Thursday, November 13, 2008

Holiday Marketing

I know it is hard to see it this way but the Holidays are a great time for your state or local chapters to come together and help out a worthy cause...and this is marketing! Make sure if you choose to help a local food bank or pitch in at a Habitat for Humanity site that you are sending out press releases to local newspapers informing them of your good deeds. This is also a great way to show the community and potential members that the organization is socially conscience and willing to help. You could also use this as an excellent internal marketing tool by adopting a local family or by trying to raise money to help out a charity. You can set up a contest to motivate your members and could even set up teams to help build relationships within your association. Remember that everything has a marketing spin so if you are helping yourselves or helping other understand what the association is about then you are doing a good thing! Remember to be positive and include as many people as want to help but you don't want to be anonymous!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Man it has been a long time!

I want to apologize for the time between posts! I have been crazy busy working on the new website design and since it is online and trucking I can get back to some blogging.

The marketing committee met last night and had a great discussion on ways to utilize schools as a tool to build your membership as well as give some great recognition to your state and local associations while building relationships with both students and professors. I feel that vocational schools and colleges with paralegal/legal assistant/legal secretary programs will be the best options when it comes to getting participation. One idea was to use schools to host your meetings and invite students to join you. This will give them access to your group and give them the opportunity to see how it could benefit them when they enter the work force. By using the schools facilities and by inviting the students you could potential save money on renting a room as well as bring in some potential members. Another idea was to host a career fair at the school and allow firms to send HR people to exhibit and interview the students for potential internships and/or jobs. This would be a great way to help out both the students and the law firms if they are having trouble filling graduates will often work for less money and can be trained without any preconceived ideas of how things are done.

NALS offers some great benefits to schools and students. The NALS textbooks are known to be among the best and most comprehensive while our ALS exam is the only certification geared to new professionals and students. We even have a curriculum guide to help a program get started without truly having to start from nothing.

Keep an eye out as the marketing committee will be putting together some information to make building these relationships with schools easier...we will even have a listing of schools for you!


Friday, July 11, 2008

My First Mobile Blog Post!

Well after seven hours of trying to update my iPhone it finally worked! This is a new application called lifecast so I figured I would give it a try. Not sure if I will use this much since I still like a normal keyboard better but I may use this while traveling or if I get bored!

Now back to work!


Geolocate this post

Posted with LifeCast

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Simple Idea

I may have mentioned this in the past and if so I apologize. I have an idea on a way to cost effectively advertise for your local chapters. Classified Ads. They are relatively low cost in most newspaper and those reading them are often the ones that will benefit the most from having a support group around them. Imagine if you were looking for a job and saw that there was an organization you could go and meet with that represents those you are looking for jobs with. So if you need a legal secretary or paralegal job in Austin, then you can go and meet with a group of legal secretaries and paralegals in Austin. Not only do you get the chance to learn which of their firms are looking, you get a chance to make a great first impression with some involved with that firm. It is almost like a guaranteed first interview!

All of that on top of the fact that they will learn what it is they need to separate themselves from others in the field and have the opportunity to gain continuing education at the same time.

It sounds like a no-brainer because it is! You guys just have to make the effort to tell everyone that you can about it. SPREAD THE WORD PEOPLE! Anyone that has used this method let me know how it works...I am curious. Also if you have some simple and low cost promotion ideas post them in the comments!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Facebook Groups and LinkedIn are growing!

As of this post the NALS Facebook group was up to 22 members...Not Bad! Now get in there and start some conversations people! This is a way to network both professionally and socially so take advantage. Also this is a great way to promote your state and local associations and use them to build your membership base. You can post events you are hosting and also send invites to people as reminders. Might as well take advantage of these offerings and use them for all they are worth.

Over at LinkedIn which will basically only work as a professional contact builder the NALS group is looking good with 66 people signed up. This is a great way to build your contacts and will serve as a way for you to connect with people across the country. The world is small people and it can be smaller if you use the right tools!

We are here to help you so please let us know of the things you need and we will do our best to help you out!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Help Make NALS Famous!

