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Spring 2016


building the firm’s database. Recently, Smith, Gambrell & Russell started an entertainment practice, so that was the theme of the last issue. “We looked at things like art galleries and sports and entertainment businesses in different cities and mailed them a copy of our publication to spark interest and hopefully add them to our database,” Watts says. “Then we can send them additional information about our firm.” The magazine has also

spurred additional content marketing efforts by the firm. A blog post or client alert about a relevant current event or law news is written by attorneys. From there, the marketing team dresses it up and distributes it to the database. Those emails can be segmented so that the news reaches subscribers to whom the topic is relevant. In the

The magazine‘s database has grown

significantly over the years, and feedback has been very positive. “We get people emailing us on the issues covered in the magazine and complimenting us,” Watts says. The firm’s attorneys will often bring issues of the magazine when pitching for new business, especially if they are talking about a topic that will come up in the meeting. “If they are pitching environmental topics, they might bring that issue and leave it behind for the potential client,” Watts says. Relevant articles have even been added to the back of a pitch or proposal. “The potential client will be reading copy and then see this colorful article at the end,” she says. ”There’s been no talk of stopping it, so our attorneys realize there is value in it.” Marketing efforts around the magazine include

driving traffic to the firm’s website (currently the focus of a redesign), tweeting story links, and

future, Watts would like to create podcasts done by attorneys. The firm also conducts internal and external “Lunch and Learns” aimed at educating other attorneys or outside attendees about specific topics. Recently, the editor of the

magazine recorded a YouTube video discussing the upcoming issue. The video was shared on Twitter and emailed internally to get firm members thinking about clients who don’t receive the publication. “It worked great. A number of our attorneys replied, asking us to add their clients to the mailing list,” says Watts, who adds that much of her job is spent

on internal communications. With five offices covering multiple legal areas, many of the firm’s attorneys aren’t aware of all that the firm does. “That,” she says, “was the reason for the YouTube video. In the future, I’d like for each issue to have its own marketing campaign with a video.” 


Lee Watts has learned a lot about publishing a magazine since she first started at SGR. She took stock of what she’s picked up along the way and shares it here.



If there is a way to create content and establish yourself as a thought leader, you should do it. It doesn’t have to be a colorful, high-end magazine, but if you can brand yourself in an area, you can’t lose.


REPURPOSE Often, one of our attorneys

has already done a webinar, presentation, or client alert on a topic, so we ask them to turn it into an article. There’s content all around, but it’s important to ask, “How can I make this into something else?”



Whatever your area of expertise is in the world, write about it. Let people know what your opinion is on topics and comment on them.



In some cases, we spend hours on editing. Our lawyers bill a lot of money per hour, so we have to focus on what is the best use of everyone’s time. Do what comes easily to your organization and look at what you can outsource.

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