Last week I made the case for why an attorney should have a blog at all. Hopefully something resonated, and you’ve taken steps toward establishing one. Now you may be wondering how to pick subjects and write content that will be interesting to potential clients.

Unless your blog is focused on astrophysics, writing a good blog posts is not rocket science. Think about how you like information presented to you. Chances are you have a lot coming at you, and not much time to accomplish your To-Do list, just like your potential clients. A simple guiding principle is that your blog should add to the conversation – by educating on a topic, answering a common question, or breaking down a complex legal issue into more assessable chunks.

Use these tips as a “best practices” guide for writing a blog post.

Topic

The easiest way to come up with a topic is to address a pain point. Everyone using the internet is there to address a pain point, even if that pain point is boredom. Most people, however, are not idly wondering what they should do if they are served divorce papers, or had their neighbor’s tree fall onto their house. They have had something happen, something that is probably causing them some mental or emotional pain. Be there to meet their needs with the soothing balm of your written expertise and wisdom.

More topic generators: When you’re cornered for free advice at parties, what questions are you asked? Did a law pass recently in your state that could impact members your community? What issues do your ideal clients deal with, and what issues should they be made aware of? By offering this information to potential clients, you show your command of the law and your willingness to speak directly to them in a way they can understand.

Tone and style of writing

Here’s where you show your personality. The passion you feel for your topic will come through in your writing, and your personality will give it flavor. These can combine powerfully to attract the types of clients who will work best with you and be more likely to return in the future.

Don’t confuse your blog with a law journal. Write in terms your audience will relate to. With few exceptions, writing for other lawyers is a totally different enterprise than writing for your potential clients. Clients need to know that you are relatable and approachable. Use your writing to demonstrate that you can solve their problems, and potential clients may be more likely to call you than one of your competitors.

Length

A blog can be anywhere from 300 – 1,500 words depending on your goal. If you can address the topic in a couple sentences,  then do so. If your goal is to educate fully on a topic,   you may need more words to do that. When your goal is to cover a legal topic just enough to entice the reader to take action  and contact you, the ideal post length may be somewhere in between. Keep in mind that people are generally busy, and tend to skim.

Format

To keep your post skimmable and easy to digest:

  • Use subheadings to break up points
  • Use bullets for lists of things
  • Use bold and italics to emphasize key points
  • Keep paragraphs on the shorter side

A post that is easy to read will be easier for the reader to understand and therefore more likely to warrant a share via their social media accounts.

Images

Humans are visual creatures, and an image could be the one thing that helps the most with attracting readers to your blog posts. Research conducted by MDG Advertising shows that content with a relevant image gets 94% more views than content without one. Either take a photo yourself, to avoid any copyright infringement, or find a royalty-free stock image that complements the topic of your post.

Catchy title

Since the title will be the first part of your post readers will see, make it something that will stand out. People love a Top Five list, or a title phrased as a question they themselves may have had. Pique curiosity with your title, or even create it by presenting a question that they have never thought to ask. The title of your post is what will show up on the search engine results page as well, making this decision even more important.

In the end, if you feel passionate about the topic and are addressing a common concern, your blog post has a good chance of being viewed as valuable and of being read (and, hopefully, shared).