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Anatomy of a Civil Trial


A. Title Probably the most important part of your entire blog


post is the title. It must be eye-catching, and it should be rich with keywords. For example, if your blog is about product liability, your titles should use words like defect, device, recall, and warning. Your thought process should be that, if someone wants to find a lawyer who does what you do, what keywords will they Google, and how can you ensure that your posting shows you are giving them what they need. Write compelling titles -a bit of wordplay, or a shocking title (when the post supports it) can bring you more readers.


B. Image I try to ensure all of my blogs have a photo or image. Tis


could very well be the second most important part of your blog post for readership purposes. An image helps to attract readers. Even though the internet is still something of the wild west, though, you can’t just pull any picture for your own commercial purposes. Here’s where I look for photographs:





iStockPhoto.com: Tere are different plans you can buy, but $1.50 per credit is about average. Individual images average between one and 15 credits. Te database is easily searchable, and photos are downloadable in different sizes (for web purposes, the smallest size is usually sufficient).


to DIY blog, then you can chose from any available platform.8 Te most customary options are Wordpress, Moveable Type, Blogger and TypePad. Some are easier to use than others—for example, in WordPress, setting up a bullet point list is as simple as it is Microsoft Word. Moveable Type, on the other hand, comes with some (depending on your coding experience) scary HTML tags (<ul><li></li><li></li></ul>).9


III. Anatomy of a Blog Post So how do you write a compelling blog post? Blogger


John Richardson10 uses the 4H process to get and keep readers:


• Head: Make them think. • Heart: Help them to feel emotion. • Hands: Ask them to take action. • Humor: Make them laugh.


Keeping the 4H process in mind, most blog posts feature the same components:


8 A hosted platform, while cheaper, sometimes means that your blog address would look something like www.interstellarspacelawyerblog.wordpress.com. Tis gets complicated if you ever upgrade to another platform or try to change your domain name, which would cause you to lose readers. Tere may also a stigma associated with that type of domain name as unprofessional.


9 Major blogging platforms will give you the option of formatting your blog by using HTML (computer-speak). Tis can be useful because it will allow you to control very technical details of your blog. It is helpful to know some of the basic HTML codes. For examples and help, go to www.charmcitylawyer.com/HTML.


10 John Richardson, Comment to Michael Hyatt, Anatomy of an Effective Blog Post ( Jan. 31, 2011) <http://michaelhyatt.com/anatomy-of-an-effective-blog-post.html>.


52 Trial Reporter / Spring 2012


• Google Images: Most photos found on Google are not licensed for free use. To find those that are, go to Google Advanced Image Search,11


and under


“Usage rights” click “Also limit images labeled for Commercial use.” Te service is mostly trustworthy, and provides images that can be used freely. Be sure to go the source of the photo to verify that you can use it.


www.flickr.com: Flickr is a massive photo-sharing site, where regular people upload photos and put them on the internet. Te restrictions on use vary, but many owners allow others to use their photos as long as attribution is given (usually a link in your blog post--“Photograph courtesy of ___” will suffice. When in doubt, it is a good idea to contact the owner.


• Your camera: Pictures you take are usually fair game. •


Case exhibits: You can use exhibits that you purchased or commissioned for trial, for example, anatomical diagrams. Many vendors will even provide you with a digital version.


11 Google Advanced Image Search (last visited February 6, 2012) <http://www.google.com/ advanced_image_search>.


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