How to write authentic content for your clients and rank high on search engines
Is it possible to create genuine, reader-focused content that also performs well on the first page of Google? Writing content that reaches your audience and ranks well on search pages is the holy grail of SEO… not many companies can pull it off. But when content design meets data-driven SEO copywriting, you can give your law firm’s brand visibility a sizeable boost.
In this how-to guide, we’ll provide you with guidance on writing authentic content. Follow these proven tips for more traffic, better engagement, more conversions, and a competitive edge in the legal field.
Table of Contents
What is authentic legal content?
Authentic legal content is content on your law firm website that aims to be genuinely useful, rather than trying to promote your brand or services. It identifies an audience and provides them with content that is well-researched, engaging, thorough, and up-to-date in order to help them solve their problem.
One of the biggest opportunities for authentic legal content with law firms and other legal businesses is in sharing their particular knowledge and expertise to a wider audience. Legal professionals gain unique experience from every case and from professional development, all of which can be valuable to readers.
It’s good to bear in mind that writing from your knowledge and experience may not be enough. Your website’s content must be high-quality and targeted. What does that look like?
High-quality authentic legal content for your target audience
One of the biggest downfalls we see in the world of SEO is the prioritizing of search-engine baiting keywords over quality content that’s useful to the audience. It’s painfully obvious when posts are artificially stuffed with keywords, or are thinly-veiled advertisements.
If you’re planning on writing mediocre content, do not expect it to rank! As we’ve talked about in our article about SEO for Law Firms, people are looking for high-quality writing that answers their question or meets a need.
Google is aware of this, and is serving up exactly this kind of content in its search engine results pages. Read on for tips on how to write for your target audience. Looking for ideas on what to write about? Stay tuned for our upcoming post:
How to write great content for a law firm website
1) Write for a specific audience
One of the first things you’ll want to think about when you’re writing content for your law firm is who your audience will be. Consider demographic factors such as age, location, and interests. How are people actually reaching your site and what kind of a device are they seeing it on? Traffic analytics makes this a breeze, and takes the guesswork out of knowing your audience. Need help with this? Drop us a line.
Knowing your audience makes for stronger engagement with your content, meaning readers will stay on your page for longer, learn to trust your brand, and even share your content on social media.
Many businesses find it helpful to build a marketing persona—a sketch of a single person in your target audience that makes it easier to visualize their needs and questions. There are a lot of guides out there for creating a marketing persona. We recommend the marketing persona guides from the Buffer marketing library and HootSuite. This is one of the things that Case Space Media can help you with.
2) Think about your user story
User stories and marketing personas are intertwined. They are both related to understanding and providing value for your audience, and informing a narrative. As a legal business, your website receives visitors with many different needs. Who they are and what they’re looking for is what makes up their user story.
User stories are about assessing the value of your content by putting yourself in the shoes of a specific reader. They spell out the type of user, their needs, and their purpose. They are usually written in this format:
- As a… I need to… so that…
Here are some example user stories:
- As a law student, I need to find an articling opportunity so that I can gain experience and meet my requirements.
- As someone who has been wronged at work, I need to find out if I have a legal basis for action so that I can make things right.
- As a real estate developer, I need to find a lawyer I can work with so that things go smoothly and there are no surprises.
The stories are written from the reader’s perspective, in plain language. Moreover, they all relate to specific needs and purposes. Note that users are rarely looking to simply get informed on a topic; they’re usually looking for something more specific. By thinking about your user stories, you can develop content that meets specific needs, rather than just informs.
Your user story will also help you find the balance between what you want to say and what the user needs to know.
3) Use plain language—avoid “legalese”
It’s not about dumbing it down, but actually opening up information to all, helping your website rank.
Even if you’re writing for a highly-educated audience, such as other legal professionals, it’s been shown that the higher the education, the stronger the preference for clear, simple language. And the more complex the matter, the stronger the preference as well. In other words, to sound authentic, avoid verbose language on your legal business website.
There is a difference between placing your articles in a journal versus a magazine. Your blog, and the content on your website, is a colour of a different horse.
