Our law firm’s YouTube channel is not the biggest. We have less than 2,000 subscribers (at the time of this writing) and many of our videos have less than 500 views. But somehow our channel generates hundreds of new criminal defense clients and is responsible for seven figures in revenue year after year. How?
The key is understanding that a YouTube channel, like podcasting, writing a book, or developing a workshop, is a marketing asset that compounds in value over time. Every time a video is added to the channel, the channel will grow. The lawyer or law firm “owns” the channel, controls the content, captures subscribers, and delivers value to prospective clients who in turn retain the firm.
Contrast this with most other forms of traditional lawyer advertising, like paid directory listings, renting billboards or shelling out for pay-per-click. The firm does not own or nurture those channels but instead must pay to play. As soon as the firm stops paying for the advertising, the ads go away. No relationship or community exists. There is no list to nurture or residual benefit. The ads come down and that’s the end of it.
In my coaching program for other lawyers, I call these marketing expenditures, rather than assets. This chart helps describe the differences between these two concepts:
|Marketing Expenditure||Marketing Asset|
|Provides no real value||Provides valuable information|
|Interrupts user experience||User seeks out the asset|
|Requires payment for ad space||Operates organically|
|Costs money to create||Costs time to create|
|Does not compound in value||Compounds in value over time|
|Highly competitive||Little / no competition|
|Does not create a relationship||Creates a relationship|
Building a marketing asset is extremely valuable. To illustrate, let’s look at some numbers from our firm’s YouTube Channel.
Just in the last 28 days, we have the following numbers directly from our YouTube Analytics:
- 452 total videos
- 24,410 views
- 1,400 hours of watch time
- 1,658 subscribers
- Average watch time (engagement) of 3 minutes 42 seconds per view
- 1% male, 29.9% female
- 8% of all viewers aged 25-34
- 4% of all viewers aged 35-44
Keep in mind that these numbers are only from YouTube. Our firm also posts these videos on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram TV. We do not pay a dime for these results. This is all happening organically and for free month after month.
The videos on our channel feature me speaking into the camera talking directly to potential clients. If I wanted to reach this same audience and get 1,400 hours of face time in 28 days, that means I would have to be speaking for eight hours a day for 175 days. It just is not possible.
Most importantly, these views convert to clients. We have tracking numbers, client feedback forms and three full-time intake employees that can all attest to the fact that YouTube accounts for over half of our new clients.
This is the power of compounding, and why it is so important to build law firm marketing assets. Every time I post a video, those numbers go up. In fact, they go up regardless of whether I post videos or actively engage with our subscribers. I recently took a month off from making videos and our channel still generated clients, gained subscribers and earned feedback from viewers. It is the best marketing investment we have ever made at our firm, by far.
So valuable, in fact, that we have gone all-in on creating other marketing assets. Our podcast is a referral-building tool that we use to interface with other local business owners and thought leaders. Our treatment and recovery center workshop connects us with referral partners and helps us present to target clients all around our city. But in terms of return on investment, nothing beats YouTube.
Two factors have been critical to our channel’s success: value and volume.
The first critical component of a firm’s marketing asset, whether it is in a workshop, a book, a YouTube channel or a podcast, is that the final product provides the consumer with actual value. It must answer an actual question or provide insight into the prospect’s legal problem.
In working with other lawyers, I have seen way too many fall prey to bad advice espoused by most marketers in creating content lacking in value. Lawyers make videos that are 60-90 seconds long because they are told that consumers do not have an attention span.
They are not technically wrong. If a lawyer is creating worthless content consisting only of 60-90 seconds sound bites about how great their firm is or how much they care, they should not expect a viewer to pay attention.
But if the lawyer or the firm is providing important and valuable information, the viewer will continue to watch. As a reminder, our viewers engage our channel’s content for an average time of nearly four minutes. This is because the content is substantive. Most of my videos are anywhere from 6-10 minutes long because I review legal information that is pertinent to the viewer’s problem. One of my most-viewed videos is more than 30 minutes long, and nearly a third of the viewers watched the entire thing. Why? It is very valuable to them.
Clients with legal problems are hungry—starving, in fact—for information. If you provide them with true value, they will watch your videos or consume your content. After they watch your video, they will understand that they cannot solve the problem on their own and call you for help. By providing information for free without giving a sales pitch or hiding the ball, you create trust, which ultimately translates into business.
The second key component is volume. Posting one video a month just will not cut it. Once you understand the formula and know how to provide value, the next step is to ramp up production and create new content consistently. Our target is to publish at least 20 videos per month, or once every day of the workweek. This is critical in casting a wide net and building momentum.
This is part of a concept that I call The High Value of Low Views. Many lawyers are immediately discouraged from getting into social media, videos or podcasting because of the fear of not being liked. They believe that unless their content is getting thousands of views it is not any good, not working or not worth the effort, which could not be further from the truth.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, many of our videos have under a thousand views. This is because our content is hyper-specific. Let’s look at an example.
If I made a video titled “How to beat your DUI,” it could theoretically be applicable to any type of DUI, in any court, in any state, no matter the person’s background. This video is very likely to get more views, because people from all over the country may be inclined to watch it in hopes of beating their DUI. But when content is applicable to everyone, it is helpful to no one. Our firm cannot help a person across the country in a different jurisdiction where we are not licensed to practice. Their view is nice, but it does not translate to business.
Instead, my video “How often do DUI cases go to trial in Arizona?” answers a very specific, very targeted question. It only has 920 views after being published for a year and a half, which equates to roughly 50 views per month. But because of the nature of the question, I know that every one of those views reaches my target client, who is concerned about going to trial with a DUI case in Arizona. We can help that person and they know it. They watch and they call to schedule an appointment. Now multiply that by 451 other videos. This is the power of volume and the high value of low views.
With value and volume, small law firms can outsmart and outmaneuver the big spenders in your legal niche. More and more lawyers are recognizing the value of creating video and other marketing assets, but it is not too late. Embracing this model will propel your firm into the future. Hit the record button, upload and press publish. Remember, done is better than perfect. Start building your firm’s best asset today.