Your “Timely Updates” Make my Eye Twitch

I get it. You want to stay relevant, up to date, and useful to your clients.

Unfortunately, the way that many lawyers approach their content marketing is prone to causing mental health issues in their readers*

*too dramatic?

We can start with the bleeding obvious: if you're publishing only updates as your content, then you need to rethink your strategy.

At the very least, if you're going to insist on publishing “timely updates” every week, can we at least follow a few basic rules to minimise the resulting wailing and gnashing of teeth?

Rule #1 – Bin the Branding

[clickToTweet tweet=”Want to respect me as a reader? Stop wasting my time with branding in your headline” quote=”Want to respect me as a reader? Stop wasting my time with branding in your headline”]

Do you know what I care least about in your update? The name of your publication, and the name of your firm.

The name of your publication has no value to me, and I already know which firm published it because that shows up in my news feed.

Despite this, you insist on wasting my 0.0004 seconds that I glance at your headline by structuring it like this:

FANCY PUBLICATION NAME | NAME OF FIRM | DATE OF UPDATE | HEADLINE GOES HERE

Guess what – I'm not likely to even get to the headline in the time it takes me to keep swiping down.

Beyond that, if I'm on mobile your headline might not even show up at all.

Write a good headline.

Use that.

Throw the rest in the bin.

Rule #2 – Find a Hook

More things I don't really care about: the name of the person who wrote the article and (possibly) the area of law that it's in.

What DO I care about? Whether it's relevant to me or my business.

So rather than using up precious column inches like this: “In the latest edition of our [name of firm] publication, [name of publication], [name of practitioner] discusses some important developments in the area of [area of law].”

I have no clue whether clicking on that is going to help me or not.

So I'm not going to click on it. It might be the best article in the world and save me millions of dollars tomorrow – but I won't know that, because you didn't spend 9 seconds thinking up a better way to introduce the topic.

How about something that captures my attention.  Like:

  • “This business lost $1.2m by permitting its employees to date each other”
  • “If you're a manufacturer, then here's a new tax break that could save you thousands each year”
  • “Failing to update her will after her divorce just cost this lady's family a fortune”

Wait – is this clickbait? No. Clickbait is where you mislead someone into clicking through to your article and fail to deliver on the promise of the headline. Don't do that. Coming up with a meaningful headline or excerpt is a totally different thing.

Rule #3 – Pick an Image

[clickToTweet tweet=”If you don't care about your readers, you shouldn't bother producing content at all” quote=”If you don't care about your readers, you shouldn't bother producing content at all”]

This can be a little challenging depending on which platform you're sharing on, but it's not so difficult that you should ignore it.

Many law firm updates I see in LinkedIn and Facebook feeds have this bizzare, distorted low quality image of the author as their featured image. It's been optimized for the website in a portrait style, and then been twisted, pulled and prodded until it fits a landscape size suitable for social media. It makes the worst passport photo you've ever seen look like a glamour shot.

Why do they do this?

Sometimes its not even the author – just a random picture pulled from the site when the article is posted (which is how some social media determines what image to show).

This stuff isn't rocket science – get your marketing team to do their jobs, and select images that are relevant. More often than not, they should be able to arrange it so that those images show up automatically in the news feed.

Rather than something which looks like the creature from the bottom of the swamp.

No More Eye Twitching… Please?

These things aren't that hard.

In fact, they're quite simple.

And if you're not doing them, then frankly it means you couldn't care less about your readers (ie – clients and prospects) and don't really want to help them. And if that's the case, then you shouldn't bother producing content at all.

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