• Doug McPherson

10½ ways lawyers and accountants can improve their blog posts

If you have been asked to contribute to your firm’s blog you need to make sure the time and effort you invest results in content that achieves your primary objectives:

1. To give your clients and contacts a reasons to keep coming back to your site

2. To increase the chances you are found online so that you generate new enquiries

As you have been trained as a lawyer, an accountant or a patent and trademark attorney rather than a creative writer, we know this mission can look a little daunting. With that in mind here are 10½ things we’ve learned will help you produce more entertaining and engaging content.

1. Write for your readers, not your colleagues

Blogging is about educating/warning/updating/helping your readers. It is not an exercise to show off your technical brilliance. This means you need to use the language they use (and language they will understand). Avoid jargon, acronyms and initialisms. Instead, use anecdotes and examples that will align your topic to their lives.

2. Have an opinion

As a professional adviser your clients come to you for professional advice. This means they want clear direction not beige overviews. Be prepared to include what you think about the issue you are writing about. More specifically, be prepared to offer potential solutions.

3. Use an eye-catching title

There are literally billions of blogs out there so your title really is what will catch your readers’ eye.

Research the keywords and search phrases your markets use and base your 8-10 word titles on the results. Better still turn these keywords into a question because that is how people search.

4. Keep it short

The best blogs are around 1000 words long and should take less than 5 minutes to read. Try to stick to one point and if you have a series of points to make then why not serialise it? That way you’ll get several blogs from one sitting that you can publish over the next few weeks.

Having said that, it is good practice search engine-wise to mix in a few longer and shorter pieces for variety.

5. Use bullet points

Think about how to make it as easy as possible for your readers to absorb the information you’re trying to get across. One way to do that it is produce lists of short bullet points rather than a traditional article.

Some sniffy lawyers and accountants dismiss this as ‘clickbait’ but the truth is clients love it. They get what they need without having to wade through lines of superfluous additional wordcount.

6. Listen to your clients

What are they asking you? If they need that advice umpteen others in the same position also need that advice. This means writing about it is a good idea!

7. Use the news

Using Google alerts and signing up to the free e-newsletters published by the titles your clients read make it easy to stay up to date with what is happening in your markets. If you can incorporate these topics in your blogs, they will immediately have more chance of being picked up in your prospects’ searches.

And, you’ll look much more informed when they find you.

You can also link your piece to these articles as external links will also improve your SEO.

8. Stockpile

If you have a few ideas, try and get them written while they’re front of mind. As long as they aren’t time sensitive you can forward them for publication as and when you’re asked. Similarly, if you see good ideas or data or stats you think you could use, stockpile the links somewhere safe (I use an Outlook folder). You can always refer back to them when you have more time.

9. Be normal

Choosing a professional adviser is as much about personal fit as it is about technical competency. This means you need to adopt a more relaxed style than you would employ in your professional communications. It also means being able to display empathy and even inject a little humour here and there.

10. Practice may not make perfect but it does make it easier

Quite simply, the more you write the easier it becomes. Everything from choosing your topic and deciding on your angle to getting it down into a manageable, readable format will get easier (and quicker) every time you produce a new piece.

10½. Just do it!

I am told all too often that a lawyer, accountant or patent or trade mark attorney is “thinking about writing that blog”. Thinking doesn’t make progress and thinking certainly won’t influence your Google ranking. Just do it!

If you would like to discuss your approach to blogging and articles or want to find out how you could use us to write your content, please email me today.

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