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NOTHING BUT THE RUTH!

YouTube Videos: A Marketing Dream for Lawyers

By Ruth Carter

I’ve been releasing weekly “question-of-the-day” videos on my YouTube channel since 2012. Currently, I have over 2,300 subscribers, and my videos range from having a handful of views to over 48,000 views. It has been one of my most consistent marketing efforts, and it’s paying off. I regularly receive emails from prospective clients that start with, “I saw your video.”

Why a Q&A Format Works for Videos

I have some theories about why the question-and-answer format works so well with videos. First, they are helpful and audience-focused. When most people go to their search engine with a legal concern, they phrase it in the form of a question. Seeing a result that closely mirrors their inquiry substantially increases the chance that they will click on the link. Second, creating the question forces you to be more precise about what you’ll be talking about. A video on a general topic allows you to meander, so you may end up providing more information in general but less information on the viewer’s specific need.

I make videos for Joe Average people who are prospective clients or people who want free legal information. My goal for most videos is for the whole video to be less than five minutes, which means answering the person’s question in three minutes or less. This format forces me to be concise.

Using a Q&A format has created a situation where my channel almost self-generates future content. I get comments on my videos almost every day. Those comments often contain follow-up questions, which I add to my running list of potential videos to make in the future.

Creating Lawyer Marketing Videos Isn’t as Hard as You Think

Many lawyers are intimidated by the prospect of creating videos, fearful that it’s difficult, complicated or requires fancy equipment. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are four tips for using videos for content marketing:

  1. Use what you have. If you have a computer or smartphone, you have access to the minimum equipment you need to create a video. I have the simplest setup for my videos. My camera is in my laptop. My microphone is in a gaming headset I already had. I record at my desk in my office. I use free Microsoft editing software.
  2. Record in batches. I only record videos four or five times a year. If you look through my videos, you can see where one batch ends and the next begins because my hair usually changes. I used to change my shirt between videos to make it look less obvious that I filmed in one day, but I don’t even do that now.
  3. Have a simple but standard format. Familiarity breeds likability. Your audience will appreciate that your content is consistent with its format. They will come to know what to expect from you — what you say, what topics you cover and your mannerisms. Over the years, I’ve developed verbal “bookends” that I use on all my videos. Not only does my audience like it, but it makes it easier for me to create new videos.
  4. Release weekly — same time, same day. A newspaper columnist’s column comes out on the same day each week. Your favorite TV show releases new episodes on the same day and time each week. You come to rely on these things and have anticipatory excitement to consume what’s next. The same is true for your video audience. Release your videos one at a time on the same day and time each week. My new video comes out every week on Wednesday at 2 a.m.

What I’ve Learned So Far

Here are the top three things I’ve learned from creating video content for over eight years:

  1. Making videos is an excellent tactic for the marketing long haul. The upside of creating legal content is that our content is usually timeless as long as the law doesn’t change. I consistently get views and comments on videos I created five years ago. It appears that people are more accepting of older video content, whereas they may be more skeptical of older written content.
  2. You never know when a topic will be a hit. You can’t always predict which videos will get only a few dozen views and which will get tens of thousands. Focus on creating quality content for each week and let the chips fall where they may.
  3. Creating isn’t enough. Promotion is part of the process. Marketing is a process, not an event. You can have the best content on the planet, but it won’t help you unless people can find it. It’s worth investing the time into doing search engine optimization for your videos and resharing it when relevant.

My Video Goals for 2021

I slacked off on blogging in 2020, but one thing I did consistently was to create videos. I hope to build on this next year. My goal is to get back into consistently creating other content and continue releasing weekly videos. I already have my list of at least 17 questions that I’ll be answering in the next batch of videos I’ll record later this month.

One thing I promised myself in 2021 is a “ring light.” I noticed that my office doesn’t have as much light as I wish, so adding a ring light to my setup should help brighten my face on my videos.

Image ©imagezoo.com

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Ruth B. Carter Ruth Carter

Ruth Carter — lawyer, writer and professional speaker — is Of Counsel with Venjuris, focusing on intellectual property, business, internet and flash mob law. Named an ABA Journal Legal Rebel, Ruth is the author of “The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers,” as well as “Flash Mob Law: The Legal Side of Planning and Participating in Pillow Fights, No Pants Rides, and Other Shenanigans.” Ruth blogs at UndeniableRuth.com and tweets @rbcarter.

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