The channel Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both used to announce their bids for the presidency is not on TV. It’s a place where anyone can upload videos, from the scrappiest amateurs to the highest paid professionals. It’s a platform that has already proven capable of catapulting new faces from obscurity to stardom. We are talking, of course, about YouTube.
The free video sharing website was created in 2005 and purchased by Google the following year. Alongside Hillary and Donald, we’ve found 59 of the Am Law 100 firms who have already set up their own YouTube channels perhaps in the hopes of attracting enough viewers to become or remain the stars of the legal profession. A handful of these Am Law 100 firms jumped onto YouTube back in 2008, while some only became active within the last year.
Only seven of these top firms have more than 100 subscribers on their YouTube channel, but some of the firms’ video view counts exceed 20,000, regardless of the number of subscribers or how long the channel has existed. Jones Day leads the pack in total views, with 88,388 at press time. And yet Jones Day is a relative newcomer to video marketing. Their YouTube account was created on Nov. 14, 2012 and notwithstanding their success in finding viewers, their channel still has only 188 subscribers, or followers.
The vast majority of the videos these Am Law firms have uploaded (based on our sampling) are less than three minutes long and feature their attorneys discussing various issues, like “the impact of sustainability on clients.” Some just show attorneys performing community service.
The more successful law firm channels include series of videos, produced over time containing lengthy interviews with their attorneys, which provide insights and analysis on issues of interest to their clients. This is a great way to demonstrate thought leadership and technical savvy, while promoting the firm’s varied offerings. A lot goes into video production; presenting valuable content is just as important as the overall visual presentation.
Videos are popular, and for lawyers who spend their days pouring over documents, a welcome respite from the tedium of purely textual communication. As discussed in our prior blog posts, there are several tangible advantages to visual presentations, including the fact that they are proven to be more memorable and compelling. Videos also perform well on social media, where they are often shared, promoted and circulated broadly.
It’s also worth noting that Google owns YouTube so a content-rich channel benefits your firm’s search engine rankings. A YouTube account should contain the firm’s logo, contact information, description and links to its main website. In fact, the videos can be embedded on the firm’s website itself, which would enhance its overall appearance by supplementing the text with images. Depending on the search query, videos sometimes appear higher in the rankings than similar content presented textually.
Lawyers’ livelihoods have always depended on their ability to present information clearly and articulately. YouTube for law firms is not as out of reach as it may seem. In fact, YouTube is a natural way to leverage and demonstrate the skills of each attorney. Lawyers who shine on YouTube are more likely to earn the opportunity to star in the courtroom or the boardroom. While Am Law 100 firms may not all feel compelled to use video for marketing and practice development, over the long run failing to take advantage of YouTube may erode even a top-tier firm’s competitive edge. For more tips on YouTube for law firms read our comprehensive guide.