specific topic, you can’t wear it out. Keep presenting important information on that subject but in new and unique ways. Interviewing experts and providing links to other articles on an interesting topic is infinitely more valuable than providing new information on a topic that is of no interest.
Any time you can summarize some information or give people a “shortcut” they will save it or pass it along. Do a “top ten” list every week. Do a five question Q&A via email with an expert each week. Do an “around the web” post every week that provides links to interesting information. All of those things should be in addition to your regular writing and they will be greatly appreciated by your readers.
7.) Have an opinion, damn it – You are an expert. You get paid for your advice, your research and your opinion. Make sure you include it in the articles you write for your blog.
Taking a stand, even a controversial one, will increase your readership. Sometimes you need to piss people off to get a reaction out of them. Some reaction, any reaction, is better than no reaction.
Many successful journalists polarize their readers. That passion leads to discussion far beyond the typical water cooler talk.
8.) Make the content the star – Don’t talk about yourself. The information you are sharing with your readers is really the most important part of your website. Getting that information across in a way that helps it stick in the mind of the reader is the main objective. Flattering oneself can only get in the way of this objective. Don’t do it in an informational article.
9.) Give stuff away – Include extra content as an ethical bribe for something – an email address, a mailing address or going to a specific website. Offering free reports or White Papers is a terrific way to get readers to give you some additional information about themselves.
10.) Promote your blog – It takes just as much work to convince someone to spend their time reading your free blog as it does to get them to pay for a magazine. In fact, it may be more difficult to get them to read a blog on a regular basis.
Whenever you are speaking to a group or conducting a seminar always offer the audience some type of specific incentive to go to your blog. Use a statement like: “The first fifteen people from this seminar to leave a comment on my blog will get a free copy of my e-book”. This can help you pick up a couple dozen readers in a day.
Blogging is well worth the time effort and aggravation. It can help you build your list of prospects, and it definitely enhances your credibility.
Look through this list of tips and test a few of them. If you notice a positive reaction from your readers, implement a few more. Building a solid base of readers is just like climbing a mountain. It will take a while but when you get to the top you’ll be glad you made the trip.
Also review these items from the Frequently Asked Question section:
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