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Nothing But the Ruth by Ruth Carter
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Nothing But the Ruth!

Blogging About Boring or Complex Legal Topics

By Ruth Carter

One challenge of legal marketing is that sometimes the topics related to our practice areas are boring. Or they are so super complex it’s hard to explain a concept without giving a background lecture first.

How am I supposed to write a blog post on something that could be the subject for an entire law school course?

When I saw Jonathan Kranz was speaking on “Nightmare Marketing: How to Create Content for the Boring, Complex and Undifferentiated Stuff That Scares the S@#t out of Everybody Else” at Content Marketing World last year, I immediately added his talk to my must-see list. Here’s some of the practical advice he gave on how to attack these challenges.

The Boring

If a boring topic wasn’t important, you wouldn’t consider blogging about it. Kranz said when you approach one of these topics, think about “What is at stake?” Consider who should care about this topic and why.

For example, clients may think contracts are boring, but they’d probably be interested to know that winning or losing a contract lawsuit can come down to a comma. When your topic is boring, look for opportunities to connect the subject matter to real-world situations.

The Complex

Another issue lawyers face in content marketing is when their topic is complex. Often I’ll have several subtopics within a topic for a blog, and I want to get to the heart of issues without burying my audience in explanations to bring them up to speed.

In these situations, Kranz recommends looking for a simple starting point into the topic. What aspect provides the easy entry? Also, look for ways to add a sense of urgency so the audience will be motivated to read, listen or watch your content to the end.

Often you have to tell the audience why the problem you’re writing about matters. Use tangible cases whenever you can. For example, I constantly tell clients about the value of registering their trademarks, because if they don’t they could be shooting themselves in the foot as a business or setting themselves up to have to rebrand. The blog post I use to illustrate this issue is “The Risk of Not Registering Your Trademark.” It includes a real-world example about the first Burger King restaurant that opened, before the franchise existed, being limited to a market of only 20 miles around the restaurant because it became “frozen” when the franchise registered its mark.

With complex topics, try to make them personal and relatable. Another way to do this is with a crafted interview. A question-and-answer format may make it easier to break down a topic into digestible pieces.

Make It Real for the Reader

When you endeavor to create content related to a challenging topic, start by putting yourself in the audience’s shoes. Ask yourself, “How does this topic play out in the real world?”

I find that readers connect with my content when I explain the difference in cost for people who are proactive in preventing legal problems compared with those who wait until a problem has occurred: For example, it could potentially cost 80 times more than preventing the problem and take years to resolve (if it can be fixed).

Remember, if a topic matters enough to you that you want to write or speak about it, there’s a way to make it engaging and palatable for your audience.

Illustration ©iStockPhoto.com

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Ruth B. Carter Ruth Carter

Ruth Carter — lawyer, writer and professional speaker — is Of Counsel with Venjuris, focusing on intellectual property, business, internet, and flash mob law. Named an ABA Journal Legal Rebel, Ruth is the author of the “The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers,” as well as “Flash Mob Law: The Legal Side of Planning and Participating in Pillow Fights, No Pants Rides, and Other Shenanigans.” Ruth blogs at UndeniableRuth.com and tweets @rbcarter.

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