Four ways to make your legal blog stand out from the crowd

You don’t need to be Ernest Hemingway to create a great legal blog. Sue Bramall offers her top four legal blogging tips to ensure your blog commands a strong following.

My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.” Ernest Hemingway

Let’s face it, most people don’t write like Ernest Hemingway – and although there are no rules on how to write, it is true that most people do not like to read articles written in the style of a contract or legal pleading. 

There are some great legal blogs on the internet, but there are also some mediocre ones and a fair few blogs which languish in Zombieland, neglected and abandoned since their founder lost interest or the energy to continue.

If you are considering starting a legal blog to raise your profile, here are four top tips to ensure yours stands out from the crowd and generates the following that you desire.

1.    Research and define your legal niche

If your planning has not got much further than thinking up a super-cool name for your blog, then pause for a moment and set aside some time to do some vital research and planning.

If you have a clear idea for your blog, then check that this is not already being covered by someone else who has a head start and several thousand followers already.  If someone is doing something similar, then you need to be very clear about how yours will be different.

2.    Resource planning

Are you in it for the long haul?  If you are just starting out in your career, are you sure that you will have the same focus a year from now?

Once you start, are you confident that you will be able to produce a regular blog? Could you team up with some colleagues and share the load?

Consider having a legal ghost-writer lined up in case you get busy with client work, holidays or caring commitments.  A good one will soon get to grips with your style and tone of voice.

3.    Be organised

Plan ahead with regard to your content.  Draft a calendar with any key dates that are going to be important.  For example, dates when you expect an important judgment or deadlines for consultations.  Certain statistics are published at regular times of the year and there are any number of national and international awareness days, some of which might be relevant to your blog.

As well as the obvious legal cases, identify a set of resources or sources, where you can go to find material to write about, such as official bodies or professional organisations which issue reports and press releases.

4.    Leave your legalese behind

Unless you are seeking to move into academia, make sure that you write in plain English in an engaging and insightful way.  You have only a few seconds to grab the attention of a reader who is browsing the internet and they are unlikely to spend long if you start every blog post with “A recent landmark case in the High Court …”

Don’t be afraid to express an opinion (subject to your firm’s social media policy). In fact, disagreeing with another blogger and starting a lively debate can be a great way to attract followers from someone else’s blog.

Chances are that you will be writing the blog in your spare time, so if you are not enjoying it, you will not be motivated to continue – don’t be afraid to have a little fun.

Who knows, maybe you could be the next Ernest Hemingway.

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