Serial and Storytelling: What Attorneys Can Learn from the Hit Podcast

When it comes to your law firm’s blog, you don’t have to be groundbreaking or revolutionary to get the attention of your readers. Serial, a 12-episode podcast that revisited the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, captivated the attention of millions. Adnan Syed, the then 17-year-old ex boyfriend of Hae, was convicted for her murder. After being contacted by two of Adnan’s close friends, reporter Sara Koenig took a new look at the case to investigate if Adnan was wrongly convicted of the crime.

At this point, you are probably thinking, “Who listens to podcasts?”, and that is exactly my point. The audio-only retelling of a 15-year-old presumably solved murder case is not something one would think would average 1.26 million downloads per episode, yet it did. How did Sara Koenig manage to do this? Koenig’s delivery was the key; she is a phenomenal storyteller. Yes, her dialogue does have all the workings of an intriguing story: young love, jealousy, lies, heartbreak, death. However, that is not why Serial was so widely successful. The episodes are thought-provoking and enthralling because she never gives too much information away, allowing the listeners to form their own opinions on the case. She is passionate about uncovering the truth about what happened to Hae Lee, and about freeing Adnan if he did not kill her.

How can you apply Serial’s success to your firm’s blog? Don’t try so hard. You don’t need to post an article about the latest and greatest news story to captivate your audience. Give your readers something to think about, not just to mindlessly read or scroll past. You could write about a compelling case you have been a part of (without disclosing any confidential details, of course); passion translates into your writing and will make a much better article than a filler blog post would. If you have come across a case that you believe was not handled properly, take some inspiration from Serial and write about it.

When you’re writing, refrain from taking a solid stance on an issue. Discuss and weigh out both sides of the argument and allow your reader to come to their own informed opinions. Pretend that you are debating someone and poke holes in your own defense. Thrash out any doubts you have and expand on them. This will ensure a thought-provoking post that will inform and entertain your readers.

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Dolores Obrien

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