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How to Turn Your Firm’s Newsletter into a Successful Blog

Thanks to our client Ezra Crawford, Director of Marketing at BuckleySandler LLP, for sharing this case study with us.

When an attorney tells a Marketing Director he wants to start a blog, the first response will likely be, “Where’s your content?” But if your firm is already generating content in different mediums such as newsletters and client alerts, why not jump over the hurdles of creating a blog out of thin air and repurpose that content?

Financial services law firm BuckleySandler had been publishing a firm newsletter for nearly seven years when its Director of Marketing, Ezra Crawford, met with the firm’s partners to discuss ways to improve its weekly newsletter. Ezra suggested that the firm leverage the newsletter’s content by repurposing it into a blog. Since the firm was already generating 10-15 newsletter items each week, moving the content to a blog was a natural fit and so the InfoBytes Blog was conceived, built and launched in three short months.

Overcoming Hurdles

Ezra’s plan was to continue publishing the newsletter to ensure that the firm maintained its valuable mailing list of 4,500+ subscribers. While some partners were concerned that the newsletter would lose subscribers to the blog, Ezra has kept a close eye on his analytics in order to track the continued growth of the newsletter subscribers. Ezra’s Constant Contact analytics show that average weekly new subscribers have been maintained or slightly increased and overall blog subscribers is up nearly 7% since launch.

Another key part of the blog’s success (both internally and externally) has been the streamlined production process. Since a staff member is already tasked with collecting, editing and managing the newsletter’s content, the same staff member is able to upload the newsletter articles as separate blog posts in just 20 – 30 minutes using WordPress software.

Visible Results

The firm has tracked the increased visibility that the blog has provided, and the results are impressive. Ezra regularly uses analytics to show his attorneys how many click-thru’s their posts receive in order to show them the value of the posts. Ezra advises, “Know your analytics, use them and leverage them to maintain internal interest in your blog.”

An average of 50 viewers a day are reading the blog, adding 350 more views a week to the firm’s current newsletter readers. While the newsletter used to be republished by JD Supra as one article, now each InfoByte post is treated as an individual entry, which has led to an eight-fold increase in the number of content views that the firm receives. JD Supra also reposts the information on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (using the BuckleySandler hashtag). The firm’s profile views on JD Supra are up 40%.

The firm has also seen an improvement in its Search Engine Optimization. Whereas on the firms’ Web site top search terms are related to their name or specific attorneys’ names, BuckleySandler is finding that the majority of its blog traffic comes from searches that are meaningful to the firm. The 50+ viewers that come to the blog each day are oftentimes clients and potential clients who are searching for information on topics that matter to their business, such as “CFPB bulletin 2012-3 ” or “Regulation E new remittance transfer rule.” Not only does this SEO success help the firm reach a broader audience, but it also reinforces their clients’ buy decision when InfoBytes shows up as a top link in their Google searches.

What’s Next

Ezra plans to build on the blog’s success in a variety of ways. He has begun developing blog-only content to supplement the repurposed newsletter articles. A recent example is a three-part “spotlight” that focused on a BuckleySandler attorney who discussed legal issues related to auto financing and another one on anti-money laundering. The firm has also begun sprinkling in key press releases and client alerts to keep readers informed about firm news. Soon, Ezra plans to launch a campaign to promote the blog to media as a timely source for information and attorney experts on important topics affecting the financial services industry.

In connection with the launch of the blog, Ezra has made a conscious effort to educate his firm’s attorneys on how to share content via their social media networks, in particular LinkedIn. He shows attorneys how to use social media and provides tutorials and internal training programs. To facilitate sharing of content, he is developing a weekly internal email that compiles all of the previous week’s posts with easy to click “share” buttons so attorneys can quickly scan recent news and share it via their LinkedIn profiles.

Ezra told us, “When you can show the attorneys that a blog post can be much more than a couple of paragraphs on a web page – it can be an SEO’d piece of expert commentary that is easy to share with clients and prospects, can be piped out to JD Supra, Twitter and blog rolls, gets the attention of media, and can be forever linked to your bio in the Publications section – they begin to quickly understand that spending 30 minutes working on a blog post or being interviewed is a good use of time.”