We’ve been recording, producing, editing podcasts for law firms for over 5 years.
It’s not unusual for our agency to be recording in excess of 40 podcasts for our clients each and every month. In fact, in 2012, we launched our own podcast on law firm marketing and ceased recording in 2017, though we’re recommencing a podcast series in February.
Be that as it may, if you’re like many people you have been accustomed to listening to podcasts on a drive to work, on the train, plane or on a run, treadmill, at the gym etc etc. There is something special about podcasting and why we think they’re great is because they build rapport. Why is rapport necessary in marketing your law firm, because the law is a personal game. We both understand that a client not only will journey with you in the course of their legal matter, but they share emotions and a relationship undeniably is established, a relationship that can see a client being a part of your firm for many, many years across practice areas. Not to mention in the course of their engagement, refer plenty of clients to you.
In this context, after recording thousands of podcasts with lawyers, you cannot help in the listening of that podcast forming a view, a perception of the lawyer, their manner and their understanding of the topic. Over the years we’ve heard from these lawyers who have mentioned that clients had listened to a podcast or many of them, and appreciated their, “straight to the point” manner, “how well they understood the topic,” and of course, “how empathetic they were for people going through this issue.”
All this said, podcasting isn’t for everyone, nor should it be. We have clients who we have worked with for many years that despite our pressing, just won’t podcast, or just won’t do video etc. We have other firms who we know podcasting should never be a part of their mix, until such time as the talent presents itself. The latter point is important because as effective as podcasting can be in influencing rapport when done badly, podcasting can prove destructive to it. Simply put, there are lawyers who just can’t cut the jib and are better blog writing than talking.
Here are our tips on how to start.
1. Pick your superstars.
Effective marketing for law firms often is predicated on buy-in. Within a firm where there is invariably tension around business development, particularly marketing, it’s important to get some quick wins to better the prospects of full firm support. Risking a marketing tactic like podcasting with bad talent isn’t wise. Start with your firm’s best performers, those that are naturally confident, comfortable with public speaking and have a knack of deconstructing the law to make it make sense to your listeners.
2. Pick your topics
We find that usually, the best topics are those that start with a question. Think about your topic from the perspective of its title starting with, “why, how, who, when, what etc.” For example, “What is a Testamentary Trust,” “In what circumstances is a Testamentary Trust useful”…you what we mean.
3. Podcast length
How long a podcast should be is completely dependent upon how long it will take for you to pull apart and respond to the individual question. Don’t think you need to talk for 30 minutes. We’ve have seen great podcast results within the 5 – 8-minute range.
4. Don’t read from a script.
At times, we find lawyers are pedantic about what they should and shouldn’t say and as a result, cling to their question response script and read from it. Big mistake! Remember, a podcast is about sharing information, but most importantly it’s about rapport. If your lawyers read from a script, invariably it will be the case that it will erode any rapport you hope to build.
5. What’s the best format?
The best format we find is when we interview your lawyers on topics that they know back to front. We mutually agree on a topic beforehand, float potential questions between ourselves and agree on them. A monologue, that being you just talking into a microphone without being asked questions isn’t ideal. Personally, we find when we’re interviewing lawyers when the conversation is dipping into esoteric areas or is becoming a little beige, we’ll rejuvenate it. You can, of course, have someone within the firm ask the questions of which your lawyers will respond, but just get your technology right. (read the next section).
6. The technology.
This can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Let’s talk about the simplest form of podcasting for your firm. Without a doubt, it’s having an agency like us do it. Yes, it’s a shameless plug, but there is a lot of sense and wisdom to it. Why? Because essentially your lawyers are on a phone and we take care of everything else. But if you want to do it in-house, here are some commonly asked questions:
(a) Can we do it on an iPhone?
Sure! However, the audio will likely not be as clear as if it was recorded with a better microphone and mixing software. But, by all means, try these platforms that will make the task a little easier.
Anchor (iOS and Android)
iRig Recorder (iOS and Android)
The other difficulty you will likely have is background noise derived from having the phone positioned between the interviewer and your lawyer. I ideally, for better sound quality you want each person to be as close as possible to the microphone of the relevant device.
(b) Computer Microphone
Getting the technology right shouldn’t be an impediment to starting to podcast. One way you can do this easily is with your computer. If you’re able to fit a USB microphone to your computer and position it closely between both people, you can have better success than what you will have with a phone.
By way of example, we’ve been working with leading Australian criminal law firm Bosscher Lawyers to commence a podcast series that illuminates the criminal law industry through the eyes of all who work within it. At the time of writing this article we are at Series 1, Episode 3 and Michael Bosscher who is comfortable with technology, essentially records in his office via his computer sharing one microphone between him and his guest. We then pull the audio and edit accordingly. (more on editing later).
The other way to do this in-house is to connect 2 microphones each sitting on their own stands, and run your leads from each into a recording device. We recommend the recording device, Zoom H4n, but to get it recording at optimum levels, you will need to get its settings right. A little too much to explain here, but like most things, there is likely to be a YouTube video on it.
Connect 2 microphones to the Zoom H4n and in this respect, we recommend Rode microphones, this one in particular, Rode Podcaster.
Alternatively, purchase a splitter for the Zoom that lets two 3.5mm jacks go into one 3.5mm input. It just ‘splits’ the input, allowing use by 2 devices. In this case, purchase 2 lavaliere microphones for each person. This is a cheaper and effective way of recording great audio.
Lastly, if you’re wanting to take it to the next level, the Rodecaster Pro is exceptional.
(d) Editing software
Another reason that selecting the best talent within your law firm is the best way to get great all-round results. The last thing you want to be doing is 3 hours of editing out, “ummms” and :”ahhhhs” for a 10-minute podcast. If this is the case, your law firm’s podcasting attempt will be short-lived, because you just won’t tolerate the editing process.
Be that as it may, there are multiple editing software platforms on the market, often dependent upon whether you are on a MAC or Windows.
On MAC, entry level and it’s free is Garageband and it produces great results. On both MAC and Windows, you can look at purchasing Adobe Audition. Audacity is another platform to consider.
A topic in of itself, but once you have the podcast done, the submission and regular feed to the podcast channel usually derives from your law firm’s website. For example, if your law firm’s website is running on WordPress, the Blubrry plugin will allow you to connect to iTunes and Spotify via accounts that you will establish on both. Blubrry also offers extensive reporting which is useful, as garnering data from iTunes and Spotify is both problematic and light-on in detail.
7. Sharing Your Podcast
As mentioned above, there are numerous platforms available for syndicating your podcast. However, don’t disregard the importance of integrating your podcast wisely into your law firm’s website at junctures that are relevant. For example, if your law firm has blogs throughout the website relating to estate planning, then intersecting a reference to your podcast on testamentary trusts adds value to the reader’s experience. Also, do remember to consider customising your podcast for the relevant mediums. By way of example, here’s what we do to give listeners on Facebook a unique experience of listening to the content on Facebook rather than migrating them elsewhere.
The best way to get your law firm podcasting is just start. Pick your best talent, identify the burning questions that clients often ask, and choose a technology solution that isn’t going to bog you down. Alternatively, reach out to us and we can minimise significantly the learning curve, not to mention the time it takes to edit, integrate and syndicate every new episode.