Many of the law firms we talk to do a great job of maintaining contact information for former clients, but they aren’t sure how to capitalize on those connections. An email newsletter can be a great way to maintain those relationships and keep your brand fresh in people’s minds.
A good newsletter should remind former clients that you are knowledgeable, caring and always there to help. But what should it have in it? Choosing the right content is the challenge many firms face in putting together an effective ─ and share-worthy ─ newsletter.
Guidelines for Writing Newsletter Content
As lawyers, it can be easy to fill a newsletter with recent case results and industry updates, but is that what your former clients are interested in? Chances are, not really.
Instead, fill your newsletter with content that is:
- Useful and relevant to their everyday lives – A survey by Nielsen Norman Group on newsletter preferences indicated that two-thirds of respondents welcome email newsletters that are informative and keep them up-to-date.
You want people to feel like they’re getting something out of your law firm’s newsletter, information they can use now or keep in the back of their minds (or inbox) just in case. Even better, you want content that is so useful that a reader decides to forward the email to others.
- Easy to read – Depending on whom you ask, content experts will tell you to write at a sixth- to eighth-grade reading level. This typically means shorter sentences and words with fewer syllables to ensure better reading comprehension.
Particularly in the field of law, it’s easy to slip into jargon-filled legalese. Remember, you’re writing for everyday people, not other attorneys.
If you want to check the reading level of your content, you can view the “readability statistics” in a Word document under the “Spelling & Grammar” check. Look for the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level rating. (FYI, this article is rated at a grade level of 8.3)
- Concise and scannable – Readers spend an average of 51 seconds on a newsletter after opening it, according to another Nielsen Norman study on inbox congestion. This means your newsletter content and design need to be eye-catching and easy to skim.
Break up content with lists and bolded text. And keep in mind when designing that your email newsletter will likely be read on a mobile phone. Make it easy for the readers to quickly find the information they are interested in.
- Not too sales-y – Although you definitely want to encourage readers to contact you if they have legal issues, you don’t want your content to come off as a hard sell. The goal is for your newsletter to be a resource and a reminder that your firm is there to help.
If you’re just starting a newsletter, consistency is key. You may want to set a goal of sending it out quarterly, versus jumping into a monthly commitment. Just be sure to stay consistent, and don’t bombard readers with too much of a good thing. The last thing you want is for readers to get annoyed and filter you out.
To stay consistent, it will help to map out a content plan so you have an idea of what you would like to include in each newsletter for the year.
7 Content Ideas for Law Firm Newsletters
For attorneys in some practice areas, such as family law and estate planning, content ideas can come quite easily as clients will naturally have ongoing questions to answer and needs to be met. For others, such as personal injury lawyers, newsletter content planning may require a bit more creativity.
Here are a few categories of content that can help you build a robust newsletter:
- Newsjacking – If you see a hot topic on the news that has an interesting legal side, jump in and explain it. For example, if Uber and Lyft accidents are on the rise in your area, include a quick explainer on what to do if you’re in a crash involving an Uber.
- Changes in the law – If a change in the law is going to affect your readers, be the go-to firm for explaining it. For example, warn readers when new insurance laws are going into effect and tell them why the change matters to them.
- Season-specific topics – Holidays and yearly events are a reliable source of inspiration for newsletter content. For example, everyone can use a helpful checklist on preparing their vehicle for a summer vacation road trip or a winter storm.
- FAQs – It’s always helpful to provide the answers to frequently asked questions, and you may already have a lot of this content on your website to repurpose. If you have video FAQs, even better. And use this content to encourage interaction. Ask readers to submit additional questions.
- Inspirational quotes – Your firm has likely helped clients through a very difficult period in their lives. And if you are on Facebook, you know how much people enjoy sharing inspirational quotes and messages. Why not continue to be a source of support and encouragement in your newsletter?
- Contests and giveaways – If your law firm is hosting a scholarship or any other type of contest, your newsletter is a great place to promote it. You can also plan out giveaways to keep readers engaged. For example, if someone in your firm has season tickets for a local sports team and isn’t going to use all of them, consider putting them to good use in a newsletter promotion.
- Meet-and-greets – If your firm is sponsoring or participating in a local event, share the news and invite former clients to come by and say hello. It’s a good opportunity to catch up and remind them that you care.
Don’t Let That Email List Go to Waste!
Every email list in your database is an opportunity for marketing. You’ve built a good relationships with clients, so don’t let them wither away once the cases are closed. Nurture those connections and possibly make new ones by crafting a useful newsletter that reminds people that you are the go-to law firm in your area.