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Nine types of blog entries to help generate good topic ideas

bloggingMarketers have been telling attorneys to blog for years, since it became obvious that content would rule the online marketing world. Scheduled blogging makes your website relevant to visitors, gives people a reason to trust your expertise and provides a consistent stream of content that is helpful when building organic links to your site.

Good blog entries take time. If you are blogging on a regular schedule, it can seem like you are under constant pressure to produce. You should just be able to sit down and hammer out a bunch of content, right? But creativity does not always work that way – with a sudden flash of brilliance that all the Web will recognize. Thoughtful blog posts that present a solution or give practical advice (and are by definition more likely to be shared) require your attention for longer than 30 minutes. But that does not mean that you should have to spend overtime coming up with good ideas.

Writing blog entries that people want to read

Blog topic ideas can be categorized, and you can pull from these categories when you are short of inspiration. Just remember that when writing a post in any of these formats, you must provide information that people cannot easily find anywhere else. Even if you are writing about a common topic, giving a different perspective will make your post stand out to people and search engines. The following list of post types will give you a good framework from which to start.

How-to: You can always write an instructional post that explains a process that may be simple to you as an attorney but is out of the realm of experience for most people. For example, an estate planning attorney might write a post titled, "How to appoint the right trustee," or, "How to choose successor trustees." Answering some smaller questions potential clients may have about the law will prompt them to come to you when they need help with the big ones.

List: Lists are an easy go-to idea and are very popular among readers. You can do top ten lists, 5 favorites lists, 6 reasons why lists – anything that pulls from your experience and helps people understand the issues they are facing.

Profile: Do you have interesting partners, associates and staff? Did your firm recently hire a new attorney? Are the people at your firm involved in fun community projects? Write profiles to introduce them to your clients and help create a personal connection.

Informative: This is one of the most common types of posts in which you provide readers with details about a certain topic. These types of posts could contain an explanation of commonly misunderstood terms or information about a specific area of the law.

Commentary: Adding your take on current events or extrapolating on a hypothetical case is a good way to attract readers who may be searching for information on timely topics. But remember not to just rehash popular news. It is unlikely your voice will be heard above all the other noise on the topic. Also, big news sources have a ranking advantage, especially for prominent stories. Picking lesser-known news that is applicable to your geographic or practice area will be much more effective.

Interview: Pull from your network of professional connections and do an interview piece. Sometimes it is nice to have a guest expert do the talking for you.

Blog love: This is basically a link post, in which you give recognition to someone else's good idea with some added commentary about why you find it relevant. Link posts should provide a link to the original piece, a short excerpt and an explanation of why it is compelling and helpful to your readers. Avoid writing posts that are more quoted content than original. Don't just re-publilsh what someone has already said - expand upon it and demonstrate why it is important to your readers.

Example: This is a type of case-study post in which you walk readers through a successful outcome. Attorneys can do this without giving away specific details – like the names of those involved – and they are a good way to build trust with potential clients.

What to expect: What to expect posts are great for attorneys, since people often wonder what is in store for them once they hire you. They help reassure potential clients that there is an orderly process and an end to the chaos they may feel they are facing.

This is not an exhaustive list of categories, and not every type of post will work for every lawyer. Whatever type of post you write, take the time to give it your personal voice and perspective. Readers know when you are speaking to them honestly and are more likely to trust you to help them.