Although most law firms and even solos have well-developed web pages and frequently updated blog posts, very few take advantage of YouTube to reach prospective clients. If you decide to put yourself out there on YouTube, you want to make sure you do it right. We have all seen bad lawyer commercials on television. Because anyone can make a YouTube video with very little forethought, the prospect for bad lawyer YouTube videos is even worse. There are also some great videos out there, and some firms have even made names for themselves as thought leaders in their niche practice areas based solely on their professional and informative YouTube videos.
To start, try one or two videos and see how things go. Read comments, and gauge customer feedback. When making your first videos (and any subsequent videos), have a plan. An effective YouTube video is generally about two to five minutes long. This means having a well-thought out strategy and script. Define your target audience, and use a format that is easily for people to access (for example a description of the services you provide, interviews with lawyers at your firm, legal and administrative staff, and question and answer segments). Decide whether you want to incorporate music into the video, and if so, whether you want it to actively guide the viewers’ emotions. Make sure you address copyright issues with music and any imagery that you incorporate into your video.
Even if you are just going to do a few trial videos, hire a professional videographer and editor. Do not try to film a YouTube video with your iPhone, or you will surely lose the respect of the public. Make sure that you pay for proper lighting and sound—you will only get out of the video what you put into it. Once you put in the money for a professional quality video, distribution is free thanks to YouTube and the wider Internet. If you are just venturing out into YouTube for the first time, you may want to stick to static content that will hold its value over time, as opposed to posting about current events.
Make sure that you emphasize the personalities of lawyers and associates at your firm. Personality should be emphasized over the firm’s success, track record, or prestige. Although a list of your big wins might translate well in a blog post, or on a static webpage, the medium of video lends itself more to allowing an attorney to demonstrate their persuasive powers.
Some firms have emerged as thought leaders on the strength of their YouTube videos. If your trial videos go well, you may want to consider using YouTube to post regular communications from your firm, including educational videos and press releases about your firm’s big wins or important emerging case law in your practice area.
If you are posting videos, be aware that if they are embedded on your main page, shared on sites like Vimeo, indexed, tagged, linked, and aggregated, then you can increase your likelihood of crawling up the search engine rankings. As always, make sure that your webpage is solid and professional so that you can convert any leads that come your way from YouTube.