Your site visitors would undoubtedly like to put a voice to the text you’ve been putting on your sites. It’s commonly known that you should put a picture of yourself to personalize your profile, and hearing your own words will further help visitors get to know and like you, and give them comfort that they know what you sound like before they even call your office for a consultation.
Getting started in this section means that you first have to have some way of recording yourself. If you have a built-in microphone in your computer or device, then you probably have some way to record that’s already installed in your system. If you don’t have any recording software, then consider the program Audacity at http://audacity.sourceforge.net. The screenshot of the software may look a little daunting, but there are many user-friendly tutorials at http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/ to get you working with the program’s interface. Keep in mind also that each podcast site you go to will have its own help or FAQ (frequently asked questions) section which will assist you in making recordings, and some sites even have their own free recording and editing apps that you can use on the site.
Podcasts aren’t just audio files you get through itunes for an ipod. Nowadays a podcast is any kind of recorded talk you can access on the web. The site https://soundcloud.com is known for a vast assortment of user-uploaded music, and even that site has lots of podcasts. By searching with the tag “legal podcasts” as I did with https://soundcloud.com/tags/legal%20podcast, you can start to discover all the ways the legal field is using this medium. You can get an idea of how easy it is to link your podcast elsewhere at https://soundcloud.com/pages/embed.
But what are you going to talk about? If you can get a radio show to have you on as a guest or guest host, as you can find at https://soundcloud.com/wesleystrawn and https://soundcloud.com/catarina-benitez-attorney for example, that’s a ready-made audio source. You can take the audio from a zany commercial you made and upload that to a soundcloud profile, as the attorney at https://soundcloud.com/upstate420attorney did with his commercials. Or you can keep the tone more sober and authoritative, as made evident by the mini-lectures about asset protection another lawyer posted at https://soundcloud.com/nevadatrusts/sets/gary-fales-attorney. Your profile page on Soundcloud can become another mini-site where you can post links to your web site and social media pages, and add a bio of yourself.
Having taken your initial foray into an audio community, the next step is to join a site specifically for broadcasting podcasts. Don’t worry, there are plenty of attorneys at these kinds of sites too – see http://www.spreaker.com/tag/attorney if you don’t believe me. What dedicated broadcast sites like http://www.spreaker.com usually do is give you the opportunity to add creative effects to your broadcasts and offer live broadcasts, as opposed to sites like soundcloud which are more designed to simply upload audio files for the site community. With live scheduled broadcasts, you can promote your podcast as an event where listeners might want to participate live in whatever way the podcast site allows them to.
A podcast site which keeps it very simple is https://www.podomatic.com. Again, don’t be scared by all the flashy music craziness that dominates the site. You can make a very clear presentation on legal issues with this service, and http://www.podomatic.com/profile/gancilegal is a well-done example of that. This DUI attorney has almost 30 episodes explaining how DUI laws relate to common people’s concerns about the topic. He also includes his firm logo, his portraits (one with his main web site address), and a bio. Rather than just make a profile page that doesn’t change, you can house your podcast episodes in a blog format. The DUI attorney does this at http://gancilegal.podomatic.com, but see how an immigration attorney at http://immigrationattorney.podomatic.com does this even more effectively. She uses short descriptions of each episode in separate blog-like posts to entice the visitor to listen to, download, and comment on each podcast. A quick guide at https://www.podomatic.com/quick_post shows how easy the steps are to turn a sound file into a podcast post.
If you don’t want to broadcast a whole show and would rather just offer some quick legal tips on occasion, then Buzzsprout at http://www.buzzsprout.com is a fine accommodation. It offers analytics which lets you see statistics on how popular your podcasts are, and of course gives you a mini-website to park your podcasts. It promotes itself as a smooth experience for mobile users and provides a slick-looking audio player that you can easily embed on other websites. The trade-off for these glitzy features is that the free plan only lets you upload 2 hours of podcasts a month and deletes each podcast after 90 days. If you’re not looking to store a scholarly archive or frequent long radio shows, this is one of the prettiest ways to get your audio out there.
Next you’re going to practice tying together more elaborate presentations in animation or video formats, since you’ve now worked with text, images, slideshows, and audio. Then you will have lots of ways to plug creative assets in those web sites you were making in the first few lessons. Since many start-up technology web sites have an “explainer” video on their home pages, there are many tools for making your very own legal explainer video.