Video won’t cure everything, but law firms still need to jump in!

Despite every marketing thought piece out there brandishing video content as the fix-all solution, the UK’s top 100 law firms have decreased their output in 2017 – with an average of just 13 YouTube videos per firm. On the other hand, among those that made public their numbers, there was an increase in subscribers (87 on average per firm). Could it be that law firms are focusing more on quality than quantity?

If only!

Having poured through the UK’s top 200 law firms, I can tell you that the majority of videos consist of: uninspiringly filmed and edited conference talks, webinars with poor sound quality, and a focus on promotional videos without imagination,…

The UK's top law firms have decreased their video output this year but increased subscriber numbers - could it be that they are focusing on quality rather than quantity? Click To Tweet

Why are law firms still so reluctant to get on board this bandwagon? Two main issues stand out:

  • A poor understanding of the benefits of a video (and social) marketing strategy on your business.
  • Fear of embarrassment if the video reflects poorly on the firm.

And yet, according to research conducted by hitsearch, law firms that use videos:

  • grow company revenue 49% quicker year-on-year than firms not using videos.
  • increase their firm’s organic traffic search by 157%

However, and this is an important point to consider, law firms that publish poor quality videos “will create a negative image of themselves in the minds of 62% of users”. In other words, don’t create videos just for the sake of them. 

Here are some key questions to ask yourself:

  • Is this video providing value? Is it entertaining? Does it provide helpful advice?
  • Is the sound of good enough quality? One dictum goes that poor visual quality can be forgiven, but the sound must be good.
  • Is the video clear? Generally speaking one video = one message. If the video needs to cover a lot of ground, organise it in a way that is easy for the viewer to follow.
  • Is the video accessible? Don’t skimp on subtitles! Particularly for videos shared on social media where videos are viewed on mute as autoplay, your video will be digested by more people if you’ve included them.
Law firms that create videos grow company revenue by 49% year-on-year. However, it doesn't mean video is a fix-all solution - don't skimp on quality! Click To Tweet

Advice for law firms:

Create a channel that aligns with your brand.

If you say your firm is “different” or “forward-thinking” or “agile”, then you need to create a channel that demonstrates this. (P.S. if you’re still using those terms, it’s time for a rethink as so do hundreds of other firms!)

It’s not about you, it’s about them!

Create content your clients and prospective employees will care about, rather than what you think will make you look good. Sometimes this means creating what you think of as ‘boring content’. It might be boring to you, but to your clients it might be the most useful thing in the world!

Don’t hide your team, or your clients!

Showcase your staff, from trainees to partners, they are your greatest asset. Interview them, give them a voice!

Likewise, showcase your clients and their stories but avoid turning it into a sales pitch for your firm.

Don’t neglect the small stuff

Spend time polishing your YouTube landing page: create playlists, add a welcoming video for visitors, and fill out the About section.

Get the basics right too: write a compelling and descriptive title for your videos, use tags, spend time uploading or writing proper captions rather than relying on the automatic ones (mishearing is rife and can result in unfortunate interpretations)

Beyond YouTube

While I am mostly sharing examples of YouTube videos it would be lax of me not to mention two big video trends of recent years: live video and native video.

Most social media platforms allow you to create live videos (including YouTube) and these are a great way of giving your clients a candid look at your firm. Live video works particularly well at events, where you can use it to capture great talks and interview people in a casual setting. Viewers can interact with your video by reacting to it and asking questions, so it could also be of use when handling topics such as GDPR, which are still confusing to many people.

Native video is the action of uploading a video directly on to a platform, for example Facebook or LinkedIn, instead of sharing a link to a YouTube video. The algorithm of these platforms generally favours native videos over links that take viewers away from them. When creating a video, it is therefore worth thinking about how to balance getting the most views and engagement on those platforms vs driving traffic back to your own site. Links in comments or at the end of the video can help with this.

Here’s how it’s done!

There’s nothing quite like seeing law firms who are utilising YouTube successfully to get inspired, so here are five law firms that stand out for all the right reasons:

Mishcon de Reya: Surfing the wave 

Top of the leaderboard in terms of creativity and capturing the zeigest are Mishcon de Reya. From capitalising on the film Denial, based on a 2000 court case involving the firm, to the playlist Business Shapers, their YouTube channel is engaging and unusual. It puts across the image that Mishcon de Reya are a thoroughly current law firm, aligning it perfectly with their subtitle It’s business. But it’s personal.

@Mishcon_de_Reya's YouTube account is top of the leaderboard in terms of creativity and capturing the zeitgeist Click To Tweet

Berwin Leighton Paisner: Ripped from the Tabloids

Speaking of doing things differently, this firm’s Cautionary Tales playlist standouts from the usual law firm film fare. With its dramatic music and visuals, it looks and feels like pulp non-fiction – a real guilty pleasure to watch. How often can you say that about professional services videos full stop?

Berwin Leighton Paisner's YouTube account is a real guilty pleasure to watch! How often can you say that about a law firm's videos? Click To Tweet

Hogan Lovells: Day in the Life

One great way of using YouTube, is to showcase life at the firm to entice new employees. My favourite playlist at Hogan Lovells does just this. Watch for instance this video “Day in the Life of a Trainee” which puts the focus on living in London first, with life at Hogan Lovells a close second. Through this they sell a whole inspiring lifestyle around the firm beyond the practicalities of the job.

How can you use video as a recruitment tool? @HoganLovells show how it's done! #hiring Click To Tweet

Irwin Mitchell: Keeping Personal Injury Personal

Personal Injury adverts have an understandable tendency to focus on the ‘wrong’ that might have been done to you, the viewer. So it’s refreshing to see this campaign “Don’t Quit It, Do It” which focuses on positive stories of human resilience after challenging setbacks.

Personal Injury videos don't have to mawkish or salesly #dontquititdoit Click To Tweet

Anthony Gold Solicitors: Translating Law

You don’t need flashy animations to create compelling videos, and where Anthony Gold Solicitors excel is in answering thorny questions with clean and short videos. Take for example their playlist centered around Property Fraud Awareness Week, which tackles various aspects in a digestible format.

Anthony Gold Solicitors excel in answering thorny questions with clean and short videos Click To Tweet

In a similar vein I would also like to recommend RPC and Stephens Scowns, who excel at delivering no-nonsense advice in video format.

Want help in configuring your law firm’s video and content strategy? Drop me a line at ctrevien@gmail.com

This blog was originally published here.

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Claire Trevien

B2B Content Marketer
Freelance B2B Content Marketer and Multimedia Poet. If you want me to geek out, ask me about digital tools and writing prompts!

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