Updated: Aug 20, 2021
6 Tips On Writing Informative Content For Non-Lawyers
Content marketing uses high-quality content that's valuable to audiences as a way to build trust and conversions. "Valuable" also means helpful and useful, which is why it's advised to create digestible and concise posts and articles. So if your legal blog is written to be too advanced for the average reasonable non-lawyer, it might not resonate with as many readers as you hope.
Why Write For A Non-Expert Audience?
It is better to assume that your readers will be average reasonable people who may not know too much about the law. Adjusting your writing for non-experts doesn't necessarily mean to "dumb it down".
Think of it like your first consultation with a client. They might not know the specific terms and complicated laws, but they need to know enough to work with you. Users who come on search engines to ask legal questions are likely willing to learn, so make sure the learning process is as unobtrusive as possible.
Your content should educate even clients who never thought they needed a lawyer in the first place.
Here's How You Write For People Who Aren't Legal Experts
Your content is more valuable to readers who have great takeaways from it. If they went through an entire post confused instead of informed, you might want to start creating more digestible content that caters to non-specialists.
Below is a list of ideas you might want to try the next time you write a blog:
1. Avoid Legalese And Complex Terminology
While most lawyers don't use legalese around their clients, some terminologies are common in your law office but new to a client. For example, some users might not know what "statute of limitations", "whistleblower retaliation", and "pain and suffering damages" are.
What you can do is concisely define them whenever you introduce the terms in a post. It is less confusing and caters to a broader audience—not just the ones with prior knowledge.
You can also write basic introductions to a specific law or legal concept and link those posts in other posts discussing subtopics. That way, you don't have to explain it every time. Instead, refer to more detailed posts for those who might need it.
2. Use Bullet Points And Numbered Lists
Instead of writing long, convoluted sentences, you can list concepts and examples in bullet points.
When writing about the available damages for Personal Injury Cases, you can make a list that looks like this:
Hospital and Recovery Expenses
Future Medical Costs
Future Loss of Wage
Pain and Suffering
Another example would be to make a list as a way to break up convoluted or wordy sentences.
When you're writing about identifying whether a claimant has grounds to sue for Wrongful Termination, you can write it like this:
You have grounds for Wrongful Termination in California if you were:
Fired as a form of retaliation
Discriminated for your protected attributes
3. Break Blog Post Into Sections
In a previous post, we discussed how blog headings are a great way to organize your blog entries. Instead of writing big walls of text and monotonous 1000-word essays, break them off into sections.
You can write about suing someone for Personal Injury damages by breaking it down into the following:
What Comprises A Personal Injury Claim
What Types of Evidence Plaintiffs Need To Collect
What Type of Damages Can Plaintiffs Sue For
The Statute of Limitations
Users also appreciate it when they can skim and skip to what they needed from your content. So not only does sectioning your posts make your content digestible, it also boosts your On-Page Lawyer SEO.
4. Use Hypothetical Examples
Sometimes, even with highly descriptive explanations, some concepts are harder to grasp without real-world applications. Using hypothetical examples can help readers picture out legal scenarios instead of reading long sentences of technical terminology.
To discuss Wrongful Termination, you can write like so:
"If your boss demotes you or cuts your pay as a way to get back at you, you might have a case of retaliation."; or
"If you were injured at a mall or a shop slipping on wet floor, you might have grounds for a premises liability claim."
5. Shorten Paragraphs
To avoid the wall of text we mentioned earlier, you can shorten your sentences and paragraphs to make them easier to read and follow. For example, 3 sentences in a paragraph might seem too short on your desktop, but adding more can sometimes make it look too crowded on mobile devices.
Of course, there's no definitive number required, but if there are opportunities to use numbers and bullets to break up the paragraph, then you should. Large walls of text can either come off intimidating or boring, so using more white space and fewer sentences in your paragraphs can alleviate that.
6. Answer "One-Off" FAQs
Strange and out-of-the-box questions can be fun, but they can also be legitimate questions users have. Of course, you'd still want to look professional on your legal blog, but occasionally explaining hypothetical oddities here and there isn't a bad thing.
FAQ content is generally a great way to discuss miscellaneous topics that you otherwise cannot fit in other posts.
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