Linda Sedloff Orton President, Intelligent Video Solutions Rye, New York How to Create the Most Powerful Marketing Tool for Your Law Firm A Brief Overview about Video Video educates, entertains and engages people better than most marketing tools because of the way our brains function. Our brains respond so well to video because of their primal wiring. Vision is the sense that allowed us to hunt for food, avoid danger and find a mate. According to Forrester Research, “a keyword-tagged video is 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of a Google search result compared to a traditional web page.” This compelling research should show professional services firms that they need to consider video as a major part of their marketing initiatives. Video is omnipresent in our world today. A developmental, molecular biologist Dr. John Medina, details in his latest book, Brain Rules, why the brain responds so passionately to video. Dr. Medina explains that evolution has compelled our brains to use vision primarily to flee from danger, seek a mate, or to search for our next meal and that “vision trumps all other senses”, which explains why YouTube has amassed the popularity it has. Law firms have started to use video in the last few years for recruitment, marketing, training or communications. Muzeview, a competitive research firm focused on the professional services industry, compiles an ongoing report to help us stay ahead of who is producing video in the space. Creating a Law Firm Video Creating web-video is similar to the creative process for any legal marketing or recruiting project. To create an effective marketing video the following steps need to be followed. 1) Set goals 2) Establish budget 3) Research and find vendor/consultant to create, produce and distribute the video 4) Determine internal group to participate and ideally have one person designated as a liaison between the firm and the production company 5) Complete project and communicate it internally and externally 6) Repeat after proving ROI If the video requires a call to action, then it must have an action that can be analyzed. For example, include a unique URL, email or phone number that can be tracked. Many lawyers think that they understand video creation and editing enough to dictate the video development process. And while they certainly may understand the goals of the project, how the obtainment of those goals is achieved is best left to the professionals. One needs to first consider if the video will present visuals through stock photos or footage and a voice-over, or will it be filmed with live people? You then need to decide on the tone - will the video be humorous or will it have a traditional story line. Will music support the video or will it be like theme music in a major motion picture that evokes emotion? These are all decisions that need to be carefully assessed before production begins. Shooting The Video Shooting a short video should not take hours. If the ultimate piece is to be two to three minutes (research shows viewers drop off substantially for business videos after 2:30 minutes), subjects should be filmed for no more than 20-30 minutes. Determine if the video is to be fully storyboarded or scripted and if words will be read off a teleprompter or cue cards. If the talent will be interviewed, will the interviewers be cut out of the final piece? And of great importance, who will write the questions? If you leave this to your producer, it helps if they have some knowledge of the law industry or whatever industry is being discussed. Ask if your producer has any knowledge of the subject being shot or if they will conduct research. An intelligent producer, who can ask pointed questions will minimize the time your professionals will need to be in front of the camera and hot lights. This will also help give partners confidence about the substance of the final piece. Ambience is also an important consideration so agree on lighting. Will the look be natural or are you seeking something dramatic? Similarly, if the “talent” in the video is not a “natural”, consider hiring a communications consultant to work with them before the shoot if your production firm does not offer this. Post-Production This is where the magic happens! Random pieces of footage are edited together with broll, music and voice-over to form a powerful communications tool. The modern day business video is part movie, part trailer, a bit white paper and a little website and it communicates key ideas quickly. Determine who will edit transcripts or audio. Will it be the client or the producer? Who will direct the visuals? Some firms have extensive photos from their worldwide offices that they want included to make the piece feel more personal. Agree on as many components of the finished piece before editing begins in order to produce a video that meets everyone’s expectations in a timely fashion. Additionally, your contract should cover the number of rounds of edits and clearly state the cost of any further editing. Many general consulting firms make more money on “scope creep,” extra costs beyond the scope of the initial project, than on the actual budgeted project. If your production firm is experienced and guides the project with solid processes, this should not be the case for your video. Marketing or Distributing Your Video Completing the video is only the first step and once it is finalized you need to ensure that your work of art will garner maximum exposure. Web videos should be coded using proper xml code so that Google picks up the video and enhances the results of the web page it sits on. Virtually any website today can handle video so do not be bullied by a host provider into upgrades that are not necessary. There are numerous back-end video hosts, like Brightcove and Fliqz, that will enable firms to use the embedded code on their sites to display video. Most production companies will offer hosting through these services at reasonable fees. The video should also be uploaded to as many of the major video portals as possible including YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion. Proper descriptions should be included in the information section. Also consider distributing the video through email, video embedded press releases and Social Media links like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. To further promote a video you can even consider building an inexpensive advertising campaign through YouTube, Google, LinkedIn or Facebook – instead of driving clicks to a website, drive them to the video. Remember to track the video’s results through analytics and watch your viewers become clients.
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