Taking the Pain Out of Writing a Client Alert

Novelist Edna Ferber once described writing as “a combination of ditch-digging, mountain-climbing, treadmill and childbirth.” Undoubtedly, that is how many already busy attorneys feel about the idea of writing a client alert. But writing a client alert doesn’t have to be difficult.

A client alert is a mass e-mail message addressing a new or developing legal topic – perhaps a recent precedent-setting decision, a pending change to federal law or a trend you’ve observed. They’ve been a staple of legal marketing for more than a decade. But producing them can be a source of headaches for attorneys and legal marketers alike.

Here are four simple tips to make the client alert process as painless as possible:

1. Keep it short.
A single page is plenty long enough for a client alert. Clients are just as busy as attorneys and legal professionals, and short messages are far more likely to be read.

2. Publication trumps perfection. Don’t worry if your client alert isn’t Pulitzer Prize material. What matters is getting useful information out to clients in a timely fashion.  A good, published alert beats a perfect, unpublished one every time.

3. Add an Executive Summary at the top of the alert. This 1-2 sentence summary should include both a quick synopsis of the alert as well as why this news matters to the client.

4. End your alert with a Call to Action. A client alert shouldn’t answer every possible question. Instead, it should be a conversation-starter. Invite your clients to contact you if they want to discuss this topic in greater depth.

Writing client alerts is a worthwhile legal marketing activity for a number of reasons. They allow you to provide valuable information directly to clients, and they give you an excuse to touch base with your contacts. Also, writing alerts helps establish your authority in a particular area of practice, and gives you valuable Web content to boost your online presence. By following a few simple steps, you can maximize the benefit – and minimize the pain – of this valuable marketing exercise.

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Bruce Buchanan

About Bruce Buchanan

After a 10-year career as a newspaper reporter, I've been the Marketing Copywriter for Womble Carlyle since 2006. My job has involved pretty much any type of communication that a 550-attorney, 14-office law firm might need. I'm based in the firm's Greensboro, N.C. office.

Website: http://www.wcsr.com
Email: brucebuc@bellsouth.net
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