3 Things You Shouldn’t Do When Writing Legal Newsletters

By Matylda Kramarz

Say for a second, I have superpowers that allow me to do anything I want. In my journey, as the Legal Marketing Superhero, I fight for newsletters that are well written, structured and relevant for their audience. In this quest, I scour the Web, sign up to legal newsletters, and try to be present where the ‘Law’ needs me! After browsing for a few hours, I finally find my first lawbreaker: a newsletter from a competitor[1].


Transgression #1 – The newsletter is not accessible for visually impaired people

The footer and the mention “View as a web page” are too small and make it not accessible for visually impaired people. We appreciate the email friendly view, but recommend a responsive design template for a better user experience. With a responsive design email, you can scale images, change the layout, fonts and colours for each platform used to view your email.

Desktop View Cellphone View
 Email  cell.jpg

Transgression #2 – The newsletter is redundant for an audience that is already too busy

This is probably the most criminal offense of them all. Since the newsletter targets people who have already little time (corporate lawyers and members of the higher management), the last thing this newsletter needs is redundant content like two call-to-actions (CTA) leading to the same content and the same information repeated twice in slightly different headlines.

To add to the confusion, the horizontal line makes it look like there are two different articles linking to different CTA. The different colours of the CTA mislead us to think they’re leading to two different contents. It would have been better to use one headline, one introductory paragraph and one clear CTA linking to the appropriate content.

Transgression #3 – The webpage buries the lead

The email doesn’t state why it’s important for the audience to continue reading. How will the new law impact the company? What will happen if the reader won’t get this information (i.e. penalties, losing competitive advantage, etc.)? The authors don’t communicate in the email what in the law impacts their audience; this information is found in the 3rd paragraph of the webpage!

“As a consequence, businesses cannot rely on this decision as a legal ground for exports of personal data to third countries any more.”

(as found in the 3rd paragraph of the webpage)

You wouldn’t want your readers to lose interest in your story or stop reading. If you don’t explain in the first paragraph the benefit for the audience and catch their attention there, they may not stick around. The main message must be provided in the first paragraph, and the details in the following text.

As the Legal Marketing Hero, when I get my fingertips on that eNewsletter, I’m going to request the violator to be brought to justice and hear all of the transgressions above. Then, the delinquent will have a month to revise its template and content strategy. The transgressor will not be found liable for negligence because he kept the newsletter’s layout short and clean. Moreover, he’ll be given another chance at amending the content strategy as per the instructions above.

superhero

Sources:

Letting go of the words : writing web content that work, Janice Redish, chapter 3, 2012.

Don’t Bury the Lead!, Terry Weaver, Chief Executive Boards International, 2009

 

[1] Note: All mentions of the company have been removed.

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4 thoughts on “3 Things You Shouldn’t Do When Writing Legal Newsletters

  1. I agree. UX is very important. Funny that the offending newsletter comes from a law firm. Isn’t “reading the fine print” something lawyers always tell us to do? 🙂 Kathy

    Like

  2. Wendy

    Matylda – I wish I was commenting from my iPhone so that I could shoot you a few “props” emojis. Well done! The picture at the top is just perfect for the piece. I like how you embedded it into the post too, it looks very professional. I also really enjoyed the transgressions. They kept the story line going and made the transition from one paragraph to the next seamless and fluid. Super job taking on what could have been a really dry subject matter (legal newsletters, yikes) and making it witty, informative and relatable.

    Like

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