It’s important that you don’t think about this as “dumbing down” your legal material, because that’s not the goal of authentic legal copywriting. To paraphrase Lorena Sutherland, Content Lead for the Office of the Public Guardian for the Government of the UK, it’s about making content accessible.
Some tips from the studies above include:
- Avoid complicated terms and Latin whenever possible
- Avoid jargon (i.e. obscure language and circumlocution)
- Define legal terms, even if they seem really common to you
- Use the active voice predominantly, rather than the passive voice
- Replace complicated prepositions, such with regard to, with simpler alternatives
- Don’t use utilize when you can use use
With a people-centred approach, you can increase the likelihood of readers and potential clients becoming engaged with your content. Also, Google’s algorithms will make note of improvements to your site based on a decreased bounce rate (i.e. the percentage of people who see your page and decide it’s not for them), as well as an increase in the average time users spend on a page. Both of these analytics signal to Google that your site is worthy of a higher rank in search results. Thus, simplifying your language will not only lead to happier users, but also to higher traffic, and a better overall score for your site, while still targeting your ideal audience.
At Case Space Media, we can advise on readability using both automated tools and experienced editors.
4) Use the Skyscraper technique
Brian Dean is a bit of a celebrity in the world of SEO. Among the things that he’s famous for is something called the Skyscraper Technique. It goes a little bit like this:
Have you ever wondered what the 8th tallest building in the world is?
Of course you haven’t. Dean points out that it’s human nature to be attracted to the best and web content is no exception. The idea with the Skyscraper Technique is to go online and seek out existing content on whatever you’re going to be writing about. Find the best content out there, then make your content a whole lot better.
In other words, get to know the content landscape of what you’re writing about, and make something bigger and better than anything out there. You can improve on existing content with the following strategies.
Ways to make your content better than competing content:
- Length: Make your content longer than competing articles or pages
- Attention to detail: Make your content more detailed and thorough
- Freshness: Ensure your content is more up-to-date
- Writing quality: Write with excellence…
- Design: Improve on competing content with better design…ask us how!
Once you publish your post, you’ll have a linkable asset—i.e. something worth linking to. For more details on how you can use this to your advantage relative to your competitors, watch for our upcoming article about outranking your competitors strategically.
5) Be different
In marketing, being different is an aspiration and a challenge. Content that stands out will capture readers’ attention, get shares on social media, and give your legal brand a bit more character and depth.
Be bold, assert your opinion, or get behind a cause. Your story is unique and so is your career. Authenticity is being open, and even vulnerable.
Don’t be afraid to go beyond the simple text and stock images, either. Make use of different multimedia formats, such as curated lists, infographics, data visualizations, maps, timelines, comparisons, surveys, and (of course) audio and video.
Also, think about how your content relates to the bigger picture, your mission, and literally your website sitemap.
6) Publish great content consistently
One of the key things to know about content creation is that it’s not a one-off thing. If you’re serious about reaching a larger and more targeted audience, you should plan to publish regularly. This will also help build consumer trust in your brand, and build up your website assets (e.g. keywords) at a much higher rate.
At Case Space Media, we can help you develop an editorial calendar so you can schedule blog content, social media posts and emails consistently. We can also help with the actual writing and editing of a post. We use traffic analytics to optimize your timing, so it reaches readers with success.
7) Bring in the experts
At Case Space Media, we combine tried-and-true methods for boosting your online presence with unique marketing strategies that make use of your number one asset: you and your team!
Whether you’re looking for content marketing ideas, copywriting, social media management, newsletter content, or whatever else—we’re here for you.
Ionatan Waisgluss, SEO Technician
Ionatan is Case Space Media’s SEO Tech. He brings his passion for systems thinking, computer science and languages to the company.
His skills come from a wide array of work environments, professional roles and life experiences. Ionatan has worked in radio production, print and radio journalism, science education, ESL instruction, ecology research and waste systems, to name a few.
His hobbies include mountain biking, stand-up comedy, and backgammon. Ionatan is a GSAR certified Search and Rescue volunteer.