When prospects are considering hiring an attorney, they are looking for someone who specializes in the type of problem they have. They know lawyer fees are expensive, but with so many attorneys out there, it is difficult to distinguish who would be the best attorney for them.
One of the best ways to set yourself apart from other lawyers is with article writing. If a magazine or newspaper publishes your piece, it gives you credibility in your readers’ eyes. If you publish a blog or write articles for the web, it gives readers a place to check out your expertise and learn more about you. Here is a step-by-step checklist for writing articles quickly.
- Choose a Topic – Before you can start writing, you must have an idea of what you want to write about. Preferably, that topic should be structured around a frequently asked question or concern many of your prospects have. A good way to brainstorm for ideas is to keep track of all the questions you receive from prospects and clients over the course of a week.
- Know Your Audience – Regardless of if you are writing for publication or to market your services on the web, learn more about your target audience. If you write for a publication, pick up a copy and read through the articles. If you write for the web, consider which visitors you would ideally want to read the article.
- Create a Hook – Your hook or angle is a sentence or two that summarizes your article. It should be concise and provide a focus for the article, generate interest, and offer readers an incentive to keep reading. Common hooks can include “Top 10 Mistakes,” a focus on a current trend or event and how that affects your prospect, or an action step prospects should take that they might not have thought about (i.e. when should they consider rewriting their will or incorporating their business). Your hook is not your subject. It’s how you plan to make your subject interesting to readers. “Insurance and Auto Accidents” is a subject. “Ten Mistakes Car Crash Victims Make With Insurance Companies after an Accident” is a hook.
- Decide on the Article’s Structure – The fastest and easiest way to create an article is to structure your content around a common article writing formula. Some examples include writing a list, setting up a premise or commonly held notion and then knocking it down (aka The Straw Man), how to do something which explains steps for doing something or achieving a goal, conducting an interview, or offering a mini-case study which poses a problem and offers a few brief examples of how real people solved their problem.
- Write your Introduction – Your introductory paragraph should set the premise for your article and entice prospects to keep reading.
- Write 3-5 Main Points – Once you have an idea for the structure of your article, it is time to create the main points, which will become the subjects for your next few paragraphs. What are the three to five take away points prospects should walk away with after reading your article? Make your article educational rather than self-promotional and keep it jargon-free if you are writing for non-lawyers.
- Write your Body Copy – For each of your main points, write a few sentences clarifying each. This will become the main content for your article.
- Write your Conclusion – Summarize your main points into a concise conclusion and offer readers the next step – what should they do if they are looking for more information?
- Give your Article a Headline – Your headline is the most important part of your article, so take time with it. Ask yourself, “If I saw this headline while reading a publication, would I want to read the article? If I saw it while doing an internet search, would I click on it?” Your headline should ask a question or promise information and make readers curious enough to read the article.
- Create an Author Bio – Many publications will allow you to publish a brief biography and short description of your services. Make sure to list your website address if the publication allows for it, along with any perks readers may find at your website – such as downloading a special report or joining your newsletter.
- SEO Your Article – If you are publishing for the web, take time to format your article to get the most benefit from search engines. You should always write web content for your visitors, but afterwards, do keyword research to find popular keywords you would like your article to be found for in Google. A great place to look is Google’s Keyword Suggestion Tool. Then, include those keywords within your article’s headline, sub-headlines and body copy. Focus on one main keyword or key phase, and add variations to that keyword or key phrase throughout your article – but don’t overdo it.
Article writing can be an extremely affordable (and often free) way to generate leads for your firm. Look for publications that allow you to offer a free report or resource in your author’s description. You can measure the success of the article by how many people contact you for that free resource. By following these 11 steps, you can write educational and interesting articles quickly and effectively.