Use a Blog to Grow Your Small Firm Practice
According to the 2016 Thomson Reuters U.S. Small Firm Study, small firms are not so small. By one estimate, small law firms account for $108 billion of the estimated $437 billion total legal market. Small law firms in aggregate exceed big law firms estimated $95 billion in revenue. Reuters reports that many industry experts predict that small firms will continue to grow as consumer clients look for good representation close to home and more responsive to their cost concerns.
Seventy-nine percent of small firms report that their biggest challenge is reaching potential clients. In the past, lawyers used to advertise in the phone book, joined organizations, or gave lectures to find legal work. Those methods still work—well, maybe not the phone book so much—but, in today's technological world a blog is one of the most affordable ways to reach a large number of people.
How to Begin
Start by deciding what clients you want to reach. What do they want to know and what questions are you routinely asked about your area of practice? How often do you want to post your blog? Be realistic, because search engines look for consistency in posting.
Things to Consider When Writing Your Blog
Understand why you're writing it. Do you want to be seen as an expert, build an awareness about your firm, or simply add fresh content to your website? Maybe you want to do all three. A well-defined strategy will keep you and your reader interested.
Decide what you want to say. Think about the clients you have. What type of problems are they experiencing? Pick topics from this list of problems. You can analyze recent court opinions, explain new legislation, or simply answer questions in your practice area.
Compose compelling copy. A story with facts that set up your topic is one way to get the reader's attention. Write clearly, use plain English, and keep it short. Your tone should be approachable and understandable, but still convey your expertise. A 300 to 500-word blog is sufficient. Blocks of text are tiring. To keep the reader on the page, break up text.
- Use bullets to emphasize key points.
- Add images, videos, and graphics.
- Bold or underline material.
Review and revise. Write it, set it aside, and come back in a few hours or the next day. You'll be surprised at what needs changing.
Two basic reasons for writing a blog are to keep your name in the mind of your current clients and to attract new clients. To attract new clients, it's important to use keywords that your target readers will search for on Google. Think about the 5 to 25 words you want to be ranked for and what clients mention most often when asked about how they found you.
Now you've built your blog. What next?
First, publish it on your website's blog page and your blog's hosting site. Second, promote it on social media. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and an e-mail blast to announce its posting. Third, publish it on the SBM Member Directory. Soon, fellow lawyers and clients looking for more information will beat a path to your door.
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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