Tag Archives: YouTube

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.

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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: Be an expert

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.

You’ve probably been practicing law long enough to know that you are good at what you do, and should be recognized for it beyond just your coworkers, clients, and other attorneys. One way to stand out from the crowd and communicate to a wider audience is to become an expert. If you don’t want to be an expert on a national or international scale, you can be a big fish in a small pond. How big you want your sphere of influence to be is up to you.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Define Your Niche and Audience. An obvious niche is the area in which you already practice law. But can you refine that even more? Decide if you’re going to be an expert to other attorneys or if you are going to want to appeal to people outside of the legal profession. Then you can plan where you are going to share your expertise and what type of language you are going to use to communicate with them.

Prepare. Even though you already have a lot of knowledge and experience, it never hurts to get more education and to read even more so that you will be a good source of information for others. Get tips from someone who is more established in your niche, or talk to a mentor. If you don’t know anyone personally who can help, then go online and look at experts’ books and articles to read all you can. Look at what the current experts know, and see if you can add something unique or extra. Or just find out what the average person knows. You just need to know more than they do to give them helpful advice.

Break it Down. Law is a complex subject for many people. A good way to become an expert outside the legal profession is to take a complex case that you have worked on, or an important historical or current legal decision, and simplify it for people to understand. You can also explain what current laws mean in “layman’s” terms. Then post your summary online, either at your own site or someone else’s. There are also various publications that you can submit your explanation to, online or offline.

Outlets. Experts give seminars, teach classes, appear on panels, write articles, post online, publish books, go on TV and radio, have a YouTube channel, and more. Decide what outlet you want to use to display your expertise. Or do them all. The more exposure you have, the more you’ll be known, and after a while, you won’t have to put forth so much effort; people will be asking you to make an appearance or write something for their publication.

And remember: Substance still matters. Stay informed on your chosen niche, develop superior speaking and writing skills, and the combination of your helpful knowledge and experience, combined with your exposure, will make you a solid expert to whom people will turn.

Leveraging Your Reputation: PR 2.011

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.

We started with Public Relations 1.0, the basics of PR and traditional, off-line methods for getting attention for your brand. Then we moved to Public Relations 2.0, when social media and an online-focus took over the scene. Now we come to Public Relations 2.011, a time of endless possibilities (and predictions) for PR in 2011 and beyond.

The legal public relations industry is definitely seeing its fair share of forecasts. Formal press releases have seemingly disappeared while social networks and real-time updates have become commonplace for law firms’ strategic-marketing plans. Consider these suggestions for your own legal marketing plan as we move into another decade.

Meeting the Man — or Woman — Behind the (Social) Media

Arranging meetings between attorneys and newspaper reporters or television news producers is not out-of-the-ordinary in this business. In fact, we very much encourage these meetings and try to make them happen as often as possible to establish relationships between reporters and informed and personable legal sources (you). But what about those reporters who only use social media platforms, such as legal bloggers? Because they are social media-centric, is face-time off the table? Not at all. There is a human attached to those typing fingers, and that blogger still needs quality sources, fresh content and new ideas. Think about the media in your social network. Identify the ones in the same city as you and reach out to suggest a face-to-face meeting.

Renewing the Focus on Crisis Communications and Reputation Management

YouTube videos can tally millions of views within hours of being uploaded, while one tweet from Rhode Island can be re-tweeted across all 50 states in less than 15 minutes. Now that the speed at which information is shared tops the speedometer, attorneys and law firms must be ever mindful of potential crises and their online and offline reputation. Especially with the emergence of Wikileaks this past year and a public demand for freedom of information, attorneys should be mindful of their legal documents and what to share with or guard from the public. A firm’s public relations professionals must be strategic counselors to determine what can go right and wrong in a matter of minutes, and become skilled at expecting the unexpected. Have a plan in place and you’ll be ahead in the race.

