Blogging for Paralegals

Paralegals, you could be expanding your professional network and developing your career in ways you never even imagined by simply starting a blog. You are already an expert when it comes to persuading others and writing is your craft; you mastered the written word long ago.  It only makes sense now for you to take up blogging.  New paralegal blogs are popping up in the blogosphere daily, and it is time for all of you multi-talented paralegals to jump on board and start blogging.

Blogging for Paralegals

Blogging for Paralegals

How can blogging develop and advance my career?

Blogging can advance your career and make you a better paralegal by providing you with networking and learning opportunities and helping you bring in more clients.

Bring in new clients. Blogging is the simplest and most cost effective way of getting yourself in front of potential clients. A blog is a great way to reach out to potential clients, letting them know you exist and convincing them that you are the one for the job. A blog is like a resume on steroids. Think of it this way, a blog is a living resume that allows you to highlight your writing skill and areas of expertise, as well as provide useful information to potential clients, to keep them coming back. It is a way of allowing potential clients to get to know the best professional you in a matter of minutes. Blogging about topics relevant to your professional services, and using appropriate keywords, can also help those looking for the services that you offer to find you.

Creating a paralegal blog is one of the best ways to get found quickly on major search engines such as Google and Yahoo.  Search engines love blogs because they are frequently updated with new content. Many search engines have implemented a blog search feature in recent years that helps users looking for legal blogs to find them, and you very quickly.

Expand your professional network. Blogging is the perfect way for a paralegal to network with other legal professionals from around the world. It gives you the opportunity to meet and talk with peers you would have never met otherwise, by attracting those interested in the topics about which you blog and allowing them to leave comments on your postings.

Find new opportunities that you never would have known. Having a popular legal blog with a growing following has really opened a lot of doors for many paralegals. Opportunities such as writing for well-known legal magazines, speaking engagements, starting your own freelance paralegal business, or even a book deal may come to legal professionals through their blog. It is possible for a blog to reach all corners of the world.

How do I setup a blog?

Setting up a blog is a three part process, which involves coming up with a website creation plan, locating a hosting company, and then designing your blog so that it is attractive and user friendly.

Come up with a website creation plan. Your website creation plan should include the name of your blog, a general description and what it is you would like to accomplish, keywords that others might use to find your blog, the audience for whom you will be writing, and a plan for your blogs content.  The blogs that succeed are the ones that began with a direction. Think about what you would like to accomplish by starting your own paralegal blog. Will you be writing for other established paralegals, attorneys, or those considering becoming a paralegal? A good description and well thought out keywords are necessary in order for others to find your new blog. Search engines use keywords and descriptions to decide how to list sites in search results. For example, when using your favorite search engine to research financial planning, the search results shown to you are blogs and websites that use the words “financial planning” on their pages and in the description, title, and keywords. The title you choose for your paralegal blog is something, which you should put quite a bit of thought.  The title is the first thing people will come across in search results. Since there are so many web pages, it is very possible that your first several choices will be already taken. Get creative.

Find website hosting. There are many great blog hosts that will allow you easily set up and get started on your new paralegal blog. Depending upon your own interests and skill, you may opt for free or paid blog hosting. Blogger and Typepad are both great blogging platforms that offer free blogs. I have to say that with all the blogging platforms I have tried, Word Press, in my opinion, is the best. You can become acquainted with Word Press, and start a free blog, by creating an account on Word Press’s website.

Create an attractive design that is user friendly. With each of the blog platforms mentioned, there are a number of free and/or paid themes and templates available for your new paralegal blog. Depending upon where you chose to create your blog, some themes and templates have customization options. Customization options may include changing the position of the sidebar, uploading your own background, choosing the colors and font used, and placement of widgets that you like in the sidebars. You may want to learn more advanced blogging skills like design, search engine optimization, or Internet marketing by taking online classes or reading and studying other blogs. If you do not have the time to do this, you can always hire someone to do all of these things for you, as your blog grows.

Remember, content is king. The content that you publish on your blog is most important. Blogs that create original, engaging content that their audience wants to read are the blogs that succeed.

Creating content that readers want to share on their own social networks will keep your readers coming back to your blog as well as help you to gain even more readers. Your content will basically be marketing itself. In order to create such compelling content follow these simple guidelines:

  • Always write catchy, specific, and urgent headlines. The headline of an article is its first impression of sorts. An article can be fit for the cover of Time magazine and unless it has a title that is extremely eye catching, it may never even get read.
  • Ask your readers questions and suggest they leave their thoughts in the comment section. By engaging readers, you will begin to build a following.
  • Include visual aids such as pictures, graphics, and videos with written content. Research has shown that readers are drawn to content that contains some kind of imagery. The most shared content on Facebook is images.
  • Provoke a reaction from your readers by connecting with them on an emotional level. If you can make your readers feel something they will very likely share your content with their friends and family and across social networks.
About Shelley Riseden

Shelley M. Riseden is a freelance paralegal providing research, document preparation, and writing services to both attorneys and non-attorneys. She is an expert at conducting legal research and has a natural ability to grasp complex legal issues.Phone: 765.667.5139, E-mail: smriseden@earthlink.net or shelley@virtuallylegal.net, Skype: shelley.riseden, Yahoo: Virtually_Legal

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