Thursday, October 14, 2004

Blawgs v. Traditional E-Newsletters

I recently looked at a product designed for lawyers to start their own blogs, and initially thought it might be a hard sell to larger law firms and that the tool was really more geared towards smaller firms and solo practitioners. But, after looking at how some law firms sends out its newsletters, this quickly became a no brainer (at least to me). Many firms send out newsletters once a month/quarter, are either sent within the body of an e-mail or as a PDF and are typically 10-20 pages long.

This creates several problems.

  1. In many cases, the information is already dated by the time the newsletter is sent.
  2. As we all know, e-mail is a tool that no one can live without, but is also becoming an information glut. News items sent via e-mail on a monthly basis are often not read.
  3. 10-20 pages is a lot to digest in one sitting.

A blog offers several advantages to the traditional e-newsletter. The anti-spam benefits alone are great and this is a major consideration if your firm's marketing department sends out thousands of e-mails a month. The length is a much more digestible for the audience of the typical marketing e-newsletter. The information is 'just in time' and current as opposed to monthly/quarterly newsletter. The target audience can also decide how they want the content delivered, via e-mail updates, RSS, or simply visiting the site every so often. Getting newsletters only via e-mail is like the morning paper, just because it comes at 6:00am doesn't mean that's when you want to read it. These various delivery options are a great feature and free up the e-mail overload. Because the content is on the Internet, it's indexed by search engines like Google, making the growth of readership almost organic. We've experience exponential growth in readership and enjoy high rankings on Google for many of our blogs. We can analyze traffic patterns, see who our visitors are, what the most popular 'posts' are and other classic website traffic monitoring reports. This type of site analysis is not possible with traditional e-newsletter formats. In addition, our marketing department isn't spending days creating the newsletter in Quark, saving it to PDF, only to have lawyers make last minute change upon last minute change. Posting is simple and fast.


Kenneth Jones said...

Client portals offer additional options in this area. They advantage they offer is the targeted comments can be offered to specific clients. Say, for example, one wanted to highlight some specifics of their litigation practice and skills to a potential client. With a client-specific portal, this "tailored newsletter" could be posted up for a targeted client to review. And, furthermore, unlike an email distribution, the newsletter can be updated/amended as needed to keep it current.

Anonymous said...

The downside to relying on client portals for this is that you don't hit anyone who's not a client and often these materials are sent out to not only clients of the firm, but other interested parties that the firm wishes or intends to solicit for business. A blog URL can easily be forwarded to others for reading, but a client portal requires login credentials, etc. As far as a marketing tool goes, you want to make it easily accessible to everyone, not just existing clients that have a portal setup.

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