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Anatomy of a Civil Trial • Personal

experiences: Readers

enjoy personal

experiences because they are like stories—if you have a good trial war story, or if you can share a client’s story, you are almost guaranteed that readers will stay with you to the end of the post.

• Size: You should mix it up—some blogs lend themselves to 100-250 words, while others may require 1,500 words.

If you have a particularly

long topic, consider breaking it up into several blog posts13

because a serialized blogging topic may

compel more readers to come back or to add you to their RSS feeds. Te reality is that your blog posts should be long enough to accomplish their purpose.

Links: Your blog should link internally to more information (or to your main website if your blog is separate from your website) and externally to other websites for more credibility. For example, cite and link to news articles, primary sources, and other blogs.

• Categories: Most blogs allow you set an unlimited number of categories—ways to easily search the blog

across subject matter (for example, if you

have an automobile accident blog, you might have categories for insurance, pedestrians, settlement, and others). Don’t have too many—10-12 categories is manageable and should be the limit. Beyond that, the categories become unwieldy and useless for readers.

IV. A Word About SEO Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving

a website’s visibility to search engines, like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Some of this is very technical and behind the scenes, and should be done by your blog platform provider. Other things that you can do are (1) adding good descriptive phrases to your post titles and image alt tags (usually you get the opportunity to do this when you upload photos), and (2) including keywords to your posts. Te key is to think about what your ideal reader will be looking for when he sits down at a search engine like Google. You want the words that he enters to be the same words that you use regularly. Te goal should be for those keywords to flow naturally in your post.

V. Promoting Your Blog Te greatest billboard in the world won’t help you when

it is positioned in the middle of the ocean. You need regular readers. Here are a few things you can do to increase readership:

13 One good example is a four-part series on trial organization by an MAJ member at the Baltimore Injury Lawyer Blog. John Bratt, Keeping Organized at Trial-Trial Organization, Part I (Dec. 11, 2011) < html>.

54 Trial Reporter / Spring 2012 VI.

1. Tell your family and friends: My older brother is not my ideal client. He already knows what I do, and as the “family lawyer,” any law-related questions are automatically directed toward me. However, he faithfully reads every blog post. Google keeps track of how often your blog is clicked on, so every single click makes it more authoritative, and makes Google like it even more.

2. Social Media Integration: If your firm has a

Facebook and Twitter account (it should), then you can promote your blogs there. Not only will your “Friends” have the opportunity to see if you are writing something interesting to them, but they will have the chance to share those posts with people in their range of influence. You can have your blogs automatically fed to your social media accounts through services like HootSuite, TwitterFeed and Dlvr.It. You give up a little bit of control with this method, though. If you have the time and the discipline, you can manually link those posts yourself so you can customize the accompanying message for the benefit of your firm’s social network.

3. Tell your clients and your competitors: Your e-mail signature line and your letterhead should include your blog address.

4. Blog about Blogging: From time to time, instruct your readers about how to follow your blog— instruct them how to receive e-mailed updates about your blog posts, or tell them how to add your blog to an RSS feed so they are automatically notified when you write. Tis will ensure that they don’t forget about you.

5. Interact with other bloggers: Blogging can create a community.

By following other bloggers and

commenting on their posts (with a link back to your blog), you encourage them to follow your blogs and occasionally tell their readers about you. You can increase your readership that way. In the same vein, promote other bloggers in your posts, from time to time.

Great Expectations Te reality is that most law bloggers start with great

intentions, but the blogosphere is littered with lawyer blogs that have only one or two posts, or those that stopped updating six or seven months ago. Even more common are blogs that remain silent for unpredictable stretches of time (the follow- up post always starts off the same way—“sorry this blog has

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