One of the biggest barriers to creating quality law marketing videos, the expense of filming them, has largely been ameliorated with the advent of high-quality video technology. IPhone cameras and webcams have reached a stage that enables surprisingly good quality videos. Despite the reasonable costs, many lawyers still have misgivings about the best way to market their practice using video, including how to create content that clients and potential clients want to view and how to find the right audience for the videos. However, there are solutions to the concerns.
Before lawyers begin, they should test their filming abilities and view the quality of their product. Both lighting and audio can be improved through low-cost photography floodlights and a good microphone. Lawyers should also critically review the practice videos with an eye toward removing distracting speech patterns (such as “you know” or “um” between thoughts) or annoying mannerisms (such as eye blinking, head nodding or excessive gesturing), which may distract the viewer away from the content. Lawyers should also ensure that backgrounds are not too busy or likely to create distractions. Once a lawyer has dealt with the preliminaries, the next step is to determine appropriate content.
When it comes to legal video content, the good news is that the market is not saturated with great legal instructional videos. In fact, many legal marketing experts will tell you that most law firms are doing it wrong. The bulk of legal video is more about what the law firm wants potential clients to know about them – firm size, firm prowess, big wins, big awards – rather than what most clients want to know – information that will help them successfully complete an uncomplicated legal task without having to hire a lawyer or run up an already bloated legal bill. Further, legal consumers want the knowledge to understand what type of lawyer they will require and who might be the best lawyer to get them the hoped-for result.
Lawyers should only discuss what they know best on video. Lawyers should also understand the concerns of their client base. Below are a few examples of relevant, useful content. Once comfortable with the concept, inventive lawyers will determine what works best for their practices. And video editing allows for insertion of illustrations, charts, graphs and photos to help keep interest.
While every case or transaction is unique, potential clients tend to ask similar questions during the initial consultation. The first 30 minutes of a lawyer’s interaction with a client can be the most important because they determine whether the client is comfortable enough to retain the lawyer. Well done informational videos revolutionize an initial consultation if they answer a typical client’s most frequently asked questions. These videos explain the law and procedures a client will face, but they also give a potential client an idea of what the lawyer will be like to work with and how easily the lawyer will communicate legal concepts. Videos will give a lawyer a step up on his or her competitors. One of the best parts about creating an instructional or foundation of information video is that the first personal interaction will be with a client not only predisposed to retain the lawyer but also with enough new knowledge to ask pertinent questions about his or her case. As an added bonus, the lawyer has saved the time usually spent on an initial consultation.
Simplify Form Filing.
Some legal forms do not require a lawyer’s help, but many people are reluctant to tackle them, fearing just one mistake will cost them time and money. Instructional videos help these consumers of legal services understand what forms they need for their legal issues and can provide tips about how to fill them out, complete with definitions of legal terms and specific state or jurisdiction rules. Clients who use videos to complete simple transactions – such as entity formation, lease or rental agreements, or green card applications – may be inclined to hire the lawyer for more complicated legal matters. To be even more useful, lawyers can post sample documents or official forms to accompany the videos.
Educate, Don’t Sell
The most useful videos inform the audience about the lawyer’s legal knowledge. Videos should explain in everyday language the law, the reasoning behind it, and how following its procedures protects a person’s interest. Videos can detail what a litigant will likely encounter at trial, mediation or an administrative proceeding. One important function of a video is to explain when a potential client should abandon a do-it-yourself approach and retain a lawyer in order to preserve rights or avoid unnecessary consequences. By telling stories and providing fictionalized examples of clients or real cases utilizing correct and incorrect procedures and processes, lawyers will entertain the viewer.
After completing the videos, lawyers should do more than merely posting it on the firm website. To attract a larger audience, lawyers can create law firm YouTube and Vimeo channels to expose legal videos to increase views. Lawyers should also post the videos on legal marketing websites like LawTake and Avvo. Indeed, LawTake is the first marketplace for lawyers to create free profiles, upload useful instructional videos, charge a price for them and then make passive income off the videos that potential clients can view.
For example, LawTake currently has a three and half-minute video on Business Formation FAQs, for $5 that gained over 100 views within only a month of posting. Lawyers can also imbed videos in social media posts and in client newsletters. Researching and adding keywords and widely used search terms enhances potential clients’ ability to find and view videos. Media and legal websites often review videos to find lawyers to comment about legal issues or may even ask to use the videos as part of their reporting. Lawyer can also seek opportunities to submit videos to contests awarding recognition for top marketing videos or for innovative blogging. Suzanne Natbony