Video has become the driving force of the Internet. While the actual numbers may vary from source to source, most estimate that 80% to 82% of Internet traffic in 2020 consisted of video, and that one third of online activity consisted of watching videos. In the US, e.g., 85% of people with Internet access watch videos online on a daily basis. In Saudi Arabia, that number is 98%. Most of the videos we watch are entertainment, which is not really a surprise. People love watching videos, and marketers have noticed. In 2018 already, 87% of online marketers used video content. What is important, is that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text. The articles listed in the sources below provide plenty more interesting statistics.
The American Bar Association’s annual Legal Technology Survey Report for 2020 noticed that law firms are hardly using video for anything else than videoconferencing. Only 3% of respondents create videos that provide content, compared to 85% of businesses in general. The report rightfully points out that law firms are missing out on important opportunities by not producing video content.
Because of the pandemic, by now most law firms in the US routinely use videoconferencing. 88% of lawyers have worked remotely in 2020, and for 48% of lawyers working remotely has become their default mode of operation. Rather than have face to face meetings, they will use videoconferencing as long as a physical presence is not required. This sharp increase in videoconferencing also means the most law firms have the necessary setup to start producing videos.
So, what can law firms use video for, other than videoconferencing? Video is commonly used for testimonials, informational videos, explainer videos, storytelling, webinars, and podcast videos. Let us have a closer look those.
Testimonials: legal consumers are online consumers and will check out the law firms online that they consider hiring. Online social proof plays an important part in that. It is the second most important way for legal consumers to decide which law firm they will hire, after direct personal referrals. Potential clients relate to other people sharing their stories and experiences. The Social Media Examiner website suggests the following steps. Start by creating a testimonial questionnaire, with the questions you believe your potential clients would like to see answered. Scout for an appropriate filming location. Set up your shoot and record the Interview. If necessary, edit the video. Put it on your website in a section dedicated to testimonials. Use social media to frequently post links to your testimonial videos.
Informational videos and explainer videos: many law firms already offer a blog or articles on their website that provide potential clients with some free advice on specific topics. This could also be done using video instead of written articles. You can ask local residents to send in some questions, and answer those in short videos, ideally of approximately 3 minutes. You can also create short videos in which you explain some concepts, or how new regulations will affect people. One advantage that these short videos have over written articles, is that they are more likely to be shared on social media. And if you already have a blog, it is a good strategy to repurpose the articles from your blog as short videos. There even are AI solutions (like lumen5.com) available to automate that process.
Storytelling: people like to be able to relate to the people they consider hiring. So, they like to know more about the individuals, and they prefer hearing stories to reading dry exposés. You can create videos about your law firm, the lawyers and staff in it, past successes, etc. Individual lawyers can talk about themselves and, e.g., explain why they chose to become lawyers, or why they decided to specialize in specific fields. The goal of these video stories is to establish a personal connection between the lawyers and their potential clients and to humanize the law firm.
Webinars and video podcasts: whereas webinars are educational workshops on specific topics, podcasts are more of an informal conversation. They typically are more in-depth and last longer than the short informational and explainer videos. It makes sense to record your webinar or podcast and then post the video either on your website or on a hosting platform. Once this is done, they can be shared on social media. You can even release sections of the video as shorter clips.
The Content Marketing Institute gives the following tips for best practices:
- Invest in the process, not just the product: the videos you post must be an integral pillar of your content marketing strategy, not a side-product. So, determine the role and goals of your video content, and plan your content strategy accordingly.
- Keep your end goal in mind – and determine how you will know when you have reached it: what do you want to achieve with your video, and what do you want your viewers to do after watching the video?
- Write a script your audience will want to follow. Use a conversational tone. Speak in short, concise sentences to emphasize key points. Avoid jargon. Do a “table read” test run where you read it out loud before recording to discover where the script may need tweaking.
- Know when to host and when to post. You can post your videos on your own website, or you can host them on available platforms. For webinars and podcasts, you can consider live streaming platforms and apps. There are dedicated services, but most social media platforms also offer the option these days. And shorter videos can also be posted directly themselves on social media.
- Set the right stage for social plays: you may have to perform several tests to determine what to post where and when. Some content will, e.g., work better on a platform like LinkedIn, while other content may work better on channels like Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok.
- Include a transcript: search engines are not good at finding content in videos, and your viewers may want to quickly reread something that was said in the video.
- Tag your work: if you want your video to be found by new viewers, add the relevant tags, titles and descriptions to your videos.
- Push your videos to influencers, subscribers, fans, and followers to expand your viewer base.
- Track attention span to identify optimization opportunities: “Engagement data and other key performance indicators can provide important insights on your audience’s preferences and behaviors, which you can use to refine and customize your video strategy. For example, if you notice that prospects are dropping off 10 seconds into your videos, your intros might need to be trimmed.”
- Monitor viewer reactions to gain additional consumer insights: on a platform like Facebook, e.g., you can not only keep track of the number of engagements, but also of the type of engagement: did they share your video? Did they “like” it, or did they respond with “love”, “sad”, or “angry”? Access to this type of metadata can help you determine whether you are getting the desired response to your video.
Keeping these best practices and tips in mind will help you optimize the success of your videos.