Tag Archives: Video

Leveraging Your Reputation: Two ways to be an expert online

Tom Ciesielka is president of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has about 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Association CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

There are various ways to become an expert through speaking, media appearances, and writing. Here are other two ways that you can become an expert, which will enhance your reputation even more:

Use LinkedIn. Join a LinkedIn group in the area in which you specialize and get involved in discussions and answer group members’ questions. And here’s something that will make you really stand out: start a discussion where you offer some proprietary information to the members. For instance, if you’ve published an article about how a particular law will help your members in their profession, or you’ve published an analysis of legal trends, then share that with the group.

An even more effective way to connect with group members and to raise your LinkedIn profile is to make a Top 10 list of something that will help them. If the information that you’re offering is specific and beneficial, they will want it. After you’ve created your list, let the group know by starting a discussion thread, and tell them to email you if they want a copy.

I’ve seen it work effectively: Several months ago, someone posted a message in a group that I belong to, saying that she created a checklist for fundraising, and asked people to e-mail her to get it. So many people contacted her and made comments below her post, that she is one of the most influential people in the group, and her profile has been at the top of the page as a key influencer for several months.

Create Videos. Many people post videos on YouTube or Vimeo and gain a following if their content is helpful. Think of tips or insights that you think people need to hear. First look at other videos and see what people are searching for and watching, and come up with effective search terms and content that will make your video attractive. If you’re not sure about how to create quality videos, see my tips that I’ve shared here before.

Overall, think about how the information and experience that you have can help others, and find the best outlets to express your expertise so that people will see that you’re an attorney to whom they should turn.

Leveraging Your Reputation: Tips for interviewing a guest on your video or podcast

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

I’ve shared tips for creating videos https://h20cooler.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/leveraging-your-reputation-make-your-videos-better/ and podcasts https://h20cooler.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/leveraging-your-reputation-podcasting-for-publicity/ here before, and hopefully you’ve tried those suggestions. So let’s suppose everything is ready to go: your equipment, plan, and ideas. There might be someone who would make an interesting guest for your video or podcast, which would give you a chance to interview him or her. Interviews not only add variety to what you’re creating, but also help you reach out to different kinds of people, even outside the legal profession, which makes them look good and you, too.

Here are some tips for conducting successful interviews, assuming you’ve already done the research about your guest and topic and have already watched or listened to how the pros do it:

1)      Ask open-ended questions. It is tempting to ask questions such as, “Are you happy this case was successful?” But the answer could be a simple “yes” if the person isn’t naturally talkative or doesn’t know that he or she “has to” talk at length. Many people have never done an interview, so you have to guide them with the questions. A better question would be, “How do  you feel about the results of the case?”

2)      Keep the questions short. Ask a question in the simplest way possible. Even if you already know information about the person or the topic that he or she is talking about, there’s no need to prove what you know before you ask the question. Let the interviewee tell the story and share details instead of you. In other words, don’t “frontload” the question with your own knowledge and experience. After all, what’s the point of the interview if you’re going to do most of the talking?

3)      Keep the prepared questions in your pocket. You might want to go through your list to hit everything you want to get out of the person you’re interviewing, but if he or she says something interesting, ask about it and follow up instead of moving on to the next question. Only refer to your prepared questions if you feel that you haven’t covered everything you want. But usually, with effective questioning, you get what you want out of the interview, and there’s no need to even refer to the questions because it’s a natural progression from one idea to another.

4)      Be quiet. It is irritating to the listener or viewer when the interviewer says, “uh-huh,” or audibly reacts in other ways to what the person is saying. Don’t respond with sounds, but instead nod your head to show that you are listening. If you’re doing an audio interview and the interviewee says something funny, smile instead of laughing. The focus of the interview should be the other person, not you.

5)      It’s not about you. People look at famous interviewers on TV and assume that they have to show as much of their personality and intensity as they can, but that is not a good idea because the star of the interview is the other person, not you. If the interview is effective and good information has been revealed, then that will be a great reflection on you anyway.

Have fun, relax, and make the most of the opportunity and guest because you never know where it might lead in your own publicity efforts.

Leveraging Your Reputation: Make your videos better

Tom Ciesielka is president of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

Videos are becoming more popular for attorneys who want to add more media to their websites or who want to upload videos to YouTube or Vimeo. Creating videos is a great idea, but there are some basic things you should know to improve the quality of your videos and to maintain your audience as well.

