BLOGS ARE TERRIFIC marketing tools for attorneys because they position you as a credible authority in your area of practice, drive traffic to your website (if you share them on social), and organically increase your best keywords which optimizes your sites for search engines.

Also, they provide a ton of value for your prospective clients making it more likely, when they are ready to hire an attorney, they’ll select you because you’ve already established the basis for a trusted relationship.

And you can’t beat the ROI. If you write, publish and share them yourself, all it costs you to blog is your time. Now that’s an affordable marketing strategy!

The key, however, to blogging for marketing purposes is to make sure you are focused on serving the needs of your potential clients, and not just creating content for contents’ sake. In fact, here are the top five mistakes I’ve seen attorneys make over and over again when attempting to deploy a content marketing strategy:

Mistake #1: Choosing esoteric topics. No one cares about the impact of a psychological study on the happiness of children if what they are really looking for is how to get their spouse to pay child support on time. The no-fail way to create your blog topics list is to write down the most frequently asked questions the majority of your clients ask you during their initial consultants. Your answers to those questions (in a general, legal information kind of way) will make up the content of your blogs.

Mistake # 2: Using legal jargon. Remember you are not writing a legal brief. You are writing a blog targeted to your prospective client, usually a layperson. There may be exceptions, of course. If you are an appellate attorney and your clients are other attorneys, for instance, you might use more legal terms in your blogs. Still, keep your blogs direct and interesting. Blogs are not meant to read like contracts where we must cover every possible detail and potential outcome. They are meant to inform, entertain and entice.

Mistake # 3: Writing tomes. Believe it or not, the preferred blog length for Google search engine optimization (SEO) is 1,500 words. Some people consider that long, especially in today’s 140-character tweet-storm world. Others, however, could easily write a dissertation, and in their efforts to make sure they thoroughly explain all aspects of a particular topic, that’s what they attempt to do in their blogs. My recommendation: Find a comfortable space between 750 and 1500 words and stick with that. Also, be sure to break up long text with subheads, bullets, lists, pull quotes and other “signposts” for those skimmers among us who may be short on time and patience and just want to get the “gist” of it all.

Mistake # 4: Failure it incorporates visuals. Photos, illustrations, charts, maps, infographics, memes, videos…there are so many options now for visual aids to help illustrate your point, why not take advantage of them? Think about your own internet user experience: are you more likely to read an article if there’s an interesting photo that catches your attention? Most likely. It’s just human nature. Humans, in particular, tend to be drawn to other human faces, which is why we prefer photos and videos of other people so much. Take a look at some of your favorite sites and write down the types of visuals they use and then imagine how you can create something in a similar style (as appropriate).

Mistake # 5: Inconsistency and infrequency. Make a publishing schedule and, as much as possible, try to stick with it. Once you start, expect to publish at least twice a month, preferably at least once a week. The most successful content marketers push out content every day.  I know, I know, that seems like crazy talk, but the reality is, the more you provide value to your prospective clients with no expectation of something in return, the more they will warm to you. Soon, they’ll feel like they know you, and they’ll come to rely on you because you are so consistent, reliable and trustworthy. When they are finally ready to hire an attorney, or when someone they know and live needs an attorney, who do you think they think of first? You! The person who is always in their feed, in their email inbox, and top of their mind.

P.S. To your ideal client, there really is no such thing as “too much” information on the wake-up-at-3-a.m. problem you solve for them. Think of the last serious problem you had. Were you hungry for information? Did you stay up until all hours of the night doing research on the internet looking for answers to your questions? It’s the same with your prospective clients. So when they are searching for answers would you rather they find a whole bunch of blogs from you on the topic or blogs from your competitors? Get out of your own head and stop worrying about what all those people who will never hire you anyway might think about you sending out blogs and email blasts every week or even every day. They are not your prospective clients, so what they think is none of your concern.

P.P.S. If you hate writing, then create video blogs instead. Don’t create a whole marketing plan around something you hate or you’ll never do it. Hate blogging? Check out this article I wrote for alternatives.