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Newsletters Are Back in Style. Should Your Firm Have One?

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on September 28, 2016 1:06 PM

We're in the midst of a freaking epistolary renaissance, and we largely have newsletters to thank. The electronic newsletter has been undergoing a rebirth over the past few years, with an ever growing number of informed, intelligent, and insightful newsletters ready to fill up your inbox.

Celebrities send out newsletters, newspapers have put a renewed focus on email, and bloggers and economists and politicians (and FindLaw!) all send their insights and updates straight to your email. Should your firm jump on board?

Newsletters vs. Email

First, newsletters aren't like regular email. They're not conversations, or invitations to check out your new website, or quick updates on the firm. They're full publications, meant to be consumed via email.

The best newsletters are focused, offering unique insights on a specific topic: where to invest, what to cook, where to find cute cats on the internet -- or, thinking more legally, how to plan for your retirement, if you're an estate planning lawyer, or updates on law and technology, if you're an IP lawyer.

A good newsletter can be written out more or less like you would write a regular letter, blog post, or white paper. Or, they can be aggregations, bringing together your thoughts and directing your readers to useful resources throughout the web.

Major websites send out newsletters on a daily basis, but that's not usually necessary. Weekly and even monthly newsletters can be just as valuable -- particularly when you're aiming for depth of content.

Why Make a Newsletter?

There are a few reasons lawyers might be interested in newsletters. First, a good newsletter helps you build your reputation as a thought leader. After all, people are literally signing up to read your thoughts. They can also be an effective way of generating leads, maintain relationships, and keep clients coming back to you in the future.

Why not just do that on a blog or website? You certainly can. But newsletters have a few benefits that the rest of the internet might lack. First, engagement is higher with email than other distribution platforms. A tweet or Facebook post, for example, might drive just a few clicks to your website, with an engagement rate of less than one percent. Newsletters, on the other hand, usually have much higher engagement rates, between 15 and 25 percent.

Then there's the information you can gain about your newsletter readership. When readers sign up for your newsletter, you can ask for as much information as you want: names, education level, contact info, etc. You're not going to get that even from the most sophisticated web analytics. With that information, you can create better content, know more about your audience, and altogether market more efficiently.

That's something that might be worth signing up for.

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