By Toshi Bolton Nelson
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many law firms turned to video with the goal of better marketing their legal professionals. As we continue to adapt to the “new normal,” this trend maintains its growth — and why shouldn’t it? In an ever-changing world, where technology undoubtedly continues to take hold, it is difficult not to realize the tools and benefits at our fingertips.
Video can exist in multiple ways in the legal industry, from communicating a firm's legal services, sharing knowledge of a firm’s legal professionals and delivering firm messages internally and externally. After completing projects, the videos can be emailed directly to clients or posted on a firm website, news aggregators and various social media platforms. Implementing video at a firm can be challenging, depending on its culture, location, budget and practice areas. Nonetheless, it is possible.The Approach
There is no right way to integrate video at a firm. Law firms can start small by using a cell phone, iPad or web camera. It is truly as easy as having an attorney record a video of themselves and emailing that video to an assigned person to handle distribution. If editing is needed, iMovie is a great option.
This method, of course, has become popular in the past several months. It has shown to support firm visibility and has served as a fairly simple way to communicate with clients.
Middle of the Road
As firms reopen physically and can return to some form of normal, they can expand their capabilities by creating a mini studio, using a mobile recording device, tripod, some minimal lighting and a mic. This is a reasonably affordable option that can be safely done in the current conditions, as long as social distancing and sanitization occur.
If budget allows, a firm can maximize its effort by installing an advanced studio with a dedicated room to record.
Other options include outsourcing projects by hiring a videographer or editor or using a combination of methods. For example, some vendors serve their clients by offering to perform only a portion of the process (recording or editing) while a firm handles the other.
A firm can produce video client alerts explaining complicated legal concepts. Combining this process with traditional text-based client alerts allows a message to reach the largest possible audience, one preferring video and the other preferring text.
Highlighting Practice Areas
While a video highlighting a practice group or an individual attorney can inform the public of the services a firm has to offer, it can also serve as a quality introduction. The video can provide potential clients with a personal, trust-building experience that may ultimately translate into paying clients or referrals. Because these videos will more than likely be visible on a website, web traffic may increase too.
General Firm Marketing
The most common type of video used in the legal industry provides an overview of a firm and often includes client testimonials. Videos like this can touch on a firm's dedication to diversity and inclusion, and some may assist in employee retention.
Internal Employee Training/Messaging
Internally, a firm can use video to educate employees, both existing and new, on recommendations and protocols regarding business development, marketing, human relations, information technology and billing. A firm’s managing partner or a department head can also deliver messages to the entire firm or a specific group of individuals.
The key to proposing video at a firm, or any form of technology, is all about the delivery. Below are a few recommendations to consider:
- Come prepared with information about video products ranging in price and, if possible, provide examples of law firms that utilize video externally and internally.
- Show that video can complement marketing efforts already in place, i.e., client alerts and social media postings.
- Explain that video provides clients and prospective clients a more personable experience.
- If possible, get willing and interested attorneys involved in the proposal process.
The Bottom Line
There is no one-size-fits-all for video at a law firm. While it is a trial and error process, there is no denying that video provides new possibilities to assist in a firm's marketing, business development and function.
As the media/communications coordinator at McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC, Toshi Bolton Nelson works to expand the profile of the firm and its professionals through traditional and nontraditional methods. This includes coordinating the publication of articles, promoting speaking engagements and accolades, overseeing the firm's social media presence, serving as a media and social media coach, and filming and editing firm marketing/training videos.