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Writing Tips For Law Firm Content Marketing

Get the best tips from Scorpion to help you write the best legal content for your firm.
Law Firms

Considering that the human attention span, at about eight seconds, is less than a goldfish’s, how you say something is just as important as what you say in law firm content marketing. There are many ways to lose a reader’s attention: boring, competing with similar content, competing with whatever else is on the reader’s screen, and simply terrible writing.

Legal content marketing is an effective business growth strategy, but it is most successful with writing that ensures the content is found and read by the right readers. Professional writers, including journalists, use these specific tactics to get read — and law firms and lawyers should, too.

What is Legal Content Marketing?

Law firm marketing content is part of an overall content marketing strategy, which involves writing, posting, and sharing various content types across different platforms. Anything from blogs or white papers on a law firm’s website or articles published in an industry magazine to social media posts, advertisements, and videos are all part of a law firm content marketing strategy.

Law firms use content marketing to build credibility, increase website traffic, create communities, and, ultimately, develop business.

Importantly, legal content is key to search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the strategy to make content appear higher in search engine results. Using keywords in content optimizes it for SEO. Weave keywords into the content — don’t just stuff them in, which makes the content incomprehensible.

Why Writing Matters in Law Firm Content Marketing

Think back to a time you saw an interesting article link. You open the article excited to learn something new or be entertained, only to be immediately turned off by a long first sentence containing three typos. Whoever wrote that article has lost not only your attention but also your trust. If they can’t be bothered to write in a readable manner, why should you bother giving them your time?

Attracting and keeping readers is the backbone of a successful law firm content marketing strategy. Writing is the key to that success.

10 Writing Tips for Law Firm Content Marketing

  1. Start at the Top: The Headline — A headline that accurately reflects what the content is about and is catchy is one of the hardest parts of legal content writing. If you have a title in mind, put it on the page. Otherwise, move on and revisit it after you’ve written the content. When writing a headline or a title, think about the space it appears and adapt the length for it. For example, if blog titles on the website’s index page chop off after 40 characters, don’t make it longer than that. Generally, the title of any article or blog shouldn’t be longer than eight or nine words. Keep the words simple and punchy. Ask a question or warn about the serious impact of the development you’re writing about.

  2. The First Sentence is the Most Important Sentence — In news writing, the first sentence of an article is called the “lede.” It’s where journalists try to answer as many of the following questions as possible: Who, what, when, why, how, and when. While no one expects an untrained writer to craft a first sentence on par with the professionals, there are lessons we can all learn from this approach.

Be sure the first sentence grabs attention by telling what the news is or sets up a story that will lead the reader to the news soon. The first sentence, like all the sentences in the content, shouldn’t be more than 30-40 words. Think about why you’re writing the blog or article. Ask yourself why it’s important to your audience and what will they care about most.

  1. Keep Sentences and Paragraph Lengths Short and Varied — Sentences and paragraphs, generally, should not be long, but make some shorter than others. The variety makes the content interesting. Use shorter sentences to create emphasis. Longer sentences are for the more complex or detailed information.

  2. Leave the Legalese for the Court Brief — Always think about who you’re writing for and use words they can understand. If you must use a legal term, explain it.

  3. Be Consistent — Another journalistic rule is to apply style to writing. Publications have style guides, often using the A.P. Style Manual or The Chicago Manual of Style, to ensure every writer treats elements like professional titles, numbers and dates, and even commas across the publication. Law firms and other businesses will often create their own style guides of often-used words to ensure all marketing content is consistent. It’s the difference between being consistent 100 percent or 100% of the time.

  4. Use Action Words — Action words express an impact or an activity in a short, concise manner. Using action words in writing often eliminates unnecessary prepositional phrases, keeping the legal marketing content tight and efficient.

For example:

The new law triggers payments of amounts of compensation as a result of workforce modification.

The new law triggers compensation payments for a workforce modification.

  1. Set the Tone — Again, think about who you’re writing for and set the tone appropriately. Generally, when writing for a non-legal audience, the tone should be professional and conversational. If you’re writing an article for a legal journal, the tone can be more formal or academic.

  2. Give Credit Where Credit is Due — Hyperlinks to original sources of information, including previous legal marketing content you’ve published, are better than footnotes in almost all consumer-facing, digital legal marketing content. It’s more pleasing to the reader’s eye and has SEO benefits, too. Whenever you borrow information from another source, though, always provide attribution.

  3. Use Idioms, Puns, and Metaphors Once in a Blue Moon — Metaphors can be great tools to make a point and puns can be fun, but use them sparingly. Using too many in one piece of content can be overwhelming and confusing to the reader. Nip this practice in the bud so your content doesn’t fall apart at the seams.

  4. It’s Called “Thought Leadership” for a Reason — Blogs, articles, client alerts… in content marketing terms these are known as “thought leadership.” Above all else, this means you should write with authority. Share what you know and why it’s important and let that message stand out with good writing.

After the Last Period

Creating great legal marketing content doesn’t end when you’re done writing. Be sure to edit carefully. Ideally, ask someone you trust to review the content. Other tricks include reading the entire piece backward sentence-by-sentence to focus on cadence, typos, and structure. Microsoft Word has a “read aloud” feature that reads the article back to you, which is helpful in finding writing errors.

After the legal marketing content is published, use analytics, comments, and other feedback to see how it performs. Learn from the content’s performance to fine-tune your writing and make the next piece even better! Reach out to the team at Scorpion to learn more.