Client alerts and newsletters are great ways to stay in touch with contacts. In a 2015 survey by Greentarget and Zeughauser Group of 165 in-house lawyers, 77 percent said client alerts and 76 percent said practice group newsletters were the content they found most valuable.
How to stand out in that crowd? Vary the types of content you send clients. Here are some options.
Quick Court Decision Analyses
Many firms put out short, timely alerts of new appellate decisions when they are handed down. Cut down the time it takes to write these by having the trial or lower court background already written. Then you’re ready to top it off with the decision itself. These are one of the most traditional forms of client alert content.
“Evergreen” Legal Guidance
As the name implies, this information is timeless. Posts such as “5 Tips Every Leasing Agent Needs to Know” or “Top 3 Trends in Employment Law” are easy to read and valuable not only to the attorney but to others in the client’s company. In-house counsel can easily forward it to HR and other managers. What’s more, these “listicles” are currently one of the most popular forms of content, though few firms regularly take advantage of this format.
Evergreen content is a no-brainer.
Annual Updates of What Lies Ahead
Many firms publish legislative year-in-review roundups, but if a client has been paying attention, most of this will be old news. Turn this on its head and publish “What You Need to Know in 2017.” These are perfect for practice group newsletters. Items can include what state and federal legislation is likely to be introduced, which important cases in that practice area or sector will be heard by appellate courts, or economic trends that will affect clients. Examples include an anticipated increase in interest rates attracting more foreign investors and tips for international deals, or projected job losses triggering an uptick in employment discrimination cases, and how to prepare.
Q&As with Industry Leaders and Key Clients
Firms rarely use this option, which is a shame, because it’s a mainstay of business publications. Hire an experienced freelance writer to help you come up with a series of questions, and then have a recorded 3-way call with your client, allowing your writer (preferably a former journalist) to ask follow-up questions. Having your writer on the call will make it much easier for them to edit the conversation into a smart, concise discussion.
These don’t have to be long pieces. Busy clients probably won’t read a 1,000-word analysis unless it is directly on point with an issue they are currently facing. And you’ll notice that much of this content can be written in advance, making it easier to communicate regularly even when your schedule is packed.
Finally, use your email blast analytics to see which content is most popular with your readers. Then you’ll know which of these formats resonate with clients.