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:
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
About the Author
Written by Judie Saunders
For over 20 years, Judie Saunders has worked on behalf of clients accused of serious crimes and individuals who have suffered sexual, physical and psychological injuries. Judie has established a legal practice based on service with offices in New York City and New Jersey. Judie is a trial attorney inspired by her clients and pro bono work performed for incarcerated men, women, and children. Although the practicing the law and growing a profitable business consumes large portions of Judie’s time; politics and grass roots activism are pursuit’s that Judie makes a part of her lifestyle. Even with everything on her plate, Judie has managed to accomplish the following: • The B Corporation status is a prestigious designation that Judie’s law firm has received due to practicing a high level of social and environmental standards including accountability and transparency. • On July 6, 2020, The Women’s Business Enterprise Council awarded Judie’s business the certification of “Women’s Business Enterprise.“ Before earning a law degree, Judie worked as a staff member at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in Washington, D.C. Judie also served as an executive team member at the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, IL. It was at that National Convention, where President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were nominated for reelection. During this time period, Judie traveled and worked on national campaigns in Missouri and Illinois. Years later, Judie again worked in politics and policy as a legislative analyst for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. During Judie’s stint in one of the Nation’s largest most dynamic city agencies, Judie worked with commissioners, governmental staffers and elected city council officials. Judie has been quoted and/or featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Orange County Register, New Jersey Law Journal, Evolve 40over40, The Law Firm Growth Podcast, and local publications. Ms. Saunders clients share the following about her: “We reached out to Judie Saunders for help and we got much more. She answered every question and helped us unscramble a legal mess…” “Judie Saunders represented me in a difficult legal matter. Not only did she provide me with sound advice and helped guide me through the process, and in my estimation was very effective in court, but also showed great sensitivity towards me and my family…” Judie does not credit her professional success to the hundreds of cases she’s investigated, over 200 New York City grand juries, jury verdicts obtained or civil actions resolved; instead Judie credits her success to hopeless optimism, an abundance centered mind-set and deep compassion modeled by her parents who brought these characteristics with them from their island home of Trinidad and Tobago. Outside of court, Judie promotes other women, the “underestimated” and underserved though service on non-profit boards, philanthropy, voting rights organizations, chair fundraising events, and mentoring others. Judie lives with her husband, Joe Donahue and their two teenage boys.
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