I wanted to highlight a few key points to keep in mind as you draft stronger alerts and blog posts and why you should do so if you are contemplating whether they are worth the effort.
Law firms of every size should make the time to draft client alerts and blog posts. They are one of the most effective ways to engage with clients and prospects. They can lead to new business as well as media and speaking opportunities.
In addition they help keep your firm and lawyers top of mind with your clients and prospects, which is so important in the crowded legal market.
They also help your Google search results and bio so that when someone is looking for a lawyer in your area or niche, you have more clout.
In-house counsel say over and over again that the marketing efforts that work the best by law firms is value-added content that helps to educate them and help them do their jobs.
That means you should be focusing more on writing client alerts and staying top of mind with your clients/prospects and other key audiences.
A good alert can often rekindle a relationship or lead to a discussion about a new matter.
Also, reading habits have changed with the times – more people are skimming content and doing so from their mobile devices, which means you need to adapt your content to their preferences (i.e. shorter content that is easier to read).
Here are some tips to consider when crafting your client alert and blog post strategy.
- Always write in your clients’ language and stay away from legalese and defined terms.
- As noted above, many people are reading alerts on their mobile devices, so shorter is better.
- Use bullet points when you can to break up the text.
- Clients will read a small number of bullet points or short paragraphs more often than one long email.
- While law firms say they don’t want to bother clients with too many alerts — short frequent messages are less of an intrusion than one long email.
- Put your conclusion upfront where clients can see it before they dive in. Clients read about insights and conclusions — even when they disagree — because they can learn and expand their thinking.
- Decision makers open personal emails from trusted partners. Always. Especially the emails pointing out the relevance to them. You not only prove you care and make their life easier — you educate them.
- Buddy up with a colleague or two if you don’t have the time yourself to write an alert or blog post or it seems daunting.
- Write short/concise headlines that quickly get to the point – bonus points if you can use numbers in the title (such as “Five Reasons to X” “Three Things You Need to Know About X”
- Write timeless “Why” and “How-To” “evergreen” pieces that you can republish – these are gifts that keep giving (see attached article but the idea is something like “What to Do When X Happens” or “Why You Need a X).
- Get to the point – fast. If readers can’t figure out why they should care within the first paragraph or two, they won’t. Don’t waste their time with lots of background information.
- Write the alert like a news story – identify the news hook ASAP. Provide practical advice.
- When drafting the alert, answer the following questions
- What happened?
- How does it affect me or my company?
- What should we do about it?
- Why should clients care about this issue?
- Regularly track what your competitors are writing about and ask yourself how you can bring a different perspective to it or make it better.
- When looking for content ideas, recent novel cases, big wins, precedent setting laws, explaining a development in the law and anticipating issues and how they will affect your clients is the kind of content that will stand out from the pack. The content you should avoid is just reporting the facts. If you are reporting facts that are important, be sure to end with why this is important for your readers.
- Create and distribute content while the topic is hot – a good piece of content today is better than a fantastic piece three days from now. Make efficiency part of your content strategy.
- Take time each week to study the analytics on your blog posts and client alerts. Look for commonalities on why they did well (was it the headline? Structure? Topic?) Then find ways to replicate the posts.
- Look for alerts that can be easily updated by adding new information and you have a new alert.
- Turn a webinar/event or a conference you attended into a takeaways post (“Five Key Takeaways from X Conference”)
- Ensure that your mailing lists are up to date and bouncebacks are reconciled after each distribution – what’s the point of creating content if no one is receiving it?
- Use powerful visuals to accompany your alerts on social media.
- Use a content syndicator such as JD Supra to extend the reach of your content and reach new readers who could potentially become new clients.
- Don’t just regurgitate facts. Give insights and explain what this development or issue means to your audience. If they want facts they can read the case.
Publishing client alerts enable you to position yourself as a thought leader, help you meet your clients’ needs for insights and information, and they help you start and maintain a dialogue with them – plus you get a published piece under your name, which can also lead to speaking engagements and press for you.
If you’re looking for ways to motivate lawyers who say they’re too busy to write an alert or a blog post, talk about how publishing one will help with their Google search results and give them more visibility in LinkedIn and on the website.
It’s a win-win for all involved, so make the time for writing client alerts and blog posts. This is the kind of content that can lead to new business.
If you need help with this, message me to learn how I can create a custom strategy for you.
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Here’s a video with more on this topic.