photo-1459184070881-58235578f004These days, everyone is talking about video – whether you’re livestreaming or pre-recording, it’s something the legal industry can no longer ignore. And those law firms doing it well are ahead of the curve, and getting attention! So I didn’t want to miss the LMA’s session on “Video Isn’t Just for Hollywood,” with Lane Powell’s Jennifer Castleberry, ReelLawyers’ Bill White, and Sutherland’s Stephen DiGennaro.

The session description said:

Video isn’t just for Hollywood anymore. Let’s take a look at innovative and successful ways to incorporate video into law firm websites. Serving up what your user wants — and not what you want — is critical. Our panelists will talk strategy including what has worked and what hasn’t. You will walk away wanting to incorporate video into your website or wanting to change how you’re approaching this content medium which will become main stream for law firms in the next three years.”

For this content-loving legal marketer, that description focuses on the same theme that we’re always talking about here at Zen: the audience. So whether your content is the written word or the spoken one, you’ve still got to know who your audience is, and what they want. 

The panelists had some excellent takeaways for the audience:

  • When jumping into video marketing, take a flip camera to your attorney retreat and record your attorneys – that will help you quickly figure out who’s good on camera.
  • Not all videos have to be client-facing; consider video for internal firm-wide announcements as well.
  • “Videos are the ultimate sticky content for a website.” Assuming that they’re interesting, they attract visitors and keep them. They also humanize attorneys.
  • Instead of staring at 20 hours of video footage, get a transcript, read it, and find great quotes/statements that you’d like to highlight.
  • Plan, plan, plan – research the most-watched videos on YouTube (besides cute cat videos) and see what you can learn from them.
  • Before venturing into video, make sure you have a mobile website and a robust set of analytics.
  • Have good lighting – Sutherland uses a six-point lighting system.
  • Don’t send links to your firm’s videos on your YouTube channel. Send safe links by embedding videos into their own pages on your website, where there’s no competition, no unrelated videos, etc.
  • Consider bringing attorney bio pages to life with video.

Along with these takeaways, the panelists had some best practices for us.

  • Style of Video:

The style of video can have a drastic impact on the content. Sutherland has had success creating what they call “videocasts.” These are streaming videos that are no longer than 5 minutes, on a legal hot topic. They have two style options – an interview, or a more standard option. The videocasts are accessible on a wide range of platforms (this is key), including desktops, iPads and other tablets, and smartphones.

Wonder if this worked? With video use, Sutherland’s web visitors were digesting FOUR times more content than before, and spending 3.5 times as much time on the website. It also differentiated them from other firms in clients/potential clients email inboxes.

  • Don’t be Boring: 

This, perhaps, seems like an obvious one, but it’s still happening enough that the panelists deemed it important enough to mention. America’s attention span is SO short, that you should really be keeping your videos to 60-seconds or less (True story). Why? After 10 seconds, 20% of your audience disappears. After 30 seconds 30% is gone. So brevity (and entertainment!) is key.

How to avoid being boring?

  • Clients don’t want to hear you talking about yourself. They want to hear about a problem that you’re solving (there’s that pesky “audience” thing again).
  • Equally bad is talking about how much you love your clients – and I quote “There’s nothing more boring than a lawyer droning on about how much they know and how much they love their clients.”
  • Ask and answer the right questions.
  • Don’t be afraid to be entertaining.

Not sure the law can be fun? The panelists showed us this video from patent lawyers Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner that proved it’s possible. (See, even patent law is funny!)

Great lessons from this panel on what we can be doing to get started (or improve) with video. What tips would you add to this list?