How To Make Videos for Lawyers – Martin Schlesinger – Personal Injury Marketing Minute #9
With the surging popularity of video platforms like TikTok and YouTube, some super successful lawyers have launched viral video marketing campaigns. How did they do it? First, they had to master the simple basics of videography. Video campaigns for lawyers do not require a full camera crew or expensive equipment. Legal marketing videographer, Martin Schlesinger, discusses how you can leverage the great camera that you already own – the one on your phone. These tips and tricks can help any lawyer create interesting videos that prospective clients will actually watch. Want to learn more? Connect with Martin Schlesinger via Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/martyschlesinger/ Transcript: Lindsey Busfield: Welcome to The Personal Injury Marketing Minute, where we quickly cover the hot topics in the legal marketing world. I’m your host, Lindsey Busfield. And today we will be talking about all things video. Very few law firms use video effectively yet it can be one of the most powerful mediums to get clients in the door. Legal videographer and digital marketing expert Marty Schlesinger is here to talk to us about the best ways to use video in your marketing plan. After 10 years of experience in the legal marketing world, Marty has spearheaded video projects for every facet of web marketing. Welcome Marty. We’re so glad to have you with us. Marty Schlesinger: Yeah, thanks for having me, Lindsey. I’m excited to be here on the podcast. Advantages of Using Video Lindsey Busfield: Well, video is one of the most underused tools in marketing plans today. What are some of the advantages of using video? Marty Schlesinger: Sure. That’s a good question Lindsey. Video is for sure a powerful tool. In the fast paced content consuming world that we live in, it really should be leveraged as a mainstay and a legal toolkit in a marketer’s toolkit or even a lawyer’s toolkit. And for some, I know it can be a little bit overwhelming, but I promise you, it’s not. I’m hoping that throughout the podcast here, that I can help address some of the most common questions that folks may have, but also take some of the pressure of some of those that have been wanting to create the video content for yourself, your business, or your law firm. Lindsey Busfield: That’s great. What are some of the advantages of using video as opposed to just plain text? Marty Schlesinger: Sure. So video still images and the written word they’re all effective means for promoting yourself or your business. When we’re talking about promoting yourself on social, as well as on other digital platforms. I think it’s important to ask yourself what you’re looking to achieve with a post and overall with your brand. And in my mind, I sort of do a breakdown in terms of the benefits of each. So I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but the written word is really effective, especially for lawyers when used properly. And you take, for instance, your client alerts, your lawyer written articles, which are mainstays for a lot of law firms and something that clients expect now. But what the written board may lack in graphics and visual simulation really makes up for with the ability to describe a topic, however, complex. Marty Schlesinger: Now, in terms of still images and photography, these are really effective at quickly capturing someone’s attention, especially on social. Highlighting an article that you wrote with a relevant graphic is now not only expected these days, but it’s also a proven tactic to increase views and engagements. And for as quickly as your average personal scroll through a newsfeed these days, it’s a really great idea to post an attractive image. It will make the difference. Lastly, when it comes to video, which I know is a topic here in the podcast is it can be really effective if used correctly on your social platforms. Some of the reasons I like it so much is that video is really good at effectively summarizing complex ideas and boiling them down into bite sized chunks so that they’re digestible. That’s really the power when it comes to video. Marty Schlesinger: This is in contrast to written word, my first point about written copy. My second point, why it can be so effective is that video is really a humanizing tool, especially for lawyers, the viewers that see you and can hear you, they can now put a face and a voice to who you are, what you do and what you know, and that’s really important. This not only enhances your personal brand, but as long as you know what you’re talking about, it can instantly make you more credible and help to position you as a thought leader in your industry, which really at the end of the day, that’s really what we’re all trying to achieve here. And then lastly, I think video provides the opportunity for both the lawyer and the viewer to be a little more authentic. By that I mean, it promotes engagement, whether you’re trying to get clicks or likes or simply just promote engagement through emotion. Video really offers an effective means to strike an authentic cord with someone. Lindsey Busfield: That’s great. When the client is looking for an attorney to work with, they are wanting to work with the best in the industry. They’re looking for those thought leaders and they’re looking for somebody that they can connect with. And they’re looking for that authenticity. Marty Schlesinger: Exactly. Lindsey Busfield: And video is a really great way to deliver all of those in a very condensed way without having to work too hard of reading through all of them. Marty Schlesinger: You’re absolutely right. And I have multiple stories