With everyone and their cat making one these days, podcasts can seem an attractive choice for legal marketers looking for new ways to bring awareness to their law firm. However, to launch a successful podcast for your law firm, there are a few things to consider before jumping into the studio.
Podcasts and The Marketing Flywheel
The dream of most marketing departments is to find something (ads, content, memes, Steve) that can create awareness and sustained attention for your brand.
Something that isn’t the wacky wavy inflatable tube man.
Using the lexicon of our Legal Marketing Nutrition Guide, marketers dream of a Brand Building initiative that also enhances the Sales Activation side of their strategy. Something that continually generates interest and awareness. A marketing flywheel.
A branded podcast for your law firm can be that flywheel.
However, this flywheel podcast idea is not a “Get Out Of Marketing Free” card.
A podcast is a worthy investment for those who can see the concept through to make a worthy show.
There are fantastic reasons to launch a branded podcast, and there are also frank realities that need to be addressed before you consider adding it to your legal marketing mix.
(Three Reasons to Do a Podcast)
1) Content Marketing Works
Outside of your product or service, what value do you currently offer your customers? A newsletter or blog, events, sponsorships?
Assuming the media preferences of your target audience include podcasts (Edison Research, “The Podcast Consumer 2019”), a podcast from your law firm is a fantastic content marketing vehicle, creating a venue and opportunity to communicate values associated with your core business while creating a monetizable audience.
Since launching in 2018, The LAWsome Podcast has generated new clients and thousands of dollars of new business for Consultwebs.
Like all good content marketing ideas, we created a show that was valuable to our target audience first, law firm owners, and then connected this concept back to our offerings and company. The goal has always been: “Be of value to the marketplace.”
2) It’s Time Well Spent
Do us a favor. Go inside your website analytics, check on your blog, and see what the average Time on Page is for your most trafficked post.
On our blog, the Time on Page for the blog was around 2 minutes. On our podcast analytics, Time on Page was 24 minutes.
Imagine creating content that had 10x the engagement of your current efforts! Only a podcast can deliver this kind of engagement.
Again, looking at Edison Research’s “The Podcast Consumer” study, 93% of respondents say that when they listen to a podcast, they listen to most, if not the entire episode.
Who gets to the end of your latest blog on tort reform? Not saying it isn’t good – but could you create something more engaging?
3) Audio Content Isn’t Like Other Content
Podcasts, again among certain demographics, are increasingly becoming the go-to choice for content. Audio is the rare type of content you can truly multitask with. It travels to the gym, goes on a walk, and folds laundry with the listener.
Podcasts are an intimate form of communication. With a podcast, your law firm literally has a voice. Well-produced and entertaining audio content provides a new dimension of experience for your audience and creates a connection like no other marketing tactic.
And with the quality of audio fiction and dramatic podcast production increasing, we are entering into a podcast renaissance where there is massive opportunity and demand for high-quality audio content. Even big-name brands and stars are creating epic narrative podcasts, like Kelly Marie Tran in “Passenger List” or General Electric’s “Life After.”
Of course, if you want a podcast, but nothing fancy, let me tell you now about the potential downsides of the marketing quagmire you’re about to jump into.
(Three Reasons NOT to Do a Podcast)
1) You Have No Appreciation for Branding
While marketing and branding are often cited as sure-fire ways to create revenue and opportunity for a law firm, they also happen to be the last thing anyone wants to pay for.
I think the reason marketing is underfunded, particularly the long-term brand growth initiatives, is that attention and brand awareness seem like an inevitable “free” resource that accompanies sales activity.
Dropping a podcast into the marketing strategy of a business that has no appreciation for the brand building function of marketing is a recipe for failure.
A branded podcast is a slow burn, its lasting impact experienced best by marketing departments that appreciate brand building initiatives and are equipped to measure their effects over long periods of time.
Looking at two full years of stats from LAWsome again, going from 200 downloads a month to 2,000 just wouldn’t be possible without engaging, consistent, audience-focused content, and a C-Suite that understands the commitment to the long-term branding capabilities of a podcast.
