This is the text from my September article in the Louisville Bar Association’s Bar Briefs (page 9). I recently gave up an hour of my life for the sake of my clients and this article. Google’s CFO and Chief Business Officer hosted their 2015 second-quarter earnings call, in July. I listened in to see what they were reporting. If there’s one thing that came through clearly, it’s the way YouTube is contributing to Google’s overall growth and profitability.
Google’s Earnings Report Emphasized the Growth of YouTube
The growth of YouTube (acquired by Google in 2006 for $1.65B) translates into some interesting opportunities for law firms. If you read my May 2015 Bar Briefs article, you learned how video marketing in rural areas offers your firm a competitive advantage.
Take a look at some of the results from Google’s earnings call:
- Google confirmed that YouTube has +1 billion active users
- YouTube watch time increased by 60% year over year
- On mobile, YouTube attracted more viewers aged 18-49 than any US cable network
- The average YouTube session on mobile is now 40 minutes (a 50% year over year increase)
- Searches starting at YouTube.com are up 300% year over year
The consumption of video content continues to grow at an astounding pace. Even more importantly, consumers show a strong preference for video-based content vs. text-based.
I’ve spent much of 2015 working with law firms to develop video-marketing strategies. The initial objective is to augment tools they currently use such as websites, blogs and social media. However, it’s important to remember the secondary objective – helping them to get videos into Google search results to increase new business inquiries. As this is happening, we’re also seeing these videos begin to dominate in YouTube search results. Remember, searches starting at YouTube.com are up 300%.
As indicated in the above Google statistics, people are rapidly adopting YouTube as a legitimate, information resource. This can be an advantage for firms who want to incorporate some type of video, but shy away from TV advertising.
Law firms are electing to allocate marketing dollars to the production of online videos. These marketing assets can easily be distributed via the firm’s website, blog posts and social media properties. For solo and smaller firms, online videos offer a way to compete with more aggressive advertisers.
The ascendency of online video marketing is changing the way attorneys make a first impression.
Years ago, I published an article for the KY Dental Association detailing how a website has become the new “front door” for many practitioners. Referring a prospective client to your firm’s website offered a much more comprehensive way to make a first impression.
Savvy attorneys could be heard saying, “Just Google me.” It was meant to highlight expertise via their online articles and website content. If that statement seems a little bold, get prepared for what I’m already recommending to my clients. The new authority phrase is, “YouTube me.”
If broad, text-based content offers a way for prospective clients to form a solid opinion, how much more impactful is a series of easy to understand videos?
Video content enables people get a sense of how you communicate and some insights into your personality. It’s an extremely effective medium. If properly leveraged, it’ll help you stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Here’s a quick test. Given the surge in YouTube viewing, see how you and your firm stack up. Take a minute to go to YouTube.com. Type your name in the search bar. What show’s up? Try the same for topics related to your practice. If the searches return videos from your competitors, you’ve got some catching up to do. If few or no competitors show up, you might have a great opportunity to take advantage of video marketing.
If your firm already has a video or several of them, but they aren’t showing up in your search results, there’s a good chance that the videos weren’t optimized. Videos should be formatted to perform in the search engine results, just like individual website pages.
If you’d like another example, just YouTube “Jim Ray Consulting.” You’ll find a link to a YouTube channel, a client testimonial and many individual videos on a range of topics. It provides me the chance to showcase some expertise, as well as a practical introduction to how I may be able to help. Isn’t the latter what we’re all trying to communicate?
Implementing a YouTube strategy can be easier than you think. The cost of doing so is much more feasible than it used to be. Years ago, attorneys began leaving the yellow pages and investing in websites. Welcome to the next phase of the online evolution – YouTube. It’s already the world’s 2nd most popular search engine. How will your next prospective client find you?