Having spent years trying to write like a lawyer (I think the number of blog posts I’ve created for attorneys is now approaching 5,100), it was amusing to learn they might be trying to write like me! In fact, there’s a new book out called Thinking like a writer: a lawyer’s guide to effective writing and editing.
Lawyerist.com teaches lawyers how to create powerful introductions when arguing a case in court. An effective introduction, the authors teach, does three main things to and for a judge:
- It rouses the judge.
- It gives the judge an overview.
- It tells the judge what to do.
Lawerist offers one example of an opening line that does all three things – grabs the judge’s attention, explains what the motion is about, and gives the judge a reason to keep reading:
“Plaintiffs’ complaint could not violate more fundamental pleading requirements….”
Rousing the judge
Unlike trial lawyers, we blog content writers can ill afford to bash our competition, much less in our opening line. Our task is to assure readers they’ve come to the right place to find the information that satisfies the need that brought them online in the first place. Of course we need to arouse interest and curiosity, but it’s important for us to be quick to clarify where we’re going with the content of the post.
Giving an overview
As in a press release, in a blog post the most important information needs to be delivered up front, so the reader knows the overview of the story before you go into the details.
Telling the judge what to do
One core function of a blog marketing strategy is to engage audiences and drive action. What corporate blogging does best, I’ve often remarked, is deliver the kind of customers to a business website who are already interested in the product or services that website is touting. But then what? In any marketing blog strategy, something needs to happen next.
“As a lawyer, you spend much of your time writing – so why not do it well?” asks ResearchGate. “You may think you’re an excellent lawyer, but you will not be a successful practitioner unless you can communicate the law effectively in writing to the person who must read and act on your letter or document.”
In blogging, as in lawyers’ briefs, we can be successful only by communicating our messages effectively in writing to readers.