The seventh in a series about useful law blog post formats.
On Jan. 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a case in which the court held that the First Amendment rights of corporations and unions were infringed by federal election laws that prohibited independent expenditures in support of political candidates.
Within three hours, the Washington Post published Reactions to the Supreme Court reversing limits on corporate spending in political campaigns, a roundup article collecting over a dozen rapid reactions from other newspapers, broadcast news outlets, and legal experts.
The WashPost article provided clear value to its readers, placing numerous perspectives on the same page and saving time readers might have spent searching the net for additional information.
Unfortunately, this sort of generosity is rarely seen on law firm blogs.
Lawyers view blogs primarily as marketing vehicles, not news publications. Serving the reader is a strategy not a mission.
The sixth in a series about useful law blog post formats.
This series began a week ago with the premise that lawyers can blog much more efficiently if they write to a pre-determined pattern or format. I started off with the easy ones: link posts, top [whatever] lists, annotations, legal checklists, and public relations posts.
Today’s law blog post format — the case analysis — is a little harder to pound out in a jiffy. But it can be done, especially if you are working with a tried-and-true recipe.
If you’ve got a plane to catch, I’ll get right to it: The ideal format for a lawyer blogging about court decisions today is to place analysis of the ruling at the beginning, middle, and end of the post. Cut out or starve everything else.
Remember Elmore Leonard’s rule for writing well: “Leave out all the parts that readers skip.”
The fifth in a series about useful law blog post formats.
A law blog can be a mighty public relations tool, amplifying content created elsewhere or highlighting awards and courtroom successes.
Any of the following can supply the basis of a respectable public relations-oriented law blog post:
If the blog is a niche law blog of the sort typically published by larger firms, the item should relate to the blog’s coverage areas and provide value to the reader. For small and mid-sized firms publishing on their own websites, anything promoting the firm is fair game.
The fourth in a series about useful law blog post formats.
A legal checklist can form the basis of a great law blog post, describing at a glance the steps the reader should follow to resolve a known legal risk or problem.
Checklists are the listicle’s cousins, but different in that they emphasize practical information and necessary steps for successful completion of a given task.
Legal checklists might address:
Legal checklists typically are “top of the sales funnel” content, aimed for Internet users who are seeking to educate themselves about the dimensions of a known legal problem. Checklists make a good jumping-off point for discussions with the client regarding their particular legal situation.
The third in a series about useful law blog post formats.
The annotation format allows a law blogger to quickly dash off an interesting post by piggy-backing on the value inherent in the source material.
When a blogger writes within the annotation format, the source material comprises most of the blog post. The author’s commentary occupies a small portion of the post, usually relegated to set-up or transition roles.
All that’s necessary for a strong annotation-style post is a fresh source document and a good take on its significance.