Well Facebook and LinkedIn famous at least! I have started group pages on both Facebook and Linkedin for NALS. I am sure everyone is familiar with Facebook but some are not so much with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional networking site that lets you make contacts with people and see how many steps away from others you are. You can also post and look for jobs as well as give and receive recommendations. The NALS Groups will give you access to other members of the group so you can use them as a resource if needed. Here is the link to the NEW NALS Group on LinkedIn:

I have no idea how to give you a link for the Facebook group but I am trying to figure it out. Until then you can do a search and hopefully that will get you to the proper place.

Let me know how it goes!


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Support Those Supporting You!

One thing that people take for granted when flipping through their next issue of @Law or even a local newsletter is the advertising. Advertising is what pays for these publications and the publications count on its readers to support those paying to advertise in them so that they will continue to support it and use it as one of their marketing venues. You might think that this is not a chapter or NALS marketing issue when it involves someone else's ads but think of it this way. When NALS or your chapter needs support to host a conference who do you look to? Often times this is a corporate entity. If we take these businesses for granted and do not support their efforts by picking up a copy of your local or national publication and taking a look at what the people that are supporting your organization have to offer then one day they may not be there.

So the next time you need a deposition company or a process server or even mailing labels or copies take a look at @Law or a local publication and see if anyone in there offers these services. If they do I urge you to give them a try...they are giving you one by paying to put their information in front of you!

NALS members are a loyal and devoted group, if we show our corporate sponsors and advertisers this then we will be able to prove to the world outside of NALS what kind of organization we are...and that is marketing!


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Happy April Fool's Day!

Nothing new regarding Marketing but I would love to hear some stories about great April Fool's Day pranks! I know everyone has them so share...maybe you will give someone a good idea.

I will start with a good one. I have a friend from college that got married to a Naval Academy grad and moved around a lot right after school. They settled in Maryland and when she found out that she was pregnant we all were excited for them. The next April Fool's day several of her friends got calls from her husband saying that they had just had a baby boy. Of course we all thought it was a joke being April 1st. We all played it off as a joke not wanting to seem like we were fooled. A few days later we tried to call and check up on her and found out she actually did have the baby on April 1st...we actually fooled ourselves!

Okay so not a great story but something interesting to kick things off.

Leave comments, I like to read them!


******NALS is not responsible for any stress or mental anguish that may be caused by any of the shenanigans posted on this blog...this is for entertainment purposes only and no pranks here should be duplicated on those individuals not able to take a joke. Please do not use the NALS name or logos in conjunction with any pranks.******

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Market Your Chapter with Fun!

As Spring arrives and the weather in most places starts to improve use this opportunity to market your chapters by doing some fun outdoor activities. Maybe you have a lunch picnic at a local town square or centrally located park. Have your members invite a co-worker that is not a member and make the picnic just about lunch and having a good time. You do not have to meet about legal things all the time, meet as friends and show others the way NALS works as a tool for developing friendships. During this picnic try not to be pushy toward those that are not members...maybe don't even mention NALS unless it comes up in conversation.

By having these types of informal gatherings and having members bring co-workers you will be able to show non-members a unique benefit of NALS and that is the sense of belonging you have. Even if it has nothing to do with your jobs or careers you can still have a good time and invite new people to experience the same type of camaraderie.

Just a thought as I sit here in my office looking out the window at a beautiful day!


Monday, March 10, 2008

Back at the Office!

Well the Professional Development & Education Conference has once again come and gone...this year was a great conference! I want to thank everyone that attended the conference and especially all of the first time attendees we had this year! It is always great to see new people at the conferences and we hope that you had a wonderful time. We hope to see you again in Norfolk in September.

As you can see I did not manage to find the time to blog live from the conference, imagine that. I always seem to be running from one room to the next trying to get all the sessions off to a smooth start. Maybe in Norfolk I will have a spare minute or two to try and let all of you that are not attending know exactly what you are missing! There were some great sessions and some very good marketing information that was passed around. I will try and organize some of it and get it posted here so you all can check it out and see how you can use it back at your state or chapter level.

Back to emails!


