12 Ways for Marketing Managers to Take Law Firm Blogging Topics to the Next Level
Spinning your wheels in the muddy embankment of law firm blogging?
You aren’t alone.
If there’s one reason that law firm blogs don’t get updated often, it’s time (especially when lawyers try to write blog articles on their own).
But if there’s a second reason, it’s the desert of ideas. How is one supposed to keep conjuring interesting legal topics while also balancing that whispery-thin line between “lawyerly” and “what real human being would actually read this?”
A good topic is hard to find.
…Hard, that is, until you find this handy little guide of ours.
Even though we do a lot of the blogging for the law practices that hire us here at Black Fin, we realize that many of our clients — firm partners and/or their marketing managers — pen their own articles from time to time too.
To that end, below, we offer 12 little insights into generating blog topics for law firms.
This isn’t a list of specific topics (because 12 of those would only last you a month or two at most), but rather, prompts for perpetually developing topics all your own.
And get this: none of them involve analyzing recent court decisions or rehashing your practice area webpages, as so many legal blogs are wont to do.
1. Let Your Telephone Be Your Guide
Getting internet ideas from something as retro and analog as a telephone? …That thing with a cord?
Shocking, we know. But hear us out.
If you’re trying to write on topics that your firm’s prospective clients are curious about, why don’t you just answer exactly the questions they ask when they call?
Don’t only pay attention to what they ask, though. Focus on the way they ask it too. Answering a “lay” question in “the people’s vernacular” can help you build rapport with readers and answer inquiries in an organic way that conventional “attorneyspeak” might elude. As an added bonus, from an SEO perspective, you might end up targeting precisely the search phrases that people in your community are entering on Google.
But what if you aren’t the person picking up phones in your office? That’s fine. Go talk to the people who do! It might be the most fruitful lunch meeting you’ve had in a while.
2. Pick a Partner’s Brains
While you’re at it, invite a lawyer to lunch too. (If you’re an attorney yourself, treat a colleague or a senior partner.) Find out what they find interesting about law right now. For example:
- Have recent trends in the housing market made their jobs more difficult?
- Is pending legislation threatening to upend the medical malpractice field?
- Has a recent horror story come down the grapevine and convinced them to change the way they practice?
- Are there any crazy client stories making their way around the proverbial courthouse water cooler lately? (Redacted, naturally.)
All these things make excellent fodder for blog topics. If they’re interesting to the lawyers, there’s probably a way to make them interesting to readers too — being careful, of course, to sidestep textbook drudgery and minutiae.
As the law firm marketing manager, you’re in a prime position for extracting the most intriguing elements from the issue at hand because, if you aren’t personally a lawyer, the J.D.s in the room are likely to relay their stories to you in a way that puts the riveting ahead of the mundane.
3. Go Local
Local blog topics are almost always winners because they meet so many goals at once. With the same article, you can:
- Write about something of immediate interest to your primary client base (the local community where your office is located).
- Gain local search traction by using local keywords for SEO and teaching Google to associate your website with the communities you serve.
- Establish the attorneys in your law firm as authorities on matters of local interest and urgency.
4. Go Global
National and worldwide news stories work well too. Spend just 10 minutes running Google News searches, and you’ll almost certainly discover juicy news reports that relate your firm’s practice areas.
Feel free to get creative. If there’s a hot item in the media, try to find an angle that relates to your practice if at all possible. For example:
- Has a beloved celebrity passed away? Craft a respectful piece that relates to your estate planning practice.
- Are Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump holding another summit? A criminal defense attorney surely has a lot to say about presidential pardons.
- Did Uber just introduce a new ridesharing policy, or has its self-driving vehicle been in another accident? A personal injury firm can weigh in with real gravity.
Instead of blogging about the underlying legal issue itself, build a bridge to your readers by relating your practice to the stories that already interest them.
5. Put Your Binge Watching to Good Use
Speaking of things your readers care about, never underestimate the power of primetime TV. People love their TV shows, and we’re living in a new “Golden Age” of “Peak TV,” so take advantage!
It just so happens that TV writers are obsessed with lawyers and legal crises — nearly half the shows on television feature a lawyer in a primary or recurring character role. So there’s already a built-in angle for you.
Your topics might look a little like these:
- 13 Things “Law & Order” Gets Wrong About Courtroom Drama
- 7 Criminal Defense Lessons You Can Learn from “How to Get Away with Murder”
- Everyday Personal Injury Observations from the World of “Judge Judy”
Movies work too. In the last few years alone, a slew of Oscar-nominated films has intersected with the world of law, from The Lincoln Lawyer and The Wolf of Wall Street to Molly’s Game and Roman J. Israel, Esq.
