What’s the Point of Law Firm Blogging, Anyway?

What’s the Point of Law Firm Blogging, Anyway?

If you have done research on how to market a law firm online – or any business, for that matter – you’ve undoubtedly come across articles advising you to create content and blog regularly. While it is certainly true that this is good advice, the reality is that many of these articles don’t address the why of blogging. 

If you are just creating content, throwing it at the proverbial wall, and seeing what sticks, it’s not going to provide the results you want.  Understanding why you are blogging is important to doing it well, creating content that your potential clients want to read, and also determining what resources you should devote to it. 

If you are just starting out and have time on your hands, learning how to blog may be a good investment. On the other hand, if you’ve got a busy practice or don’t have the desire to learn all the ins and outs of proper blogging, it’s probably best to outsource your content creation efforts to professional legal content writers.

Let’s explore some of the reasons it’s so important for law firms to maintain an active blog as part of their digital marketing efforts – and how to do it well.

Establishing Yourself and Your Firm as a Thought Leader

Writing authoritative content on legal topics related to your practice area allows you to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. If you are the go-to source of information in a given practice area or sub-area, it can significantly bolster your online presence and increase traffic to your site. More traffic coupled with an optimized website can translate into new clients, referrals from other firms, and more professional opportunities. Creating new, engaging, and novel content may lead to speaking engagements, media appearances, or other publicity that can grow your practice exponentially.

Targeting Long-Tail Keywords

Blogging is a great opportunity to target long-tail keywords –  longer keyword phrases that have lower search volume, are less competitive to rank for, and more likely to convert. Here’s a visual representation of what long  long-tail keywords are published by Ahrefs:

So, if you’re optimizing your practice area pages for search terms like “Chicago car accident attorney,” you can use your blog to go after long-tail terms like:

  • What should I do after a car accident?
  • Do I need a lawyer after a car crash?
  • How much is my car wreck case worth?
  • Car crash FAQs
  • How to deal with the insurance company after a car accident?

If you can match your blog titles to specific questions that your potential clients are searching for on Google, there is a good chance that you’ll appear near the top of the search results, driving more traffic – and paying clients – to your site.

One of the more technical – and overlooked – benefits of law firm blogging is attracting backlinks.  Backlinks are links to your site from other sites, and they are also often referred to as “inbound” or “incoming links. Here’s a visual representation:

The reason you want to attract backlinks is that they are one of the most important ranking factors used by Google. You can think of them as a vote of confidence for your website. The more backlinks you have from other sites, the better your website should rank for important keywords. 

Importantly, not all backlinks are the same. Sites from high-quality, popular, and authoritative sites are “worth” more than links from low-quality, low-traffic, and spammy sites. For example, you are going to get a lot more value from a link from cnbc.com than you would from someone’s personal travel blog.

You can attract backlinks to your site by creating high-quality, engaging, and authoritative blog content that others want to link to. 

Creating Good Content and Managing a Law Firm Blog Takes Time – or Money

As is the case with many things, it’s much easier to talk about blogging than it is to actually do it.  Creating content alone takes long enough, but that’s only a small part of what it takes to actively maintain and optimize a legal blog that generates new business.

Topic Ideation

First of all, you need to figure out what to write  about. Remember to focus on things that matter to your potential clients, not what matters to other lawyers or judges. While you may be super-interested in practice tips and new developments in the law, the reality is that your clients aren’t. 

For example, if you practice in family law, your potential clients are likely concerned about issues like whether they are going to be able to keep their kids or how child custody is decided. Similarly, if you practice in personal injury law, they are most concerned about things like how much their cases are worth or how long it will take to get compensation.

If you are having trouble coming up with blog topic ideas, think about the conversations you have with your clients. What questions do you hear again and again? Shameless plug: you can also turn to Lexicon Legal Content’s free AI Blog Topic Generator for ideas.

Content Creation

Now that you know what to write about, it’s time to sit down and write some content. Remember to write for your readers – not other lawyers and judges. This means avoiding legalese and making the content easy to read. Use informative headers, bulleted lists, and other visual elements that make the content easy to scan.