of just someone recording themselves. They weren’t really comfortable with it, but then they got a call from a prospect or from a client. And oftentimes it makes all the difference with your business. Ways Attorneys May Use Video to Market Themselves: Lindsey Busfield: Absolutely. So when lawyers think about videos, in my experience, they are just picturing videos embedded in their websites. You talked about social, what are all the ways that lawyers can use video to market themselves? Marty Schlesinger: Sure. That’s a good question, Lindsey. When it comes to the video [inaudible 00:05:19] website, when you use those strategically, it can be an effective means to encourage a call to action from your audience, increase your conversions, a phone call asking for an email, some sort of a download, but I think it’s important for folks to keep in mind that your website is really only one aspect of your online presence, your digital presence. I think video content when posted across multiple channels can be a really effective means of driving engagement and your brand awareness. More often than not the same piece of content, the video that you make and create that can be shared across all your accounts. And as we go, I can talk a little bit more about the tactics for social and dissemination for content, but for sure it shows you the power and flexibility of creating video content for yourself or for your firm. Lindsey Busfield: Sure. And when I think about website and when I think about social, using video across all these platforms is really important because again, it’s that first touch, that’s first humanization and the first connect. Many people are making with the attorneys. And so when you are creating a video, how do you actually get people to watch it? And you can have the best video in the world, but until you can get somebody to actually click on it and watch the video, how do you get them to make that first touch? Marty Schlesinger: Sure, sure. I feel like that’s the age old question is what you should record and when you record it, how will you know that your audience will like it, that they’ll want to engage with you? That it’ll be attractive, all of these things and especially for a law firm, that’s a big question. And just with my experience, it’s not always easy and it’s not always obvious. And again, that’s a good question. I want to try and address that here is that this should be top of mind when you’re looking to generate content. If you say you want to write an article or you want to record yourself, first off you should think about, do I have a tangible product or an intangible product? Marty Schlesinger: And just being able to break that down is helpful. So let’s say you have a tangible product creating content around how tos, product walkthroughs or features. These are some tried and true ways that you can really engage your audience. And that’s an obvious thing. You have a product and you can show it in front of the camera. It’s great. Shiny. Now, if you’re in the professional services’ industry and you have an intangible product, for instance, a law firm, it becomes critical to focus your efforts on specific topics and themes. So I actually have a list here. I’m going to list off a couple from my experience, especially for a law firm, some of the most popular topics and formats that I think a law firm can employ when generating video content. So I’ll list those off here. So I have three. Marty Schlesinger: So the first one is talking about industry updates or hot button issues. This is really a great way to engage your audience and also make yourself more credible at the same time. It goes back to my previous point, but just recording yourself in your office or you’re at home and talking about these topics that are important to clients or your prospects, addressing the issues that are keeping them up at night, that they’re really worried about. This is a really quick and effective way to generate targeted quality content. And I hear that time and time again, just really talking about these issues that are extremely important that are happening here now that you can really provide a little bit of analysis for a prospect for a client really makes a powerful impact. The next theme that I recommend is the question and answer format where you would interview another expert. Marty Schlesinger: These are the interviews that are common on news channels, where you tune in and you see an expert where they’re interviewing them and they’re answering questions, whether they’re in the newsroom there, or they’re at home coming in via, I guess, a virtual feed. With that said, I think inviting someone, a person can be a little bit tricky because now you need to think about more than one camera, the audio, Coronavirus restrictions, all of that. So I think to avoid the hassle, I recommend for professionals that are listening to this it’s easy enough just to tap into your professional network find a friend, a colleague, another expert, and just ask them to join you for a Skype call or a Zoom call. And just recording that content because obviously you’ll want their approval, but recording that content could become just a rich quality content. And as a case in point Lindsey, what you’re doing here with the podcast is just a fantastic example of that, just two professional colleagues, talking, recording, great content, it’s pretty easy, fairly painless. Marty Schlesinger: And the last format that I found to be really popular, especially on social is capturing an attendee soundbite using a man on the streets, sort of style recording. And I understand that’s a little bit harder to do since events aren’t really quite as