Podcasts (Audio & Video)

Lawyers and law firms are regularly asking about video. We did an entire panel discussion on the use of video in blogging at the Texas State Bar Annual Meeting last week.

Leave aside the question of the why and the how, no one raised the possibility that the smartphone is the primary vehicle for many people when it comes to viewing video.

Yet smartphone video viewing is growing approximately 20 percent each year. This per a Nielsen Report presented at the Mobile Commerce Daily’s Mobile Research Summit.

Nearly 70% of Americans use their smartphones for staying abreast of news and information. This would include news and info produced by law firms in any format, including video.

A legal marketing professional shared on Facebook last week word of their new website. I complemented them on the clean and light feel which was easy to navigate. A nice responsive design.

Everyone else on Facebook discussed the video on the website. I never saw the video, I was viewing the site on my iPhone 6 Plus which I use 80% of the time. The video did not display on a smartphone.

How many others never saw the video? Did the firm and its lawyers consider the declining audience for their videos on non-mobile devices? Did the firm consider producing video which would be viewable on mobile?

A report just out finds that Facebook is nipping at the heals of YouTube in video viewers.

One reason is mobile. Facebook users are likely to be on a smartphone. Another reason is social sharing, Facebook videos move socially through sharing and likes.

Social is another reason to be thinking mobile for any videos. Users moving items, including your videos, across social networks are more likely to be on mobile than non-mobile devices.

Bottom line for lawyers and law firms, think mobile first in all you do online.

For video, that means realizing that everything you are shooting needs to be shot for viewing on a smartphone. Can it be seen? Is it easily viewable? Will users want to share the video?

Image courtesy of Flickr by Jack Fussell

Twitter announced last week that we can now listen to podcasts directly on Twitter.

From Twitter’s product manager, Richard Slatter (@richardslatter):

With a single tap, the Twitter Audio Card lets you discover and listen to audio directly in your timeline on both iOS and Android devices. Throughout your listening experience, you can dock the Audio Card and keep listening as you continue to browse inside the Twitter app. We’re launching this new audio card in partnership with third-party streaming services. The first partner for streaming on Twitter is SoundCloud.

You will see a small sound card and link right in a tweet.

For lawyers and other professionals doing podcasts, you now have a new distribution channel in Twitter. With Soundcloud, Twitter will make sound cards available to all users.

Twitter may prove to be a more effective distribution channel than iTunes and RSS. Media has gone social. We receive links to media from people we trust. Media spreads virally from person to person across social media.

Podcasters can also get their podcasts in front of more than just their followers by promoting, via Twitter advertising, tweets with a Soundcloud embed.

I have always thought of the future of Twitter as a way for people to discover what to watch, listen, and read.

Rather than a TV Guide on TV or scrolling through the dial on a radio, you discover what people whom you trust say to read, watch and listen to. Algorithms based on our personal likes further perfect the suggestion of media.

Soundcloud and Twitter is just the first step in in the discovery versus the search for media. The day will soon come when you’ll turn on the TV and have Twitter make suggestions for you — or vice versa, turn on Twitter and have it tell you what to watch on TV — inside Twitter.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Sergio Alvarez

20130504-122412.jpg In a presentation to advertisers this week Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt declined to forecast that Internet video would replace television, Schmidt said, “That’s already happened, the future is now for YouTube.”

As reported by the AP’s Jack Coyle (@jake_coyle), Schmidt explained that YouTube recently passed 1 billion unique visitors. But that’s nothing compared to when the Third World joins in, the number will go to 6 or 7 billion.

Also note that already more 18- to 34-year-olds watch YouTube more than any cable network.

I agree with Schmidt that we ought not just compare YouTube to TV.

It’s not a replacement for something that we know. It’s a new thing that we have to think about, to program, to curate and build new platforms.

Coyne’s right that YouTube is focused on its global reach, community engagement and enormous audience — much more than any TV network or cable channel.

I don’t see YouTube as the network in and of itself. I see YouTube as a place where media (in this case, video) can be stored, searched, and in some cases, watched.