Optimize Your Content for Search Engines

Once you have your ideas on the page, you need to optimize your content for search engines. If you are targeting particular keywords (and you should be), you should make sure that keyword appears at a density of between 2-3 percent. 

Use appropriate header tags so that search engines are easily able to crawl your content. For example, make sure your title is formatted as H1, subheadings as H2, sub-subheadings as H3, and so on. Additionally, be sure to include links to authoritative external resources and internal links to other pages on your site. Finally, be sure to include a call to action that lets your reader know how to contact you.

Post Your Content on Your Site (and Optimize Your Post)

Now that you’ve got your blog post written and optimized, you should post it on your site. To do this, go to the back end of your website (your Dashboard, if you are using WordPress), and create a new post. Copy and paste your content into the appropriate area, and make sure the spacing between paragraphs and headers is correct – going between Word or Google Docs and WordPress can result in formatting issues.

Next, you should find and add an image to your post. You can find images on sites like pixabay or istock. Add an appropriate image to your site, and then add an alt-attribute to that image. An alt-attribute is text that is displayed if the image can’t be loaded or your site is accessed by someone who is visually impaired and using a screen reader. 

You should also categorize and tag your post in order to help both people and search engines find your content. Categories are a way to create a hierarchical organization of your content, and tags are a way to group content on similar topics together.

Promote Your Post

Now that you’ve got a live blog post, it’s time to promote it. You can do this is a variety of ways, including sharing your post on social media or sending it out to your email list of former, current, or potential clients. In addition, you can always ask your colleagues to share your post on their social media accounts for even more exposure.

Regularly creating and posting blog content takes a significant amount of time. Fortunately, if you are a busy practicing lawyer, you can outsource the entire process to the legal professionals at Lexicon Legal Content. As an attorney-led team, we understand the need for legal accuracy in law firm marketing materials. In addition, we’ve got the SEO chops to create high-ranking content that drives new business.

Lessons from DoNotPay: The Ethical Implications of AI in the Legal Industry

Some shortcuts and hacks are worth it in life and business, and some simply aren’t. Some are harmless, appealing, less expensive, and time-saving in the beginning. Yet, they turn out to cause more problems and hassle than the situation presented initially without the shortcut. But, as one previously-aspiring attorney is coming to find out, AI in the legal realm is more of the latter—at least for now. So if you are an attorney or a marketing professional who works with attorneys, you’ll want to make a note of this case and learn from another’s mistakes instead of venturing down that path or similar ones yourself. 

“The World’s First Robot Lawyer”

San Fransisco’s DoNotPay is “the world’s first robot lawyer,” according to founder, CEO, and software engineer Joshua Browder. The tech company was founded in 2016 by Browder, a Stanford University undergraduate and 2018 Thiel Fellow who has received a remarkable amount of media attention in his short career. Browder says he started the company after moving to the U.S. from the U.K. and receiving many parking tickets that he couldn’t afford to pay. Instead, he looked for loopholes in the law he could use to his advantage to find ways out of paying them.

He claims that the government and other large corporations have conflicting rules and regulations that only stand to rip off consumers. With DoNotPay, his goal is to give a voice to the consumer without consumers having to pay steep legal fees. According to the company’s website, they use artificial intelligence (AI) to serve approximately 1,000 cases daily. Parking ticket cases have a success rate of about 65 percent, while Browder claims many other case types are 100 percent successful.

DoNotPay claims to have the ability to:

  • Fight corporations
  • Beat bureaucracy
  • Find hidden money
  • Sue anyone
  • Automatically cancel free trials

The company has an entire laundry list on its website of legal problems and matters its AI can handle, such as:

  • Jury duty exemptions
  • Child support payments
  • Clean credit reports
  • Defamation demand letters
  • HOA fines and complaints
  • Warranty claims
  • Lien removals
  • Neighbor complaints
  • Notice of intent to homeschool
  • Insurance claims
  • Identify theft
  • Filing a restraining order
  • SEC complaint filings
  • Egg donor rights
  • Landlord protection
  • Stop debt collectors

DoNotPay: Plagued with Problems

While his intentions might be relevant or even noble to some, they are landing Broward in his own legal hot water for which there may currently be no robot lawyer to represent him. 

