As a new or established law firm, it’s not enough to have just a website and/or social channels. The reason is that your reach can only go so far. When you launch your new website, or you want to gain more exposure for an existing website, it can be hard to find that initial traction and encourage people to visit you. What’s more, if they don’t know who you are, why should they give you the time of day?
One solution you might try is paid advertisements, either on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, or through search engines like Google. The issue, though, is you’ll be competing with a range of other law firms similar to yours, in an arena where the costs per click (CPC) are among the highest for any industry.
If you want to increase your organic reach, set yourself up as an authority in your area of practice or geographic location, and try guest blogging as a solution. Read on to learn exactly what guest blogging is, why it’s useful, and which sites may be happy to take submissions from law firms like yours.
What is guest blogging?
Guest blogging is a method used by bloggers and websites to increase traffic to their own site. This can also work in the same way if you allow other people to post content on your blog.
It works well for small and large businesses alike. To start, create a list of potential sites to which you want to submit your content ideas. (Skip ahead if you already know what guest blogging is and just want to see the list of potentially useful sites for legal guest blogging.) Then you reach out to each individual site (including online publications) and submit your ideas. If your pitch gets a “yes,” you’ll need to write the blog post.
When you do submit your guest post, avoid being “salesy.” Keep it informative and useful. You may be allowed to link back to your site within the post, or you might just have a byline (a line or two of text at the end of the post with your name and a brief professional bio). However, if your post is full of sentences like: “Click here for the best personal injury law firm in New York,” people will be turned off by that and will ignore your content (if your overly promotional post is even allowed).
Ensure you’re adding value for the audience of the publication or website you’re pitching to and they’re likely to click through to your website to see what else you have to say.
Why is it important for your law firm?
There are two main reasons to consider guest blogging.
The first is authority. When you develop content for a site other than your own, it helps expose your website, blog, and business to a whole new audience. It also helps establish you as a thought leader in your industry. When you provide value, as explained above, you have the opportunity to say something new to a whole new community, some of whom are then more likely to want to build a relationship with you or subscribe to your firm’s content.
Even though you’ve posted the content on an external site, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about promotion too. Once it’s been published, share the blog post on your own social networks.
The second reason is backlinks. Guest blogging is a great way to increase your domain authority by having a number of high-profile websites linking back to your site.
Should you buy links or pay for guest blogging?
If you’re hoping to use guest blogging as a way to boost your SEO and generate backlinks, one thing you should definitely refrain from doing is buying backlinks. Google is especially against people generating backlinks by paying or gaming the system with “fake” or made-up networks of cheap blogs.
If Google does assume you’re paying for guest blogging, you’ll be penalized and all your efforts will be for nothing.
As you can see, Google has a feature on its site where people can submit complaints about sites. So if you’re using a guest blogging strategy for the wrong reasons, you might find that someone reports your site for malpractice.
The best way to avoid this is to ensure that you only guest blog on sites where you truly believe you can add value. Even if you don’t get a backlink from the post, you can still generate traffic. Google is now better able to give you credit for people mentioning you, even if they do not link. If people think your post is valuable, they’re likely to do their own research as to who you are and how they can get in touch, regardless of whether there’s a direct link to your site.
Should you guest blog everywhere and anywhere?
It’s not useful to guest blog about your law firm on a blog that only talks about dogs. Although you might generate a backlink, the content and audience won’t be relevant, and the exercise is a waste of your time.
Think carefully about what sites you approach as a potential guest blogger. You might want to boost the professional reputation of one particular lawyer and so you’ll use them as the lead author for all your guest blogs. Or perhaps you want to boost the reputation of your law firm in general; in this case you might designate your law firm (as a whole) as the author of all your guest posts.
How to find guest blogging opportunities
When it comes to guest blogging, you need to think about how much of an influence the site in question has and whether the site in question is relevant to you.
- First, search for the keywords you want to rank for, and see what top sites come up. If they are major media sites like Forbes or The National Law Review, you should eventually be published there.
You will need to reach out to editors and very briefly email them explaining your level of thought leadership in a niche and offer several topic ideas in the form of interesting headlines (and a short descriptive paragraph of what your post would cover).
- You can also use PRLeads.com and HelpaReporter.com to see what journalists are writing about and who might even need full articles. Answer based on what they request, such as providing a short list of tips.
As you build relationships and show you are helpful, these journalists might have other opportunities for you as they sometimes write for multiple publications.
- Brian Dean of Backlinko has a cool technique: Google Reverse Image Search. He describes it this way: “First, find someone in your niche that writes a lot of guest posts. For example, Noah Kagan tends to contribute to a lot of blogs in the marketing space. Second, grab the URL of the headshot they use in their author bio.Finally, pop that into Google Reverse Image Search. Boom! You get a list of places they’ve guest posted… presented to you on a silver platter.”
- I love using the Ahrefs common backlink tool. Enter the websites of several of your competitors and you can see which other sites they are most commonly linked to. Look through those linking sites for ideas for magazines and blogs where you could also be a guest blogger.
- You can also find sites that actively seek authors, but be careful of the quality.
Below is a list of sites that accept guest posts from lawyers. These are the types of sites that come up when you are searching broadly for legal guest post opportunities. Work your way down the list to see if any of them are relevant to you and your firm, and of a high enough quality level.
This is only a small sample of sites that accept guest blogging. You can do more of this research yourself by searching “law firm guest blogging” or “legal sites that accept guest posts.” If you want to widen your search even more, you can search for legal blogs and reach out to them (using the email template below) to see if they’d consider a guest blog from you or someone in your firm.
How to land guest blog opportunities for your law firm
You’ll find you have more success as a guest blogger if you understand the correct approach to asking people if they’d like you to write a guest blog post on their site. Think about it — if you received an email from a random stranger asking to write content on your blog, would you accept? Probably not. So, if you do want to write a guest blog for someone’s site, first check to see whether they have guidelines for guest posters. Some sites have very specific guidelines about post topics, length, and how you should send a submission. Here’s an example from Above The Law of what such guidelines might look like:
If you can’t find any guidelines, then send a personalized email to the specific site you’d like to write for. Here’s one email template to use:
As an [XYZ] attorney, I’m a big fan of your work on [ABC]. I noticed on your site that you’re open to accepting guest blogs.
I’d love to write some content for your site.
Here are some posts I’ve previously written:
I think your audience might appreciate a post on [XYZ], as we noticed you haven’t covered this topic yet [or recently].
If this is something you’d be interested in, please let me know and I would be happy to send you a first draft on the topic of your choice.
[your name and contact information]
The reason this sort of email works well is that you show the recipient that you understand the type of content they already publish and you demonstrate that you already have some experience writing such content.
Who writes guest posts?
As we mentioned in the previous section on blogging, you have a number of options for who should write your guest blogs. You might write them in-house, you might outsource the work, or you might do a combination of the two.
Your guest blog posts should be of the highest quality. The worst thing would be for you to spend time producing your guest post, only for the other site to reject your offer due to poor-quality content.
Use your guest posts as an opportunity to share your best content with new audiences. This could very well be the first time your content gets in front of these people, so you want to make sure you’re presenting the best possible image of your firm.
You now have a good starter list of where to find guest blogging opportunities, as well as an idea of how to approach the sites you’d like to write for. Make a short list of the sites you’d like to write for and draft your personalized and relevant pitches.
After your main blogging activity and your guest blogging are both in order, it’s time to consider adding videos to your law firm’s website to increase engagement.