About 120 years ago, novelist Emile Zola submitted an article to a Paris daily newspaper about the miscarriage of justice in a criminal case. The article helped win freedom for the accused and lasting recognition for the author. Lawyers can likewise write articles to gain visibility and win new clients. This article provides writing tips and resources for lawyers who want to write articles to promote their practice.
Benefits. Writing to win clients is called content marketing. It involves the publication of articles in print and online. Writing articles can drive traffic to firm websites, lead to new clients, and bring media inquiries and speaking engagements.
Topics. Select timely topics that impact prospects in your practice areas. Provide useful information about pitfalls and how to avoid them. Write about a recent court decision, legal trend, or planning opportunity. Repurpose a recent memo, letter, or legal opinion for use as an article.
Title. Search engines usually display the title and first paragraph of articles. Use attention grabbing titles of about 3 to 6 words. Highlight the core content of the article in the first paragraph.
Style. Use easily understood words with short sentences. Tell readers valuable information to help them in their daily lives or jobs.
Length. Adjust the length of your article to the type of publication – a couple of sentences for a tweet, a few paragraphs for a blog, and several pages for an article. Check editorial guidelines before submitting articles to a publisher. Also, consider your audience – shorter articles for consumers and longer articles for business owners and managers.
Frequency. Create an editorial calendar and publish on a regular basis — daily tweets, weekly blogs, and monthly articles for e-newsletters and websites. Publishing periodically will improve your visibility for Internet searches and help attract an audience.
Publication. Publish in blog posts, twitter feeds, newsletters, websites, and social media. Go beyond firm publications by submitting articles to newspapers, news websites, and social media. Volunteer to write a weekly newspaper column about your practice area. Remember to syndicate articles so they are published In multiple places. After publishing an article, tweet a summary, add a link to your Google and LinkedIn profiles and post an entry on your Facebook page.
Resources. Stay current on marketing trends by reading a recent article published by the ABA’s Legal Resource Technology Council. Find out how to avoid the ethical pitfalls of social media with the ABA’s ethics handbook. Do-it-yourselfers can read the American Bar Association’s practice management books to learn how to gain new cases with Blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn, Publishing, Social Media, and Twitter. Lawyers who prefer ready-made products can hire free-lance writers, use articles provided by website hosting services like Justia, or buy articles from online providers like Blumberg. The content of Blumberg’s client pamphlets can be licensed for use as articles in law firm blogs, newsletters, and websites. Blumberg’s pamphlets cover over 25 personal and business topics and include planning checklists. Blumberg can edit pamphlets to meet your needs and/or write new pamphlets to enable marketing of your specialties and skills.
For information about Blumberg’s pamphlets, click here.
Conclusion. Stand out from your competition by writing articles that demonstrate your expertise and show you can help solve legal problems. Don’t fall behind the growing number of lawyers that have harnessed the power of the press to attract cases and clients for their firms.