Check your content to make sure it’s meeting these aims
By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.
In its May issue, the ABA Journal tackles the topic of bad blogs. In particular it notes that Findlaw’s 15 hyperlocal news-based blogs have been dubbed “spam blogs” by the legal blogosphere.
Writer Rachel M. Zahorsky explains the controversy over the blogs, which some have criticized as little more than regurgitations of local accident reports designed to dump search engine-friendly copy onto the Internet without adding to the legal discourse.
The blogs have also been criticized because nonlawyers have been hired as blog writers, resulting in mix-ups of criminal and civil terms and other snafus.
In a May 13 TechNewsWorld article, “Making a Place for Yourself in the Blogosphere, Part II,” writer Brian R. Hook interviewed several successful bloggers. This point cannot be emphasized enough:
To ensure that you are publishing quality content, evaluate it, using these four criteria.
1. Is the law characterized correctly?
This may seem like an elementary point, but you need to have enough legal knowledge to write a blog post. If your law firm has hired a professional writer, does he or she understand the basic differences in the types of law and burdens of proof and how the justice system works?
This also applies to lawyers. As a lawyer, I follow the law closely for new developments and I know the lawyers to whom I can turn to make sure I got it right. If you’re writing a blog post that touches on a topic outside your regular practice area, don’t be afraid to run it by a colleague for feedback.
2. Can a lay audience understand the post?
Most first-year law students are told on arriving at school that learning the law is like learning a foreign language. Anyone who clutched a legal dictionary, as I did, for the first semester and constantly thumbed through it to find the meaning of various arcane terms understands what that entails.
The problem with learning the law as a language is that it can be difficult to drop the legalese once you’ve learned it. Terms such as “tort,” “estoppel,” and “res ipsa loquitur” may be bandied about by lawyers, but for those standing on the sidelines they’re nothing more than jargon.
But nonlawyers are genuinely interested in the law and new developments. They’re also potential clients. Have you written your post in a way that is accessible to a variety of audiences?
3. Is your post keyword optimized for search engines?
No matter how great it is, content must be found before it can be of use. That means using keywords — but not all keywords are equal. If your website is still new and small, achieving a good ranking through the use of the most popular keywords may not be the best strategy. Sometimes, at the outset, opportunities for good rankings can be found in less popular combinations. Then the strategy entails building up to the most crowded keyword combinations over time.
Keyword placement in the copy is important. The same goes for heading choices and the use of bold typeface and bullet points.
4. How does your blog entry fit into your law firm’s marketing and public relations goals?
How do you see your law firm’s website or blog fitting into your firm’s marketing and PR plan? Do you have concrete and specific goals for these tools? Are you measuring the performance through programs such as Analytics?
Reviewing your goals and comparing the information with your data can provide insight on how to make adjustments to the text or create new entries in the future.
Do you have any additional tips you’d like to share?
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