Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : July 2012

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Upon joining the MSBA and registering for the website, members quickly become aware of just how much we rely on e-mail communication to spread information about events, to pass along articles, and to answer questions. In addition to mailing lists, the amount of MSBA-related e-mail can quickly add up.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your e-communication, whether it is for day-to-day e-mail to colleagues or newsletters that reach thousands.

Brevity

Paying mind to the three S’s – short, sweet, and simple – has never been more important than in our digital age. Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter as we are forced to multitask while surrounded by a variety of gadgets.

Keep It Timely

There is a sweet spot to promoting events and building readers. Too early, and people will dismiss the event information, too late and they will already have plans. For electronic newsletters, keep to a consistent mailing schedule to keep readers engaged. If it is an event, announce the event within a month or two of the planned date. Have all specifics arranged – date, time, location. You can send emails to section lists on your own, have it promoted in the Bar Bulletin, or our own MSBA-generated Bar Brief and Bar Events newsletters.

Prioritize

Chunk information so it is easy for readers to scan and browse.

  • Bullet points and numbered lists make it easy to remember specific facts
  • Keep event information clear and quick to remember: Title, Date, Time, Location.
  • Break down large chunks of information with smaller paragraphs of similar information.
  • Subheads like those used in this article also help readers keep moving through the article, like mini-checkpoints.

Desire

Make people want to read what you’re sending. Make sure you have a relevant subject line in the e-mail that may inspire them to open the e-mail. If you consider what e-mails you avoid opening and which you open, that should give you an idea of what might work. Consider the first few inches as the newsletter as the most important; after all, it is the first impression. And remember – the MSBA mailing lists can’t send attachments. But you can use your section’s forms library to make files available for a limited time (www.msba.org/documents/default.asp).

Whether you’re sending messages to the mailing list or writing for e-newsletters or drafting up event flyers, it is important to make the most of your reader’s attention. You will benefit by taking special consideration when writing content that will most likely be read on a computer, Smartphone, or e-Reader.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin : July 2012

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