Reprinted with permission from Texas Lawyer, August 22, 2018. © 2018 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved.
We’re big fans of law firm newsletters. They’re an unobtrusive way to stay in touch with your clients, prospective clients, and referral sources. A newsletter can also help ensure that the timely, informative blog posts you’re writing get more readers.
Although the main purpose of your law firm newsletter should be substantive legal information, it’s nice to include more than just blog posts. Think of your newsletter as your firm’s hometown newspaper, and let people know about the interesting stories, people, and events that make your firm unique.
Don’t go overboard, of course. The main focus should be legal updates, but feel free to add one or two items that veer outside those confines.
Here are some suggestions for additional content you can include in your next newsletter:
- Awards & recognitions: This one’s fairly obvious, but if any of your lawyers made any “best lawyer” lists, were inducted into their law school’s alumni Hall of Fame, or received any other notable honor, that deserves a spot in your firm’s newsletter.
- Client victories: Did you just win a big case or close a big deal? Don’t keep it to yourself. Within the bounds of State Bar ad rules (and with your client’s permission), of course, brag about it! Don’t forget to acknowledge the great work of individual lawyers and staff who made the victory possible and, obviously, thank your client.
- Client case studies: Not everything is a clear-cut victory or deal-closing. If you have a client story that illustrates how you saved them money or time, protected their rights down the line, or some other kind of “win,” tell that story. Again, get the client’s permission (keep them anonymous, if they prefer) and abide by Bar rules.
- Meet the lawyers & staff: Q&As with your firm’s lawyers and staff are a great way to break out of the bio format and give your readers a glimpse into the personalities who make your firm unique. I always love “lawyer origin stories,” particularly if they give insight into why a particular lawyer has a fire in her belly. Don’t have a great origin story? That’s fine. I’m sure you have something else that keeps you coming to work each day. I also like to use these Q&As to highlight the firm’s practice niche/differentiator and give readers a glimpse into the lawyer’s personal life (travel, volunteer work, etc.).
- Upcoming/recent speaking engagements: Not only do these showcase your practice area expertise, but if the event is upcoming, it can help juice attendance (and the sponsoring group will love you for that!). Just be sure to include a link to register for the event. If it’s already happened, include a photo.
- Recent publications or media appearances: Just as with speaking engagements, showing that you were published or broadcast in the media will showcase your expertise. And it can help drive traffic to the media outlet’s website (which they’ll love, too). Be sure to share the newsletter with the reporter or producer who interviewed you so that they’ll see you can help them build their audience.
- Upcoming/recent firm sponsorships: If your firm is sponsoring or has sponsored a conference or charity event, give it a mention. If it’s upcoming, provide a registration link.
- Charity activity: If your firm fields a team at the MS150 (a bicycle ride that supports the National Multiple Sclerosis Society), has a Habitat for Humanity work day, tutors at your local public school, or does any other kind of notable charitable work, tell that story in your newsletter. Don’t forget photos!
- Interesting hobbies/side gigs of staff/lawyers: Is your receptionist an ultramarathoner? Did one of your partners win a needlepoint contest at the State Fair of Texas? Anybody run an artisanal cheese business on the side? An interesting story is an interesting story, and your “hometown newspaper” is a great place for those stories.
- Interesting artwork/office features: If your firm features a notable piece of art or an interesting collectible, consider sharing that in your newsletter. I once knew a group of lawyers who were lobbying their firm to buy, instead of its traditional western art, a Honus Wagner baseball card for a prominent office display in place of their “bleeding buffaloes” artwork. Their lobbying campaign wasn’t successful, unfortunately. But if you have an interesting artistic or architectural feature in your office — even if it’s not an exceedingly rare baseball card – draw attention to it.
- Book reviews: There are more books out there than any of us can ever hope to read, so if any of your lawyers have read a book of interest to your audience, consider writing a review with key takeaways. Book possibilities include dry legal treatises, law- or industry-related non-fiction, and even legal thrillers.
- Share interesting articles: Same as with books, if you’ve read a great article that would be of interest to your audience, summarize it and share it.
- Interesting travel: Granted, not all travel is noteworthy enough to include, so be picky here. But if, say, you through-hiked the Appalachian Trail, or summited Mt. Everest — or some other kick-ass travel accomplishment – that’s a story.
- Practice area promotions: Draw some attention to one of your practice areas. That could be a practice that’s particularly timely because of a new law that’s going into effect, or it could just be a group that doesn’t get as much attention as it should. Just give it a quick summary, tell readers why it’s interesting, and link to the practice area description.
- Client testimonials: You’ve probably got a page of these on your website already, so just pick one and highlight it. You’ll want to give the client a heads-up before the newsletter is distributed so that they’re not surprised by it. (They may even want to update it with new raves.)
- “Pepper progress”: This is my catch-all for “anything else of interest that doesn’t fit into the above categories.” It’s inspired by my client Cindy Bishop, an environmental lawyer who makes an amazing, State Fair of Texas award-winning pepper relish every year and gives them as gifts to clients (and others, including me!). Her newsletters include, at the very bottom, a photo collage of her pepper plants, to update her clients on the progress of the peppers they’ll be getting in relish form in a few months. I don’t know what your “pepper progress” newsletter item is, but I bet you have one.
Make a Real Connection
Granted, many of these ideas are far more personal than professional. And, while the bulk of your communications with your network should be about professional topics, we’re all still human beings who want and need social connection.
This snippet from an article in the Harvard Business Review says it better than I can:
Sharing a small piece of information about you, your trip, or your company’s product or service can serve to deepen a business relationship or the connection a client feels toward your company. Research finds that social connection, which adds meaning and depth to our relationships, is the greatest predictor of long-term levels of happiness, and can be a major contributing factor to our performance at work. When people feel positively linked to us, they are more likely to want to do business with us, and will be more likely to want to figure out solutions to problems together. Connection comes from feeling like you really know someone.
An email newsletter isn’t simply an electronic communication. It’s a chance to deepen your and your firm’s connection with your network. Use that opportunity to its fullest.
Have any other great law firm newsletter content suggestions? We’d love to hear them. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you need help turning your “we oughta do a law firm newsletter” into reality, we can help with that! At Muse Communications, we handle everything from designing a template; compiling and uploading email lists; and writing, testing, and distributing regular email newsletters that keep you top-of-mind with your clients, prospective clients and referral sources.
Amy Boardman Hunt is all about helping lawyers find their voice and showcase their expertise. When she’s not doing that, she’s trying to find great hiking spots in Dallas. If you know of any – or you need a legal marketing muse – drop her a line at email@example.com.