6 great content ideas for your law firm's newsletter
Email newsletters are one of the best ways for law firms to keep in touch with their clients.
Reasons for this include:
· They keep you ‘front of mind’ with clients
· They are a chance to show off your firm’s expertise and personality
· They are a cheap way to reach loads of people
And, they are more effective than social media for updating clients. Internet research group Nielsen Norman say that 90% of people prefer to receive updates by newsletter, compared to 10% by social media.
Yet many firms don’t use them. One reason I hear over and again is: “I would send out more newsletters but I can’t think of anything interesting to write about.”
Why most newsletters are boring
In the absence of anything else, the default for law firms is to write about changes to the law and the results of recent cases.
This is understandable as it is a chance to show that you know your stuff. There are two problems with this. One is that the articles are likely to be of limited interest to most readers.
The second, and with due respect to my legal colleagues (I used to be one after all), is that the articles are boring. Lawyers write in a highly technical way. That’s great when giving a legal opinion or threatening to sue someone. It’s not so great when the reader can choose to read on or click away.
Newsletters that focus solely on legal updates tend to be one-paced textbook style articles of around 500 words on one legal topic after another.
But newsletters are about being interesting, and entertaining your readers. Bear in mind that your readers are people on your mailing list. This means you’ve either done business with them or they’ve signed up to hear from you.
So, they’ll be interested in what is going on in your world but they are unlikely to want a stream of dry legal updates.
The challenge is to put across your legal expertise but in a way that makes them like you and trust you. If you can do this, they are more likely to want to do business with you.
A good source of inspiration is any specialist magazine or newspaper colour supplement. They too are writing for an identified audience and a quick flick through any one of them will show you how they mix up their content.
Six content ideas
Here are six ideas for the types of articles you could put in your newsletter:
1. A story – or in other words, a case study. People love stories and though you will probably have to change the names and some facts for confidentiality reasons, a case study is the perfect way to show off your legal expertise and the relationship you have with clients. Case studies are best when topped off with a glowing testimonial from a satisfied client.
2. An opinion piece. Newspapers pay a fortune to their star columnists, usually because they have strong opinions. Love him or loathe him, Jeremy Clarkson’s Sunday Times column is a good example of this. Chances are that you have vigorous opinions about your own industry. If so, you’ve got the perfect soapbox to put them across.
3. A Q & A, for example with a member of staff, a client or someone you work closely with, say, a barrister or accountant. The good thing about Q & As is that they are bite-sized, so they are easy to read. You can also cover a whole load of different topics and use them to put a lot of someone’s personality across.
4. Picture stories. These are as simple to put together as a few pictures with some captions. This would be a great way to cover a firm event. They are popular with readers as they require little effort on their part. And because they are visual, they work well on social media. Don’t forget though the copyright restrictions on using other people’s pictures – you can read more about this here.
5. Insider tips. Everyone likes to pick up information from the experts. Articles with ‘how to tips’ or insider secrets are always popular. They also lend themselves to the ever-popular listicle headlines – like the one for this article. (You can read more about listicles here).
6. Reviews and previews. Newspapers and magazines are full or reviews and previews. One reason for this is that they relate to something happening now or about to happen in the near future. So, they are topical and up to date. Another is that we love learning what other people think about things. Amazon has built one of the world’s most successful businesses on this simple premise. In a legal context, this could be the review of an event, a seminar or even a book.
Finally, if you are using email newsletter software such as Mailchimp, it is well worth looking carefully at the open and click through statistics. That way you’ll find out what is popular with your readers and you can tailor future newsletters accordingly.
For more information about creating a newsletter for your law firm, please contact Simon Manuel at firstname.lastname@example.org.