Online Video: The Next Frontier of Legal Marketing
by Mark Beese
Some legal marketers are leading the way, effectively using video to position their firms as thought leaders in niche practices. I recently was a panelist for a webinar focused on using video in the legal marketing mix, along with marketing innovators Adam Stock and Adam Severson.
If you’re considering adding video as part of your online content for your firm, here are a few considerations and tips from the webinar on how to get started.
Why Use Video?
Web pages featuring video are 40 to 50 times more likely to end up on the first page of Google search results, according to Stock, who is chief marketing officer of Allen Matkins.
"Google loves video," he said. "It is great for SEO [Search Engine Optimization]."
He added that Allen Matkins’ website saw 30 percent more traffic after the firm started to use video on its home page, and the site now features more than 150 videos.
"Video gives you the ability to deliver emotion like no other media. It’s the best way to capture an attorney’s personality," Stock said. "Clients hire lawyers, not firms. Video gives clients a chance to get to know our lawyers."
He added that his firm’s approach to video started by experimenting with videos that address the types of communications attorneys would normally do with clients. With that format, they can compare the performance of videos to written or online communications. (The strategy the firm used and the results are summarized in a video at youtu.be/uuULohfvauY.)
Adam Severson, chief marketing officer of Baker Donelson, saw more than a 500 percent increase in Web traffic once his firm started to promote its Entrepreneur Minute (bakerdonelson.com/emerging-companies) videos. Baker Donelson sends a weekly email to a growing list to promote its emerging companies industry group, featuring a one- to three-minute video on topics of interest to entrepreneurs. The practice group’s page quickly became the most visited practice group page on the website, and the weekly email and video tip have attracted the attention of traditional media and been reposted on industry blogs.
Well-produced video on law firm websites can build credibility for attorneys and the firm. Video is also very mobile-device friendly—something that’s worth considering given that as much as 30 percent of law firm Web traffic originates from a smartphone or tablet.
When to Use Video?
Video can be used in a variety of ways, including:
• Microsites promoting a particular industry or practice group. Videos become mini-news stories to illustrate an aspect of the law or how a court ruling could affect clients.
• Event invitations or announcements. Brief videos can be used to create excitement around a conference, seminar, or merger announcement.
• Community involvement. Video is a powerful way to communicate stories, including how an attorney’s involvement in a charity makes a difference in people’s lives.
• Highlighting and recognizing clients of the firm (with their written permission, of course).
• Introducing a new service, product, or solution to a complex problem.
• Email newsletters and blogs.
• Internal communications about a new initiative, service, or practice group.
How Do I Start Using Video?
The panelists agreed on some basic start-up concepts:
• Start with something newsworthy. For example: a topic you might include in a client newsletter. Avoid boring "about the firm" or "attorney bio" videos. Snooze.
• Consider hiring a professional videographer and editor to start out. Aim for broadcast-level production levels. After you get the hang of it, consider buying a quality HD camera, editing software, and training someone in your firm to edit and produce videos.
• Creating your own video on a shoestring budget also is possible. There are several cost-effective video production software packages for both PC and Mac. I often shoot video on my iPhone and edit with Apple’s iMovie, which is easy to learn and produces good results.
• Animations, professional titling, and graphics make a video more like what people are accustomed to seeing on television, and therefore appear more professional.
• Be aware of small things that can be a distraction, such as background noise and bad lighting.
• Keep the video to no more than three to five minutes long.
• Host your video on YouTube rather than on your website and simply embed the link on your website or blog page. No need to know anything about website coding—YouTube provides the embed code for you.
• Promote your video content through social media and distribution channels such as jdsupra.com and conveycontent.com.D
Mark Beese is President of Leadership for Lawyers, LLC, a consultancy dedicated to helping lawyers become better business developers and leaders. He also teaches Marketing and Business Development at the University of Denver Sturm School of Law. Beese is a fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and the former CMO of Holland & Hart. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and leadershipforlawyers.com. A version of this article first appeared on attorneyatwork.com.