Objection to Print…Overruled!

trusttheleaders2016Think it’s too pricey or old-fashioned to print a company publication? One law firm says that old argument is out of order.

The Atlanta-based law firm of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP, can’t dispute the evidence when it comes to the effectiveness of their printed quarterly magazine Trust the Leaders.

The title was launched in 2009, writes Tim Sweeney in Inspired Momentum, “in an effort to display credibility, authority, expertise” and to highlight the firm’s thought leadership.

A radical idea for a law firm? Perhaps. The magazine strategy was questioned by the firm’s incoming Director of Marketing and Business Development Lee Watts when she came on board in 2013.

“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,” Watts explains. “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,” she continues, noting that the print version has a longevity that helps meet their marketing goals.

“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,” Sweeney notes.

The results speak for themselves, with Sweeney noting that the readership has grown “significantly” over the years, with lots of positive feedback.

Each issue is carefully themed around key messages that help position the firm as a leader in that particular issue, and it’s a natural and effective leave-behind for new business development. A magazine committee chooses topics, often querying the firm’s attorneys for ideas and written content based on recent success stories.

Part of their success is the smart way they go about targeting readership. Watts explains that the firm recently launched an entertainment practice, and devoted one issue of the magazine to that topic.

“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,” she explains.

A brilliant side effect is how the magazine has spurred content marketing in other channels, with content reuse and promotion. When the gavel bangs down, it’s all about making your voice heard.

“Whatever your area of expertise is in the world, write about it,” Watts advises. “If there is a way to create content and establish yourself as a thought leader, you should do it.”

Sounds like some solid advice, legal or otherwise.