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2010 State of the Internet – Video Marketing for Attorneys

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I give you the State of the Union for Lawyer Video.

“My fellow attorneys,

The state of affairs for lawyers who create video to market themselves stinks. Truly awful. Video quality has improved but content has gone down the drain. Four years ago the only type of lawyer videos that video companies created were “Look at me!” videos. Those videos simply were one intro video that did nothing more than say “Come to me because I’m great.”

Fast forward to the present day and lawyers have made leaps and bounds. Now, many attorneys have gone beyond the bounds of “Ooo, pick me because I’m great” type of videos, to ones that actually inform. However, the information that most attorneys are putting out are not what online viewers want or care about. It’s true.

Lawyers still focus on the number of views that each video gets. Video companies sell their services and convince lawyers that their video metrics program is top shelf and can also predict which videos will get viewers to call. Nonsense.

The reality is that metrics don’t matter at all. Really, they don’t. I have written repeatedly that video metrics are not worth your time to invest in or learn about. The ONLY thing that matters with your online videos is whether your viewer picks up the phone to call you for an appointment. That’s it. That’s your goal. If your videos are not accomplishing that, you have big problems. The reason that most lawyer video does not work is that most videos fail to provoke a viewer to take action.

In all likelihood you’ve spent a lot of time and money creating video, either on your own or with a video production company. Have you tracked your return on your investment? That is something definitely worth calculating. You must know at all times what your ROI is.

Let’s say you spent $10,000 on 5 videos. The production team spent all day in your office and each video, after editing, came to about 1 minute to 1:30 mins. The cost per video in this instance is $2,000. The production company might say to you “If you get only one case from a video, the fee you get will have paid not only for that one video, but for all five of your videos.” That sure sounds like a line from the yellow pages rep who would visit my office on a yearly basis. She made it sound so convincing when she came in to renew my yellow pages ad that I had a hard time saying no.

For me, I recouped my yellow pages investments, but just barely. Calls were few and far between. I was on page 9 of 11 full page ads. By the time someone got to my ad, they had already been rejected by eight other lawyers.

The video production companies who help lawyers create video have changed their way of creating video. They’ve moved on from creating a single “intro” video that cost $5,000-$10,000 just a few years ago, to creating multiple videos for around that same price. I’ve seen some wedding videographers knock the price down to $2,500 for 7-10 videos. I always ask those wedding guys if they know who the lawyers’ ideal client is? They don’t and that’s a big problem. They tell me they create broadcast-quality video. I believe them. But that’s only half of the equation.

The other, more crucial part is content. It’s knowing how to get the videos found in the search engines using white label strategies that are proven and tested. It’s not just about creating good technically proficient videos. It’s getting the videos recognized; getting a viewer to have enough curiosity and interest to click on your title; getting them to watch your video in its entirety and most importantly, getting that viewer to call or email you after watching that video. If your video production company can’t show you, using proven tactics that they have the know-how to do this, then you’re paying for something that will look pretty but be nothing more than watching your money evaporate into the internet ether.

Let’s turn now to the other side of the coin; attorneys who create video on their own. There are lawyers who think they can master this video thing all by themselves. Some can, but most have not yet been able to do that. Some lawyers don’t want to spend the money to shoot video with an experienced video production company. Instead, they want to do it all themselves.

Those are the type of lawyers who would rather climb up a ladder to fix a leaking roof instead of calling a roofing expert. That lawyer will try to fix their broken watch by buying a do-it-yourself fixing book about watches. When the electrical system in the house breaks, that lawyer would rather spend a week learning how to fix the problem himself instead of hiring a certified and qualified professional electrician. This lawyer is the type of person who, when his car breaks down, eagerly spends two weeks fixing his car in his driveway and walking to work, instead of spending the money to bring it into a mechanic and get it done in one day.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great when someone has the ability, desire and time to learn to do things on their own. However, really smart attorneys and business owners realize that the way to make tons of money is to leverage their time with other people’s expertise. Here’s what I mean. If you are a transactional attorney and you bill at $400 per hour, and it will take you 2 days to edit two hours of video, the amount you could earn doing legal work would be conservatively $6,000. Is it worth it to you to spend that time editing your own video instead of earning $6,000?

It’s always a time/cost trade-off. What if you could hire a video editor to edit those two hours of video for only $1,000? Would that be a more cost-effective and economical use of your time? I should think so.

I know there are lawyers out there who think they can become a videographer using their iPhone4, their Flip camera or their Kodak Zi8 and that’s great. There are also lawyers out there who think they can become video editors using iMovie or Sony Vegas or Final Cut Express, and that’s great too. Then there are still others who believe they can become video distributors and publishers. Good for you. But wait…aren’t you still a practicing attorney? How do you have the time to do all that and more? Are you going to be using your skill to create a side-business or are you just going to keep all this information to yourself for your own benefit?

Most lawyers just want to practice law. They don’t want to get involved in marketing or video marketing. Rather, they want someone to do it all for them, and that’s good too.

So, Mr. or Mrs. Lawyer, where do you stand?

Are you closer to the lawyers who want to do it all themselves, or are you a little closer to the lawyers who want experienced and tested video production experts to do all the video work for them?

2011 will be a great year for those lawyers who implement their decisions to change. Video marketing should be done smarter, with more knowledge, information and content. Content will rule in 2011. If you lack content and a compelling reason to call you, you will revert back to the startup days of internet marketing. Make this year your most successful one ever.

To your success!”