Increase Section Engagement with Newsletters
Dear Section Chairs and Chairs-elect:
Are you looking for ways to increase your Section’s member engagement? Do you want to attract new members and keep them involved? Creating a Section newsletter may be a great way of accomplishing these goals while adding new vibrancy to the intellectual life of your Section.
In this second installment of The Section Counselor, we highlight some best practices for creating a Section newsletter building on the examples of terrific newsletters already being produced by your peers in other Sections.
Key Features of Section Newsletters
The AALS is fortunate to have a wide variety of Sections that already produce newsletters with exceptional content for faculty and professional staff of member law schools. Many Sections include the following key elements in their newsletters:
- A brief message from the Chair
- A note from the Editor
- Announcements related to the Section program at the AALS Annual Meeting
- Information regarding Calls for Papers
- A Q&A with speakers presenting at the AALS Annual Meeting, with speakers’ biographical information
- Announcements from subcommittees including nominations for section leadership roles
- Information about Section mentoring programs, Section awards, and networking events
Creating Original Content
Some Sections use their newsletters as a platform to offer original content on subjects of interest to their members.
For example, the Section on Federal Courts has included discussion of recently decided and upcoming Supreme Court cases that raise novel or complex areas of the law.
Other Sections have added original content by way of news articles about members of their Section. Examples of newsworthy articles include faculty appointments, honors, and promotions, teaching awards, scholarship awards, presentations, and new ventures.
Additionally, a Section newsletter can offer information about scholarly developments, such as reviews of recent books, journal articles published by members, and other publications of interest such as presentations and textbooks.
Here are a few recent samples of newsletters we thought might be useful to you:
Some Helpful Newsletter Tips
As you begin to consider creating a newsletter, or if you already have been publishing a newsletter for your Section, you may consider the following tips:
- Consider the frequency of the publication. Some Sections publish twice a year; others publish just once a year but frequently use their Section’s listserv and website to distribute the kind of information that might otherwise be included in a newsletter.
- Include Section leadership list and contact information in all issues. Include editor contact information or preferred method of submission for content.
- Use your Section website to publish the Newsletter to your Section’s membership. You can accomplish this by uploading the newsletter to the “files and resources” page on your Section’s website at Connect.AALS.org. You can also upload related materials such as speaker biographies, bibliographies, recommended reading lists, relevant presentations, reports, and textbooks to the same “files and resources” page.
- Share your newsletter through the AALS listserv for your Section and encourage your members to share the link with others who might be interested in its content.
- To generate original content, consider announcing a call for submissions at least three months prior to the anticipated publication date for the newsletter by using your Section’s listserv and posting the announcement to your Section’s website.
- Send your newsletter to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help you add it to your Section’s website.
Questions and Comments?
Do you have other newsletter ideas or samples that you wish to share with your peers? Please contact our Manager of Section Services, Josh Albertson.