Lawyers, you write every day, but when it comes to writing content that people actually can and want to consume, writing for others can sometimes stop you in your tracks because you aren’t sure what to say and how to say it.
Let’s Talk About Best Practices
One of the first things you should keep in mind is the most obvious: You are writing for other people.
When it comes to creating content for others, it is important to remember that consumers of that content aren’t necessarily as knowledgeable in your practice area as you are because they didn’t spend all of the years studying and using the same language as you now use every day as a normal part of your lexicon.
They might use different words to describe what you do, what the issues are, and what they need to be concerned about.
What Language Do They Use?
Knowing that you are not writing for you, and that you aren’t even necessarily writing for other lawyers, you should back up and ask yourself:
- What are the terms that people understand?
- What language do the majority of the people, your clients, potential clients, and referral sources who don’t always understand what it is you’re talking about, use when they discuss their challenges?
- What kind of terminology do media sources use? What search terms might they use when looking for an expert to contribute to content they are creating?
When I conduct LinkedIn training, one of the very first things I talk about with a lawyer is the identification of keywords and key phrases that speak to all of the audiences mentioned above.
These are keywords that you are known for, or that you want to be known for, as well as terms that are important to your target audiences. What are the basic terms that they use when they talk about this matter?
Those will serve you in every way. They serve the lawyers I train on LinkedIn throughout their entire LinkedIn profile, as well on in every piece of content they create.
They will also help you so that when you’re trying to figure out what to blog about, what to write a LinkedIn article about, what updates to write, share, or react to on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook, what to record in your next podcast episode, and even what to use when you create video, whether that be recorded or live.
Make The Complex Simple
Always remember that you know your practice area 50 times, even 100 times better than anybody else does so, when creating content, you have to do what I often say is one of my primary responsibilities and goals, and that is to make the complex simple.
I think that is one of your jobs, too. You need to make the complex simple for others who are consuming you, your knowledge, and your content.
Ask Your Readers
If you don’t know those keywords, then just ask or read comments that your target audiences are using when they write or when they post on social media. You can also call them and ask them. You can email them and ask them. People want to be helpful. They want to be brought into your fold.
If that is uncomfortable, we can work on those in The Lawyers Marketing Academy VIP. They are not difficult to identify, but they sometimes need dedicated time and a bit of guidance. Either way, know that they are an extremely important foundational step in the creation of content that others want to consume.
Give A Spoiler Alert
Always remember that it is important to keep it simple. Tell people up front what it is you’re going to talk about.
It is almost like giving a spoiler alert. Tell them in the first paragraph what you are going to discuss, then spend the middle of your piece of content making the case and backing up that first point.
Make It Easy On The Eyes
Another best practice when you are writing is to give readers a lot of white space. As I discussed here, let your content breathe.
Our eyes are not trained to read an entire clump of copy on a page, whether that is your LinkedIn profile or whether it is a blog post, whatever that might be. If we go to a page and we see a lot of content that is just jammed together, and this can even be in a simple social media post, our eyes do not gravitate toward that content. We give up on it because it is hard to look at. So, my recommendation is to break that up into much smaller paragraphs.
Some people break up every sentence into a paragraph. Be careful about that because, in a blog post, there are some sentences that, for effect, should stand alone in a paragraph, but probably not always because it can start to look a little gimmicky if you do that on every paragraph or every sentence.
Skimmers appreciate this structure because it is much easier to skim a page and read your content when their eyes see white space in between paragraphs, so make sure you do that.
Take Time To Summarize
I want you to end your blog post or your content by summarizing what you talked about. Again, consider using bullet points when you do that because, again, for those who skim, bullet points are very easy to view.
Let’s say somebody goes to your blog post and reads your first paragraph. Using the structure I discussed above, they will discover what you are going to talk about. Then, maybe their eyes drift down to bullet points that summarize your blog post. That’s great. Then you’ve at least given skimmers a snapshot of what you’ve talked about in the rest of your blog post or article.
Sometimes that leads people back into your blog post or your article, and they will read more. If not, you’ve lost nothing because you gave your skimmers what they came for, haven’t you?
So let’s make it very easy for them.
Give Them Your Details
At the very end, one of the last things I want you to do is to put a photo and a mini-bio about you with a link back to your bio or your website. It is important to tell people about you because people who don’t know you are going to land on your content.
If you don’t tell them who you are, some people will never know because they might have just seen this link to your blog post or article out in the wild somewhere. Help them out by letting them know who you are. It is not bragging. They have chosen to consume your content.
I always say that, if people have chosen to consume your content, let’s tell them what you do, who you are, who you help, and a little bit more about you, and then give them a link or some contact information.
Those are the basics about how you should consider writing content that is easy to consume.
- Create keywords
- Make the complex simple
- Ask your readers
- Give a spoiler alert
- Make your article or blog post easy on the eyes
- Take time to summarize (hint, hint…just like I’m doing right here)
- Give them your details
Do me a favor and let me know when you write something. Also, let me know if this makes the writing process a little bit easier to understand.
I know your time is valuable, so thanks for stopping by for a few minutes.