A Law Firm Marketing Blog Series: Edition #11
Welcome back to our blog series, in which we talk legal marketing with real law professionals. In this edition, we talk with attorney and video marketing expert, Gerry Oginski.
We hope hearing the thoughts and ideas shared by the people in these blog posts, will inspire you to make positive changes to your marketing strategies. We also know that marketing legal services these days is more complex and challenging now than ever before, and hope that some of our readers may identify with some of the marketing struggles presented here, and perhaps be able to offer solutions.
The biggest goal of this blog series is to get the conversation going, so let’s dive in.
Our Marketing Conversation With Gerry Oginski
Gerry Oginski has been creating marketing videos for his law office for eleven years, and this January is on track to reach the remarkable milestone of 3,000 videos. Oginski’s educational videos helped launch his firm to new exciting heights, and in 2009, he decided he would help others lawyers do the same, by launching the Lawyers Video Studio. That studio has since helped create over 4,000 videos for lawyers across the country. With all of this being true, we figured there was no better person to give our readers video marketing advice than Gerry. In our below chat, we discuss what lawyers need to know before creating original video for their firm, the biggest mistakes attorneys make with their video marketing today, and what firms need to do to make sure their videos actually get seen.
Answering Legal: What made you want to start making videos for your clients? What goals were you looking to accomplish by doing so?
Gerry: In 2004 I started learning about a concept called education-based marketing and was applying it to articles on my website. Two years later, in 2006, a funny-sounding website came online and said they were now accepting user generated content. I had no idea what that meant, but I was intrigued. That website was called YouTube.
My goal was to learn how to use education-based marketing in my articles and apply it somehow to video. If a consumer were interested in an article I wrote, then why couldn’t I also give it to them in the form of a video and allow THEM to choose how they digested my educational content.
That prompted me to explore YouTube to see if any attorneys had posted anything useful for their potential clients. In other words, what were attorneys doing to attract consumers using this new medium? The answer was ‘virtually nothing’. There were some enterprising marketing people who were posting attorney commercials on YouTube. That made no sense to me. Why would anyone in their right mind want to waste 30 seconds of their life watching an attorney commercial? There were some lawyers who posted their CLE lectures in the entirety. Talk about boring. These lectures were geared toward other lawyers and were not consumer friendly.
I thought ‘Why can’t I create an educational message on video’ that will allow a consumer searching for an attorney to get to know me and realize I have information that they need? That was my goal when trying to figure out how to create my very first video.
Answering Legal: How long did it take for your videos to start bringing real results for your firm? Was there ever a point where you considered stopping?
Gerry: The first video I created started immediately generating calls from viewers who said “Mr. Oginski, I just saw your video, can I ask you some questions?”
The problem was that I had no idea how to create video. I knew nothing about video, lighting or audio. There was nobody in the country teaching attorneys how to create video.
The very first video I did was done sitting six inches away from my desktop Mac computer using my built-in webcam. I had to ask my kids how to turn on my webcam. I put on a shirt, tie and jacket and while sitting in shorts in my home office, I placed a gray projector screen behind me so nobody would see me sitting in my home shooting this video. The video quality was awful. The glare from the computer screen was clearly evident in my eyeglasses. My video was six minutes long. I just didn’t know any better.
Within days, my phone was ringing. I couldn’t believe it. “Mr. Oginski, I just saw your video online. The same exact thing happened to me. Can I ask you some questions?” What earth-shattering topic did I talk about that prompted people who didn’t know me to pick up the phone and call me?
Something no lawyer had ever talked about online… “How to Hire a New York Medical Malpractice Attorney.”
Did I ever consider stopping? Heck no! When I started to see that this video marketing worked, I just kept adding more and more useful and helpful video content for consumers who were actively SEARCHING for an attorney online. I wanted to stand out from the crowd. I wanted a consumer to stop in their tracks and say “Hey, this guy is talking to ME! That’s exactly what happened to me! I want to call him and ask him questions.”
