Top Ten Ways to Generate Ideas for Your Blog

Vol. 1, No. 12

Larry Bodine is Editor in Chief of Lawyers.com. He has offices in Chicago and New Jersey. His blog is at http://blogs.lawyers.com.

 

  • Learn how always to have material for a blog post.
  • Find out how to post by joining ongoing social media discussions.

 

At a recent webinar I hosted about online marketing for lawyers, I had a chance to talk to several attorneys about blogging. An effective blog, ideally linked to a polished social media profile, can be the anchor for a successful social media presence.

When discussing social media and blogging, I notice that many lawyers do not think they have the time to write a blog. I practiced law myself, and I know how demanding transactions and litigation are. But the more I hear this concern, the more I think they’re really telling me something else: lawyers don’t think they have time to develop ideas for a blog.

It’s easy to write a piece when you are propelled by inspiration. The blog post writes itself. So where can a busy lawyer find new topics to actively write a blog? Here is a collection of ideas I suggest you try. You don’t need to use all of them—just find one that sets you in motion.

 

1. Feed Yourself Information

By setting up Google alerts, setting up RSS feeds from new websites, and subscribing to e-Newsletters sent out by magazines, you can receive a flood of information. The idea is to generate more information than you need, so that instead of searching for a topic, you can pick from among several that have been delivered to you.

 

2. Ask Yourself, “What Is My Target Client’s Biggest Concern?”

Think of the person you are writing for and discuss their deepest concern. What is the biggest worry for parents contemplating a divorce? Patients who got cancer from defective drugs? Drivers injured at dangerous intersections?

 

3. Research What’s Trending on Social Media

What are people chatting about? You can get a live real-time sense of Facebook and Twitter by searching with bing.com/social. Rather than start a new topic on your blog, it’s easier to find out what people are already talking about, and simply join in.

 

4. Ask a Question Based on a Current Event

Base your question on a legal event involving a celebrity, because clients everywhere are hooked on the problems of celebrities. Famous people are a goldmine of blog posts because they commit crimes, go bankrupt, get divorced, execute contracts, pursue litigation, and have will contests.

 

5. Make a Prediction

On the Lawyers.com blog, we predicted that former Senator John Edwards would walk. Sure enough, he was convicted of nothing, and we promoted our amazing foresight. Actually, it didn’t matter whether we were right or wrong, because the point was to get people talking. If we had been wrong, we would have invited readers to share our dismay and fill our blog with comments.

 

6. Create a Top Ten List

We all owe a debt of thanks to David Letterman for popularizing this writing formula. As a result, clients everywhere are mentally programmed to read top ten lists. In fact, you are reading one now. See how effective it is?

 

7. Create a Regular Feature

The idea is to duplicate what a newspaper columnist does. Identify a topic that you’ll focus on regularly, and select a particular day of the week that you’ll write about it. This way you will build a following, as we have done with our popular Editor’s Choice: Jury Awards Edition, which appears every Friday.

 

8. Respond to Comments on Your Blog

You should overcome your bugaboo about turning on the commenting feature on your blog. I know of no reported case or ethics opinion where a lawyer created an unwanted attorney-client relationship by allowing comments on a blog. Happily, every blogging program I know of allows the author to “moderate” comments, by deciding which ones to make public. Comments open the door for you to interact with your readers and build profitable relationships.

 

9. Write a Sequel or Follow-Up to a Past Post

Now is the time to check your blog analytics to see which particular posts attracted the most page views. Go with the flow and write more articles about topics that your readers already like.

 

10. Recruit a Guest

Who says you have to do it all by yourself? I personally welcome guest blog posts, and I edit them to fit our style. Simply announce on your blog that you seek guest posts, or call up a client, colleague, or online celebrity to write for you. Many hands make light work.

To get blogging tips emailed to you for free, subscribe to Best Practices in Lawyer Blogs at http://bit.ly/JU2zZW. It’s LexisNexis newsletter that I edit for attorneys. You can see the latest issue at http://bit.ly/MlQLGK.

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