2) The Product Doesn’t Fit the Market
While it’s true that podcasts are increasing in popularity, that increase is not broadly applied to the whole of the U.S. population.
Based again on the demographic research from Edison, the typical podcast consumer matches a certain segment of the population.
If this fits the market profile of your target audience, then a podcast might be a good idea. If it doesn’t, you may have to readjust your expectations and/or strategy.
Another consideration is the topical nature of your podcast, and if the topics covered in the show can create and sustain attention in your target market. The topic of your podcast does not have to be directly related to your service as a law firm.
Take a look at the podcast topics that generated the most interested audiences in 2019, according to Edison Research.
Notice you don’t see intellectual property law, torts, or bulldog litigation trial tactics on this list.
The challenge to creating a podcast that’s worth listening to is that it must first be distinct, and then compete with the top podcast experiences available to everyone.
I’ll say it again – your podcast will be in direct competition with the best podcasts out there.
Why would anyone choose your podcast over the latest true crime/New York Times/celebrity-driven podcast? You have to give them a reason to listen. The goal should be to create award-winning content for your law firm. Think that’s too big of an ask?
Since 2018, the Missouri-based personal injury law firm of Brown & Crouppen has been working with a local production company to make hilarious videos for their now Emmy-award-winning YouTube channel. The topics are definitely not legal, but they feature amazing talent and extremely high-quality content…about cereal!
If you can’t dedicate resources to creating a valuable, distinct, and entertaining show, then the expectations and product/market fit for your law firm’s podcast may never line up with reality.
3) There’s a Lack of Consistency/Talent
The marketing strategy for most law firms is typically a collection of random acts, funded by a haphazard budget and misaligned from specific goals. So when the latest boosted post on social media or cold outreach campaign fails to garner any interest, the takeaway is that marketing doesn’t work.
Whether it’s the latest bout of Restless Marketing Syndrome, no clear marketing strategy, a choppy client experience, or the latest failed short-term campaign, those in charge of business development for law firms have one common problem – consistency.
Consistency, in a podcast or any other meaningful marketing endeavor, matters.
Your podcast is a content experience that your audience can subscribe to, that can continually remind them of your value, that can be introduced into their lives again and again. But this will only happen with a consistent publishing schedule and a dependable production team behind your podcast. Which brings up the question of time and talent.
Talent, in a podcast or any other performing arts medium, matters.
In a musical performance, there are several individual items that come together to create the final product. There is the composer who wrote the music, the conductor who guides the performers, the performers who play the music, and then the audience that takes it all in.
If any one of these items is mishandled or botched, then the general takeaway is one of distaste. The audience won’t sit there to reason out how it could have been better with a tweak of talent here or there – they just walk away.
Although a lawyer running a firm and investing money in business development has a right to have a hand in all marketing endeavors, there needs to be some hard math that goes into the question of involvement in a podcast.
In regards to time: Scheduling, recording, and the back-and-forth that accompanies producing a podcast can take up several hours a week. Will you have time to dedicate/sacrifice toward hosting a podcast?
In regards to talent: The goal of the podcast is to get the listener to the end of the show, so ensuring that affable talent is behind the mic needs to be a top consideration before launch. Whether it’s you, an associate, or outside talent, the main goal is to develop a distinct voice for your firm through the podcast.
Your job with a podcast isn’t just to yammer and talk. The goal of a branded podcast is to create a show that leaves people saying, “You actually made that?”
Taking all of the above into account, podcasts are a brand experience worth investigating for legal marketers looking to create distinct and valuable content on behalf of their firm. If there is a reliable product/market fit, an appreciation for brand building in the C-Suite, and talented, consistent magic happening behind the microphone, then a branded podcast is a worthy investment and venture.
Interested in creating your own branded podcast? The award-winning production team behind our very own LAWsome Podcast is currently accepting a handful of clients. Get in touch with us to find out how Consultwebs can help launch your law firm’s branded podcast.