Our podcast, hosted by Answering Legal’s Nick Werker, covers all the topics of running a law firm that attorneys weren’t exactly schooled on. In the month of July, we got the chance to speak with legal PR expert Michelle Calcote King and legal video marketing coach Robert Gruler. Here are some of the standout tips from their appearances.
Lawyers Need To Stay Highly Visible During Times Of Crisis
There’s been plenty of discussion over how law firms should be communicating with clients and prospects during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one thing that is clear is that attorneys can’t afford to sit back and say nothing. In the first episode of “Everything Except The Law”, we spoke with Reputation Ink’s Michelle Calcote King about why law firms need to be a leading voice in their communities during challenging periods. “If you sort of disappear when your own clients are going through turmoil and have a lot of questions, that’s going to impact your reputation and the way they think of you,” King said.
During times of crisis like the coronavirus outbreak, it is important for your firm to stay active with your emailing, blogging, vlogging, and social media posting. This is a great time to be sharing educational content, and publicly answer any FAQs your client base might have. You’ll also want to check in with existing and former clients via phone call or email to let them know you’re always available to talk if they have any questions. Even if a consumer isn’t looking to hire an attorney right now, staying top of mind can result in them hiring you in the future or recommending your firm to a friend.
Thought Leadership Only Works If It’s Consistent
There has perhaps never been a better time for lawyers to be creating new thought leadership content. As King noted in her “Everything Except The Law” appearance, clients are facing a lot of challenges they’ve never faced before that lawyers can help with. However, in order to actually see real results from your thought leadership marketing efforts, you’ll need to stick with it for more than just a few weeks. “The key is to make sure it’s going to continue, even when things get busy,” King said. “(With) one-off thought leadership pieces, you might have a result from one, but that’s usually not the case. It is a consistent effort over the long-term that (lawyers) need to be thinking about.”
The good news for attorneys is that there’s no shortage of things for them to talk about these days. If you turn on the news or scroll through your Twitter feed, you’ll usually find at least a couple of stories that relate to the work you do or involve topics that your target client cares about. Addressing things that are happening in the real world can make your marketing content feel more relevant, and allow you to share important messages with prospective clients with the support of real life examples. If you do this consistently enough, you’ll quickly become a go-to source of legal knowledge for many in your community.
YouTube Has The Power To Transform Your Firm
In episode two of “Everything Except The Law”, attorney Robert Gruler offered quite the surprising revelation, when he told us that 60 to 70 percent of his firm’s new business was coming from his video marketing efforts. “It is literally fueling the 22 employees that we have here,” Gruler said. “This is a big deal, and I would credit YouTube for a huge portion of our firm’s success.” Since Google owns YouTube, YouTube videos often end up appearing quite high in Google search results. If you can create quality videos surrounding the exact keywords your clients are searching for, your firm is bound to see substantial results.
According to Gruler, law firms shouldn’t be overly focused on subscribes, likes and shares. Instead, they should be putting their effort into creating content specifically for their target client and making it easy for them to find via search. If a consumer watches your video, and finds your advice to be helpful, they’ll likely go through more of your YouTube content and eventually reach out to your firm for further guidance on the issues they are experiencing. Create enough videos over a time, and you may eventually see YouTube become a prime source of new clients for your practice.
Making Mistakes On Camera Isn’t The End Of The World
Getting in front of a camera can be really daunting. Sending out videos for the entire world to see is even more frightening. But, if you want to reap the incredible rewards video marketing has to offer, you’ll need to push yourself to do it. The good news is that the majority of legal consumers out there aren’t expecting perfection. “People want authenticity,” Gruler said. “They want to see you as a person. They don’t want to see that lawyer in a suit and tie in front of a million books, scolding people to do this and do that. That’s not effective. They want to build a relationship, and that’s why video marketing is so powerful.”
While lawyers may need to develop thicker skin to survive the occasionally rude remark in their video’s comments section, it’s important to remember that making small mistakes on camera will ultimately have no impact on your career. Not to mention, unless you’re doing a live video, you’ll have the ability to edit around some of your less impressive moments and do lots of takes. The bottom line here is don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Creating imperfect videos is much better than creating no videos at all.
Don’t Hold Back On Sharing Valuable Advice
A lot of lawyers out there are hesitant to give out free legal advice in their content, and will want to wait until a client actually hires them to start sharing expertise. Gruler is not one of those attorneys. In fact, he’s created 30-minute videos in which he explains how to go about solving some of his clients base’s most frequent legal issues. “People will watch the full 30 minutes, and they’ll still pick up the phone and say ‘I want to hire you’,” Gruler said. “We were giving them the information. We weren’t hiding the ball, we were being very transparent about it, and people value that.”
Lawyers shouldn’t be afraid to share inside knowledge, because at the end of the day consumers will still need to hire an attorney in order to act on the advice you give out. If anything, simplifying the process of solving a legal issue will only push a consumer further towards hiring your firm. You’ll likely be addressing some of the biggest concerns a prospect has about handling their legal issue, and making them feel more confident about moving forward and solving it. Remember that hiring a lawyer is a pretty stressful process for most people, so the more comfortable you can make them feel with your marketing, the more successful your practice will be at capturing new business.