State Bars Frown on AI in the Courtroom

In February, a California traffic court was set to see its first “robot lawyer” as Broward planned to have an AI-powered robot argue a defendant’s traffic ticket case in court. If his plan had come to fruition, the defendant would have worn smart glasses to record court proceedings while using a small speaker near their ear, allowing them to dictate appropriate legal responses. 

This unique and innovative system relied on AI text generators, including the new ChatGPT and DaVinci. While in the courtroom, the AI robot would process and understand what was being said and generate real-time responses to the defendant. Essentially, they could act as their own lawyer with the help of DoNotPay’s robot lawyer— a technology that has never been used within a courtroom. 

Many state bars and related entities quickly expressed their extreme disapproval when they learned about Browder’s plans. Multiple state bars threatened the business, even threatening prosecution and prison time. For example, one state bar official reminded him that unauthorized practice of law is a misdemeanor in certain states that can come with a punishment of up to six months in county jail.

State bars license and regulate lawyers in their respective states, ensuring those in need of legal assistance hire lawyers who understand the law and know what they are doing. According to them, Browder’s AI technology intended for courtroom use is clearly an “unauthorized practice of law.”

DoNotPay is now under investigation by several state bars, including the California State Bar. AI in the courtroom is also problematic because, currently, courtroom rules for federal and many state courts don’t allow the recording of court proceedings. Even still, Broward’s company offered $1 million to any lawyer to have its chatbot handle a U.S. Supreme Court case. To date, no one has accepted his offer.

DoNotPay Accused of Fraud

As if being reprimanded by several state bars isn’t bad enough, Broward and DoNotPay are now facing at least one, if not multiple, class action suits. The silver lining is that perhaps Browder will finally get to test his robot lawyer in court. 

On February 13, 2023, Seattle paralegal Kathryn Tewson filed a petition with the NY Supreme Court requesting an order for DoNotPay and Broward to preserve evidence and seeking pre-action discovery. She plans to file a consumer rights suit, purporting that the company is a fundamental fraud.

What’s even more interesting is that Tewson notes in her filing that she consents to Browder using his robot lawyer to represent himself in this case and even seems to dare him to do so:

For what it is worth, Petitioner does and will consent to any application Respondents make to use their “Robot Lawyer” in these proceedings. And she submits that a failure to make such an application should weigh heavily in the Court’s evaluation of whether DoNotPay actually has such a product.

Through her own research, Tewson has accused Broward of not even using AI but piecing different documents together to produce legal documents for consumers who either believe they are receiving AI content or real attorney-generated content. Suppose DoNotPay is actually using AI, as Broward claims. In that case, it’s obviously not producing quality work products, and consumers are starting to notice. 

A Potential Class Action Lawsuit

As if these legal issues weren’t already enough, next on the DoNotPay docket is a potential class action lawsuit. On March 6, 2023, Jonathan Faridian of Yolo County filed a lawsuit in San Francisco seeking damages for alleged violations of California’s unfair competition law. Faridian alleges he wouldn’t have subscribed to DoNotPay services if he knew that the company was not actually a real lawyer. He asks the court to certify a class of all people who have purchased a subscription to DoNotPay’s service.

Faridian’s lawyer Jay Edelson filed the complaint on his behalf, alleging that he subscribed to the DoNotPay services and used the service to perform a variety of legal services on his behalf, such as:

  • Drafting demand letters
  • Drafting an independent contractor agreement
  • Small claims court filings
  • Drafting two LLC operating agreements
  • An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission job discrimination complaint 

Faridian says he “believed he was purchasing legal documents and services that would be fit for use from a lawyer that was competent to provide them.” He further claims that the services he received were “substandard and poorly done.”

Edelson has successfully sued Google, Amazon, and Apple for billions. The NYT refers to him as the “most feared lawyer in Silicon Valley.”

When asked directly if DoNotPay would be hiring a lawyer for its defense or self-defending in court relying on its own tools, Browder said, “I apologize given the pending nature of the litigation, I can’t comment further.” Even still, he recently tweeted, “We may even use our robot lawyer in the case.”

