Blogs created by law firms have increased exponentially over the past couple of years. LexBlog estimates around 300 new blogs have been initiated among the Am Law 200 in the past 24 months. But here's the question: do they work? Yes, if you optimize them.
Law firms have come to recognize that blogs are an excellent way to reach prospects, support keyword search, and demonstrate expertise.
From our standpoint, we see many firms that are not fully leveraging their blogs. First, the most effective blogs are those that focus on a narrow topic that a segment of prospects will find compelling. The more focused a blog is, and the more it offers valuable "news" and insight, the quicker it will gain an audience.
However, beyond focus, many firms are using outdated modes of presenting their blogs which sub-optimize readership and search functionality. Here are 7 things law firms can do immediately to improve the effectiveness of their blogs;
- Vary the lengths: One study found that the optimal length for blog entry is 300 words (very short for attorneys). A good strategy is to create blog entries of different lengths. Google tends to give more weight to articles that run over 2k words, so these are more likely to show up in search.
- Include a summary: We are all inundated with information on a daily basis. Providing a short summary at the top will be appreciated by visitors to assess if the particular post has value to them.
- Add a video: A standard practice is to attach a link to the attorney’s bio for more information. A more impactful approach is to include a short video. These videos can be a simple interview under one minute in length.
- Separate the blog’s URL: The blog should have its own sub-brand and URL so that it shows up better on search engines. It should also be hosted outside the firm’s website but contain brand elements.
- Include a Twitter feed: We see value in creating multiple Twitter feeds that focused around specific topics. Since people use Twitter as a news feed, this is good way to be seen as relevant in key areas of your practice. We also love the "Tweet This" button that allows users to immediate add a tweet from your blog.
- Promote the posts: Many firms will upload the post and leave it at that. We believe that high value posts should be pushed out to targeted audiences, including e-mail and promoted posts. This ensures that more prospects will see your content. Most c-suite prospects look for news in their e-mail first thing in the a.m. Your firm should be there with focused high value information and insight.
- Create a direct mail piece: A high value blog piece can easily be turned into a direct mail article that is sent directly to clients and prospects. This provides a way to stand out and stay in touch with high value clients while also demonstrating expertise on a given topic. It's great if a personal note can be attached to the top of piece to show clients you're thinking of them.
Finally, firms need to recognize that their blogs should be mobile friendly. It's estimated only 20% of legal firm blogs are mobile responsive. This means not only the platform its placed on, but using headers, visual elements, and other elements in the blog to help those on mobile devices.
Most legal marketing blogs take about 2 - 3 years to develop an audience, although narrower focused blogs can develop a following faster. Does it work? Ask the MP of Fox Rothschild who went on Bloomberg to discuss how blogs are driving new business.