Writing Law Firm Blogs - 5: Should You Have Pillar Posts on Your Blog?

There are marketing experts out there who are recommending up to five "pillar posts" be placed upon your blog. What's a pillar post and why should you and your law firm care about this?

First of all, "pillar posts" are long posts, usually over 500 words in length. Pillar posts give detailed information that is truly helpful to the client, while spotlighting one of your areas of expertise (or a practice area you're trying to grow).

They are articles set into your usual posting scheme. They are not an e-book (they're shorter), nor are they a separate article on your website (although they can tag-team on the website, too, if you'd like).

You do use SEO, of course. (SEO? Search engine optimization, the use of techniques designed to get your post into the top 5 or 10 results in any Google or Yahoo (or AOL or MSN) search.)

Where Do These Pillar Posts Go On the Blawg?

First, they'll first appear as a post, just like any other. Since they are long, it helps to have expanded post coding in your template (e.g., "read more" appears after the first few lines, and the reader jumps to a separate page showing just this post).

Then, shine some light on them by including separate links to just these articles over in your sidebar. Title that section with a catchy phrase that tells the reader that they are getting some of value at no charge here.

Is it worth your time and trouble? Yes.

1. Pillar posts drive traffic to the blog.

2. Pillar posts demonstrate your expertise.

3. Pillar posts can be easily referenced as a crossover marketing tool, e.g., replying to a client's email, "in response to your concerns, I would suggest reading my discussion of this very topic, at (insert link); or commenting on a news article in your local paper, "as I addressed recently online (insert link), this issue is best left ....".

What are some examples?

1. A criminal defense attorney's pillar post could be "Five Things You Should Know Before Your Car's Pulled Over By the Police," pointing toward his/her drunk driving practice, etc.;

2. A probate or estate planning lawyer's pillar post could be "Ten Things To Consider Before You Use An Online Legal Service To Draft Your Will," for obvious reasons;

3. A family law attorney's pillar post might go something like "Collaborative Divorce: Are You Ready? Is It For You?"

What if you don't have the time to write these long articles?

Then hire someone to do them. Hiring a professional writer with a legal background (yes, like me) can be cost-effective for your firm in these small marketing projects. The cost isn't that high because the lawyer-writer doesn't have a big learning curve on legal issues, they know the law and can ask you a few pointed questions as need be. And yes, you can negotiate that work to be done on a ghostwriting basis.

And, please feel free to e-mail me if you have questions. I won't try and soft-sell you and hopefully, I can be helpful. I love this stuff.


What's Being Checked Out at the Library - This Week, Lots of James Patterson

Publisher's Weekly has a library list, but the one that I like to check is the list over at Library Journal, written by librarians for librarians. And while some parts of the country may vary from others -- for instance, in Dayton the top borrowed book for all of 2008 is Janet Evanovich's Fearless Fourteen -- the LJ list seems solid as an overall tally.At the Library Journal, they give you the top 20 most borrowed books of the week, as well as the number of weeks the book has been on the list and where it stood in the rankings for the prior week.

Good to know, if you're writing - or if you're reading. There's a lot of good suggestions on what might be a great read for you, or a new author to check out.

The Big Kahunas are truly here: Janet Evanovich, Nora Roberts, David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, Nicholas Sparks, Nelson DeMille, Robert Parker, ....

However, one of the things that I find most interesting is that James Patterson is on this list TWICE. Check this out:

6. Sail by James Patterson and Howard Roughan
7. Cross Country by James Patterson.

So, I guess I'm going to read me some James Patterson, because I haven't picked up one of his books in years.