In the last lesson we explored some interesting services to make short teaser videos composed of basic animation, including logos, slideshows, intros, and even cartoons. But maybe you want to take a few pieces of longer video you’ve shot yourself, and edit them for the big show – YouTube. Even if you’re placing videos on your own sites, placing videos additionally within the search scope of YouTube’s massive audience is an easy way to increase potential viewership. When I entered a search query as relatively narrow as “tax attorney miami” in the youtube search box, there were over 8,000 results.
Just as I first introduced the Audacity sound-editing software as a way to really be prepared to work with podcasts, check out Lightworks at http://www.lwks.com for video-editing software you can install on your computer. Although, like Audacity, the interface may seem complicated, there are video tutorials at http://www.lwks.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=107&Itemid=216 that will get you through basic editing and up to exporting your file to Youtube. It’s nice to know stand-alone software like this in case you want to produce your video in a way the template sites won’t allow. Also check to see if your computer system came with any video editing software like Windows Movie Maker or Apple’s Imovie.
The big hosting sites like Vimeo and YouTube also give you resources for editing videos because they don’t want you to wander away from their playgrounds. Vimeo’s Enhancer service at http://vimeo.com/enhancer offers many options for applying mood filters to videos, in much the same way that Instagram allows you to apply filter effects to photos. In fact, if you feel comfortable just using Instagram, then you can read their information at http://help.instagram.com/442610612501386 about how you can work with your short videos purely with their service.
You are probably familiar with video filters as they apply to lawyer videos in television commercials. Notice how in http://vimeo.com/74280923 the video is presented in a muted black-and-white format to back up the somber declarations of the attorneys’ willingness to go to trial. Or how simply placing photos in film frames and slowing panning the camera gives the slideshow approach an elegant upgrade for a commercial at http://vimeo.com/74029018.
Vimeo also has a nice tutorial section at http://vimeo.com/videoschool. YouTube’s version of this is their creator hub at http://www.youtube.com/yt/creators/. From there you can go to their tools page at http://www.youtube.com/yt/creators/tools.html where you’ll find a link to their video editor. The YouTube editor lets you add effects, trim and combine elements of the video, and add free music soundtracks. The trade-off in using Youtube is that there are many ads, videos can be slow to play, and, given the huge user base, you can get a lot of strange and negative comments placed right on the page with your video.
If you are looking at making videos on a consistent basis as a form of legal education and attracting a regular audience, YouTube will be a natural draw for you. Because YouTube is heavily reliant on individuals promoting channels of video series in order to monetize them like television episodes, YouTube has a whole manual at https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/playbooks/youtube.html which serves simply to show you how to increase your viewership. Topics like captions, links, analytics, promotions, community building, and metadata will show you how to make your video a more interactive marketing tool than just some content with a play button. It’s even possible to take a longer Youtube video lecture and split it up into class lessons. The service at http://www.stepup.io lets you create courses in just this way, so that you can take an otherwise boring legal topic and make it much of an engaging learning experience.
Because Google owns YouTube, making videos is also important for search engine optimization. Anyone doing a search in Google can click on “videos” at the top of the search screen and see a list of Youtube videos pertaining to their search query. In addition to what is contained in the information on the YouTube and Vimeo sites, there are also many sites like http://www.onlinevideo.net/category/how-tos that offer ways to improve and use your videos to your best advantage, including SEO information.
As you browse through videos of attorneys on these services, you’ll quickly realize that most are some mix of a title or logo intro, a middle section of the attorney speaking or slides of stock photography, and then the attorney’s contact information being displayed for a few moments. So it’s perfectly acceptable to keep it simple, but remember the personal touches in video. Show clips of your long-time staff members explaining why they love working for your firm. Show yourself briefly explaining what goes into one of those big files that make up a case, why you’re good at doing all those things, and how often you tell the client what’s going on with the stuff in that file. Go for the politician angle and show a few moments with your family or simply shaking a client’s hand. The client wants to know your firm is competent and attentive to their needs.
In our next segment we’re going to shift into e-mail marketing, since you now have a basic understanding of how to make simple web sites and add some nice content to them. On the web sites you created, you noticed that many of the services offered e-mail forms as a feature of those web sites. At the very least, you could always include your e-mail address in your contact info on those sites. The next step is to explore the ways that you can use those e-mail addresses you’re collecting to directly reach out to and form an ongoing relationship with new potential clients.