popular these days, but just for instance, as an example, if you’re attending an event, what I mean by the man on the street style is that, you’re in between the event itself during the breaks, you’ve got people walking around the floor, they’re going to the vendors, et cetera, just finding someone, grabbing someone, especially if you’re hosting or sponsoring this event. It’s all the easier just to grab someone in between the break, ask them what they think about the event. What are things that are trending in the industry, some analysis and future trends that they can share with you. I found time and time again, that gets a lot of engagement posting that to your account, your social channels, that always folks want to see that stuff. Topics for Personal Injury Attorneys: Lindsey Busfield: So all of those are really great formats for different video types. But when looking at the content of the videos, what types of topics should personal injury lawyers be covering? Marty Schlesinger: Sure. That’s a good question. I know a lot of listeners are in this area. So more specifically, I know those themes that I listed off just a minute ago, those are more general, if you want to create engagement, but for more specifically for personal injury law firms and lawyers, I think it’s really important to emphasize and focus on topics that can answer a lot of these questions that would be keeping your clients up at night for these prospects, such as, when do personal injury courts reopen, how much is my case actually worth? That’s a common question that someone might have. That’s a common question that I would have. Does it matter if I’m in this accident, if I’m personally responsible, what do I do? How do I deal with insurance companies? Marty Schlesinger: Each of these questions can be a topic and individual topic for your content. So I really wouldn’t address more than one at a time because they’re important enough that you can make the video a standalone and folks will be interested enough to click on that. Watch what your quick analysis is. You want to tease them just to a little bit don’t let them have everything upfront, but you’ll want to tease them just to let them know that what you’re talking about, you’ve created successful outcomes for other clients and that you lead the industry in terms of your knowledge in those areas. Lindsey Busfield: Absolutely. It’s a great way to showcase that you can add value and that you really are the industry expert on all of the questions. It also shows that you’re very much tuned into the questions that they would be having. So I think those are great insights for videos that you could start with. I’m sure that many personal injury lawyers could come up with a list of a hundred questions answered really regularly. And each of those, as you said, could be a little video segment. And so in thinking about these small individual questions, how long should these videos be? About how long is somebody’s attention span when it comes to asking and wanting to get an answer for this question? Marty Schlesinger: Sure. It depends what it is, but especially for personal injury lawyer, if we’re just answering a question, I’m thinking that it should be maybe 60 seconds, maybe 90 seconds. I think to answer a question like this, especially if you’re not trying to tell them everything there is to know about this topic and about this question, really try to keep this short and sweet. Tell the viewer the most important things, highlighting the things that they should be thinking about here and now. If they’ve been involved in an accident, if they’re going to be going to court, things that are top of mind for them. So if you extend past that you’re going to lose their interest, you’re going to drone on about things that may not be important. So if we’re shifting away a little bit from the personal injury focus and highlighting that, and if we’re just talking about general stuff, such as you’re promoting a webinar or an event that’s about 30 to 60 seconds, I think. Marty Schlesinger: And then if we’re talking about things that are more complex, such as perhaps there was a change in the personal injury law, and you need to try and analyze that and you want to share that I think we’re talking about a minute and a half, two minutes, maybe even longer depends how complex it is. And lastly, if we’re talking about training or anything educational nature, I think at least a couple of minutes, five or more, but it depends on what you’re doing, what the goal is here, but that’s just sort of a rule of thumb for me. DIY vs Videographer: Lindsey Busfield: So as you’re thinking about the ideas for creating different videos and you are getting excited about them, is it something that you need to hire an external agency to film? Or is it something that you can do in-house? Marty Schlesinger: Yeah, that’s a really great question. And a question that I actually hear quite a lot of. There’s pros and cons to having someone in-house, pros and cons of doing it yourself and pros and cons to hiring an agency. In my opinion, you don’t need an agency nine times out of 10. The only time you would need to hire an agency is you want to do a multi-camera setup. For instance, you’re interviewing one or more experts and you want it to look really good, or you need to create a professional grade, or you’re making a TV commercial, essentially you would need to hire an agency for that. But taking a step back with the popularity of smartphones, maybe worthwhile, especially if you don’t know anything about it and you want to start creating your own content and you have a smartphone, it may be worthwhile to learn the basics for just cleaning up the