Podcasting for Lawyers and Law Firms: Seven Steps to a Successful Series
Podcasting can be a great way for law firms to establish their brand, reach new clients, and become thought leaders in their field. Before you decide to launch a podcast, however, you want to have a clear vision of how this project fits into your overall business plan and long term goals. You also want to make sure your production quality is strong enough to keep the listeners you attract. How do you gain the skills you need to make your podcast successful? Whether you want to launch a five-part series or a six season podcast, follow these seven steps to launching a successful podcast:
What Are the Benefits of Podcasting for Lawyers?
A successful podcast series can bring value to your law practice in several ways.
1. Making You More Approachable
Contacting an attorney for legal advice can be intimidating to many people. An informative podcast where you present information in a friendly and engaging manner can reduce the fear and make prospective clients feel more comfortable taking the next step. You'll have the opportunity to humanize yourself and your practice.
2. Facilitating Topic Expansion
A complex legal topic can be difficult to sum up in a few minutes. A 15-, 30-, or 60-minute podcast provides ample time to expand on a subject and offer the audience a more in-depth perspective. The extended format also allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of the topic and position yourself as a subject matter expert. Your firm can become a go-to source for clients impacted by the issue at hand.
3. Building Your Brand
Although your podcast should not serve as a blatant advertisement for your law practice, a high-quality podcast can attract a loyal audience. The increased exposure will boost brand recognition and attract more clients to your firm. People will come to identify you with a specific legal niche, furthering your branding efforts.
4. Growing Your Network
Your podcast can allow you to connect with other members of the legal community that you wouldn't necessarily interact with during the scope of your daily work. This extended reach can lead to opportunities that fuel your professional growth.
How to Develop a Successful Podcast Series
How do you gain the skills you need to make your podcast successful? Whether you want to launch a five-part series or a six season podcast, follow these seven steps to launching a successful podcast:
1. Identify Your Audience
Before ordering a microphone and headphones, grab pen and paper and ask yourself: Who do I want to talk to - clients or other attorneys? Why am I starting this podcast? Is this a passion project, a branding opportunity, or a way to partner with colleagues in the industry?
2. Outline Your Content
Once you have identified your who, you need to work on your what. Are you planning to create new content or build on existing blogs, video transcripts, or firm newsletters? You want to be engaging and interesting, but your podcast also should not be a full time job. It may be helpful to do a competitive analysis, looking at the podcasts that already exist in your topic area, taking notes on what podcasts are most successful, and identifying gaps in existing content that you can speak to with expertise. Pro-tip: Create a reusable template for each episode reminding listeners to rate, review and share the show.
3. Use the Right Equipment
After listening to podcasts for years, I was so excited to start podcasting, I recorded my first episodes on my IPhone. I used the iPhone app "Recorder." The software you use probably isn’t particularly important, but your hardware can be the difference between a clean and clear audio experience and a distorted mess. Do some research to find the best recording mic for you, such as the Yeti mic, which is an industry standard and recommended on most Youtube videos.
4. Record in Batches
Once you have an idea of your ideal listener and an outline of your content, you are ready to record your first show. I highly recommend you prepare 4-6 pieces of content to "batch record" in one sitting. I found the following software applications simple to use and with responsive customer service: Zencastr, a service where you create an account, plug in the microphone and record content; Anchor, an "all-in-one" app that lets you record, edit, add music and publish from one platform; and Riverside FM, an application recommended by my sound engineer because of its post-production features.
5. Edit Your Work
Many podcasters are able to edit their own recordings to remove sounds, background noises and other audio impurities. If you don’t have the patience or skills for this, you have options! For a few extra dollars ($100-$200 per month), I hired a sound engineer to clean up my audio files, add music and an introduction. Consider the following editing services: Vance Lang Productions edits, adds music and publishes my show; Upwork is an online freelancer marketplace which has a great network of sound engineers and podcast specialists. Zencastr, mentioned above, has many features that allow you to edit raw audio and add music.
6. Create Your Cover Art
Don’t overthink your cover art or spend hours deciding on a podcast name. The only critical step here is that it must be super easy for listeners to find you. If your podcast features the history of Virginia law and politics, call the show “VA Law & Politics.” If you want your listeners to know that you can help business owners avoid legal nightmares, let them find you at "New Business Pro-tips." Creating cover art and adding the show name can be a DIY project using Canva software or you can hire a freelancer starting at approximately $150. Pro-tip: If you just want to record your content and let a pro handle the rest, check out all-in-one podcast producers.
7. Distribute Your Content
After your content is recorded and post-production extras have been added, the world - or more specifically your ideal listener - needs to hear your message. Podcasts live on a hosting site, similar to how your firm’s website lives on Wordpress, Wix or Webflow. Consider the following platforms that will both host and distribute your podcast to your audience: Podbean will host and distribute your show to Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcast and numerous other listening forums. Simply sign up for a free account to have your show published and distributed, and additional features for a paid subscription. Buzzsprout is another popular hosting platform that offers both free and paid subscription plans, and Captivate promises users an easy hosting experience. In the end, finding the best hosting software will take signing up for the free subscription and then playing around to find out the best fit. I always recommend trying to reach a help desk to determine if the company has responsive customer service to help you troubleshoot frustrating software issues. And whichever platform you pick, make sure it provides automated distribution features when you publish an episode.
And that’s a wrap! You’re ready to create and launch your first podcast - I’m excited to hear your first episode!
Disclaimer: I have mentioned a few specific companies and services in this article, some of which I have personally used. I do not have any affiliation with these companies, and these recommendations are a product of my personal research and experience.
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