By far the hardest aspect of blogging is coming up with fresh, new ideas to write about on a consistent basis. When you write about a legal topic that is trending in the news, it only has currency, and drives traffic, as long as the topic is being discussed. Once the media and social media attention has shifted, the hot topic and your related blog posts become dated, and your blog traffic will decrease. To counter the boom-and-bust cycle that attaches to blogging about trending legal topics, a blogging lawyer should consider writing about evergreen legal topics.
What Are Evergreen Topics?
Evergreen topics are topics that are mainstays in your area of the law. They are the bedrock concepts that persons practicing in your area of the law must know and that clients want to understand. For example, the focus of my practice is family law. My top five blog posts in terms of traffic are:
- Child Custody—New Jersey
- Quitclaim Deeds—Mortgage Refinancing—Removing Spouses Name—Divorce
- Deeds—Divorce—Property—New Jersey
- Expenses—Child Support Cover—New Jersey
- Child Tax Exemption—Claim by Non-Custodial Parent—New Jersey
These are the primary issues and questions that lead potential clients to contact my office. As you can see, none of these topics are trendy or time-sensitive. Nor are they particularly esoteric, yet they continually draw the most client contact. They are classic examples of topics that are “evergreen”—they are never out of season.
The Advantages of Blogging on Evergreen Topics
The biggest advantage of creating evergreen blog posts is that they do not become stale. They keep driving traffic and potential clients to your blog, day after day, year after year, because the topics never lose their relevance. By creating evergreen blog posts, you can focus on the quality of your posts rather than the quantity of content that you produce. It also means that you are not under as much pressure to constantly find new topics to write on. While less frequent blogging may sound heretical to all the bloggers who were told that you must constantly get new material out, the mantra that content is king is especially applicable to evergreen posts.
Another advantage of blogging on evergreen legal topics is that, although all blogging works to establish you as a trusted authority in your field, blogging on evergreen topics shows that you know the core concepts in your field and you are able to explain them in language that a nonlawyer can understand. Also, by blogging on evergreen topics, you are giving potential clients substantive answers to their questions rather than writing summary blog posts on the latest cases and trends in the law.
I have found that my best clients are the ones who want to understand the concepts and the rationale for how legal decisions are made. Clients who research and have the patience to skim an entire blog post are the clients that I want contacting my office. They are usually better educated and more sophisticated. They also more easily understand the nuances and complexities of the issues in their case, and they are more accepting of reasoned advice and counsel.
One of the more surprising benefits of an evergreen blog post is that over time your blog traffic can actually increase rather than decrease. This is owing to the post potentially being shared on social media and being accessed as a reference. To illustrate, in a recent initial client meeting on a child support issue, the husband, who was my potential client, showed me a blog post on his phone that his wife had bookmarked and forwarded to him explaining what specific expenses were covered by child support. As I skimmed the post, I realized that it was my blog post that she had forwarded to him. When your evergreen post becomes a “go-to” standard on social media, you can actually find your traffic increasing over time.
How to Create Evergreen Blog Posts
To create evergreen blog posts, first think about the top five questions that you get in your practice. While the answers are obvious to you as an attorney, most potential clients have little or no familiarity with the intricacies of law until they have the pressing situation that leads them to research their issue. Explore the top five questions from every angle that you can imagine. Then think about the next five most asked questions, and repeat the same process. By breaking down the topics into sub-topics, you can brainstorm a full year’s weekly or monthly evergreen blogging calendar.
Evergreen Posts Still Need Updating
Although evergreen posts remain relevant for long stretches of time, like evergreen plants they do need to be pruned and refreshed from time to time. For instance, New Jersey just enacted new child support legislation. Although the core concepts remain the same, I will have to review my evergreen posts on the topics of child custody and child support to reflect the changes introduced with the new law.
If you are new to blogging, or if you need to review and re-think how you approach blogging, try focusing on evergreen topics. Shifting from trying to cover the latest trending issues as they are hot to producing solid evergreen content may boost your long-term traffic while reducing the pressure to constantly find timely material to write about.