Does your business plan for the upcoming year include starting a law blog? If yes, here are some preliminary questions to answer before you begin your ambitious goal:
1. Why do you want to start a law blog?
There are many benefits to blogging, including those mentioned in my 5 Smart Reasons for Lawyers to Blog post. Be clear on what your goals and objectives are. Make sure that your blogging efforts will align with your career goals.
Be honest with yourself in terms of your interest in starting a law blog. Did someone simply ask you to start a law blog, or is this your communication initiative? Blogging is another non-billable commitment where lawyers have started to blog and then stop soon after. Make sure you enjoy some aspect of blogging. Otherwise you will quickly find yourself avoiding the task of drafting a blog post.
2. What are you going to blog about?
Are you able to write down at least 8 potential blog post ideas you would write about? If not and you still want to start a blog, you will need to consult with someone. This person should understand what a blog is, and have some knowledge about your practice area and target audience. You should discuss potential post ideas and whether co-writing would help. The content of your posts is very important in maintaining readership. Also, consider how you can make your blog different from others in the same space.
It would be wise to draft at least one post and have a colleague review it. You may find that blogging may not be as easy as you thought. Do not worry. The more you write and incorporate the constructive feedback you receive, the better you will be.
3. Who is your target audience?
Determine who will be the primary readers of your posts. With that audience in mind, consider whether what you will be blogging about will be relevant and of value to them. Consider asking some potential audience members what they would like to read about, what blogs they are currently reading, and their likes and dislikes of those blogs.
4. When will you blog?
A blog with regularly scheduled content is one factor of a blog’s success. Consider when you can set aside time to draft a post, and how often you will be able to publish a post.
With a schedule in hand and a draft post ready to go, you will get a better idea of the time commitment needed to produce content. Also, do not forget to factor in time for related activities, such as formatting the post. Promoting the post, such as on social networking platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, is another important activity.
Do not be afraid to ask for help with your blog. For example, can colleagues help with writing some of the posts? Can an assistant help with formatting?
5. Where will you blog?
Consider whether the blog will be associated with your firm (if applicable) using firm resources. If you choose to maintain your own blog not in association with the firm, factor in time to learn the platform and maintain the blog.
If you think you’ll be posting less than once a month, you may want to consider using LinkedIn’s long-form posts instead.
It is always good to start with a plan to identify the purpose of, and provide direction for, the blog. You, however, can’t plan for everything. So start blogging soon before someone new launches a blog in the same area.