Monday, February 25, 2008

Basics of Design - Color

Everyone loves color! But we need to be careful as to what colors we use and when we use them. Here are some more rules of thumb to think about:
• Know that hue is the actual shade or color itself.
• Remember that saturation is the relative brilliance or vibrancy of a color. The more saturated a color, the less black it contains.
• Use warm colors to suggest warmth (e.g., red and orange are the colors of fire). Cool colors suggest coolness (e.g., blue and green are the colors of water).
• Remember that warm colors appear larger than cool colors.
• Know that warm colors seem to move toward the viewer and appear closer; cool colors seem to recede from a viewer and fall back.
• Use highly saturated or high-intensity colors (a pure hue with no other colors mixed in) or busily detailed areas to draw attention and therefore give the appearance of carrying more weight than less saturated, low-intensity or visually simpler areas.
• Use hues that are lighter at maximum saturation (e.g., yellows and oranges) to appear larger than those that are darker at maximum saturation (e.g., blues and purples).
• Create a monochromatic color scheme that uses only one hue and its values for a unifying and harmonious effect.
• Remember that value is the relationship of light to dark.
• Consider that black and white are thought of as neutrals because they do not change color.
• Know that the primary colors are red, yellow and blue. When mixing pigments, primary colors make up all other colors.
• Remember that in printing, process colors: yellow, cyan (bright blue), magenta (blue red), and black make up all other colors.
• Know that on computer or television screens, red, green, and blue make up all other colors.

Spot Color
• Consider that spot color results from adding a specific second color to the single color normally used (black is the traditional single color).
• Use spot color to direct the reader's eye to special sections or important information for fast identification.
• Screen one, or both, of your colors, and achieve the effect of printing in multiple colors. Screening is the process by which you use a percentage (or lower value) of a full color, creating a lighter shade of the original. You can also add black to the color to make it darker.
• Add a single color to black-and-white photographs (creating a duotone) to bring depth and richness to the document. Look for examples of different duotones in design books.
• Substitute a different color for black in a two-color job as an effective way to increase the appeal and richness of the document.
•Be smart, a well designed piece with two-colors and screens (tints of the two colors) will always be less expensive and probably better looking than a piece designed with mediocre four-color images.
• Know that if you are designing a four-color piece, it will probably require a five, six, or more run through the press. You will probably want a spot color (a special non-process color other than Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black), a varnish (protective coating), and among other things a double hit (a second printing of a background color).

• Use color to emphasize type or graphics, even if it is a subtle use of color. Avoid colors that are too similar to black (e.g., dark brown, dark blue).
• Show separation between design elements, inject color into the layout. Color also helps the reader segregate different types of information making it easier to read and find specific content.
• Remember that most colors carry emotional and psychological implications.
Red = hot, passionate, and urgent
Blue = cool, melancholy, and quality
Green = nature, health, cheerfulness, liveliness, and friendliness
Purple = royalty and intelligence
Yellow = warm, cowardice, and caution
• Use values that are close together to give the design a calm appearance.
• Use values of pure hues as well as those of tints and shades to create movement.
• Use value contrasts to show texture and as an effective means of directing viewer attention in a composition.
• Use a pair of high-intensity complementary colors, placed side by side to vibrate and draw attention to the element.
• Not all color schemes, based on complementary colors are loud and demanding -- if the hues are of low-intensity the contrast is not too harsh. Intensity can only be altered by mixing a color with its complement, which has the effect of visually neutralizing the color. Changing the values of the hues, adding black or white, will soften the effect.
• If you select a color from a color swatch book and ask 1,000 printers to reproduce that color, you'll get 1,000 different colors.
• The color of the paper affects the color of the ink.

I hope these are useful in your adventures with color!

This will wrap up my basics of design section and I will jump into some more marketing topics after our Professional Development Conference which will be held in Tulsa next week! Keep an eye out for some blogging from the conference as I may sneak away and post some of what is going on from the conference!


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Basics of Design - Typography

Wikipedia defines Typography as the art and techniques of type design, modifying type glyphs, and arranging type. Type glyphs (characters) are created and modified using a variety of illustration techniques. The arrangement of type is the selection of typefaces, point size, line length, leading (line spacing) and letter spacing.

Typography may seem like the boring stuff but it can make all the difference in your piece being appealing and read or being passed over for something else. Here are some general tips to think about when dealing with the Typography.

