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Topical Content in Focus

Lawyers love categories. Chopping up complex ideas into smaller notions or pidgeon-holing a series of thoughts based on their shared elements is what law school was all about.

The posts on a legal blog can be divided, to some extent, into two different categories: Evergreen posts and topical posts. You can read more about evergreen content here.

What is Topical Content?

Orange leaves on ground
Photo credit: torange

Topical blog posts are those that deal with current events or situations that require knowledge of the current context surrounding it. You’ll know you’re writing topical content when you can imagine a reader opening the article and knowing immediately that it’s old and not worth reading anymore. Think of topical posts as having a short “shelf life”: They’re highly relevant for a short period of time, but quickly become stale when the situation that they cover passes.

The value of topical content is that it draws lots of readers to your sight, while the story remains relevant. The surge in web traffic can spill over into other areas of your website, as readers finish your topical piece and look for more. Additionally, solid topical posts boost your reputation, cementing you as a leader in your field who stays on top of current events and has something to say about them.

Examples of Topical Articles

Any article that you write that focuses its attention on a news story will almost definitely be a topical blog post. An analysis of an upcoming Supreme Court case will be topical, and will get stale once the case has been decided. Same with a summary of a proposed bill before your state’s legislature – once the vote comes in, your article will be old.

However, some articles that seem topical might toe the line into evergreen territory. If you took our advice and wrote a piece on Justice Scalia’s passing, and focused on his legacy in your field of law, it might seem both evergreen and topical at the same time – based on a current event, but with some good staying power for your blog. Unfortunately, like in many areas of the law, there is some gray area here, too.

How to Write a Solid Topical Post

There are a few tips to keep in mind, to make your topical content really come together and draw readers into your site:

  1. First and absolutely foremost, topical content has to be timely. Once the event happens, you only have a few days to churn a topical post out. If you’re late to the discussion, not only will everything already have been said, but you’ll establish a reputation as a slow-mover.
  2. Engage your readers. While still maintaining your firm’s blogging voice, pull out all of the stylistic stops. Whatever writing style you’ve established for your legal blogs, topical posts are where that style has to shine and deliver.
  3. Be insightful. Stating the obvious will get your topical piece buried with all of the other articles that say the same thing. Add to the discussion with insight that only you can have, as the expert in the field.
  4. Be thorough. Tie up the loose ends to your argument or summary, and don’t leave the reader looking for more on the topic. They should be interested in the story, click on your blog post, read it, and be done.
  5. Remain concise. This doesn’t mean keep the story short. It does mean keep the story moving. When a blog post starts to flounder with words without going anywhere, that’s when readers leave.

Myers Freelance’s Legal Blogs

The balance between evergreen and topical content on your legal blog is a fine one. Delivering on the topical side isn’t easy, especially when you’ve got a firm to run and clients to represent.

That’s where we come in.

Contact the professional legal blog writing team at Myers Freelance.