The network, unlike CBS or CNN, is you. Social media, by its very definition, means people receiving media (including video) from others they trust. Media may be received via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social network. We, as netizens, move the media, as opposed to a cable or a satellite network.

In addition, this new media is not mass broadcast. We’re engaged. Engaged by sharing video, commenting on the video (on Twitter, Facebook etc), curating video, and even producing video.

When most law firms think of YouTube, they think of producing video. That’s okay, if done well, niche focused (as opposed to firm or lawyer centric), and consistently. But producing video is not needed to network via video.

I don’t produce a fraction of the content I share on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. But being there acting as an intelligence agent sharing other’s insight on networking through the net has led to business relationships I could never have dreamed of. It’s also led to my being recognized as a trusted authority on business development through the net.

Look at video, whether from YouTube or elsewhere, the same way. Share video, comment on what’s be discussing on video, and produce short topic centric video, whether you’re talking or interviewing others.

Content is the currency of engagement. We need words, pictures, or video to cause engagement and interaction. Look at video, and in this case, YouTube, as currency.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Rego – d4u.hu.

SoundCloud is a social media platform or more fittingly a social sound platform that makes it easy for anybody to be a sound creator and spread their recordings on the web. Like FaceBook, Twitter, and other social media outlets, SoundCloud has been around for a while, but bloggers are just starting to realize the benefits of using this service.

Founder and editor of ProBlogger, Darren Rowse (@problogger), summarizes a podcast of an interview with Evan Tenenbaum, SoundCloud’s Audio-content Manager in his post “SoundCloud: for Bloggers, Not Just Musicians.” When it comes to podcasting people used to only be interested in downloading the content onto their devices, now individuals on the web are more interested in streaming things.  Rowse notes that “SoundCloud is its own community –like YouTube –so by hosting your podcast there, you can reach an audience whose attention you might struggle to get otherwise.”

SoundCloud strives to “unmute the web.” All you need is an iPad or iPhone, you don’t need any special type of microphone. When it comes to podcasting it’s as straightforward as recording something and linking it from your blog.

In order to build your brand and achieve brand recognition you must move into the social media field and engage your audience. Tenanbaum suggests imbedding audio on your Facebook page, Google + and other platforms even just once a week, this acclimates your audience to expect that kind of content from you and creates a destination for them.

In the podcast, Tenanbaum also discussed SoundCloud’s new integration with FlipBoard. This allows you to multitask by listening to content while you are flipping through and reading. Audio is the only medium where you can engage with content while doing other stuff such as plugging your iPhone or iPad into your car and listening to FlipBoard channels while driving. Everyone on SoundCloud is available on FlipBoard, it is just a matter of getting your content on SoundCloud.

In Robert Scoble’s interview of me last week, he talks about how he uses SoundCloud, “Here’s a little trick I’m doing, I’m using SoundCloud right now, but I’m going to tweet this, it’s going to Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, that’s four opportunities to get into FlipBoard because FlipBoard has SoundCloud import so if you do a search for Scobleizer or your blog you’ll probably find the link to this SoundCloud.” This is a way to grab all those audiences and bring them together.

There are endless innovative uses of technology that already exist that lawyers can build upon. Instead of reinventing, lawyers need to use what is already out there because that is what people already have in their hands. SoundCloud is something you can build upon.

Lexblog is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, March 16th at 9.00 Pacific (noon Eastern). The event is free for our clients to attend and here’s a brief summary of what we’ll cover:
Most business development experts will tell you that getting public speaking engagements is a key to networking, business development and being seen as an expert.  But how do you get these elusive speaking engagements?  And, once you are booked to speak, how do you make sure you do a good job?
Join Faith Pincus, public speaking expert, and Kevin O’Keefe of Lex Blog for the first in a series of client webinars that will teach you how to get speaking engagements and what to do once you’ve landed them.
What you will learn:

Getting speaking engagements:

  • How to use your blog to land public speaking engagements
  • Selecting your audience
  • Who to approach
  • How to ask – what matters to the folks booking speakers
Making speaking engagements worthwhile:
  • Making speaking engagements worthwhile
  • Knowing your audience
  • Preparing properly
  • Marketing before and after to maximize the value of the event
If you didn’t receive an invitation via email, feel free to contact us at customersupport@lexblog.com or send a direct message to @LexBlogSupport on Twitter to RSVP.

