The traditional way of showing yourself as a legal authority has been to write a long heavily-annotated treatment on a topic in article form. On the internet, slideshows are a popular way of showing your expertise. In slideshows you put things in bite-sized text summaries and eventually funnel the viewer’s interest to your main web presence. This format also keeps the viewer interacting by having to proactively move forward through the slideshow.
One example at https://speakerdeck.com/mendellawtx/caring-for-your-special-needs-child-the-special-needs-trust shows the basics of this approach. Put together, there are over 40 slides to go through, and the slides both provide legal information and suggestions to take action. Even though there is not a lot of total information, it feels like the viewer is getting a substantive (yet ominous) lecture as each phrase makes him/her less secure of his/her current situation and more in need of this attorney. Notice that there is no mention of attorneys until the last few slides when the viewer receives the attorney’s contact information. Then one can go to the lawyer’s main website or see a bio at https://speakerdeck.com/mendellawtx. See how another attorney takes the same approach at https://speakerdeck.com/weisslawny/what-is-the-difference-between-chapter-7-and-chapter-13.
Using https://speakerdeck.com is easy as you can upload a PDF and the service makes a slideshow out of it. With http://slid.es, you design your slides in an editor on the site itself. The slick touches you will notice when viewing any slideshow on http://slid.es are the smooth animated transitions between the slides. See how even with plain text slides on http://slid.es/charleschasey/javier-valls-abogados-barcelona-spain-fraud-lawyers, the slides unexpectedly glide as if on a rotating box to give a little life to this law firm’s brochure. Or you can have the slides move horizontally as http://slid.es/dwayne23/the-avanti-group-west-michigan-attorneys demonstrates. Notice how the last slide has a link which funnels the viewer from the slideshow to the attorney’s more elaborately designed home site at http://avantilaw.com/pages/why-choose-avanti/reasons-to-choose-avanti where the law firm continues to make its case as to why one should retain them. If you’re impressed with a user’s slideshow, you can use it as a template for your own slideshow.
At https://slidebean.com you also have a nice on-site editor to make your presentations. This service allows you to add even more graceful eye-catching effects. You can have different colored boxes with text in them slide into place on the screen, like a tetris version of a slideshow. You can also bump up the glitz by adding bar and pie charts, timelines, videos, and collages to your slides. The free plan does limit you to 10 slides per presentation, but you can make 5 presentations so there’s still plenty of room for your content.
Claiming 60 million monthly visitors, http://www.slideshare.net is probably the most established slideshow website. This link is a result of searching for the keyword “attorney” on the site – http://www.slideshare.net/search/slideshow?searchfrom=header&q=attorney. You can see from this link that such a search gives over 90,000 results, so there are a lot of lawyer-related slideshows on this site. There aren’t really any cool animations on this site, so you can’t expect special effects to save you here. It’s best to just go with the kind of layout that works in Powerpoint.
Slideshare is actually now part of the LinkedIn service but still functions the same. This attorney at http://www.slideshare.net/personalinjuryattorneyhowardcounty uses the traditional gavel throughout the slideshow to create a theme that’s instantly recognizable as an attorney ad. As another attorney demonstrates with http://www.slideshare.net/envoca/auto-accident-for-pa-car-accident-law-2919098, you can utilize columns of text, blocks of color and large photos in a question-and-answer format to make a slideshow seem like a comprehensive yet accessible reference source for potential clients, even though it’s also basically a lawyer ad. Beneath the ads, notice that there are transcripts of the text that is used in the slideshow, so try to make the words in your slideshows flow well, because the text will all be appearing in one big clump of words below the slideshow. Also keep in mind that because this site has a big community following, users can leave comments below your presentations, and those comments can be spam ads or worse.
If you want some really immersive transition effects, then http://prezi.com may be the presentation platform for you. The trade-off is that these slideshows are in the Flash format, so if you’re trying to capture the ipad or iphone audience, which don’t use Flash on those devices, then stay away from here. If you’re shooting for the Windows user, you’re in for a great little ride. In one sense the navigation in prezi slideshows is very familiar. You simply click on a backwards or forwards arrow to move through the slideshow. But each new slide zooms into view. A demonstration at http://prezi.com/e7p8hzpqrepa/wills-trusts-powers-of-attorney/ shows how this works.
With a Prezi slideshow, new slides can seem to materialize out of any part of the existing slide. A common way of utilizing this format is to take one large image with different sections of text, and whisking you about different areas of the image, while stopping to zoom in anywhere there is text. Many slideshows like an educational one at http://prezi.com/eb–tzqqkdxy/tax-abuse-and-domestic-violence/ use that format. Another way of using prezi is make your image be a big virtual wall of picture frames or diplomas, and then zoom in on different frames on the wall to show different aspects of your biography.
If you’ve had enough of graphic design for now, the next section will let you mainly let you do something you’re probably more familiar with as a lawyer, and that’s talking. We’ve explored some ways of making web presentations through text and pictures, and now it’s time to let you show your expertise through your own voice. We’ll do that through the magic of podcasts, and you don’t even need an ipod.