Pushing a Law Firm Forward With Podcasts

An ongoing challenge of running a business is bringing in new customers. That’s true for everything from local restaurants and mom-&-pop grocery stores to giant corporations like McDonald’s and Microsoft. It’s no different for law firms. How does a law firm bring in new clients?

Sure, there are your typical answers – doing excellent work for your existing clients, client referrals, networking events, seminars, marketing, promotions, etc. But where do you go and what do you do when you’ve exhausted all those options?

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Enter the podcast.

Podcasts are a unique way to market the firm to potential clients. Since podcast listeners already have an interest in the topic, the firm is practically guaranteed an engaged audience. Listeners have actively searched for podcasts about the topic and chosen one they are interested in. There is no onus on the firm to generate an interest in the topic. This immediately allows the firm to dive directly into the specific content that will be discussed in the podcast. With an already engaged audience, the firm can focus on developing credibility on a topic.

Here at Hodgson Russ LLP, for example, we launched our podcast “State Tax Talks with Joe Tantillo.” The podcast brings thoughtful discussions on contemporary issues in state & local tax (SALT) law to tax fans everywhere. The members of our SALT practice are nationally recognized. Singing their praises is all well and good; we can tell people all day about our SALT experts. With a podcast, our firm can prove that statement by giving potential clients access to our “gurus” and “titans.”

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The podcast gives our attorneys the opportunity to highlight their authenticity by describing their work in their own words – more importantly, in their own voice. As many attorneys know, it can be difficult to summarize the scope of their work in a biography on their firm’s website. There is often so much more attorneys have done throughout their careers that can’t fit in a short description on a website. Even if that information were to make it to the online bio, there’s a good chance potential clients may not even read it.

In addition, despite what the common belief about attorneys may be, many have captivating personalities. Yes, you read that correctly. Tax lawyers are interesting (and even funny) – especially if they are talking about topics that interest them.

Bringing in new clients is all about building relationships with them. How do you build a relationship in a progressively remote-contact market? How do you make taxes interesting and accessible to people who are not tax attorneys? Through your credibility and personality! An attorney having a conversation about his work is monumentally different than listing off accomplishments on a bio or resume. In a conversation – or podcast, in this case – attorneys have the chance to give the backstory to their numerous successes in law.

It’s one thing to tell potential clients, “Hodgson Russ SALT attorneys have had a direct hand in shaping the tax laws in New York State.” It’s a different ball game when those attorneys are able to prove it by sharing the processes they went through to obtain the end result.

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As attorneys know, they often need to think outside the box in order to obtain successful outcomes for clients. Allowing potential clients into their process of doing that can help build credibility. For example, one of the Hodgson Russ SALT attorneys once introduced into evidence a bunch of un-ripened bananas in a tax administrative law judge hearing. The bananas were not ripe and had not been subjected to a banana ripening room. The Department of Taxation tried claiming a grocery store needed to pay sales tax on the “banana room,” because it was not directly involved in the production of bananas. Lawyers were able to demonstrate that a banana room is, indeed, a very important part of production as the room is used to turn un-ripened bananas into ripened ones. Therefore, attorneys argued, the room should not be subject to sales tax. That’s a prime example of a situation where the steps and process leading up to an attorney’s victory are most accurately conveyed in a conversation – not in a bio. Not to mention, it’s an excellent opportunity for the attorney to let his personality shine and build a rapport with potential clients.

But how do you guarantee the credibility and personality of your attorneys will shine through on a podcast? Simple—you need an excellent moderator! A great host is integral to the podcasting process, spearheading the creation of each episode. The host is responsible for creating a plan for the podcast, generating talking points, selecting the guests, and seamlessly leading the flow of conversation to create a great listening experience for the audience.

For us, SALT Attorney Joe Tantillo carefully constructs every episode to bring out the best from each featured guest and highlight issues of significance that are interesting and relevant to our listeners.

Once your firm’s podcast is up and running, you have a brand new tool in your chest to be able to promote your firm. Suddenly, the people who were specifically interested in taxes and sought out the “State Tax Talks with Joe Tantillo” podcast are now able to share it with their friends and colleagues. Those new listeners will undoubtedly feel a connection with your attorneys and will be inspired to share the podcast with their own connections, and so on and so forth. Suddenly, your firm has reached an untapped gold mine of potential new clients at a relatively low overhead cost. As most business owners (and law firms) know, there really is no promotion quite like good, old-fashioned word of mouth.

Hodgson Russ LLP has already launched two podcasts, with plans for more. If, by chance, you find yourself intrigued by “State Tax Talks with Joe Tantillo,” or our story about banana rooms, you can download the Hodgson Russ podcast free on any of your favorite listening platforms.

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