Audio matters. People assume that having a good image is the most important part of creating a great video, but if your audio isn’t good, people will tune out. Try to record in a quiet place, preferably one that is carpeted, so that there isn’t any ambient sound. You can also get good audio in a few other ways. One way is to hold the camera (or phone, if you’re using one) right up to the person who is speaking, and wear headphones to monitor the quality. Another way is to get an external microphone for your video recorder, or a clip-on microphone to put on yourself or another person you’re recording.

The best way to get good audio is to use a separate recorder, such as a handheld audio recorder, which you can sync up with the video when you edit it all together. That last method requires advanced skills, but if you already know how to edit video, then you can learn how to integrate your audio file into the process so that you get superior sound.

Light the subject. Since the subject of your video is the most important, make sure the most light is focused on him or her. First choose a darker area to focus the camera because it adjusts to brightness. The light source should be behind you, not behind the subject. The best light is natural light, and one way you can get natural  light is by standing in front of a window to allow the light to shine from behind you onto the subject.

Use a tripod. You might think you have a steady hand, but when you use a tripod, it ensures that the camera will be still. Not only does a tripod prevent movement, but it also helps your video look sharp, not grainy or blurry.

Finally, if each video you create covers only one topic and is short (10 minutes or less), your audience will pay attention and will be able to find your videos easier. And as I’ve said before about other types of promotion, be sure to choose a niche so that you become an expert in that area.

Leveraging Your Reputation: Get active

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

Even though you’re busy, you should take advantage of opportunities where you can actively find new clients, instead of waiting passively for someone to request your services.

The following are three ways to proudly represent your firm:

Make a Speech

Speaking engagements are multifold in terms of the benefits you receive from them. First, when you are a speaker at an event or conference, you are revered as the expert. People will look to you as the most knowledgeable on the topic about which you are speaking. You will also have the opportunity to directly interact with potential clients. Being friendly and responsive to questions and comments will demonstrate that you care, which never fails to resonate with people.

Participate in the Community

Nowadays, the world wants to know how you are helping others and contributing to worthy causes. By connecting with members of the community, you give your firm a great reputation. Some firms create a team that participates in charity walks, which is great exposure for a firm’s name. It also is a good way to improve internal public relations, which helps establish external public relations as well.

Put Your Face (and Voice) on the Web

Offer options to your website visitors; they may respond more favorably to video or audio rather than just text. If you decide to include video or audio on your website, do not have it play as soon the page is opened. Rather, give visitors the option of clicking on it to hear your message.

When you think about who your firm is and what it does, you need to think about what you know, offer, understand, supply, or do better than anyone else. So actively seek out clients and opportunities, and more meaningful connections will be made.

Leveraging Your Reputation: Big ideas, big reward

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and mid-sized law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs.  Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

When we work with our clients, we always try to think of new ways to help get the key message across and make a bigger splash. Some of our suggestions might require more time and resources, and may make you a little nervous at first, but it’s these big ideas that we encourage you to implement. Remember – big ideas can bring big rewards.

Set Up a Microsite

Creating a website is no small task. And even though “microsite” technically means “small site,” the payoff of creating one can have a big impact. A microsite is a unique web page (or pages) that highlights a particular event, issue, campaign, case – basically anything you want to draw specific attention to. It’s a customized page with a unique URL that is separate from your firm’s main home page and can stand alone for parties interested in just one specific issue. It gives you the opportunity to have a control center for all news and information related to a specific issue, which can make it easier for your clients and the media to find the info they are looking for. Consider the recent Domino’s Pizza campaign – “Show Us Your Pizza.” It has a unique web page that is clearly intertwined with the Domino’s brand, but focuses on only one of the company’s many campaigns and offerings.

Get In Front of the Video Camera

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth double that. Capturing video during events, presentations, demonstrations and even day-to-day activities can bring your reputation to the next level and provide a memorable and visual link to your firm and brand. Quality matters when it comes to video, so depending on the purpose of the video, investing in either reliable equipment or an experienced videographer can ensure that your videos are viewed – and viewed frequently. For example, if you want to capture footage from an event, having a durable hand-held video camera with a good zoom feature should suffice. But if you’d like to create a video for your website that includes client testimonials and requires advanced editing, it would be wise to hire a professional. Either way, utilizing video and the Internet (sites such as YouTube or Vimeo) will benefit your brand-building efforts.

