How Do You Get Lawyers To Blog?

Reddit user KatissimusDorsi wrote to the /r/SEO subreddit asking for advice about how to get lawyers at one of his client’s firms to blog about their expertise.

Here’s what he (although it could be a ‘she!’) said:

We have a long-standing client who recently started paying for us to do monthly SEO maintenance on their site. They’re a law firm in a fairly specific niche. The website has the basics – profiles of all the attorneys, history of the firm, services they provide, contact info, a small resources section.

It’s common to hear lawyers complain about being bugged by their boss to update their website. From the perspective of the lawyers at the firm, it’s an added hassle that they’re not being paid any extra for. Most lawyers have little interest in writing for the public, and find it an arduous task.

The request for help closed like this:

I’ve mentioned repeatedly that doing just even a tad bit of social media / blogging would be helpful, but that’s not really something they want to do – which I understand considering they’re overworked attorneys.

We can’t really write the content for them as they are a super-specialized industry. The best we can do is write a small news announcement when they participate in an event (2-3 times per year) or win an award (1-2 times per year) and get some external links from that.

I feel like I should be able to do something more for them, but their few competitors in the area are beating them handily in rankings due to their active blogs / social media presence.

I’m fairly new to SEO, so I want to make sure I’m not missing something else I could be doing. Any advice?

This is a common problem not just with lawyers, but with most companies. The knowledge that’s compelling to potential customers is locked up within the heads of the employees. And those employees are rarely also talented writers. A task that takes a professional an hour would take them four hours.

Here’s the way that I resolve this dilemma:

Ghostwrite for the lawyers.

The lawyers who work for the firm will tend to really resent any commands from the boss to blog for the firm. What you should do is bill them time to interview the lawyers about the relevant topics for the niche, write based on the interviews in the voice of the lawyers who work for the firm, and then have it all vetted by the client before you post it.

You can also use the material from a single ~hour long interview for multiple posts. Pick topics that their clients usually need help with that are relevant to the keyword research you’ve already done. Ask them what terms that clients use when talking about the given legal specialty. Feed those terms into keyword research, and build content around that.

So that is where law firms tend to go wrong — they nag their employees to blog and they tend to think they have better things to do (which they usually do). To do this well you will have to learn a lot about their given niche, which you will probably do naturally by working with them.

This interview method is the most time efficient way to generate unique, relevant material for a corporate blog. Ghostwriting also makes it appear more authentic to readers than if you try to write a post in a disembodied corporate voice. If the interview subject isn’t comfortable appearing as the writer, treat them as if they’re a notable person being interviewed in depth by a journalist.

Guide Released: ‘Practical Content Strategy’

We’re excited to announce that our September 2014 guide, Practical Content Strategy, is out in our marketing resources section. Go read it now!

The idea behind creating this is that someone who has never encountered the phrase ‘content marketing’ should be able to read the guide and then immediately start doing excellent work.

Another issue that it’s intended to address is that a lot of the articles, books, and guides written about content marketing tend to be targeted towards large marketing departments. While big companies need all the help that they can get, the type of publishing strategy that they’re going to use will tend to be a whole lot more sophisticated than what the typical company will be capable of.

This guide is targeted to people who might only have between 1-5 people available to work on actually implementing it, and minimal technical staff.

I’ve seen too many small to mid-sized companies go rudderless on how they publish material, despite the fact that anyone can be effective at this if they can learn to start from a good foundation.

We believe that people prefer reading guides that are all collected in one place rather than littered in multiple blog posts. This type of publishing is also better matched to how search engines and social networks work nowadays.

If people get utility out of it, we’ll keep it updated and will possibly add some graphics and other material to make it more useful.