Would You Draft a Legal Brief as Poorly as You Write a Blog Post?

Since blogs are so valuable, it makes no logical sense for lawyers to author them so sloppily. Blogs are an indispensable tool for any professional who wants to demonstrate it is a leading expert in a particular subject matter. In principle, there is no better method than a blog for getting your message out in an easily accessible forum that you can control, and do so in a timely, straightforward and client-friendly manner.

Yet, I continue to see poorly written posts that offer no value to clients or news reporters who are working on articles or matters related to those topics. And, rushing through a post just to write one fails to accomplish the fundamental goal of a blog: demonstrating a firm’s or a lawyer’s expertise to a client.

Here are a six tips to making your blog post meaningful to its intended audience and distinguishing it, in a good way, from other posts by firm competitors.

  1. Explain at the very beginning what the blog post is about and why the reader should care. Don’t start out like a legal summary that too often begins like this: “On December 8, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decided …” Instead, grab the reader’s attention from the start. Here’s a good example, from the white-collar crime blog Crime in the Suites: “If you’ve ever let your kids sign into your Netflix or HBO Go account, or given your marketing department access to your Twitter feed, you may be committing a federal crime, depending on how the Ninth Circuit rules on a case argued before it just last month.”
  1. Don’t try to do too much in the post. Stick with one major point, like this: “On December 1, 2015, discovery in federal cases will change forever.”
  1. Ask yourself: If I were a busy in-house corporate lawyer or corporate executives and I came across this post, would I have a reason to choose to spend five minutes of my valuable time to read it?
  1. Be short and to the point. This is a blog post, not a legal brief. Write what you know and help the reader understand the depth of your knowledge.
  1. Write enough to explain the issue involved, why it is in important topic, and be provocative if possible.
  1. Don’t make the post sound like marketing material for your firm. Of course, it is designed to market your firm, but it’s not a sales pitch. Prospective clients will file away that important blog in their mental rolodex and know to call you when they have the need.

The best gift you can give not just during the holidays but all year long is value to your clients, and a blog is just one of the many highly valued tools at your disposal. The extra bonus is for a reporter to follow you and use your content in their coverage, which will then reinforce why clients will want to hire you.