Should We Use Second Person on Our Law Firm Website?

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I've worked with hundreds of law firms and the digital marketing agencies who serve them all over the United States and even in Canada and the United Kingdom. Today I want to talk about why second person language in a law firm blogs and website pages tends to work really well.

Why Second Person Translates Well on Your Blog and Practice Areas

Every law firm might have their own preference. They are almost always going to go with second or third person. Third person kind of detaches what the reader is consuming on the website from being about their personal life. I love using second language material and frame of reference during law firm blog posts and on websites because it immediately makes the reader feel as though you are speaking specifically to them.

 The use of the word 'you' shows that you empathize with them, you've probably served clients in similar situations before and you know what you are talking about and you care about their future. It immediately draws a connection between you as a service provider in the law firm and the client directly because you are talking about things that are going to directly identify with their situation.

Imagine a car accident victim reading a blog written by a personal injury law firm. It probably has statements like "you're struggling to figure out how to get back to work after a serious accident". That's a common concern for a personal injury victim and it helps the reader identify with the law firm because it says, hey I know you, I know the pain and challenges that you're currently going through and here is how I can help you by evaluating your case and having you come in for a free consultation to determine whether or not you have grounds to pursue a personal injury claim.

Second vs. Third Person on Your Law Firm Blog

I've worked with law firms across the spectrum and usually about 75% of them will request second person and then the remaining 25% will ask for third person. Third person is not wrong by any means in law firm blog posts, but it does detach the reader from the very personal experience that led them to look for help in the first place.  

And that's true for anyone who is hiring a lawyer whether it's criminal, estate planning, personal injury or something else, they are hunting and searching for an attorney online because of some crisis or issue that's happened in their life. And they don't want to feel that impersonal nature of being a third person.

Now Google doesn't really have a specific preference when it comes to these pages. The primary goal is to be very informative to direct the material that's on the page specifically with what the searcher was looking for and to provide accurate material that includes keywords, links, photos and other things that are important for search engine optimization purposes. So ultimately, as the attorney or as the representative of the firm hiring a copywriter, it's your choice about whether to go with second or third person.

Very rarely you will find someone who speaks about themselves in first person. This is not perfect from a marketing perspective. It might make sense on an 'About' page but increasingly I've even seen more attorneys going towards third person for the About page and maybe keeping that second person focus on the remainder of their website.

First person can be very focused on the attorney and the person who has landed on your webpage who's in that crisis moment is mostly thinking about themselves. They want to know just enough about you the attorney to ensure that you have the level of proficiency, expertise and knowledge in the practice area. But after that they are worried about themselves and don't care as much about you talking about yourself.

Even framing things from “I, me,” pulls you away from potential to work with that client so it's more of a psychological way to connect with them by using second person or even third person rather than going with first. It's ultimately up to you and how you want your law firm to be reflected but it is a decision you’ll need to make for consistency's sake, specifically in blogs and on the practice areas of your website.      

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