Legal Content Can Be Boring And Tough To Read, Unless….
Becoming and being a lawyer is hard work. But too many attorneys make the mistake of overcomplicating their website’s legal and blog content. If the average person can’t understand what you’ve written, they’re likely to become alienated and give up shortly after landing on your website.
Lawyers are trained to write effective briefs and contracts, not web content. If you write for the web the same way you write for a case, you’re going to have a problem.
Law websites and blogs don’t have to be inherently boring, however. Here are some tips to get more eyes on your site and clients on your books:
Create Some Best Practices
It’s essential to keep in mind that you are writing for other people – not lawyers or judges. When it comes to creating legal content that people will read, your first best practice should be to put yourself in their shoes. What issues are they facing, and how can you address them most effectively?
Use Everyday Language
According to research, to write a readable and interesting blog post, you need to use plain English. In short, this means using language that anyone can enjoy and understand. When writing legal content, you should avoid using legal jargon or terms.
You might want to sound smart. Who doesn’t? But it’s better to come across as understandable and authoritative.
Not sure about your writing? Online tools like the Hemingway App will give you a comprehension score by grade level and even suggest simpler terms as substitutions.
Instead of using the term “mitigate,” you can say “lessen” or “minimize”. You can also substitute the word “using” for “utilizing.” You get the picture.
This is a worthwhile exercise. Instead of looking at it as dumbing down your writing, it’s putting you in the best position to relate to and help your readers.
Fill in Knowledge Gaps
If you’re currently filling your law firm’s website with posts that dive into the nitty-gritty aspects of procedure and case law, you’re not speaking to your target audience. Unless, of course, your audience is law students or other lawyers.
Most law firms want to reach potential and current clients. And these people don’t care about the latest legislation (except to the extent that it affects them) and are rarely interested in your legal jargon.
To form the best connection with your readers, research what they’re concerned about, then deliver content on targeted topics:
- Consider your different areas of practice. Simplify these topics and do some basic web searches to find out what content already dominates the web as well as what people want to know.
- Use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner and BuzzSumo to find out trending topics and any opportunities you might have to fill in knowledge gaps.
These opportunities might vary depending on your areas of practice and geography. For example, a firm that practices in a big university town might want to address more content related to defending underage drinking charges or “DUI laws in [state].”
Embrace Empty Space
Your contracts or legal briefs are probably a “wall of words.” This doesn’t work with content on the web. People hate to see a page full of words. And, when they do, they’re more likely to hit the “back” button.
So, how do you embrace more empty space on your page? Here are a few tips:
- Use a lot of headers to organize your content.
- Write in shorter sentences.
- Create short paragraphs – even a single sentence is fine.
- Make bulleted or numbered lists.
- Use images to break up content.
Embracing white space on your page is a strategy that makes just about any content more readable. It makes your page easier for a reader to scan and will keep them on your website longer.
Explain the Obvious
As a lawyer, plenty of concepts might be obvious to you. But someone without a law degree that is worried about their future would probably appreciate an explanation in layman’s terms.
Avoid the mistake of making assumptions about a reader’s knowledge. Even if you’ve covered basic information in another blog post, either cover it again or provide a link for additional reading.
For most people, speaking with or hiring a lawyer can be intimidating. You’ll have more success with your legal content if you make it as relatable as possible.
There are several ways to do this. One is by using hypothetical stories to relate to your readers. Make up a scenario and detail how your firm would handle it. That said, it’s vital that you don’t use real cases unless given express permission by your client. Just changing names and locations isn’t enough to protect attorney-client privilege.
Another way you can be relatable in your writing is to simply show enthusiasm. When you’re excited about what you do, it will come through in your words.
Your readers will appreciate it when you keep things simple. Similar to academic writing, give them a spoiler alert at the beginning. In other words, let them know what you’re about to tell them.
End your content with a short summary of what you’ve just gone over. Finally, give your readers the next step if they’ve like some additional help. Usually, this involves giving you a call or sending a message requesting an appointment.
Get Some Help
If you’re like most lawyers, you’re incredibly busy. It’s not that you don’t have the skills to make any topic interesting and engaging; you probably just don’t have the time.
Instead of stressing over when you’ll be able to sit down and write your latest blog post or area of practice page, you can trust a professional content writer to lend a hand. An experienced writer will match your targeted keywords with easy-to-ready content that will build brand awareness for your firm and drive the conversions you want.
If you’d like to learn more about the different digital marketing solutions that will help your firm achieve its goals, give Sundown Marketing Group a call at (800) 649-1764. We welcome a conversation about your needs and will present a personalized plan designed to deliver the best possible results.