You can speed up reading by using an optimum column width of 39 to 52 characters. This will allow the reader's eyes to rest when they need to and move on to the next line allowing them to feel comfortable as well as speed up their reading. Do not use smaller than a 9 point type for your body copy and do not go larger than 14 points. Smaller than this will be hard to read and larger will make the larger amount of text uncomfortable to read. When using more than one type face, make sure they are very different (e.g., Kuenstler (fancy script) and Helvetica (sans-serif).). Avoid using more than two different type families in one project. Safely use one typeface with two different styles (e.g., use a light or regular weight with a bold or extra bold weighted font). Try to skip a weight (e.g., light and bold vs. light and medium). When you can't skip a weight increase the size of the heavier font. You should never use all caps for body copy and never use all caps with highly decorative typefaces.

Hyphenation, Orphans, and Widows
Here are some tips to use when the copy just does not seem to want to play fairly. You should avoid hyphenating more than two consecutive lines, and don't leave orphans! (a word or short line at the top of a column or page). Avoid widows! (a single word on a line by itself at the end of a paragraph with no one to love) and never hyphenate a widow.

Justification is always a popular topic...right? Well don't use a short line width with justified text. Use justified text to be more formal (the left and right margins are parallel) and it is also good for flyers to give your text a nice shape. This is a visual appeal thing so if you do not like how the justified text looks then go with traditional left justified if it works best with your design. Be careful when using justified text. Ensure the column width, the size of the type, and the number of characters per line don't leave big gaps between words or push the words together making the line hard to read. Left justified ragged right is more personal (left margin aligns and the right margin ends at different places depending on the characters/words in the line).
Adjust centered and right-aligned type, use soft returns (keeps lines within the same paragraph) to force line breaks when necessary to make the line lengths noticeably different. Take care when shaping the text around a graphic. With text wrap, justified text gives a better over-all look, but be careful of big gaps between words. Text wrap requires extra work to make it look good including editing the copy.

Proofing is one of the most important parts of any design because you need to make sure the content is accurate...both for content and for grammar. Always have someone who did not write the copy, edit the copy and always proof your copy for misspelled words. Remember sometimes spellchecker is wrong! Maybe you used the wrong version of a word such as there instead of their. Always have another person proof for typos and inconsistencies in style. It's very easy to overlook your own mistakes - just like in life. Don't forget that one misspelled word can undermine the credibility of the entire piece.

Text on Background
Be careful when reversing type, white or light color, out of a background. Ensure that the type is big and bold enough, minimum point size should be 14 points and the type style should be bold. Avoid delicate serif fonts. Avoid ornate patterns. Avoid four-color photographs if the material is going to be printed. Make sure you have enough visual separation between the type and the background. When reversing copy the minimum gray value should be 40%.

Use color and type carefully. Contrast, separation, and vibration are all important issues that effect readability. When using colors on top of other colors you need to make sure that the colors are complimentary and do not fight one another. Avoid using colors on a red background as you may get a sense of vibration around the text making it difficult to read. Basically follow the rule of having people proof it and take their critique and make the necessary changes.

Next up will be tips on using Color!


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Basics of Design - Layout

Well I am back with some basics of layout to help you design better promotional materials. I am not going to waste any time today so let's jump in!

Using Borders
Borders can be a great addition to a design and you should use them to frame and draw attention to a specific piece of information. You can allow the edges of text columns and artwork to create and illusion of borders as well. This is a softer, less direct way of achieving the same effect.

Directional Flow
This is probably the most important thing to think about when designing a piece. You need to create a directional flow for the eye as a way of guiding the viewer through the piece. This can be created by the way text moves through the piece and the way images are placed. Use the conventional "Z" pattern of reading (western cultures) for the strategic placement of important information. Start in the upper left corner, work across to the right and then back to the left again, going top to bottom. This is the way our eyes are trained to read so don't fight it, use it! Also remember not to place pictures with people looking off the edge of a page. Make sure their eyes and body are facing the direction of most of the piece. We will naturally follow the eyes of the subject and if they are looking off the edge then readers will not pay attention to you text.

Draw the reader's attention to important elements by contrasting size (scale), color, and page position. Make sure the elements have a function that supports the content. Use large, bold display type and/or graphics for the creation of focus. Use elements with visual weight, intensity, or color for focus. Do not get carried away here. It is good to use these elements in moderation. Create a piece with one or two focal points or you risk the piece being too busy and the reader will not know which element demands more focus.

