LexBlog founder and CEO Kevin O’Keefe calls blogging a conversation between the author and the audience. He recommends getting your personality out there and not being afraid to show that you’re passionate. Kevin says you can always tell that the best bloggers “care for the people that they’re sharing commentary with; they’re able to weave in their experiences with representing people.”
Luckily, we have direct insight from such bloggers. Our LexBlog community leaders have a lot to say on the best voice, tone, and language of blogging.
Keep it light!
New York personal injury attorney Eric Turkewitz emphasizes the importance of keeping things light for your reader:
When I write, I try to inject a little humor; I always try to use casual voice. This isn’t a brief that you’re writing for the court, although my blogging has affected the way I write briefs. I’ve stripped out a lot of the formality that’s wholly unnecessary. I try to write as if someone is reading it up on an iPad with their feet up…It helps to make you a more engaging writer.
Eric puts his finger on what might be the most unique and challenging aspects of legal blogging: adjusting your writing style. To a food or lifestyle blogger, conversational writing seems simple, but in a profession where formal writing is the norm, taking a casual approach can be tough. Like he says, it helps to empathize with your audience and imagine the setting in which they may be consuming your content.
Reach out to your audience
Broadcast and media lawyer and renowned legal blogger David Oxenford emphasizes establishing a unique voice that reaches people outside of the legal field:
Have a voice. Have something to say. I’ve tried to make my blog readable, not for lawyers, even though lots of lawyers read it, but in plain English. I don’t use citations and I don’t use footnotes. If I have to use some legal words, I try to explain what they mean, so that it can be read by somebody in the business world.
This is really key. Your audience will be made up of not only your peers but also your potential clients. Those people will have a better chance of remembering you if you have your own voice and are speaking in a way they can understand.
Strike a balance
Like everything else in life, blogging is all about balance. Employment lawyer Jamie LaPlante can speak to that:
I try to make them a little catchier now, if I have time to think of something catchy to say. I got kind of cutesy with some of the titles early on in the pandemic, and then sometimes they’re just plain boring. I think I’ve evolved in understanding what works in that area but doesn’t undermine my credibility.
You want your professionalism and authority on a subject to shine through, and there’s no reason that can’t happen in a conversational tone. As Jamie alludes to, it’s not going to be perfect the first, second, or third time, but the more you do it, the closer you’ll get.