By Jon Quick
There is something out there that reaches more than 1 billion unique viewers a week and it’s virtually free for you to use. It’s called YouTube.
Maybe that’s one reason why more law firms are spending more of their marketing dollars on web-based online videos instead of traditional television advertising. Done right, this strategy can actually save you a ton of money and be more effective as you can really target your customers wherever they are.
By 2017, video will account for 69 percent of all consumer internet traffic, according to Cisco Systems, a company that makes its living measuring such things. Video-on-demand traffic alone will have almost tripled.
Many law firms are already making great use of video and many others are way behind the eight ball. Video these days is almost essential. Yet it does not have to be nearly as expensive as you might think.
You will need:
• a video or series of videos;
• a platform on which to place the videos. This can be your website, social media, embedded into electronic direct mail, YouTube or (ideally) all of the above;
• a strategy to get people to look at them.
But there is a little more to it.
Ideally, you hire a professional to plan the script and the style of presentation, storyboard the video, do the shoot, edit it and place onto your platforms. I would recommend at least an overview video for your firm that usually appears first on your home page that says who you are and what you do. Your presence and delivery gives potential clients a good feel for your personality and overall demeanor. For a professional, expect to pay anywhere between $1,500 and $10,000 or more, depending on how many videos you need, and the complexity and time needed to edit.
Don’t discount great editing. A really good pro will have the ability to use the best of the video shoot. Your videographer will often add cutaway shots and graphics to make you look even better.
There are a lot of so-called video providers out there who will claim to give you 50, 75 or 100 videos for just a few thousand dollars. Some are OK; some are pretty poor quality. It’s best to spend a bit more and do fewer videos and really look great. You can always do more videos later. Some firms even have their own video channel where people can pick and choose videos based on the topic or practice area.
Trying it yourself does work for some. You can buy or rent a good video camera. You also have to consider good lighting so you don’t look like you are in a dark alley. The audio has to be right. The editing process can be done much easier these days by using a variety of editing software out there. I know law firms that have even done a shoot using the video capability of their iPhones. The quality on the better phones these days can be pretty darned good. Consider getting an intern studying video production at a local university whose summer project could be a video series on your firm.
Before you go out and spend thousands on a good camera, lighting and audio equipment, do some comparisons. What are those costs compared to hiring a pro? The fact is most people go to the internet first these days to research information and to look for a service provider. First impressions count. That’s why a great website is absolutely essential.
Once they find your site, they’ll want to get a feel for you. If you want to appear tough and aggressive, shoot the video in that style. Likewise, if you want to convey a more personable, compassionate approach, create your videos with that same feel. Your videos should reflect the personality and feel of the firm.
Make the videos short and concise. The overview on your front page should be no more than 90 seconds. Additional videos on specific aspects of your practice should be 60 seconds or less.
When planning your videos, put yourself in the potential client’s position. They are looking for help. Give them some valuable information and provide a link for more information. Don’t try to cover all aspects of a topic.
Not comfortable on camera? Then really give the style of your presentation some thought. There are many effective ways to shoot videos to make you look natural and comfortable. One of the best approaches is sitting down and letting someone (off camera) interview you. Through the magic of editing, many final videos can be produced and you’ll be amazed at how good you look.
Here’s another important point. Just like your other web and social media content, keep the videos current. You’ll have to update them now and then. Ask attorneys who have done it right. It’s more than worth it.•
Jon Quick is the president and founder of Carmel-based QPR & Marketing. With more than 25 years’ experience in media, Quick is a former manager with CBS and Emmis Communications. He can be reached at 317-432-0309 or by email via QPRmarketing.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.