Taking the Daily or Weekly Temperature of Media Exposure

I’ve seen many firms who do not place much importance on the specific value of the exposure they receive. Rather, they only care that exposure WAS received. But no public relations effort can be valuable unless it can be measured. There’s a big difference between “warm” and “room temperature,” so make sure you measure your media to get hot – it can increase your firm’s website hits and even client count. Law firms and attorneys should expect their PR agencies to measure the value of all placements achieved and report the results each week. But first of all, it is important to determine the types of results that matter most to your firm—whether it is website visitors, Twitter followers, blog comments, LinkedIn connections, stories in print media or clients gained. Doing so early on makes it easier to assess the true value of your media exposure. And the forecast for 2011 – hot, hot, hot!

Leveraging Your Reputation: The media’s Christmas list

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.

Editors and reporters expect different things from us than they did, say, four years ago. This holiday season, let’s make sure they get what they want. Besides, to quote the age-old adage: “You must first give, in order to receive.”

Consider the following items on the media’s wish list for 2010 to get prime time exposure in 2011 and beyond:

Multimedia story supplements

Words, words, words. Although powerful, words can only go so far. With the media going from print, radio & television to print, radio, television, blogs, social networks and all things online, it is only right that we offer the media material they can use on different mediums. YouTube videos of vital/shocking/ entertaining footage, Twitpics from the day of a trial, podcasts from a recorded Q&A industry panel – sprucing up your story with multimedia material is the ultimate holiday treat for a reporter and his or her story.

Fresh content that’s readily available

By now, the question is not “Are you using social media?” but rather, “Which social media applications are you using?” Your reasons for being active with social media are two-fold. First, reporters get story ideas from many different sources, so the more relevant places you can spread your message, the better chances there are that a reporter will pick up on it. Secondly, media like to see their sources stay as up-to-date with current events and trends as the front page of the daily newspaper. So make sure to keep your online newsroom current and refresh your blog with new content frequently, especially if it provides a fresh take on an ongoing trend.

Reality, without the hype

Despite what you might think, media will not be tricked by attempts to make a story sound more intriguing that it actually is. If you have a good story, you shouldn’t have to throw in phrases like “groundbreaking,” or “never before seen” – unless of course it IS groundbreaking or never before seen. Reporters and most bloggers nowadays are trained professionals and sometimes over-hyping a story can be more of a turn-off than a media turn-on. Instead, just keep it real. That includes being honest, kind, thorough, helpful, responsive and understanding. Sometimes we need to be reminded that these are the attributes that will keep reporters (and people in general) coming back to you as a trusted source and expert time and time again.

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?

Working toward your wish list

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.

At our agency, we like to give people what they want. When we first meet with a new client, we ask them what their “wish list” is because we want to know which specific media outlets they want to see themselves in. “Oprah” is usually a given. And as much as we would love to give “Oprah” to our clients, with a big, red bow on her head, we always have other outlets in mind that can help us work our way toward those “wish list” media outlets. As they say, shoot for the moon; even if you don’t make it, you’ll still land among the stars.

Morning Radio? If you’re dying to be on a morning radio show, we suggest that you get some practice. Radio producers and hosts want to interview people who know how to be interviewed, so the more you’ve done, the better. BlogTalkRadio is a site that serves as a platform for various talk radio programs covering a wide variety of categories; books, law and culture to name a few. Being interviewed on one of these programs and the subsequent podcasts is great because 1) it gives you practice that can be added to your interview resume, 2) it is great online exposure and 3) the interview can be downloaded and circulated to other media. Think of it as the bait to catch the big fish.

Law Publications? If you’re just aching to be featured in a prominent legal publication, try saturating the legal blog world first. Not many people realize this, but reporters and editors read blogs to get ideas for their articles and stories. You can saturate in two ways: 1) Start your own legal blog. Find your niche and stick with it, offering quality advice and unique commentary. 2) Connect with other legal blogs and ask if they’d be interested in featuring your take on legal best practices or doing a Q&A or even a guest blog post. Being featured in a prominent legal blog gives legal publications a reason to come looking for you.

Television? Do you dream of a slot on primetime television? This may be a sign that you need to be more active on YouTube. We’ve all heard the stories: YouTube sensations, videos hitting the million-views mark in one day, going viral, viral, viral. But you don’t need to have a million views for your YouTube video to be a successful tool. Perhaps it is a legal tip of the week. Or footage of your most recent speaking engagement. Or maybe you stage a mock interview a couple employees. Get creative, get in front of a camera and prepare for primetime.