What Lawyers and Marketing Professionals Can Learn From DoNotPay’s Mistakes

Stanford professors say that Browder is “not a bad person. He just lives in a world where it is normal not to think twice about how new technology companies could create harmful effects.” Whether this is true or not remains to be seen. In the meantime, attorneys and marketing professionals have a lot they can glean from Broward’s predicaments. They certainly need to think twice about the potentially harmful effects of AI technology use for several reasons.

DoNotAI

The overarching theme that we can take away from Broward and his business’s legal predicaments is that AI isn’t something that law firms or attorneys (or even those aspiring to be in the legal profession) should dabble in, at least for now. It isn’t worth using AI, such as ChatGPT or Google’s new Bard, whether for online form completion like DoNotPay or marketing content like blogs or newsletters. You don’t want to give the impression that something was drafted or reviewed by a licensed attorney when in reality, it was essentially written by a robot. On the other hand, you also don’t want to be accused of piecing legal documents together or performing shoddy work as an attorney because you are using AI. 

While relying on AI might seem harmless in some areas, it could later prove problematic, as it has for Broward. For example, using AI for any of your work or marketing content could:

  • Tarnish your reputation in your community and with your colleagues and network
  • Have your actions called into question by your state bar association
  • Provide consumers with the wrong or simply invaluable information, proving disastrous for your marketing and SEO efforts
  • Lower your SEO rankings and decrease your potential client leads
  • Cause legal action for malpractice or fraud

Adhere to Professional Standards

Always remember to adhere to your professional standards and codes of conduct. If anything related to the use of AI seems questionable or unethical, treat it as such and steer clear of it. The use of AI as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a bona fide attorney, whether online, in the courtroom, or in representing your clients, isn’t acceptable under any state bar at the current time. Taking shortcuts that rely on AI isn’t worth facing professional consequences up to and including having your license suspended or terminated.

What This Means for Legal Content 

AI is permissible and even valuable for some minor legal content generation tasks, such as determining keywords or composing an outline. However, these new and still emerging technologies shouldn’t be used to draft entire blog posts, white papers, newsletters, eBooks, landing pages, or other online marketing copy. There are several reasons to avoid this:

  • AI-generated content may soon carry a watermark detectable by web browsers
  • We don’t yet know how Google will react to such content—although Google currently claims the quality of the content is more important than how it is produced, AI may not be generating quality content, and Google could change its stance at any point
  • State bars may view AI-generated marketing content as unethical or fraudulent
  • The use of AI-generated content could constitute the unauthorized practice of law in some states
  • AI content may provide incorrect information and come across as cold or impersonal, something attorneys definitely want to avoid when marketing to potential clients

Do You Need Help Producing Original Content?

If you are an attorney or marketing professional who needs help producing legal content, Lexicon Legal Content can help. Don’t cut corners and put yourself at risk by turning to AI-generated content. Our team of attorney-led writers can produce valuable content for your website or other marketing efforts that pass not only plagiarism detection but also AI detection. All content is either written or reviewed by a licensed attorney. Talk to a content expert today about we can meet your legal content needs. 

how to increase traffic to your website?

Your law firm’s website plays an important role in terms of marketing and reaching your target audience – and your content matters. Generating relevant and compelling content is the name of the game, but if you find yourself at a loss when it comes to choosing inspiring topics that resonate with your widest potential audience, you are not alone. Many firms find themselves recycling the same, tired titles time and time again, but you can do better, and we have some helpful hints to get you started. 

Think Seasonal

The seasons hit us all the same, and they make a great anchor for developing content. 

The Spring and Summer Months 

With summer nearly upon us, your content should focus on legal matters that relate to summer living, including:

  • With the kids out of school, there are summer child custody schedules to tweak, and child custody modifications are common. 
  • With warmer weather, we see more road trips, which can inspire a wealth of topics, including traffic accidents, road safety, travel routes, destinations, and much more.
  • Summer means vacay, which lends itself nicely to articles about premises liability claims related to hotels, resorts, and pools. 
  • Boats and jet skis hit their stride in the warmer months, which makes articles that explore related accidents a gimme.  

