OBJECTING TO A CUSTOM PRINT PUBLICATION? OVERRULED!
Think it’s too expensive and too old-fashioned to produce a company newsletter or magazine? One law firm argues otherwise.
By Tim Sweeney I
f law is not your profession—or at least something you have a very keen interest in—the idea of reading a publication
filled with articles written by attorneys might seem like the perfect cure for insomnia. But for Atlanta- based law firm Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP, publishing a quarterly magazine has proven to be an excellent marketing tool, providing value to clients, aiding in pitch presentations, and educating readers about the firm’s various areas of practice and office locations. In 2009, in an effort to display credibility,
authority, and expertise, the then-marketing director for Smith, Gambrell & Russell thought it was a good idea to get something in the hands of clients that highlighted the firm’s thought leadership. Trust the Leaders was born. Lee Watts, the current Director of Marketing and Business Development, was a bit skeptical of the practice when she started at the firm in 2013. “This is my fourth firm, and it’s not common for firms to do this,” she says. “My gut reaction when I started here was that it was crazy, considering the cost and time spent on it, and I wondered why they weren’t doing it digitally. Now that I’ve been here, I get it. For law firms, there’s always that pressure to add value, and this is another way to do that.” Trust the Leaders has a mailing list that is
12,000 strong, the bulk of which are business owners and in-house attorneys for other companies. Additional copies are distributed around the firm’s various offices for attorneys to share with clients or potential clients.
Director of Marketing and Business Development
The goal is to publish each quarter, but, with all the writers being attorneys and trials often getting in the way, they usually produce three issues per year. Though the magazine is also produced digitally so that it can be easily shared, Watts says people love the hard copy because they believe digital would only get lost in the shuffle.
A magazine committee (including an editor) consisting of marketing personnel and attorneys kicks off the production of each issue by deciding on a theme, usually based on areas the firm is trying to communicate to the market, then determining how that story can be told. Once topics are chosen, they decide who is best qualified to write about them by emailing attorneys and asking for recent success stories. “From there, we sit together, look at what we have, and spend a great deal of time editing and ing,” W
n ere, we s spend a great d proofreading,” Watts says. The finished content, including outside publisher
artwork that appears in the publication, is sent to an outside publisher. Smith, Gambrell & Russe artwork responsibilities with the publisher, but the, but content is well baked when the firm sends it to them.
he finished content, including most of the s in the publication,
ell & Russell shares ed when the firm sends it to th
My gut reaction when I started here was that it was crazy, considering the cost and time spent on it, and I wondered why they weren’t doing it digitally. Now that I’ve been here, I get it. For law firms, there’s always that pressure to add value, and this is another way to do that.
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