Podcasting is often the next step for bloggers who want to make their blogs more dynamic. They’re not merely flashy additions, though – podcasts make sense for reaching busy people who want to be able to absorb information in a variety of ways.

A podcast, whether audio or video, is also yet another quiet marketing tool that sometimes gets forgotten in the daily excitement of newer options like Twitter and LinkedIn. But anything that makes content available to a wider audience is a good thing.

Last week in our post on law consultant Cordell Parvin, we mentioned a lawyer he coaches who benefited hugely from podcasting. Kevin O’Neill, a partner at Patton Boggs law firm in Washington D.C., started a public policy podcast at Parvin’s suggestion, with tracks going out to subscribers over email and posted on his firm’s website. Some associations post the podcasts and mail them to all of their members, which has led to several speaking engagement offers for O’Neill. And eventually that podcast led to a weekly Internet radio show on the Voice America Business called "Capital Thinking" (Thursdays, 12-1p.m. ET).

Some of LexBlog‘s bloggers have been podcasting successfully for a while, like Seattle civil litigator Greg Guedel of Native Legal Update and law firm management consultant Ed Poll of Law Biz Blog. Both say their podcasts are the most popular posts on their sites.

"Podcasting is a fantastic way to present audio/video content quickly and effectively to a global audience, and give them the ability to view and review the material on their own time," Guedel said. "With everyone’s busy schedule these days, that’s an absolute necessity."

The posts on Native Legal Update and on iTunes get downloaded daily, and Guedel says the feedback has been "unanimously positive."

Poll had already been recording one-hour, professionally produced audio CDs for 11 years before he started podcasting. He prefers podcasting because there’s no need to outsource the recording for production, allowing him to focus on the content of an interview or discussion.

"Doing podcasting enabled me to take advantage of the new technology, lower my costs significantly and reach more people," Poll said.

Both Guedel and Poll have begun to expand to video podcasts as well, both as a continued method of outreach as well as content distribution.

Poll added that, as a legal marketing coach and consultant, it’s easier to market new technology if he knows firsthand how it works.

"Not only am I providing new content to my viewers, but I’m able to learn and be seen as an innovator of new technology tools," Poll said. "You can’t coach others – my business – unless you know the nature of the business, and I now have an opinion about the use of the new technology for practice development purposes, one of the reasons why lawyers hire me."

law firm videoFollowing up on my last posts (here and here) questioning the value of law firm video, I’m concerned we may have let the crazies out when it comes to law firm video. Or maybe it’s just legal vendors preying on law firm marketing lemmings who love being ‘on the cutting edge with Web 2.0.’

Whatever, here’s a report into Above the Law from last week.

‘Howrey is doing a film shoot in the lobby of its DC office… Multiracial attorneys in suits everywhere… Looks serious.’…..’A few minutes ago, I walked through my building’s lobby to go out and get lunch. On the way, I was surprised to find the lobby lit up like a movie set. A few dozen young folks in suits — many of them holding cell phones — stood in a big group, listening to some guy shouting some directions. I chatted up the security guard at the front desk, who told me that Howrey was shooting a commercial.’

‘From what I can tell, the whole scene will make for a fairly lame ad: ‘Hire Howrey — we stand around in suits, smiling and cell-phoning.’ Perhaps the worst-case scenario would be Howrey trying to play off of the Verizon cast-of-thousands ads….’

‘On my way back, I noticed that they have stacks of life-sized photos of people up against the wall. Maybe they decided to replace their associates with cardboard stiffs? (Some would say that, at Howrey, they did that years ago.)’

