Even the very best legal blogger can get carried away in their own writing sometimes. If you ever end a blog post wondering if your reader actually got the full point of what you were trying to say, you may want to consider adding a takeaway section. They also make your posts more scannable, for audience members who may not have time to read the whole piece but still want to know what you’re talking about.
Below is a quick guide for for how to do so, as well as some examples of bloggers doing it well.
What is a takeaway section?
Takeaway sections are 1-2 sentence snippets of your blog post that sum up the main point. They can go at either the beginning or end of the post—but as you’ll see from our examples—they usually function a little more strongly as introductions to posts to prepare readers for what they’re going to learn.
These sections are sectioned off from the rest of the blog, either through italics or bold font. They discuss the absolute bare bone essentials of the post. For instance, if you’re writing about the effects of a new piece of legislation on small business owners, your takeaway section at the beginning of your post may read something like this:
Key Takeaway: Last Thursday, Congress passed x legislation, which said that y. Small business owners are already feeling its effects.
Then, your blog post could detail how and why small business owners are being affected.
Examples of bloggers doing it right
Seyfarth Shaw does a great job with this strategy. Several of their firm’s blogs begin every post with a “Seyfarth Synopsis,” informing the reader of what is about to be covered. The post then dives in to remind readers why that subject is important. Here‘s an example:
Seyfarth Synopsis: The IRS has extended its relief from the physical presence requirement related to certain plan elections through June 30, 2022.
Husch Blackwell‘s blog Byte Back also offers a great example. They begin each post with a “Keypoint,” which hones in on the main point of their blog post as a preview of what the rest of the content will concern, as seen here:
Keypoint: The Texas legislature has determined that companies who experience a data breach affecting Texas residents need to have their names in lights—but not in a good way.
Latham & Watkins start their blog posts with similar previews, describing the relevant event or occurrence being reported and its implications for their clientele and/or the law at large. This example provides a strong lead:
A report from the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform provides recommendations for how the UK can “re-imagine” its approach to regulation post-Brexit.
Whether you choose to include a takeaway section at the beginning or end, it’s a strong way to increase your post’s readability and make it easier for readers to pull out the key information.
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