Having a broadly focused law blog makes networking online a tough chore. It’s a bit like pushing a rock up a hill.

On the other a hand, a niche focused law blog can lead to business development success, or even rockstar status, in a couple years — assuming you’re a good lawyer to begin with. A niche focused blog can also lead to a more enjoyable and rewarding practice.

How do you decide what niche to blog on? How do you develop your blog niche?

I picked up a good post in Flipboard this weekend from social media coach and strategist Carrie-Anne Foster (@cafosterca) on defining your blog niche niche in 5 easy steps. Her approach applies well to lawyers.

Discover Your Passion

Passion is more important than anything else in law blogging. If you’re not passionate about the area in which you’re blogging, you’ll never have any fun. If it’s not fun, it’ll show and you’ll never keep blogging.

Sounds crazy, but I ask lawyers considering blogging to get out the magic wand and ask what type of law they would really like to do and what type of clients they would like to do it for. Someone has to do it — why not you?

If you’re not passionate about an area, ask what could yourself what you could passionate about. What case or matter have you worked on that you’ve enjoyed? Could you imagine doing that work all the time for clients you’d enjoying working with?

Pinpoint Your Skills

As Foster points out, skills are an accumulation of your talents, attributes, knowledge, and experience.

While what you focused on in law school or what you have done so far as a lawyer play a role in identifying your skills, you should take into consideration your life experiences.

What are you good at? What type of people do you like being around? Who would you like to help? What causes have turned you on in the past? What do people come to you for when seeking advice?

Identify Your Audience

Identifying your audience and having them in mind when blogging is key when defining your niche and blogging on it.

Who are the clients and potential clients you want to reach? Where do they live and work? What do they do for a living? What type of information could they be looking for online? Do you relate with them?

There may be no need to blog state-wide or nationally if your clients and prospective clients are in your town or metro area. If you couldn’t sit down and talk with your audience in a pub or coffee shop, there’s no reason to try connecting to them online.

Don’t forget that influencers of your clients and prospective clients are just as important, if not more important, to identify. Who are the leading bloggers, publishers, reporters, company executives and communication professionals, association leaders and conference coordinators in the niche?

You need to engage these folks via your blog as they influence your core target when they cite you, quote you, invite you to speak, and ask you to meet with them.

As Foster says, “…[W]hen you have a targeted audience, you have an audience that you understand. You will know who you are writing for. And your audience will come to know what to expect from you.”

Solve A Problem

People look to the internet to solve problems and to get information. It could be Texas state and local tax law, endangered species law or Florida probate litigation.

Existing niche law blogs help to solve problems — for consumers, business people, and other lawyers.

When choosing your niche, ask how you can help in this area. Are their issues that continue to arise? Do you know enough to offer insight and solutions — or at least have the basis to research solutions?

Solving a problem may even mean “merely” aggregating and curating the news and information on the niche. Monitoring sources and subjects and funneling information makes you a trusted intelligence agent. You’ve solved a big problem for a lot of folks by just finding and serving up niche news and info in one place.

Establish Your Goals

Setting goals will help you to stay focused and lead to success. Interim goals will keep you motivated until you reach your longterm goals.

Goals could include:

  • Learning how to blog by listening to key sources and subjects and engaging those in the existing “conversation.”
  • Learning how to use Feedly or Flipboard to monitor sources and subjects relevant to your niche.
  • Which leading bloggers, reporters, publishers and association leaders do you want to have a good relationship with?
  • Where do you want your blog to be in 90 days, 180 days, one year and two years? Not in traffic, but in getting cited and shared, recognition and work.
  • Learning how to use ancillary social media including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to grow your influence.
  • Are you becoming recognized as a subject matter expert in your niche?
  • Is your network of relationships growing?
  • Is your business growing by virtue of increased word of mouth and relationships?

Benefits Of Niche Blogging

Lawyers have a tough time deciding on a niche. They fear that they’ll pigeon hole themselves and not be able to do work beyond the niche. They don’t know for sure if they are ready for a niche — maybe later in their careers when they know for sure.

The fact is niches lead to relationships, which open doors to even more types of work — if you want it. Lawyers establish relationships of trust with people. It’s this trust which gets people coming back to a lawyer again and again.

There’s never a bad time to decide on a niche.  Lawyers who do have a greater chance of success in their practice. They also receive more positive feedback through speaking, being quoted, increased credibility and landing new clients — all making  practicing law more enjoyable.

The benefits of a niche blog far outweigh any perceived disadvantages. Go niche, there are many not being served by law bloggers.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Hector Parayuelos