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Trending topics on Twitter or Facebook are this decade’s version of hot topics by the water cooler or the breakroom. The convenience of finding out what SEO topics are “moments” or trending helps legal bloggers stay abreast of key issues. However, sometimes those SEO topics may be trending for two very different reasons, and it’s up to the SEO blogger to make the decision about whether this topic is worth writing about or too controversial to write. For lawyers, there especially is a fine line between educating current and potential clients and falling into the traps of clickbait.
The Fine Line Between Controversy, Clickbait and Educating
Let’s use a recent example regarding rapper/producer Kanye West and hip-hop artist Pusha T. While the pop legend Whitney Houston’s name was a trending topic that skyrocketed across Google searches in May 2018, it wasn’t because of the singer’s iconic songs, a tribute or even an honorarium. Instead there was talk of the legal ramifications after Pusha T used a photograph of Whitney Houston’s Atlanta home in 2006 after an alleged drug binge for his new album cover. Some people were disgusted. Others felt as though this was just another photo. And there was a group in the middle that were undecided about whether it was legally OK to do so.
On the surface, writing about a controversial topic such as this one may certainly bring more attention to your legal blog. But is it worth it? That depends on how the legal blog is written. There must be a balance in exploring the SEO keyword topic and educating readers. At the time, SEO blogs using “Whitney Houston” or “Pusha T” flooded search engine sites. But there were very few publications from experts in the legal industry to give credible answers to questions that fans, bloggers, readers and artists were asking:
● Was it really necessary to edit the beer can out of the photo because of copyright concerns?
● Although her estate was disappointed in the real-life photo chosen, if the photo was acquired legally, does the estate have grounds to sue either music artist?
These are reasonable questions that one may want to know. Entertainment lawyers and estate lawyers are two of the most credible professionals to respond to questions such as these. Unlike what gossip blogs may use to acquire traffic to their site, the goal for a legal hot-topic SEO keyword blog is to use relevant and current events to explain why this is relevant for anyone who may need assistance from a legal professional.
How To Personalize Trending Topics To Make Them Evergreen
As mentioned above, that controversial photo was an extremely popular topic in May 2018. Five months later, it’s old news. This is one of the conundrums that news outlets and blog outlets both face—how to keep people on a site once a topic is no longer as popular as it once was. It’s not a bad idea for lawyers to stay abreast of what people are talking about. Being able to casually discuss pop references along with legalese may help your clients find you to be more relatable. However, you also don’t want a blog full of dated content or to become too dependent on what’s happening next. So how does one make sure that trending topics can translate into evergreen content and legal conversations with your potential clients?
One way to do this is to talk about the bigger picture and help other people be able to personalize their legal concerns. Using the example above, the evergreen topic to transition from the Whitney Houston photo would be to discuss general photo licensing rights.
● When artists use private photographs for their projects?
● When should artists avoid doing so?
● Can social media users or bloggers reproduce these photos for their own profit?
● How can estates stop people from doing so?
● When used on other blogging sites—because album and book covers are usually considered fair use—does this photo now become OK to use as long as the artist’s name and title are on it?
● Are using embeddable social media posts on the site a fair-use alternative to uploading the actual image?
Photography on social media alone is one of the most complex places to share original artwork and photography. For example, Instagram notifies users that once their photos are placed onto the site, they become “non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use their content.” So does this mean that every single time someone shares an image on a public site, others can snatch it right off and use it for their own needs?
In all of these examples above regarding how to use a short-term SEO keyword for long-term use, this is when legal blogs are at their best. They become relatable to the everyday reader. Potentially your blog could be used as a reference tool and cross-linked to more popular sites. And ideally, SEO keyword topics such as these may help bring more traffic to your law firm’s page and increase your client base.