6. Consider Corporate Needs
If your firm caters to corporate clients or a particular industry, consider creating articles that double as checklists, how-to articles, or FYI advisories specific to that industry.
For example, if you often deal with corporate litigation involving extensive document review, you might write a “guide to document preservation” for your clients’ IT department to use in avoiding spoliation.
Or, if you represent a company in the construction or real estate industry, “11 Pitfalls to Avoid When Building or Buying Commercial Property” could prove truly useful to your clients.
With content like that, your blog becomes more than a content marketing tool, serving as an actual resource for your client base.
7. What Would Elon Musk Do?
Technology is just plain exciting. Everyone’s looking for the next big gadget to rock their world.
Fortunately, law and tech go hand in hand. There’s nary a practice area not impacted by new developments in the way we all engage with the world. For instance:
- How are estate planning attorneys addressing access to testators’ social media accounts?
- In what ways are defense lawyers protecting their clients in the era of police departments tracking civilian cell phones with Stingray devices?
- Are issues of copyright and fair use evolving in the context of memes?
- How are personal injury lawyers using Apple Watch and Fitbit as evidence of injury?
…to name only a few. Don your thinking cap and reflect on how new technologies might — or already do — impact your firm’s approach to law.
8. Get Graphic
Don’t underestimate the value of infographics. They’re great for bolstering your blogs. Studies show that web users tend to spend longer on articles when there’s visual content to support the text. That’s an important metric because time spent on a webpage is one of the values that search engines use when calculating search rank and assigning quality scores.
Infographics can even be your topic. Write an article that provides ancillary and complementary information, supporting the infographic without merely rehashing it. (Just as a speaker should never simply read his or her PowerPoint slides to the audience, a blogger should never settle for writing out what an infographic already clearly states.)
You might even take multiple images (infographics, graphs, charts, etc.) and write an article to compare, contrast, and extrapolate from the data.
9. Revel in the Past
History is endlessly fascinating, and the history of the law is no exception. People like to learn how their society came about. Dig into the curious annuls of legal history and tie those stories into the services you provide today. Ideas include:
- Controversial legal rulings
- Landmark Supreme Court cases
- Stories of injustice
- “Weird Laws” (Did you know donkeys can’t sleep in bathtubs in Arizona?)
- Legal loopholes (past or present)
- Legal developments that changed America (particularly as they relate to your practice areas)
10. Cook Some Chicken Soup for the (Prospective Law Client’s) Soul
Law firm blog articles don’t even have to be about the law.
“What!?” you ask?
We know an estate planning and elder law attorney, for example, who owns a small but lucrative solo practice and insists that her blog articles meet only a few criteria:
- Relevant to her clients’ lives, interests, and needs
- Excellently written every time
Accordingly, her blogs are as likely to be about a senior citizen’s personal triumph, her own life experiences, or exciting medical advances in dementia care than they are about law.
Her blogs are frequently based on song lyrics, inspirational quotes, heartwarming movies, and so on.
The result? A passionate and loyal readership. People actually come to her website for the express purpose of reading her latest blog entries! And many of them end up becoming clients. Law firm blogging doesn’t have to be just about law.
11. Reinvent Yourself
Still struggling to find ideas? Don’t spend all day building a brand-new wheel when you have a whole “wheel warehouse” to choose from.
What are we talking about? Repurposing!
Can you repost your old blogs? Not if you want any real SEO traction. (Besides, duplicate content exasperates readers and runs the risk of Google penalizing your domain name in the search engine results.)
But you can revisit your old topic ideas in new and interesting ways. In fact, we recently wrote a guide to revisiting old law firm blog topics, filled with inspiring ideas for taking a fresh glance at well-traveled ground.
12. Hire Black Fin to Handle the Blogging for You
Not to brag, but there’s a reason so many law firms hire us to plan, write, optimize, and publish their web content… we’re pretty good at it.
In fact, here at Black Fin, we work with a team of writers, editors, graphic designers, content managers, J.D.s, and actual lawyers to develop extremely effective webpage and blog content — specifically and exclusively for law firms.
What do we mean by effective? Our one and only goal at Black Fin is to help our clients make more money. We use our services to grow law firms into bigger cases from better clients. That’s what it’s all about.
We even develop the topics for you! Some of our clients ask us to submit whole topic lists, complete with links to example pieces and clear descriptions of each proposed article’s purpose and goals. Let us do the same for you.
Contact the attorney SEO experts at Black Fin and take your blog topics to the next level, starting today.