Answering Legal: What should lawyers know before they begin creating original videos for their firm? How much of their time and resources will be necessary to do it right?
Gerry: They should know how to turn on their phone, hit their Facebook app, click the FACEBOOK LIVE VIDEO button and start talking. That’s it. That’s how ‘easy’ it is to create video today. But with your next question you asked the right question.
“What is necessary to do it right?”
- Either learn how to create great quality video on your own
- Hire a video marketer to do it for you
Either way, you should know the basics of great video, great lighting and great audio. That means using a good quality camera. It could be your phone. It could be your dSLR camera. It could be a GoPro. You also need to illuminate you and your background. Importantly, you need great audio. If your audio stinks, nobody will watch your video.
This means that if you’re going to use your iPhone to shoot video, then buy a rig to hold your phone on a tripod. That’s problem number 1 solved. You want your video stable so you don’t induce nausea when your viewer tries to watch your video.
Second, you need to invest in some sort of lighting to illuminate you for the camera. It could be a ring light. It could be a LED light mounted on top of your camera rig. It could be professional studio lights. You need to learn about lighting to get great quality video.
When it comes to audio, there are many options. You could have a wireless microphone. You could have a wired mic. You could use a shotgun microphone. Do not rely on your built-in microphone. Ever. That means that your microphone could be one of the most expensive parts of your video set-up. In the long run, it will pay for itself.
Answering Legal: Are your videos scripted, improvised, or a little of both?
Gerry: To answer this question, I want to ask a question… When a new client walks into your office and asks you a question, do you put your hand up to stop them, excuse yourself to go to your file cabinet, pull out a scripted answer and then read the answer from a script? The answer is “Of course not.”
That’s the same exact answer I give when someone asks me whether they should script out what they’re going to say on video. You know the answers. Nobody has to give you a script to answer a question.
Answering Legal: What are some of the biggest mistakes you see other lawyers making with their video marketing?
- Hiring video guys to shoot their video, throw it up on YouTube and never take steps to publish and promote their videos. They create all this video and there are no views. They don’t even watch their own videos!
- They still shoot in front of their legal bookcase.
- Their presentations are boring and they use legal language that nobody understands.
- Their thumbnail images are boring.
- Many lawyers still talk about themselves as if anyone really cares. “I went to XYZ law school and graduated at the top of my class. I was the editor of law review and then clerked for this fancy judge. I’m pompous and arrogant and that’s why I’m better than all the rest and since I’ve been doing this for many years, that’s why you should come to me!”
Yes, lawyers still create video this way. The worst videos are ones that ask “Why did you become a lawyer?” Let me say it again. NOBODY CARES WHY YOU BECAME A LAWYER. Especially not a consumer who is looking for an attorney to solve their problem. Don’t give your viewer a reason to skip your video or leave once they start watching. These attorneys and the video guys they hire don’t realize that their consumers just don’t care why you became an attorney. Instead, they only want to know ONE thing…”How can you help solve my legal problem?”
Answering Legal: What do lawyers need to do to make sure their videos are actually seen in today’s crowded online space?
Gerry: You need to publish and promote your videos. Constantly. That means using different social media platforms to promote your videos. By the way, never ever say “Check out my new video about X, Y, Z.” Why not? Because you haven’t given your viewer or reader a REASON to check out your great video. Instead, explain to them the BENEFITS THEY’LL GET by watching your informative video. “Learn the 3 things you need to know if a doctor caused you harm in a hospital in New York.”
Promote your video on your own website. Send out a link in your law firm newsletter. Send an email off to your local TV producer with a reason WHY this video would be helpful to their viewers to understand X, Y and Z. Send a letter to your community organization along with the link offering to speak to their members about this particular problem.
There are so many ways to promote and publicize your videos. One way I NEVER recommend publicizing your videos is with press releases. Nobody cares. Instead, focus on using your videos to help people understand how these cases work. Then look to see who could benefit from your video. Then reach out to those organizations and influencers (online and offline) who would eagerly promote your educational content to their viewers/ listeners/ members.