There are also the summer holidays to consider, which deserve some attention of their own. 

Memorial Day

This year, Memorial Day is on May 27, and it tends to kick off summer break for all the kiddos out there. Memorial Day is a three-day weekend that brings family and friends together for beer, brats, and yard games (or some variant thereof), and it’s a great opportunity to visit and spruce up the gravesites of our lost loved ones – with a focus on veterans. Memorial Day, however, is also closely associated with some heavy-duty traffic accident statistics, including (according to the National Safety Council, NSC) that traffic fatalities spike over the Memorial Day weekend (compared to the weekends that bracket it). In other words, you can treat Memorial Day as a springboard for a wide range of related articles. 

Fourth of July

The Fourth of July falls on a Monday this year, which – for many people – means a 4- or 5-day weekend. Fourth of July has everything that summer has to offer on tap, with some extras thrown in for good measure, including:

  • Elevated car accident statistics related to increased traffic, increased impairment behind the wheel and increased distraction
  • Water-related accidents
  • Injuries caused by fireworks

Labor Day

Labor Day means back to school and the child custody concerns that are often sparked by this transition. There are also topics about accidents on school grounds and accidents related to children making their way to and from school – including bus accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bike accidents – to consider. 

We can all relate to the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day – and all the other holidays – on a very personal level, which makes the summer holidays a great platform for blog topics. Don’t be afraid to give your blog entries and articles your own spin – it’s the best way to find your voice and to really speak to all those searchers who can truly benefit from your services. If you have a unique topic in mind, don’t back-burner it simply because it’s not what everyone else is doing – you might have a real winner on your hands, and when you speak from a place of authentic concern, it can have a profound impact. 

The Fall and Winter Months

As temperatures and daylight hours decrease, there’s a lot going on – and there’s plenty to keep you busy in terms of content. Consider all the following:

  • Winter driving risks
  • Holiday travel
  • Increased holiday traffic and traffic accident statistics
  • Increased impairment behind the wheel
  • Weather-related premises liability claims
  • Holiday-related stress and the accidents it causes

These basic topics are the starting point for articles that can be woven into your own masterpieces of content – that also address your potential clients’ needs. Remember, too, that a well-polished title and outline – about a subject of your choice – is going to take you farther than a rote reinterpretation of the basics. 

A Feast of Topics

If your firm focuses on personal injury, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, or any combination of these practices, NSC has a treasure trove of potential topics on offer. Each year, they publish a Safety Observance Calendar that focuses on specific national health and safety awareness campaigns (replete with valuable resources for you to explore). For example, just a few of the many topics on tap for May and June of 2022 include:

  • May is Motorcycle Safety Month, National Bike Month, National Electric Safety Month, Trauma Awareness Month, National Water Safety Month, National Building Safety Month, and much more. 
  • May 21-27 is National Safe Boating Week.
  • June is National Safety Month.
  • June 5-11 is National Trailer Safety Week (tractor-trailers).
  • June 20 is National Ride to Work Day (focusing on those who commute to work on motorcycles and scooters). 

This is the tip of the iceberg. If you’re looking for current content ideas, NSC has got you covered.  

Keeping Your Content Fresh

In order to create quality content, you need great topics, but that – of course – is not the end of the story. The topic sets the stage, but your content has to deliver. Factors to focus on include:

  • Creating a strong outline that flows seamlessly from your introduction to a solid conclusion 
  • Allowing the reader to hear your voice 
  • Inspiring your readers to take the next step in moving from potential client to actual client

Finally, don’t shy away from revisiting older content and jazzing it up. Polishing the title, tightening the writing, updating the statistics, and including an eye-popping example or two can breathe new life into work that is down but not out.

Best Practices in Law Firm Content Marketing

two people collaborating on paperwork

It’s increasingly important for solo attorneys and law firms to establish their brands in the digital market. Many are using advanced SEO tehchniques to get themselves to the top of the SERPs. Most are also using social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to get the word out about their services, expertise, and success.

Are Your Marketing Strategies Working for You?