You guys at large law may think video is giving you an edge, but it’s entirely possible, your target audience is laughing at you behind your back. Above the Law is probably the most widely read blog or news website in the profession.

And despite Martindale-Hubbell telling you online video is Web 2.0 (whatever Web 2.0 means), online video has been around for a while. It’s just not been vogue enough for legal vendors to sell video production to law firms for big dollars.

Online video for law firms has its place. But the video, like other relevant resources on the net, is going to need to focus on the value to your target audience. A focus on the law firm and it’s wonderful people is misguided.

That’s the word from Joe Campos, a Seattle lawyer, who walked through Hubbard One’s booth at the Legal Marketing Association Conference last week. Hubbard One, a law firm website development company for large law firms, was holding a contest asking for ideas and concepts about using video for law firm websites.

I agree [with Hubbard One] that web video can be extremely compelling. Sadly, Hubbard’s video advocating the use of video is of such low quality it will probably discourage a lot of prospective clients.

For law firms, web video has to be extremely well produced and must deliver something of real value to clients and prospective clients. It can’t just be eye candy. The law firm has to deliver really compelling and useful information and create a reason for website visitors to return, learn and ultimately hire the firm.

Video on law firm websites needs to offer useful information to lay people about the legal issue facing them. Otherwise, Hubbard One and Martindale-Hubbell, also hawking law firm video for websites, are just generating incremental income for themselves from their unknowing law firm customers who believe video will generate more legal business.

At least Martindale-Hubbell, which has not produced informational video that I know of, agrees with me that law firms benefit much more from video relevant to the law firm’s clients needs.

Give advice; answer basic questions; describe what typically happens in relevant matters; provide value with timely commentary. As with all good marketing, if you can put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and empathize with them and give a little value, you’re more likely going to win the business.

My guess is that if we’re going to see informational video, it’s going to come from the firms themselves using YouTube, as opposed to companies like Hubbard One and Martindale. Hubbard One and Martindale are likely to charge a hefty price for video. The result being not much video, video which will stay on the website for months or years, and video being focused on the law firm and its lawyers.

law podcastsI’m getting a lot of questions from reporters, prospective clients, and new clients about podcasts. A few things come to my mind when you’re thinking about adding podcasts to your law blog.

I used to think a podcast was a way to sex up your blog: if you’ve got more frills, you’re going to draw more attention. But different people want to receive information in different ways. Some folks want text, others audio.

Some people want to be able to just have their iPod plugged into their computer, and whenever a podcast comes out, it’s automatically fed through iTunes or comparable audio player and onto their iPod. When they’re riding in the subway, they can just go and look and see what’s there. So you’re making your content available to more people. Some clients will do the same thing when on a long plane flight – I do that with audio and video I subscribe to via RSS feeds.

I do think, though, that it’s important how you’re presenting yourself. People are used to listening to Larry King or radio announcers, they’re listening to musical intros, maybe a deep voice that is introducing the host. Those things are worth spending a few bucks on.

There’s one LexBlog client, Stark & Stark at the New Jersey Law Blog, for whom we had somebody prepare what are called bumpers for their podcasts. Like on a radio show, where there’s some intro music with a deep voice DJ introducing “Stark & Stark presenting New Jersey updates on the law.” The lawyer then talks, and on the conclusion of the lawyer talking, there’s the music and the closing by the DJ going out. It’s very effective.

The thing you have to be careful for: it may sound great going in, but then you have a lawyer who is better equipped to write than to be on a podcast. Some lawyers are better conversationalists than writers. Maybe they’re better for podcasts. Some lawyers are better writers than conversationalsists. They should stick to writting.

It’s the same thing as some folks having a face made for radio. They’ll stay away from television.

You also need to be cognizant of the fact it’s not just the recording that’s sitting there at your blog or your website that’s critically important. It’s setting up the RSS feed, because for the person that comes to your blog and says, “This is interesting, I think I may listen to these podcasts in the future”