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Video is getting to be a hot topic for law firms and other professional services firms. If the survey of publishers and media companies by Nieman Labs, a Harvard journalism institute, is a any guide, the topic of video is going to get a lot hotter in 2016.

As reported by Joseph Lichterman (@ylichterman), 79 percent of respondents said their companies plan to invest more in online video this year.

Use of online video

Facebook-dependent publishers are also turning to video as a way to combat the dramatic slide in referral traffic they’ve seen the last year.

Digiday’s Ricardo Bilton (@rbilton) reports that with Facebook’s algorithms giving great weight to video, publishers have no choice.

Elite Daily [online news platform for hot issues and trending topics] is pouring resources into video, which unlike viral text content is continuing to grow sharply on Facebook.

In the past year, the site has expanded its video team from seven to 35, producing two pieces a day on average. Elite Daily’s videos got 153 million views on Facebook last year, and 18.9 million in December alone, said TubularLabs.

Elite Daily’s video output is a grab bag of shorter viral stories and longer, more in-depth features.

Elite Daily is not alone.

BuzzFeed is also chasing the Facebook video carrot. The company is reportedly reshuffling its editorial teams, consolidating some divisions and laying off staff. The goal: to shift the focus away from text to video, where the company has put the bulk of its investment over the past few years.

Media executives, especially those running print publications, acknowledge they have challenges with video, Lichterman reports.

Video is a difficult area for former print groups,” one respondent told Newman. “None of us is doing it well, we do not have in-house expertise (generally) and it is vastly expensive. We will proceed with caution in this area.”

Executives are between a rock and hard place though when it comes to video. Second on the list as a strategic priority for 2016 is “deepening online engagement.” Better video is one way publishers are trying to get users engaged.

Sounds an awful like law firms. The law firms using online video in an engaging fashion are few and far between—heck, you could probably count them on two hands.

Furthermore the firms I have talked to have invested, or are going to invest, a lot of money in video. Money that’s generating little return in online engagement.

But with the amount of money law firms and other professional services firms are investing in media—publishing and content marketing—user engagement, not just traffic, will be key. Are you resonating with your audience as an innovative and trusted authority in the niches you are looking to grow?

For this reason, video is going to be important for firms. The key will be using video wisely.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Jeff Sharp</a