While blogging may feel like an incredibly involved and time consuming process, it truly is the foundation of most content marketing strategies. Successful blogging is a LOT of work, with some professional bloggers devoting all of their free time to their content. A blog should also be a voice for your law firm or startup, showcasing your culture, personality and authority – not a weekly chore you dread. We recommend blogging at least once a week, but keeping up with topics and compelling copy can be difficult while running a business – so I have compiled a few ways you can come up with great topics quickly:
Determine the Right Blog Keywords
You should always familiarize yourself with your target market and keywords before you begin any content marketing. You can use Google’s built-in keyword tool to take a first look at what people are searching for on a day-to-day basis. This tool allows you to input the geolocation you are trying to target and a key phrase relevant to your practice.
The legal industry is hyper-competitive, so try and be specific in your keyword research. Think of your favorite clients, what were their cases like?
We had a client who wanted to do catastrophic injury and rank organically – which was virtually impossible where he was located. We took a step back and looked at common catastrophic injuries and found an untapped niche in degloving accidents (please don’t Google “degloving,” it’s graphic).
Remember, you always need to think about what your target is researching, which leads me to your next pre-blogging steps: target market empathy.
Who you are trying to reach with your blog? What information are your target customers interested in? I like to think empathetically when coming up with blog topics; what would someone who needs my services be looking for? For example, if you are a startup lawyer you can post blogs about entity formation three times a day, and still never rank.
When fighting for rankings in a competitive industry, you should try and post something that resonates with your audience and incorporates keywords. This way you will have much more potential for traffic, exposure, and shareability. Look at some of the most popular content sharing sites in the world like Buzzfeed or Reddit – not a single title is something like “Entity Formation Steps from A Business Attorney.” Their posts are fluid and encourage clicks with titles like “5 Things Never to Say When Talking to Investors” or “7 Entrepreneur Cats WHo Mean Business.” Your blog does not need to be this informal, but remember what your target wants to read – you are not talking to another lawyer.
This two-way empathy becomes increasingly difficult as time goes on. You want to be a resource without being repetitive. If you get stuck on a topic, try looking at what some of your competitors are doing. While you want to be innovative, borrowing inspiration on a topic is ok – as long as you make the content unique. Don’t copy/paste someone else’s blog – that would be cheating!
If you are strapped for time, front-loading your work can help reduce your stress. Set aside 1 hour a week to come up with a list of blog topics. Think of as many topics as you can, enlisting the help of your colleagues. Write down everything that comes to mind, no matter how trivial. These can be blogs based on questions clients have asked, timely discussions of current events, silly questions, or lawyer stories. Once you have a long list, narrow your list down to usable topics, add keywords, and schedule time to write one post per week.
There are a ton of great online communities that you can use to help inspire topics. Spend some time on Quora to see what kind of burning questions your audience has. Quora has a complex search tool built in where curious users can submit every legal question they have, no matter how mundane. You can also browse Reddit’s immense forums to look for popular legal posts, and create inspired posts.
Still stumped? Hop on Twitter and Facebook to see what’s trending. Both of these social networks have built in trend features and related hashtags. While you might not be able to write and post a blog in the amount of time it takes for a trend to die out, you can get insights into what people care about. For example, if you are noticing a breaking case is trending you may want to write a recap of that case within the next few days.
Once you have a topic to write from, drafting your actual blog should be much easier. When writing keep a few things in mind:
- Is this blog answering a question?
- Is the keyword of the blog contained in my blog title
- Is the keyword contained in my meta content?
- Does the post have a clear tone?
- Does the blog make sense and provide examples where clarity is needed?
If you are having trouble starting, just write down all of your thoughts and edit later. You can ask a friend or marketing professional to help you refine your copy.