Numerous attorneys and law firms still don’t generate the website traffic or leads they need to make their efforts worthwhile. New clients are few and far between. They begin to wonder why the competition is getting ahead while they fall behind. 

Consider your growth rate. Are your marketing strategies working for you? What about your content marketing strategy? If you want potential clients to view you as the authority in your area of legal practice, you must provide persuasive content to readers. Content that isn’t convincing could send them the other way as they might wonder if you are reputable. 

However, you’re in business to practice law. It’s where your skills and passion are focused. You didn’t go to school to write content and market your services all day. If this sounds familiar, it’s probably time to enlist the services of an experienced law firm web marketing agency that can help you craft engaging, high-value content. Not only can this allow you to keep your focus on your practice, but it will also attract more potential clients.

What a Law Firm Content Marketing Agency Can Do for You

Creating, promoting, and distributing content is essential for success in today’s legal environment. However, giving your clients the time and attention they need is also crucial. You don’t need any distractions. With the help of a well-versed content and marketing team, you can take a passive role in driving traffic to your website and growing your practice.

Five Best Practices in Law Firm Content Marketing

Align Your Content Strategy with Your Business Goals

If you want more clients, you must have a content strategy that supports your business development goals. Potential clients need to see that you have a clear vision and a particular focus. If your business goal is to help personal injury clients, but your content focuses on family law, it won’t get you any closer to meeting your goal. The content published on your website must be fine-tuned to your marketing strategy. 

Add Value, Not Just Words

Before publishing anything, you should check to see that your content meets these three standards:

  • It adds value
  • It’s helpful to the reader
  • It’s customer-centric

Don’t publish content just to publish content. Provide your potential clients with content that demonstrates your competence. Ensure that it effectively demonstrates your expertise in your field of law and that it’s backed up by facts.

You should also stick to layman’s terms. In general, it’s best to stay away from legal jargon that might confuse or intimidate a reader.

Engage Your Firm’s Attorneys

Law firms should involve their attorneys in their content marketing efforts. Since they are the ones that potential clients will be working with, use their knowledge and experience to make your content comprehensive and tailored to your specific niche. 

In addition to being on your firm’s website, your copy should be posted on the firm’s attorneys’ social media profiles. Make it a priority to train your lawyers to use social media platforms to publicize your law firm’s content. 

Don’t Forget Hashtags

If one of your goals is to increase the visibility of your posted content, don’t forget to use hashtags when posting on social media. The key is to use relevant and trending hashtags. Search engine tools such as hashtagify.me can help you find the right ones to use. 

Although it might be tempting to use general words or come up with your own hashtags, avoid doing so as it makes it harder for your audience to find the content. Also, beware that you could lose some readers by using too many hashtags on a single piece of content.

Keep it Interesting

Legal content can easily be mundane and pendantic , but you don’t have to fit into this mold with your content. Discuss new case law and use your creativity. Think about your audience’s interests, and don’t simply focus on what you can gain from content marketing. Infographics are a proven way to engage with readers across all social media platforms. They can improve your SEO ranking and drive more traffic to your content.

While we hope you find these tips helpful to your content marketing strategy, we also know that they may feel a bit overwhelming with everything else your role requires. We founded Lexicon Legal Content to help attorneys and law firms meet their marketing goals while still remaining focused on providing quality legal services to their clients. 

You can count on our attorney-led team of legal writers to handle your blogging and other content needs. Our content is authoritative, timely, and ethics-compliant to maximize its effectiveness and minimize the time and effort required from you. Find out more about our services by speaking to one of our marketing experts. Call our office today at 877-488-8123 or contact us online.

Marketing Ethics for Attorneys: 2021 and Beyond

A graphic of a person using a phone infront of various legal icons

The Internet has fundamentally changed the way that people seek and evaluate professional services, including legal services. Increasing brand awareness, acquiring new customers, and achieving financial goals rely heavily on a law firm’s advertising and marketing efforts. Competition among law firms in in all practice areas increases daily. An understanding of the basics of a competitive marketplace is critical for firms that desire to grow.

Continue reading “Marketing Ethics for Attorneys: 2021 and Beyond”