According to Cisco, by 2021, video will make up 80% of global web traffic. It just so happens that videos are one of the top three to five ways you can get links to your law firm website.
Videos humanize your firm. We have even heard website test users in our conversion optimization studies state that a law firm suddenly felt “nice” and “approachable,” as soon as they heard an attorney speaking in a video. That’s a contrast to what the test users said before watching the video; they said things like “this firm’s website seems okay but kind of dull.” Once they saw the video, however, one of the test users said the attorneys sounded approachable and they could picture working with them, and the test user’s tone of voice shifted from bored to stimulated.
Businesses (especially law firms) are slowly starting to see the many benefits of producing videos.
In this section, we look in further detail at the benefits of producing videos for your law firm, and discuss the types of videos your firm can create.
We also provide a mix of free and paid tools to help you get started, along with some basics on optimizing your YouTube videos.
Why Law firms have been slow to use videos
The more you talk to law firms, the more you realize a lot of them seem to echo the same sentiments. Sure, they’ve given video marketing a go, but few have actually seen a good return on investment for the effort they’ve put in. Does this mean you stop reading here and disregard video entirely? Absolutely not. Done in the right way, video can provide positive results for your law firm.
The issue other law firms face is they don’t know how to create an effective video. So before you grab your camera, it’s important to know how to craft a video that converts well enough to give you a positive return on investment.
Quality is important but not everything
How annoying is it when you watch a video on YouTube and the maximum resolution is so low the entire image is blurred? Although (initially) you don’t need to buy all the latest and greatest video equipment and software, you do want to make sure you follow some level of consistency when it comes to quality.
If you film indoors, make sure there is enough natural light — that way you won’t have to buy extra lights. If you want to use your mobile phone to record your videos, use something as a camera rest or tripod to ensure you don’t record shaky footage.
Don’t limit videos to sales pitches
Yes, your clients are interested in what you do. But they don’t want to spend their time watching your videos if they ultimately turn out to be poorly disguised sales pitches. What your clients (and potential clients) care about is what your firm does and how it can improve their lives.
If you’re a divorce lawyer, you don’t just provide them with a legal service, you help better your clients’ lives by helping them exit potentially toxic relationships they’re stuck in.
When you tailor your content to focus on the benefits your firm provides, rather than the sales-specific details, people are much more likely to pay attention and want to learn more.
Where to host your videos
When it comes to video hosting, you have a number of options. You might host the videos on your own website. This is a great idea if you want to keep all your content together. However, be aware that hosting many videos on your website takes up a lot of space and could slow it down as it loads. Remember, a slow website will deter users from your site. So unless you have super-fast hosting, try to limit the number of videos you have on your site.
You could use a video hosting platform like Vimeo. This platform is good because they understand the need for high-quality videos. However, keep in mind that your audience might not be on Vimeo.
Or you could use YouTube, a platform with videos about everything and anything. What’s more, YouTube videos show up in Google’s search results. So if you get your video SEO right, there’s a chance your video could rank on Google and generate thousands of views.
Finally, if you’ve ever thought about streaming, you could present your videos live. This way there’s no need to edit. You simply turn your camera on, talk to your audience (who are able to interact with you) and at the end, you have a working video that can be saved and watched again by other potential clients.
How to optimize YouTube videos for SEO
In July 2014, Google changed their Rich Snippets algorithm, which greatly reduced the number of video snippets that are showing in the “universal search results.” Videos are now much more likely to come up in search if they are YouTube videos (Google owns YouTube, so this is not surprising).
If you’re trying to build thought leadership for your firm, you really need to use YouTube as part of your overall marketing and SEO. Here’s how to do that.
- Find keywords that people search for on YouTube: Use YouTube’s autocomplete feature to find top searches as you type your key phrase ideas into the YouTube search box. A YouTube keyword tool like generates tag lists, video ideas and more for free.
- Create an account: You must create a channel on YouTube before you can upload a video.
- Upload your video to YouTube.
- Use keywords in the title but don’t go overboard.
- Add relevant tags.
- Add a YouTube “SEO description”: Write a summary of what the video is. Use the full HTTP:// URL of your site so that people can click through to it if they are interested, and position it early in the description so it is visible.
- Upload a transcript of what’s being said in the video to the closed captions. Otherwise the robot-generated text version of the video is likely to be half gibberish. Go into your creator studio on your YouTube channel, click “Edit” on your video, then click “Subtitles and CC,” which stands for closed captions.
- Post the video on a practice area page or blog post for basic sharing of the content in addition to what you get from YouTube visitors directly. Do not have the video start to autoplay with the sound on.
- Add the video in a blog post and include the transcript because that will add helpful text for search engines. That’s not duplicate content, because closed captions are in a totally different format than the text on your website, and they serve a completely different purpose.
YouTube Optimization Summary
The takeaway here is that YouTube is the number two search engine in the world and potentially even more popular than Facebook! Video humanizes you in the eyes of potential clients. It’s also the first step to local and national TV stations considering you for interviews.
It’s harder than ever now, because of some changes that Google made, to get listed in Google search with third-party hosted videos, making YouTube just more important than ever.
At minimum, you should create one video a month where you address customer questions. Keep it short, one to two minutes maximum.
Repurpose your content
As with every piece of content you create, you should actively look for ways to repurpose your video content. For example, you might have content that works well as an infographic but could also work well in video format. Likewise, you might have powerful video content that could be repurposed into a blog post, infographic, or social media posts.
What results do you want?
When it comes to thinking about the results you want from your video, it’s helpful to first think about your audience. Who are you trying to target? What do you want to do with the video?
Once you know this, you’ll have a clearer idea of the sorts of topics that will drive the results you want and keep your target audience informed, engaged, and/or entertained.
Regardless of the aim of your video, you need to find ways to make it unique. Your law firm is unique and your videos should reflect that.
The goal of your videos doesn’t have to be to generate leads. You might decide to film an office tour, including the key members of the firm, to help potential clients familiarize themselves with you and your team.
You could also provide general tips for a larger audience. For example, if your firm has just handled a case involving a human resources dispute, you might make a video that explains the next steps someone should take in such a situation. Be sure a number of your videos contain this sort of timeless content that will be “evergreen” in that it has a long shelf life.
Videos are a great marketing asset, but many lawyers and law firms struggle to get them right. As a result, they end up spending more money and time to create them than it’s worth. Use the tactics listed above to ensure that your video marketing is effective.
If you’re not a fan of appearing in a video and or want an easy way to get content done quickly, try podcasting.