Law firms can easily and markedly stand out from their competition by creating and distributing multimedia client alerts.
For law firms, it’s time to give the good old trusty client alert an upgrade.
Client alerts are a tried-and-true thought leadership/marketing/business development tactic for law firms because they’re effective at positioning the publishing lawyers and law firms as knowledgable and wise about the areas of law they practice.
But now, perhaps more than ever, there is a flood of client alerts published by law firms across the world and distributed via email and social media to their current and prospective clients and referral sources.
The individuals on the the receiving end of these client alerts likely see a lot of the same content. After all, because may law firms compete in the same areas of law and target the same “ideal” clients (i.e. Fortune 500 or 1000 corporations), they are discussing many of the same legal developments as their competitors in their client alerts.
As a result, law firms trying to connect with past, current, and would-be clients and referral sources are entering a marketplace of ideas jam-packed with duplicative ideas. It is a crowded marketplace, difficult for law firms to stand out in.
Law firms that want to stand out from the crowd should consider changing the mediums through which they’re publishing their client alerts and thus communicating with target audiences.
The vast majority of law firms only publish written client alerts. I see a huge opportunity for law firms to expand into multimedia client alerts.
Here are five reasons why *your* law firm should experiment with multimedia client alerts.
Multimedia client alerts can help law firms stand out from their competitors
Obviously, a multimedia client alert is different from a written client alert. Very few law firms today are using multimedia client alerts. This gives you and your firm an automatic leg up on your competition.
By publishing client alerts in the form of videos or podcasts, you naturally stand out from the pack of lawyers and law firms that only publish written client alerts.
Doing so also communicates to your target audiences that you and your firm are innovative when it comes to your marketing. That is helpful because innovation within a law firm is rarely confined to one aspect of the firm. If your firm is perceived as being innovative when it comes to marketing, it won’t take much for your target audiences to believe your firm is also innovative in how it tackles its clients’ legal problems and business problems.
Multimedia client alerts are more convenient for people to consume than written client alerts
If you want to fully consume written content on your computer, tablet, or phone, it is hard for you to do something else at the same time. Plus, when that content comes to you in the form of another new unread email, it can easily fall through the cracks and go unread for a while—or forever.
The same goes for the written content you and your law firm send to your target audiences. They have to set aside time to consume it—if it even reaches their inbox in the first place.
However, when you create a client alert in multimedia form, perhaps as a podcast or a video, your target audiences have more flexibility in how and when they can consume it. They need not be tied to the screen of the device they’re using, paying close attention to the words so they can process the information.
They can listen to a podcast when they’re out and about in their car, on a walk, on the train, at the gym, etc. They can also watch a video at various times during their day without having to devote a lot of mental energy to doing so.
Multimedia client alerts are more easily consumed by your target audiences than written client alerts. Since consumption is a prerequisite for your content having an impact on those audiences, the more you can make it easier for them to consume your content, the more likely they will do so, and the more impact you’ll have on them.
Multimedia client alerts create a personal connection with their audiences
A lawyer can have an informal writing style that helps them build a connection between them and their target audiences, a connection that might make those audiences want to keep coming back to read new pieces of content and maybe even form new business relationships.
But multimedia client alerts can take those connections to a whole new level. When people consistently watch videos of other people, or listen to podcasts of other people, they experience a side of them they cannot experience through the written word.
When you watch a video, you can see someone’s face, you can hear inflections in their voice, you can see their mannerisms. When you listen to a podcast, you connect with the host(s) in a similar way (minus seeing their face(s)).
This human element of multimedia client alerts can help build a bond between the lawyers publishing the content and the people consuming it. The bond goes beyond simply being informed by the content. It can create an affinity that could lead to new business relationships.
Multimedia client alerts aren’t as formal as written client alerts
On a related note, multimedia client alerts aren’t as formal as written client alerts. Not only does this allow for some of the bond building I mentioned above, but it also makes them easier and faster to create.
With multimedia client alerts, you’re not obsessing over punctuation, consistency of acronyms, consistency of references, footnotes, etc. You can just talk and explain the legal development you’re covering. You are more free to talk through the content and the topic as opposed to worrying about how you’re going to structure the style, or proofreading the piece a number of times before publishing it.
There are plenty of people who love worrying about that stuff—I tend to be one of them. But it is so freeing, so liberating, to be able to just have a conversation into a camera or microphone that can be free-flowing and less rigid than a traditionally written 1000-word written client alert.
Multimedia client alerts are more consumable on social media than written client alerts
Multimedia client alerts allow law firms to get more bang for their buck in terms of reaching more members of their target audiences.
When it comes to social media, people like video and audio. They don’t want to read a lot of words. As your and your firm’s past, present, and future clients and referral sources are scrolling through their social media feeds, they’ll be more likely to stop and consume your or your firm’s content if it is in video or audio form as compared to that content being in the form of a link to your firm’s blog post or client alert living on your firm’s website.
With multimedia client alerts, you are more likely to get engagement—or at least get more eyeballs—on that content when it is on social media because it jumps off the screen compared to written content published by other lawyers and law firms.
No, multimedia client alerts are not expensive to create
You might be thinking, “Well, isn’t it more expensive to create multimedia content as compared to just writing client alerts?”
Technically, yes, more resources are required to publish multimedia client alerts because special equipment and editing skills are necessary. It is a more involved process than simply writing a document on Microsoft Word and then publishing it with the help of your colleagues.
But in this day and age technology is cheap. You can record a great-looking video with your smartphone, a $15 lapel microphone, and lights that cost less than $150. You can record a great-sounding podcast with a $100 microphone.
These are not huge investments. Many law firms are already doing videos or podcasts in some form anyway, so the equipment used for those endeavors can be reused for multimedia client alerts. And if that’s the case, there’s a good chance these firms already have the right people on staff to edit multimedia client alerts.
Even if your firm has to invest in new equipment or a freelancer to create and edit multimedia client alerts, the upside of consistently publishing multimedia alerts more than justifies the small expense.
Multimedia client alerts are a marketing opportunity law firms should jump on
Client alerts are fantastic. They are a key part of many law firms’ marketing and business development efforts. But they need not only come in written form.
I encourage you and your colleagues to explore multimedia client alerts. Try them out for a few months and see if you and/or your firm are getting indications they are resonating with your audience (such as through written feedback, or likes and shares on social media). You can also see if you and your colleagues are more prolific with content because you and they are not needing to sit down and spend four or five hours writing client alerts.
The best part about experimenting with multimedia client alerts? You can always stop if, after a reasonable amount of time, you don’t think they’re getting much traction.
The opportunity for law firms to use multimedia client alerts to separate themselves from their competition is so great that you and your colleagues would be remiss—and likely would be conceding ground to your competitors—by not even attempting to experiment with them.
Wayne Pollock, a former Am Law 50 senior litigation associate, is the founder of Copo Strategies, a legal services and communications firm, and the Law Firm Editorial Service, a content strategy and ghostwriting service for lawyers and their law firms. The Law Firm Editorial Service sets free the knowledge and wisdom trapped inside Big Law and boutique law firm partners by collaborating with them to strategize and ethically ghostwrite book-of-business-building marketing and business development content.
Interested in refining your client alert strategy? Click here to schedule a 30-minute Content Strategy Audit to learn if collaborating with an outside strategist and/or writer is the right move for you and your firm.