Before LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and websites, law firms regularly published newsletters with valuable content to stay in touch with clients and contacts. Newsletters are still useful to show your expertise in an area of practice and indicate that you care enough to keep your clients informed.
An actual letter or sent electronically?
That answer lies with your audience. The committee responsible for “The Mentor,” the SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter, decided to use both formats. The audience consists of lawyers over 60 or those who have been practicing at least 30 years. Most were raised on paper, so while all 19,000-plus members get the electronic version, they can receive a paper copy by request. Consider giving your readers that option.
Tips for an interesting and effective newsletter:
- Publish consistently: No matter how often you publish your newsletter, send it out on time. Pick the dates for publication, give yourself reminders, and treat those deadlines with the same importance you treat trial preparation and court dates. Consistency is key to keeping your name on clients’ minds. Start by publishing a quarterly newsletter; soon, you’ll be ready to move to a more ambitious schedule.
- Newsletter design: A quick internet search reveals several legal newsletter templates. Pick one you like that’s easy to use. Use the same template for every issue; keep clutter in the form of boxes, graphics, or photos to a minimum; and use contrast to create visual interest. If design is not your forte, hire a designer.
- Provide useful information: Clients have questions and concerns that can’t be answered with a law review article or court case summary. Write as you would for a blog. Omit legalese, keep the narrative simple, and provide information your clients can use.
- Minimize the hype: A newsletter kept for future reference is one that provides useful information on practical issues facing clients’ lives. Most clients are not interested in reading about your firm’s victories. However, you can include information about changes in your firm, honors and awards, or pictures from your latest community event.
A newsletter should include an invitation to readers to contact you if they have questions. Be sure your contact information is prominently displayed so readers can call or e-mail for more information. The purpose of your newsletter is gaining new contacts and clients. Make sure your audience knows you really want to talk to them.
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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