By Peter Boyd, a Florida attorney who founded PaperStreet. He has helped over 1,500 law firms with their websites, content and marketing.
You probably already know that search engines will consistently rank your website higher in searches when you include fresh, high-quality content. You may also have realized that video content reaches people in different ways and adds benefits that cannot be achieved with printed text or even photos.
But what should you include in that video content? Do you have to spend a fortune hiring a film crew and production company? Here are some tips to help you create video content that can serve your needs without breaking the bank.
Conversational videos are often the most effective.
Lawyers are trained professionals who understand the importance of a professional, polished presentation in court and when meeting potential clients. For that reason, many attorneys are surprised to learn the most effective law firm videos are often informal conversational presentations. You can simply present yourself or another attorney at the firm speaking into the camera just as if you were talking to a potential client.
This is not to say that you should film yourself in a tank top at the gym, but you don’t need to come across as if you’re arguing before the Supreme Court or selling life insurance to the perfect family in an idyllic dream world. It is okay if the video looks like you recorded it on your phone because you want to come across as genuine and not a slick persona created for TV.
Recycle content into a different format.
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to develop video content is to start with content already on your website in the form of blogs and practice area pages. However, you don’t want to simply read what’s written out—this will usually come across as unnatural and is not likely to hold the attention of viewers. Instead, take the opportunity to explain complex concepts in simple terms.
For example, personal injury lawyers might explain how the comparative negligence rule works. Divorce lawyers could discuss the challenges involved in divorcing someone with a narcissistic personality. Estate planning attorneys might discuss the Medicaid spend-down requirements or how a revocable trust helps avoid probate.
When recycling content, try reading through a blog or information on a web page silently and then explaining the concepts aloud as if you were explaining them to a group of your friends. Use natural, informal language. You may have to stop yourself a few times if you notice legal jargon creeping into your explanation. While you can write out what you plan to say, it is best to avoid reading it. Condense your content into a few notes to serve as a reminder, and just start talking. Your video can be pretty short—many firms find a good length to be between 30 seconds and two minutes.
Another way to take advantage of the benefits of video is to use the medium to tell a story about yourself. Explain why you practice your particular area of law or discuss some misconceptions you used to have.
Storytelling is a highly effective sales technique. It draws viewers in and forges a connection. If you are passionate about your clients’ needs, this type of video is a great way to convey your zeal.
Another excellent source of video content comes from your clients themselves. Answer some of the questions you get most often. Talk to members of your staff to find out what clients commonly ask about because your staff may be answering many inquiries before you even talk to clients or potential clients.
You can also include questions you think your clients should be asking but aren’t. Framing your content in the form of a question automatically creates a certain aura of mystery. People may be tempted to click on the video even if they think they know the answer just to find out if they’re right.
You don’t need a film crew.
Not very long ago, recording decent video content required a crew with proper lighting and sound equipment and some professional post-production work. Now you can record acceptable videos on a smartphone or laptop. Will they look like professional commercials? No. But they can look as good as much of the content on YouTube and they can come across as genuine and authentic.
You are not trying to amaze people with stunning visuals. You are trying to give potential clients a feel for your firm and the ways you can help them. A simple “office-made” video can do that quite effectively.
Get help with DIY videos.
Just because you create your own content and record your own videos doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own. You might find it helpful to have someone clean up the sound or add a visual crawler including your name and website, for example. Depending on your comfort level, you might also find it helpful to get feedback on your delivery, setting or even appearance. This feedback can come from professionals—or just an associate at the firm or a friend from home.
Regardless of the type of video you select for your firm, always make sure that it provides helpful and meaningful information to your viewers. You never know what may spark a viewer’s interest to go ahead and take the next steps necessary to get the help they need!