recording and then making the post on your own social channel. Marty Schlesinger: So just the basics of learning how to trim, just to start the video, the fluff where you’re trying to warm yourself up, clear your throat and at the end where you’re turning off the video and it’s a slow shaky. So just learning how to trim the start and the at the end is really valuable. And these days I can’t speak to Android, but I have an iPhone. iPhone makes it really easy where you can just record yourself. And immediately after the recording, you see the option to trim it right there, trim the front, trim the end, and then you have the option to upload to your LinkedIn or your Twitter. Marty Schlesinger: It literally takes 20 seconds. So that’s really convenient. And it’s not that hard. The last thing I’ll say on this point is if you are looking to get something a little more complicated, like if you want an animated logo or some sort of a bumper, just something more complicated than there are options such as freelance sites, such as Fiverr and Upwork.com. These are great resources for finding an expert in the editor just to help you with a project. And they won’t usually cost an arm or leg. Equipment Needed to Shoot Videos: Lindsey Busfield: That’s really good to know. I know that there are a lot of advanced video features meanwhile the iPhone is great and great for production quality, and it’s just very simple to use. There are some other things that you can add to a video that makes them a little bit more professional. So absolutely. And so you have your iPhone, what other equipment do you need to shoot a good quality video? Marty Schlesinger: So I wish I could say it’s just a matter of holding your iPhone in front of you hitting record, and you’ve got the best looking thing you can ever have. And unfortunately it’s a little more complicated than that, but it’s not that bad. As long as you know just a few things, you can really enhance the quality of how you look and how you sound. So I’d say there were really three important things that someone can do to enhance the quality of the video. And this comes from over 10 to 15 years of experience, generally in the video and audio area. And those three things are proper lighting, proper audio, and just having a tripod. So if you’re able to achieve all three of these, your set. Lighting, I feel like is one of those things that we take for granted and it’s everywhere, but except on our face, when we do a recording, we have these harsh shadows from the fluorescent lights on the ceiling or we find ourselves in a dark corner of a room. And then afterwards, we’re like, why does that look bad? Marty Schlesinger: So an easy fix is really to always just be mindful to place yourself facing a window with natural sunlight. You’ve got that natural sunlight in your face, or you can purchase an external light. Maybe if you don’t have a window in that room, just having a light on top of your laptop or a computer just to aluminate the shadows on your face makes a big difference. So for audio again, there’s two options here. Most people prefer just to use the built-in microphone on their phone or camera and that’s fine. In some cases it’s not the best microphone in the world, but oftentimes it’s good. It’s above average. And as long as you’re close enough to your phone or your camera, when you’re speaking, you should be fine. Marty Schlesinger: I’d say no more than two feet away. I think we’ve all watched the video or hear podcasts where it sounds like someone’s talking from across the room and they’re in a hallway. And so it’s just a matter of having your mouth close enough to the microphone. That’s really all it is. The other option for audio is to purchase an external microphone. I’ll talk about that in a second here, but lastly, just a tripod and I can’t stress this enough, in school, this is something professors beat into us as always use a tripod. And these days smartphone tripods are pretty cheap and they make all the difference to not have that shaky shot. Marty Schlesinger: But even if it’s just using your encyclopedias, you use your books, your old [inaudible 00:19:56] books that you may not be looking at anymore, just to prompt your phone up, to avoid that shaky shot, that’ll be a big deal. And again, it makes all the difference. So I have a couple of the recommendations for the lights, audio, even a tripod, whether you’re trying to do a setup at home or in the office. And just to save everyone a little bit of time here. I’ve created a checklist and a small how-to guide for the folks that are listening to the podcast here, and I’ve provided it to Lindsey. And Lindsey has graciously agreed to share the guide with you all. It’s a free guide. So I’m sure she’ll let you know where to find it. Do’s, Dont’s and What To Wear: Lindsey Busfield: Yep. We’ll have a link for you to sign up, to join the list, to get access to that really fantastic resource list with all of the equipment that Marty recommends, as well as the tips and tricks to how to create a very professional high grade video for use in your firm to get more clients engaged. What are some of the tricks like, what are you going to wear or natural? What are some of the things that people should and shouldn’t do before they get in front of the camera? Marty Schlesinger: Sure. Yeah. These are the things, especially when it comes to lighting audio and they seem obvious, but then when you record yourself, you’re like, “Oh, that doesn’t look good. Why didn’t I think of that?” But it’s not something to feel bad about. It is somewhat of an art form, but again, once you know, what you should do and shouldn’t do, it becomes really easy. So in terms