How and Why We Choose Our Blog Topics
Written by Steven Thomas Kent
Maintaining a great legal blog and coming up with targeted, relevant topics is no easy feat — and here at LaFleur, we manage many law firm blogs at the same time. So how do we juggle topic ideation for numerous blogs across a wide range of practice areas while maintaining the focused nature of the content, avoiding overlap between different clients, and generally keeping things fresh?
The keys to creating an effective and innovative legal blog aren’t something we keep secret — although they do involve a certain degree of time, expertise, and outside-the-box thinking. For those clients who want to understand the methodology and philosophy behind our blog topics, we’re happy to pull back the curtain for you.
The Cornerstones of Our Blog Marketing Approach
Coming up with interesting and forward-thinking topics for a legal blog does require a certain amount of creativity and imagination, but the “thinking cap” aspect of blog ideation yields the best results when it’s infused with research and data. Below is a list of four of the cornerstone techniques we use to fuel our ideation process and refine its results.
Keyword research is the process of determining what kinds of search terms your target audience tends to plug into their search engines, and it’s the foundation of a solid blogging strategy.
While the purpose and methodology of keyword research could take up a (lengthy) blog article of its own, the basic process involves using tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs as well as good old-fashioned brainstorming to create a lengthy list of search keywords, figure out the volumes of search traffic and level of competition associated with those keywords, and then determine which keywords are likely to create the most value for the client.
When we perform keyword research for our clients, we generally narrow the results down to a few core keywords that we can base an entire content strategy around — high-value keywords that encompass a geographic region and an entire practice area, like “Sarasota personal injury attorney,” for instance.
Along the way, though, we also gather a separate list of highly specific keywords that we can use for blog topic ideation. For example, while doing initial keyword research for one of our clients recently, we found that their potential clients were searching for “whiplash injury claim,” “examples of medical malpractice,” and “strict product liability.” With a little fleshing-out, these keywords turned into blog topics in that particular client’s editorial calendar that were written and are now generating high-quality traffic. When done properly, keyword research often yields dozens of similar terms that can be turned into fruitful topics that tap into the searches prospective clients are already performing.
It’s often been repeated (with dubious attribution) that good artists copy and great artists steal. This maxim applies to great bloggers too, and surveying the competition is one of the most important techniques we use to generate blog topic ideas.
While wholesale copying someone else’s blog topic and the angle they used would be bad form at best and blatant plagiarism at worst (we’ve seen it, though), no one owns a monopoly on news, current events, or the broad movements and themes that define the law and public life. We regularly spend time poring through other attorneys’ blogs and checking their sites’ SEO results using tools like SpyFu and Ahrefs to determine what topics are generating quality results for them and finding unexplored, innovative angles on those topics that our clients can tackle via their blogs.
Data and Analytics
Many of our clients don’t have active blogs, analytics, and/or general content processes in place for their websites from the outset of our relationship, so keyword and competitor research are often all we can draw from when making an initial editorial calendar.
However, once we’ve set up Google Analytics and gotten a few months’ worth of blog articles up to gather sufficient data, we always perform regular reviews of the web traffic and user behavior data surrounding our clients’ blogs so we can get an idea of which pieces are the most popular, how long people spend reading them, where people go from those articles, and more.
These insights let us know which blog articles are most successful and which topics the firm’s audience wants to see more of. Meanwhile, we also take note of the topics that aren’t generating interest as expected so we can revisit those topics from a different angle or even rethink the content marketing strategy surrounding them altogether.
There’s no substitute for the on-the-ground insights that lawyers gain every day from working with clients, which is why our best legal blogs are those that we create, ideate, and manage in close coordination with attorneys. Our clients let us know which practice areas are most valuable for their firm, what kinds of questions their clients ask them, and what legal issues affect the outcome of their cases, all of which are crucial in informing the way we turn research and data into compelling topics that speak to their audiences in a deliberate and targeted manner.
Of course, this isn’t intended to guilt-trip any attorneys who are too busy to pay attention to their blog and have to delegate every aspect of its operation; even some of our most hands-on clients struggle to find time to give feedback about blog topics when they’re in the middle of an intense trial. At the end of the day, though, your expertise and an experience as an attorney can’t be replaced, so you can’t expect to match the results of the best law firm blogs if you don’t take the time to offer specific feedback and your own professional insight regarding the content on your blog.
LaFleur Marketing: Blog Marketing Partners for Law Firms Nationwide
As we stated earlier, we love getting client feedback about our blog marketing services, and our best blogs are those that receive regular input from attorneys who have years of experience and a lifetime of accumulated legal knowledge. If you have any questions about your blog or want to inquire about adding one to your digital marketing package, just contact your liaison at LaFleur.
If you’re not yet working with us, but you’d like to learn more about the benefits of partnering with a forward-thinking digital marketing agency that employs holistic, transparent methods, call us at 888-222-1512 today or fill out our convenient online contact form.