We all love fun and crazy fonts but they may not be the best way to get your message across. Rules of thumb for using fonts: 1) DO NOT USE MORE THAN 2 FONTS! It is tempting to use a new font for each headline but this will make your piece look scattered and will not tie it together. When I say don't use more than two fonts this does not mean that you can't mix styles of these fonts such as bold and italics. It is also a good rule to not use multiple fonts in the same family such as using two serif fonts together. They will not compliment one another. You can however mix families such as using a serif and a san serif font together or using a serif and a script together.
2) THE OBJECT IS FOR PEOPLE TO READ IT! While some fonts look cool and are very pretty they may not be able to be read from a distance. Be sure to use fonts that are easy to read and are pleasing to the eye.
3) FONT SIZE DOES MATTER! You do need to have a larger font size for the headlines and you even need a larger size for subheadlines but do not get carried away with the number of font sizes used. As a rule you do not want your body copy to be smaller than 10 points and I would recommend on flyers you not go smaller than 12. From there it really depends on the font you select but I would make subheadings from 18-24 and headlines 36-48 again depending on the font you select.

Some tips to remember...Don't let bad design hurt great content. Don't be afraid of keeping it simple. Designs do not have to be complex and over powering to reach people, often it is the simple and clean design that stands out more. Be prepared to make revisions. Most designs are not perfect after the first try so be prepared to scale it down or up depending on the feedback you get. Get feedback! We all know what we are trying to accomplish when designing something but that doesn't necessarily translate to other readers so show people and take their critique, it will help in the long run. Be consistent. Use consistent colors and fonts to pull the piece together. Only include layout elements and copy that support the message.
Remember, the design is intended to help clarify and support the content. Use graphic devices such as white space, rules, images, and layout to help the reader understand the content. White space is a good thing. Do not think that you have to fill every inch of the page to get your message across. You can use white space as a means of directing the eye as well as a way to highlight information by leaving white space around the element.

Follow these general rules and you will improve your designs and also the impact they have on their readers!
Next I will share some basics of typography with you.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Basics of Design - Audience

I am going to make a series of posts dedicated to the design of promotional materials...I will start with the Audience.

I know you have all probably worked on some type of flyer or newsletter design sometime in your life. Odds are if you kept it simple it turned out fine and was an alright piece, but if you tried too hard to make it look fancy it may have not turned out as well as you thought it would. I am going to outline some design basics which when combined with the moniker "Less is More" you will be able to create some nice promotional designs that can be used for anything.

You must know your audience...I know this sounds simple but if you don't know what your audience wants and how they best receive a message then you can not effectively reach them. Since you know your audience so well you need to make your design suited to their tastes and needs. Remember you are not designing for you, rather you are designing for your audience. There are some standard rules to follow based on your audience such as the font size. The font size should be larger for older audiences to make it easy for them to see. This can also decrease the amount of space you have for text so use your space wisely and edit your text to make it the most efficient. It is also advisable to avoid light or bright colors and look at high contrast designs to make the information jump off the page. For all audiences you want to avoid complicated backgrounds and make sure there is a clear distinction between the foreground and background. Most people want visual breaks when they read something so make sure that you use columns to give a visual break and avoid long line of text going completely across the page.

Learn as much about your audience as you can so you can effectively target them with your designs and your programs!

I will post next time on some basic rules of layout!



Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Happy New Year!

I know it is a bit overdue but I am taking this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year on behalf of myself and NALS.

Be sure to start 2008 by doing a few things to help kick start a year of marketing success. First read the short blurb prepared by Ione Mixon in today's E-News. It is a great message that we sometimes forget about, Talking! We all love to do it and by talking positively about NALS and your states and chapters you can build a positive image among your colleagues that may or may not be members. By presenting your states and chapters as a fun place to visit and belong as well as being a resource for education and networking you can spread the word about them and build membership by others wanting to be a part of your organization.

This is a form of public relations and is at times the strongest. It means a lot more when people hear things for those they know or work with and if you show them where the fun is and where the knowledge is then they are more likely to check it out further.

So make a resolution to TALK MORE! (About NALS that is!)