Ask the Experts
Are Print Brochures Dead?
Question: Do lawyers use print brochures anymore? I’d like to avoid that expense and get by with PDFs online.
Jessica Aries: In my experience, law firms generally do not produce all-encompassing print brochures regarding the firm’s expertise anymore. With the advent of the Internet, firm websites are not only prolific, they are a necessary component of running a legitimate business in today’s world. Firm websites serve much the same purpose as a generalized printed brochure. However, websites can be readily updated while print brochures, by their very nature, do not easily lend themselves to change. I would maximize use of the firm website, before expending valuable resources on a static medium like a print brochure.
Additionally, many website content management systems (CMSs) can dynamically generate PDFs from existing content on a website. So the need for a separate print brochure designed by your marketing team and uploaded to the firm’s website may be moot should you have a CMS that supports this functionality. In my opinion, your firm website is the best option for housing and making available to your clients general marketing pieces like a firm brochure. Go with the PDFs online and save your budget for a more targeted and tailored marketing effort.
Jessica Aries serves as a business development manager to the Public Law and Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring sections at Andrews Kurth LLP. An active member of LMA, Jessica serves as co-chair of the LMA Digital and Social Media interest group, and is an executive board member of the Texas Chapter. She earned her J.D. and LL.M. in Information Technology and Privacy Law from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
Elonide Semmes: The simple answer is brochures are still printed, increasingly using on-demand or digital technologies. But many of these brochures carry little value for the prospect. Why? Too frequently, they are just slightly better versions of the practice area descriptions that live on your website. And too often they don’t further the conversation or add any real value. So before producing a printed brochure, ask yourself the following questions: Where does the brochure get used in the prospect’s journey? How does it add value? Does it spark new energy in the conversation?
We urge law firms to print brochures that a prospect will want to keep on their desk or pass to a colleague. To hit that bar, a brochure must be driven by subject matter. Surveys, how-to lists, analyses of litigation trends and regulatory recaps with passionate commentary are the types of brochures that have stickiness and get shared. They can be very powerful as handouts at trade shows and speaking events. Firm information can be included on an inside cover or on a back page. Remember, don’t cut corners on production values as the brochure reflects your brand. Cheap paper and inferior printing quality are noticed.
As far as printed brochures go, Mark Twain said it best: “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
Elonide Semmes is the president of Right Hat, a branding agency that specializes in helping law firms create powerful communication tools. She is a member of the LMA Hall of Fame and a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management.
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