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Writers’ Guide

WRITERS GUIDE

 

Plagiarism

We cannot accept plagiarized work. Not only is plagiarism unethical, it can result in legal liability as well as issues with the bar for our clients. For this reason, we run every piece of content we receive through a plagiarism checker. Writers will not be compensated for submissions that plagiarized in whole or in part and will result in the termination of the independent contractor relationship.

Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is content that is found elsewhere on the internet. Even if you can ethically and legally use certain content verbatim (for example, quotes from judicial opinions or statutory language), it is not a good idea to do so, as duplicate content will be ignored by search engines and can even result in a ranking penalty. In other words, duplicate content is bad for our clients, so we cannot use it. This is true even for content you write, so while it may be tempting to copy and paste your call-to-action, for example, please don’t.

Formatting/Style/Linking

  • While it is not necessary to do so, do not shy away from writing in the 2nd person if it is appropriate (speak directly to the reader using you, your, etc. . .)
  • Do not indent paragraphs
  • Use multiple headers to break up text. 3-4 per ~500 words is ideal.
  • Headers should be in title case
  • Bold headers (not underlined). No period after headers.
  • Try and include at least one bulleted list
  • Check to see if the lawyer is a solo – if so, don’t talk about “attorneys” or “lawyers.” You may still say call “us” or refer to “we” in the CTA, however – unless otherwise noted.
  • Outbound links – do not add a “naked” URL to the text. Instead, link to anchor text within the content. For example “people injured by the negligence of others,” or “under New York law….”
  • Please do not link to other law firms or to services such as Nolo or Findlaw, which serve as platforms on which attorneys can advertise. Some examples of acceptable sources include:
    • Government agencies (CDC, NHTSA)
    • Cornell’s Legal Information Institute
    • State statutes (on .gov website)
    • Notable healthcare organizations (Mayo Clinic)
    • Professional organizations (American Medical Association)
    • Peer-reviewed journals
  • If you are going to use specific statistics, link to the source. There is no need to link to a general statement like, “drunk drivers cause thousands of accidents each year,” however.
  • One space between sentences
  • Phone number should be in XXX-XXX-XXXX format (no parentheses)

Call-to-Action (CTA) Guidelines

  • The CTA paragraph should always be set off by a header
  • The CTA header should include some form of “Geographic Target + Practice Area + Attorney/Lawyer/Law Firm.” Remember to try and match the natural language that a person may type into a search engine. Examples:
    • Call a St. Louis Unemployment Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
    • Contact New York Personal Injury Law Firm to Retain Legal Representation
    • Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer in Chicago Today
  • Include phone number in CTA paragraph
  • In the CTA, write in the first person when discussing the firm (“call us today” as opposed to “call them today”)
  • Use “contact us,” “online contact form,” or “contact us online” as anchor text for link to contact page.

EDITING

Our goal is to send publish-ready content to our clients, and this requires multiple rounds of edits. As a result, we edit and format content all we receive in-house. That being said, please run your content through Grammarly and perform a basic spell check prior to delivery.

KEYWORD USAGE

Search engines are getting smarter every day and recognize when content is intentionally created to rank for a particular phrase. As a result, it is best to use natural language and avoid awkward sentence constructions simply to add a keyword. Please add keywords phrases (Chicago truck accident attorney) at a density of 2-3 percent, whenever possible. “Keyword stuffing” can result in a site being penalized by search engines.

MISCELLANEOUS STYLE ISSUES:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is singular – The CDC reports, not the CDC report
  • When discussing statistics or recommendations issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and abbreviating the name of the agency do not use the definite article “the” before “NHTSA” i.e. “NHTSA statistics indicate that…”
  • The first time you refer to an agency, state the entire name of an agency before using the acronym and indicate the acronym in a parenthetical reference immediately after, i.e. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)” or “The Department of Justice (DOJ).

 

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