Armed with only a microphone, a laptop, and an interesting topic, you could soon be building credibility for your personal brand – and attracting new clients to your office. Podcasts really are the perfect practice promotion tool for family lawyers. Here’s why.
By David Pisarra, Family Lawyer
“You talk a lot. Some of it’s even good. You should do a podcast.” So began my adventures with podcasting. I had no idea what a podcast was, or why anyone would do or even listen to one, but my friend Mark was sure I needed one, and I trusted him.
In typical lawyer fashion, I did my research on what a podcast is: essentially, it’s on-demand radio. Most podcasts are audio, although there are some video podcasts, which is a format growing in popularity. Imagine being able to listen to your favorite radio show – whether it’s This American Life, A Prairie Home Companion, or Planet Money – any time you wanted. That’s the benefit of a podcast.
If you have a smartphone (and who doesn’t these days?), there are free apps that come either preloaded or that you can download for listening to a podcast while you commute, run on the treadmill, mow the lawn, or do the dishes. I’ve used the Podcasts app, Podbean, Overcast, and Stitcher to enjoy the 10 shows I subscribe to, and I’ve found they all have different benefits and aspects I like and dislike.
Podcasts: the Ultimate 24/7 Promotion Tool for Family Lawyers
As a lawyer, you have knowledge and experiences to share with the world (read “your future clients”). The beauty of this listening flexibility is that once you put out an episode, it remains there to be found 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I write from a place of experience. My “Men’s Family Law” podcast (available on iTunes, Stitcher, and www.MensFamilyLaw.com) has been live for a few years now so I have a track record of downloads and email comments from listeners. They tell me their decision to hire me was based at least partly on the benefit of the information that I gave away to them. My show is very simple: it’s 3 to 10 minutes of me talking about some aspect of family law and how it will be implemented by a judge, then I usually interview someone of interest to my listeners. My guests have included dating coaches, personal trainers (for that post-divorce “gotta get in shape” segment), psychologists to talk about parenting plans, parental alienation experts, forensic accountants, forensic psychologists, other lawyers who specialize in complementary areas, and fathers who have inspiring stories of how parenthood changed them.
From an investment perspective, my show has cost me approximately $750 and I can trace more than $300,000 in revenue back to it. That makes for a fantastic return on investment!
Podcasts Create Increased Credibility and Faster Client Conversions
I am not a celebrity, but hosting a podcast increases my credibility with potential clients and automatically makes me an expert on whatever I’m talking about. Since I create my own show, I can highlight and examine the issues my future clients will be facing. I am educating and entertaining my prospective clients while they come to know, like, and trust me – all before they step foot in my office. Imagine being able to have your prospects already know your answers to the top five questions that every prospect asks – what a time saver!
When someone comes in for a consultation, and they’ve already listened to my podcasts, it makes the conversation more beneficial to both of us since I’m not going over all the basics. They feel more empowered and engaged with me, which makes them a better client.
Another great benefit to having a podcast is that it opens doors when I want to interview someone who might become a future friend, colleague, or referral source. When I send an email asking someone to be on my show – and let them know that it is a 20-minute Skype, Zoom, or phone call – they’re eager to say yes. I’ve only had one person reject me, and in retrospect, I’m glad: they would have been an awful guest.
Getting Started: from Show Design to Distribution
To get started with podcasting, you need a microphone, a computer, and something to talk about.
Podcasters use many different types of microphones – from those earbuds that came with your phone (not recommended) to a super-expensive, professional quality mic (not recommended for first timers). I started with a $79 Blue Snowball that connects by USB to my laptop. It’s been a true workhorse of a mic for me, and I continue to use it today.
My computer was a three-year-old Apple MacBook Pro that came with GarageBand. Here are the steps I took to create my first podcast:
• Step One: Open GarageBand.
• Step Two: Hit record.
• Step Three: Start talking.
Granted my first episode was horrible, but that was operator error. I’m not a trained radio personality so I had to learn to put more energy into my presentation. Being more dynamic is crucial to having an interesting show. After my debut, each show was better than the last, and today, I can handle anything that a guest throws at me.
What to Talk about During Your Podcasts
Figuring out what to talk about was the next step, so I created a content calendar on a spreadsheet with the episode number, topic, and a potential guest. I made a list of things I found interesting and/or thought my clients should know before they came to me, then worked my way down the list. Making my list, I realized that I had many topics to chat about – and you will, too, if you are well-versed in your field of law.
Funny side-note: I was chatting with a friend as we developed her show, and she thought she had nothing to say, so I asked a couple of questions and in two minutes she had enough topics for 20 episodes!
You know more than you think you do, and your listeners know almost nothing about your topic (and what they think know is often wrong), so make your list and start talking!
Marketing ourselves and our law firms is always a difficult task because lawyers are not trained to promote ourselves. With a podcast, you can demonstrate your knowledge, personality, and ability all from the comfort of your home or office. Expect your first podcast to be terrible; just do it, learn from it, and throw it away. Your second one will be better.
Podcasting has taken me around the world both in the reach of my show and in person. I spoke last year at the Global Speakers Summit in Auckland New Zealand, and then in Johannesburg, South Africa on “Podcasting for Professionals”. Last October, I was in the United Kingdom leading a workshop on developing a podcast for the UK’s Professional Speakers Association.
For the cost of a dinner at your favorite Italian joint, you can become a podcaster, find new clients, open doors to people you want to meet, and maybe find a fun new hobby. I know I did, and I’ll always be grateful to Mark for that.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles family law attorney who focuses on men’s and fathers’ rights. He offers training for other lawyers across the nation for Thomson/Reuters on topics as diverse as family law for men, international child custody, domestic violence, and podcasting for professionals. www.TheLegalMastermind.com
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