By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.
When I was a young associate, one of my job duties was writing the newsletter for the firm where I worked. Writing it wasn’t the biggest challenge. Coming up with topics our clients would find useful was the problem.
Back then, the newsletters were print versions sent by way of regular mail. Today law firms not only use the traditional newsletter but are also turning to e-newsletters and subscriber-based blogs as forms of law firm marketing.
Although the newsletter format has expanded, the fundamental problem of creating content remains. As a professional legal content writer, here are three of my tips to help you come up with content writing ideas for your law firm marketing newsletters.
1. Write answers to questions your clients ask.
Though it may seem fundamental, one of the best ways to create content is to first consider the questions your clients commonly ask. The initial client meeting can be a goldmine of content ideas. What are the concerns most clients raise? Are there basic legal fundamentals you often need to cover with the client during the initial client meeting?
Enlist the help of your receptionist, secretary and paralegal. These are typically the staff members who most often interact directly with your clients, whether it is on the phone, through e-mail or even as the initial contact through the firm’s website. Questions may range from substantive legal inquiries to queries about procedural matters involving a particular stage of litigation or the next step in the legal process.
Analyze your website’s analytics program. Your law firm’s website should have a program such as Google Analytics that provides not only traffic data but also search engine queries that are leading people to your firm. Those queries are often the questions to which prospective clients are seeking answers. Consider using a query as the starting point for your content.
2. Introduce your staff through your content writing.
While working as a legal journalist, I profiled a nationally known criminal defense lawyer. Although the article was published long ago, I can still remember a tip he gave me that explained how he managed his practice and kept his clients satisfied. The key, he said, was his legal secretary.
During the initial client meeting, he candidly explained to his clients that he was a trial lawyer, not a desk lawyer. That meant that he spent most of his day in court, not in his office, and if they called his office looking for him, it was likely that he would not be in. But, he explained, his legal secretary was a vital part of the representation team. Speaking to her was like speaking to him. He took it even further, formally introducing his secretary to the new client.
Most trial lawyers have a similar team approach in which the law firm staff plays a vital role in client communication. Why not take the opportunity in your newsletter to introduce the people in your firm to whom clients will be speaking on a regular basis?
3. Write content that contains practical courthouse tips.
It is easy to forget that many people live their entire lives without setting foot inside a courthouse. When someone does need to go to court, the experience may be a source of real anxiety. Where is the courthouse located? Where does one park? How much will it cost to park? How long does it take to get through the metal detector lines? How long will court last?
Just as it’s a good idea to know the latest rules regarding carry-ons and liquids before you go to the airport, having some idea of how to navigate the courthouse goes a long way toward reducing anxiety.
With the use of these three tips, you should be able to generate more than enough content ideas for your legal newsletter or blog. If finding the time to write the articles is still scarce, though, consider hiring a professional legal content writer. At Legal Media Matters, our professional writers are lawyers and journalists who provide quality content for your law firm’s marketing needs.
Contact Legal Media Matters for more information.