Utilize the Mobiles

Next time you’re on the train, count how many people are using their mobile phones. I’d bet a lot of money that at least one person is. With all the smart phones out there nowadays, there is a high demand for mobile applications and mobile web browsing. Mobile marketing is the next step in the grand marketing scheme of things. We’ve gone from delivering messages in print, radio, television, Internet, billboards and now, you can disperse your brand message directly to cellular phones. You can effectively utilize mobiles by making sure your website is mobile-friendly so anyone can easily and conveniently access it on the road. You can also use or create mobile applications and send text messages to personalize your connection and send quick updates with vital information, “from the trenches” event updates or legal industry news. Really, how much closer can you get to potential clients than being inside their pockets and purses?

Making firm fireworks

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and mid-sized law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs.  Reach him at tc@tcpr.net

With bright colors and loud noise, fireworks are pretty hard to ignore. So what better way to attract media attention than having your own firm fireworks show? Figuratively speaking, or course.

Bright colors

Color is a natural attention-getter. Perhaps that’s why the phrase “raising a red flag” is used when something needs immediate attention. Media love to raise red flags and report on various international, national and local issues, which is why they are prone to pay attention if your firm is the one raising the red flag. When your firm discusses topics involving major issues and problems, or offers solutions to calm others’ anxieties, the media is going to want to talk to you. Think about some of the hot topics right now and what people are worried about. If you focus on solving problems, people will focus on you.

Loud noise

Just like the BOOM of a firework triggers a whiplash reaction, an exciting event or unique story has an all-eyes-on-you effect. Maybe your firm does some original research and then publicizes the shocking or interesting results (media love original research studies and statistics). Or perhaps you organize a Twitter legal quiz challenge asking law-related questions to your followers and offering a prize to the follower who gets the most questions right. These tactics can be silly or serious, whichever your preference. Cisco chose the silly route and received some serious national attention for this video created by one of their interns.

Different shapes

One of the great things about watching fireworks is that you don’t know what the next firework is going to look like. Keeping the media on their toes is an effective strategy to, well, keep them interested in you. Apple has of course done this effectively, since they keep coming out with new versions of the iPhone (to which I ask, when will it end? And to which I answer, most likely never). This strategy requires some planning ahead. Think about what you can do or say that can be divided into parts. You could use celebration months such as Women’s History or Black History and release a related yet unique legal fact each day. Or you can create your own recurring “holiday.” Maybe you establish that the first Friday of every month, your entire firm organizes an out-of-office event to connect with potential clients, such as a lemonade stand at the street corner near your office building or a legal trivia contest to find “America’s Next Top Lawyer.” The media will be itching to hear about what you have planned next.

Grab some matches and take hold of these tips for fireworks ammo. And don’t worry – these types of fireworks are legal in all 50 states.

The blending lines of legal business

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and mid-sized law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs.  Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

When I think back on my first art class as a child, I remember learning about the primary colors – red, yellow and blue. I was amazed that all the other colors came from only three shades. How was it possible that in different quantities, they could create any color across the spectrum, but still be their own individual hues?

In some ways, the primary colors represent the new way to think about the 21st Century legal business model, specifically marketing, public relations and business development. These three practice areas can combine to create a new and vast array of opportunities, while still maintaining their own basic principles. To be a true legal business artist in 2010, it’s necessary to not only know the three primary colors – marketing, PR and business development – but to be a master painter and blend their strategies and tactics to move your law firm forward.

Grab your smock and easel – let’s get artsy.

Have an artist’s vision

Do you think Michelangelo started painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel without having a plan or an idea of the end result? Blending marketing, PR and business development is impossible without first having a vision for where you want to go and how you want external audiences to view your practice. Develop and commit yourself to one overarching message that will guide your efforts – a message that will drive your marketing efforts, your communications strategy and your sales tactics. Start by making broad strokes with the vision and mission of your firm and what you value.

Upgrade your basic paintbrush

Integrating technology into the move to blend marketing, PR and business development can take you from crayons to Kandinsky in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Whether you sit across the hall or across the country from a team member, use technology to link up different offices and stay connected. Video conferences via Skype, live documents via Google Docs, and brand communications via a firm blog enable any artist to avoid being isolated from the rest of the blended team.

Make a masterpiece

Communicate the main message and vision, and give the marketing, PR and business development teams the green light on the best way to work together. Each firm is different, so it may be weekly check-ins, a solid internal communications system, or posters around the office with the brand promise on them. Giving the teams ownership of their synergy will truly make your firm a timeless classic.