of what you should wear or perhaps not wear, there’s a few simple rules that I follow. And this is even working with the lawyers that I’ve worked quite a bit with in front of the camera. So in terms of the colors that you should be wearing, this usually refers to just your upper half since that’s what folks will see nine times out of 10, is that where the colors such as your deep reds, your dark teals, rich greens, your purples, your grays, those are all colors that work well. Marty Schlesinger: The pastels, rich jewel tones, it depends on your skin type, but you watch something that will have a good contrast with your skin, as well as the backdrop, as well as something that will just look pleasing to the eye for the viewer. The colors tool [inaudible 00:22:09] though, I would say, would be pure white, pure black, true green and true red. It’s just something about camera sensors. They don’t like these colors and they don’t usually look good on camera or just in general. So I would avoid those. I would also tell people to avoid complicated patterns or stripes on their clothing. Again, this is just a camera sensor thing, just in general, where solid colors for your top. And you’ll be good and you’ll look great. In terms of jewelry and accessories, something that’s often overlooked is that your jewelry, your watch any kind of a bracelet you might be wearing will almost always make a distracting noise. Marty Schlesinger: So just try to take that stuff off even if it’s an earring that’s hanging low that may make noise. You should know that the microphone will pick that up. And also if you wear glasses and have the option of contacts, that’s always the way to go, to avoid the glare from the lights. And then in terms of just making yourself look good, one last check before you hit the record button just check your face for shine. Chapstick is also an industry secret that a lot of news anchor will use right before they’re on air, shiny lips apparently are attractive. Be Yourself: Lindsey Busfield: Don’t want to have the chapped lip showing up. So now that everybody is beautiful, getting ready to get on camera. How do you make it so that you look a little bit more natural and not robotic as you’re trying to talk about these? Marty Schlesinger: Yeah. When we talk to someone in person it’s natural to act natural because that’s what we do and that’s what we know. And we’re all human, it’s wired in us to do that. But then when we look at a cold camera lens, it becomes, we shut down, we turn off, we turn into a robot and there’s a few things that have worked for me over the years and a few things that I’ve actually worked with lots of lawyers that have worked for them. And just trying to keep some of these things in the back of your mind and preparing right before you record can be really helpful. So I have three small things here in terms of advice that I think will help folks that are listening. Marty Schlesinger: The first one is just to relax and speak naturally. And as I said earlier the tendency is to sometimes be cold and calculated. But what you want to do is just view the lens, view the camera as a neighbor of yours. Now this is just if you’re recording yourself and you’re not Skyping someone because then it becomes a lot easier. But if you’re just recording yourself and you want to do an industry update just treat them as a neighbor, treat the lens like a neighbor where you’re having a conversation and just let things flow naturally. The second point I’ll make in terms of acting naturally is something that’s often underestimated and overlooked is the body language and facial expressions. Expressions and even overexpression, it almost always translates well in front of the camera. Marty Schlesinger: So don’t be afraid to use your eyebrows, your hands, your face, be expressive. A lot of folks, I find just sort of freeze their face and they just have monotone voice. So don’t be afraid to use all that stuff, again translates well. And the last thing I’ll say here in terms of acting naturally is just trying to smile. It sounds cheesy, but smiling is really a great way to not only enhance your on-camera presence, but also it improves the likelihood that someone will trust you. And it should never feel forced. Just even thinking about smiling as you speak is enough to organically radiate your tone and expression, and is with the equipment checklist and what to wear checklist that I’ve added in the document that Lindsey will share with you. I’ve added in some points, some advice for acting and speaking naturally here. Lindsey Busfield: That’s great. Those will all make a big, big difference. The last thing that you want to do is you plan a really great video is to ruin it by A wearing the wrong thing or completely robotic in front of the camera. And both of those things with a little bit of practice and a little more thought can take an okay video to a really fantastic video. Well, thank you so much, Marty, for having us today. If people have more questions or want to talk to you further about videography opportunities, where can people get in touch with you? How To Get in Touch with Marty: Marty Schlesinger: My LinkedIn profile is the best place to get in touch with me. I also have an email address and Lindsey, I think you said you’ll help provide that information for folks, but LinkedIn, or send me an email. Happy to answer any questions. If anyone has any questions or concerns or even working on recording the video for themselves with a law firm, feel free to reach out, happy to do pointers for you or even work with you. So feel free to reach out. Lindsey Busfield: Well, thank you so much, Marty. We really appreciate your time.