FindLaw Insider - The FindLaw.com News Blog

What Matters Most to a FindLaw Writer

This post in the From the Managing Editor series is a look at how we do what we do. My group here at FindLaw.com are the content creators. Other than News, Answers, Social, and our huge lawyer directory, all the original content on the site comes from the fantastic attorney writers who are part of the content team.

This is my crew. They write, update, scrub, improve, edit, and publish a ton of content each and every day, all year long. I won't tell you exactly how much, but let's just say the usual response when I tell other teams at FindLaw and Thomson Reuters how much we get done on a weekly basis is an "ooohhhh." I have to say, I am proud of that fact.

But what is more interesting and more important to you, is how we do what we do -- specifically, what matters most to us. Because really, what matters most to us is you. Every time we sit down to write a blog post, an article, or even a snippet of marketing text, we think about our users. In fact, our golden rule is this: does it serve the user? That is our alpha and omega.

Here's how we get it done.

Can You Read It?

Reading online content is a different ballgame than picking up a book or a newspaper. (Note: Surely you have heard of those things. They bring you content printed on some stuff called paper). The online reader is a skimmer and often on a mobile device or a tablet.

So we ask ourselves, can my reader actually read what I am writing? Am I writing something that guides the reader all the way through my work to get to a satisfying conclusion? You may notice we use subheadings and short, clean paragraphs. This is just one of the many things we do to make what we write useful to you, the user.

Can You Use It?

Speaking of being useful, that is really why we are here. We can write all the great articles we want about the key topics of the day -- same sex marriage, immigration, student loans, -- but it is just an exercise in composition if someone can't use it. But what does that mean, use it? It means we constantly think about bringing our users solutions to their problems. Do you need information? A way to research the law? An attorney? A chance to ask questions?

This year, we have made an even bigger push to make sure all of our content brings not just information, but solutions to our users. This just happens to line up perfectly with the new messaging from our mothership, Thomson Reuters, which is now The Answer Company. Yep, our timing is just that good.

Is It Accurate, Smart, Maybe Even Funny?

We cover laws in all 50 states on both the federal and state level, and on a huge range of legal topics. Just this month we have written on everything from grandparent scams to blood clots in our blogs, and have major new content due up in our Education and Immigration sections.

While we research, write, edit, and edit some more, we don't get it right all the time. However, since being trustworthy is a key part of our brand, we work consistently and constantly to be as accurate as possible. As I said in an earlier post in this series, if you think we messed something up, tell us. We can take it.

So, accurate we strive for, but we also want to grab your attention. That is where smart and funny comes in. We know you've got stuff to do, so if you are spending some of your precious time with us, we want to make it worth your while. Smart, useful content, that is a given. But, if we can raise a laugh in the process, that makes us even better than your favorite cat vid, doesn't it?

Does It Help You?

Time for the bottom line. If what we write doesn't help you in some way, we just aren't doing our job. This is what motivates us, and sometimes just plain stresses us out. But it's a living, and a great way to do what we pretty much all went to law school to do -- help people.