By Jon Quick
One of the most challenging parts of marketing is to attain “earned media” (free media attention) for clients that wish to get news coverage. A new attorney, new location or an expansion of practice areas is usually not going to be enough. Even if you have news about a major accomplishment by your firm, it’s still tough to break through to the media these days.
But there is another way to get global exposure for your messaging and thoughts. It’s called a podcast.
After decades of management and consulting for radio and television stations across the country, I note that it is now becoming quite common for podcasts to be used more and more to extend the reach of the station content. The podcast provides increased exposure for the station brand and its personalities and can be effective in driving listeners and viewers back to the station itself — if the content is compelling and worth listening to in the first place.
Current talk show hosts use the podcast as an “add-on” to their programs. In the sometimes-uncertain future of terrestrial radio, many personalities have left traditional broadcasting and have turned to the podcast exclusively as their chosen means of expression.
What does this have to do with attorneys? It means it’s time to consider getting on board the podcast wagon as an adjunct to normal marketing messaging. While many attorneys wish to be considered “expert analysts” in traditional media, the number of them who succeed in finding an outlet is relatively low.
The podcast is a way to develop a self-produced radio program that can exceed the reach of traditional broadcasting through worldwide distribution via the internet. Yet attorneys have been slow to act, in relation to other businesses.
An article in Forbes from late July states, “If you have an interest, chances are there’s already a podcast for it. As of 2018, there are some 525,000 active shows and over 18.5 million episodes available on iTunes alone. … The public is certainly embracing this method of delivering information as four in ten people are tuning into podcasts regularly.”
It is safe to say podcasts are here to stay. We asked Indianapolis-based business consultant extraordinaire CJ McClanahan and the noted Indianapolis therapist Carol “The Coach” Sheets about the value of podcasting. Sheets told us developing a podcast is great for individuals in the professional services industry for three reasons:
Most lawyers, accountants, architects, etc. are so terrified of sales that you’ll immediately stand out in a crowded marketplace.
It forces you to fine-tune your message.
It forces you to get outside your comfort zone by securing guests.
“Podcasts are the best way to educate the world and brand yourself as an expert,” Sheets said. “Build it and they will come.”
To further optimize results, Sheets said, “Create a niche, write a blog weekly, use YouTube so they can see your sincerity, and then spread the word at every event that you can.”
When doing a podcast, it’s extremely important to be sure the content has appeal to consumers. Bring them unique information that relies on your expertise to bring your subscribers useful and actionable information that people can use in their day-to-day lives. Skip the legalese and broaden your audience.
Case in point: education law attorney Catherine Michael has joined her colleague Carla Leader in co-hosting a podcast called “PG: Parental Guidance.” Michael and Leader describe it as “a podcast that informs (and entertains) parents with school-age children. Topics include bullying, discipline, special education and more.” In just a few short weeks since its debut in August, the podcast has become one of the top family-themed selections out there on iTunes and other sources.
Michael is already an in-demand guest on radio and television talk shows across the nation. This podcast will only further her success in the media.
“We wanted to do a podcast not to market ourselves, but to provide a place where parents could learn about education law,” Michael said. “Educating parents on the law allows them to make better decisions, and if they ever need a lawyer (they) will have a much greater understanding of their rights and the process.” Even though Michael said the primary reason for this podcast is not marketing, it certainly will have an indirect effect of further establishing the team as two of the top experts in their practice area.
Another veteran attorney taking advantage of podcasting is Carmel franchise law attorney Josh Brown. A pioneer in using social media and advanced technology extensively to further his mission, Brown’s “Franchise Euphoria” podcast has attracted thousands of subscribers from all over the world who are interested in establishing a business or franchise or in enriching an existing company. In each episode, Brown interviews some of the top experts in the field of business development.
So, if you’re convinced a podcast is something you might want to pursue, you wonder, “How do I create awareness of it?” Brown’s formula is to be consistent in how and when you release new episodes and then to be sure to share each episode through relevant social media channels and on your website. “Be sure that your podcast is available on all the various apps and platforms,” such as iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify, Brown said. “Additionally, on iTunes (since it is the biggest platform for podcasts), you can pick up to 3 categories that you want your podcast listed in. This is important because you can gain greater exposure if you are in the right categories. When I first launched ‘Franchise Euphoria,’ iTunes regarded my podcast as ‘New and Noteworthy’ for the categories of business, investing and marketing. Now my podcast is almost always in iTunes’ ‘What’s Hot’ category under investing.”
Brown credits his podcast, exceptional website and use of social media in becoming one of the best-known franchise law and business attorneys in the nation. He is now frequently called upon for speaking engagements and as a contributor to articles in the trades of business and franchising.
Expensive? Not at all. That’s another beauty of being able to conceptually broadcast around the world. It’s a matter of downloading recording software and getting yourself a good microphone. After recording, just upload your podcast to a site that will host it for you, similar to the way YouTube hosts videos. Then you can link it from your website, blog and social media accounts.
Done right, podcasting can also potentially save you thousands in advertising dollars every year. Give it a try. You’ll thank the world for it.∙
• Jon Quick is the president and founder of Carmel-based QPR and Marketing, specializing in marketing for law firms. He can be reached at 171.432.0309 or by email at Jon@QPRmarketing.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.