Marketing Matters Boost Your Firm’s Brand

9 Quick Tips for Writing Content that Gets Read

Law firms regularly send out blog posts and alerts, but few readers make it past the first paragraph. In general, good marketing writing causes the reader to notice your material, feel compelled to read it, then act on it. 

Ross Fishman, JD

Remember, the goal of marketing communication isn’t to send something — it’s to make money. Sure, it can also help build trust, support your brand and start a conversation, but let’s start by trying to generate business.

Here are nine quick tips that will increase the value, impact and reader engagement of whatever you send. 

1. Write like People magazine, not a treatise.

Even sophisticated readers prefer a light skim to a dense slog. Use short sentences, short paragraphs, small words, colloquial language, and no legalese or jargon. Write like you’re explaining the issue to a smart middle schooler. You’ll have happier, more engaged readers. 

2. Keep it short.

Internet readers want one page, max. Offer simple, practical advice to help them save money, stay out of trouble or do their job better and they’ll look forward to your next alert. Write your preferred version, then cut it by 75%. Your readers will appreciate it. If they want more, they’ll contact you and ask. And that’s what we want to happen.

 3. Grab them with a simple headline.

Your alert is an interruption in their busy day. Capture their attention and imagination with a short, bold, useful headline. Popular clients may get 100+ emails per day plus 50 other law firm alerts and newsletters. Your headline and subject line must compel them to stop what they’re doing immediately and read your material.

4. Get to the point.

If you don’t grab them in the first sentence, they won’t read the second one. Begin by telling them precisely what you’re writing about and why they should care. Make the first sentence so simple, clear and powerful that readers exclaim, “Hey, this looks really useful ― I want to keep reading!” If you open by talking about yourself and your experience, or providing general background information regarding the topic, you’ve lost them.

“Internet readers want one page, max. Offer simple, practical advice to help them save money, stay out of trouble or do their job better and they’ll look forward to your next alert.”

5. Provide analysis, not information.

Don’t simply repeat or summarize the events ― tell them what to do about it. Our target clients can obtain the basic facts about a new court decision or piece of legislation more quickly and thoroughly from a major news source. As the legal experts, we must provide specific, actionable advice. Don’t regurgitate the news — tell them specifically what they should do about it, and they’ll look forward to your next article.

Skip to content

6. Omit case names, citations and lengthy court names. 

Case citations and other legal jargon are a visual wall. Lay readers will immediately stop reading or begin skimming. Unless you have a referral-based specialty practice where your targets are other lawyers, your readers don’t need the official case names or citations, or the lengthy formal name of the court or district it’s in. If you feel you absolutely must include this stuff, bury it at the bottom.

7. ChatGPT is fine but dull.

Artificial intelligence (AI) platforms like ChatGPT can be a useful way to create that first draft, but the writing I’ve seen is pretty tedious. It’s just OK, and OK doesn’t cut through the clutter. So, sure, use ChatGPT as a start, but make sure you spruce it up until it sings.

8. Avoid obvious self-promotion.

No one’s going to volunteer to read your advertorial. You’re not going to persuade them that you’re smart by talking about yourself, but rather by showing your mastery of the subject. Focus the blog post or alert on helping them solve their problems. Busy professionals rarely choose to watch an infomercial or read a brochure; as soon as they discover it’s all about you, they’ll stop reading.

9. General topics build your brand. Specificity gets you hired. 

If I’m writing in order to get hired, at some point I need my audience to think the following, in this precise sequence:

  • “Hey, that’s a great idea! I never thought of that!”
  • “He’s right, I should do that!”
  • “Hmm, I don’t know how to do that.”
  • “I wonder who knows how to do that?”
  • “Hey, that guy knows how to do that!”
  • “I think I’ll contact him.”

That is, by educating your audience in just the right way, you can use the article or presentation to create a need they didn’t realize that they had, where you’re the obvious solution. People like learning new things, but there’s a clear line ― if they ever feel like you’re trying to sell them something, they’ll resent it. It’s a fine line between education and sales, but it’s possible. And it’s worth it.