The Secrets Behind a Successful Viral Video

BY Thomas Johnson



Effective attorney videos focus on the client, not the firm. Clients and prospects need to know how you can help them solve their problem and move forward with their lives.

As technology becomes more accessible and Internet connections speedier, more law firms are experimenting with using videos as sales tools. Incorporating video into an attorney website is no longer a difficult task, nor does it have to negatively affect server load. If you are an attorney who likes to talk, use it to your advantage.

Judging the results of these efforts is tricky since videos are often a part of a larger marketing strategy. But lawyers do report having success with online videos. When done well, the video allows an attorney to speak directly to a client, giving them at least a semblance of face-to face time. In some cases, this may be the most direct contact you have with a prospect before a hiring decision is made.

The best videos go viral, leading to a chain of positive results. A viral video generates conversation, conversation creates brand awareness, brand awareness proliferates conversions, and conversions raise revenue. This is Viral Branding 101.

There is no question that in the social media world of advertising and marketing, a well made and much talked about video is worth more than paying for a Super Bowl or other high value television spot alone. While the television spot is a good medium, if the video is no good, money will be wasted. Consider these Super Bowl television advertisements, and see if they ring a bell. A group of frogs saying “Bud...Weis... Err...” An unnaturally hot woman saying to an old man: “GoDaddy.” A talking baby and a young Jedi master.

These videos got people talking, and as a result, sales went up. According to Stephanie Bracken, a PR specialist at GoDaddy, their 2012 ad coincided with a noticeable spike in web traffic and a measurable increase in clients.

The companies responsible for these ads invested a good amount of money in campaigns, helping to create a viral following and word-of-mouth brand awareness. These companies also had great advertising teams backing them up through the creation and design process. So what is a law firm with a more limited marketing and advertising budget to do? How does a law firm get videos to go viral? How can a law firm use videos to increase brand awareness?

Get rid of the narcissism, care about the audience and show them their dreams.

Many attorneys feel that it is fundamental and protocol to talk about themselves and their law firms in what can be dry, boilerplate videos. Here is an example of a video script some lawyers may use:

“Hi, I am Attorney Blah, at Uninspired Law Firm. At our firm, we care about your needs, and our attorneys are always available to help you... We have X number of years of experience... Do the right thing, call us today.”

The initial impression viewers might get after watching such a video is that it is similar to a lot of other videos they have seen in their day. They might remember it, they might tell their friends about it, they might even share it, but the odds of that happening against, say, failing to remember it above all the other daily marketing
noise is low.

There is a saying about what makes a company a good leader in an industry: “Customers and clients care about the who, how, why and what a company has to offer, but what makes them use the company, what makes them follow the leader, is the dream.”

Basically what it boils down to is this: Show the customers and clients a dream and the rest is viral.

Think about Apple. In the early 1980s, Steve Jobs crafted the primary mission statement of Apple – a reflection of his dreams – writing, "Man is the creator of change in this world. As such, he should be above systems and structures, and not subordinate to them."

This statement is a reflection of the company’s commitment to making products that complement people’s lifestyles. Apple’s simple advertisements demonstrate what a device does, but their primary message revolves around how that device will enhance the experience of those who use it.

The mission statement follows the dream, and as such, the consumer is witness to the dream in commercials and videos that Apple distributes both online and off.

The first step in creating a viral video is to understand your target client and try to know their wishes and dreams. How do you help the clients you serve? What problems do your prospects primarily ask you to address? How do you address these concerns, and how are your clients’ lives made better as a result? Once you have found and placed this dream, then write the who, how, why and what your firm has to offer. After brainstorming on these items, start outlining the video, keeping these three points in mind.

1. Tell a story. The best branding is all about storytelling. It makes an emotional connection with the prospect that springs from the story your firm tells. Use tools that best reflect your practice, including humor, drama, emotional nostalgia, empathy, well-chosen music or even famous scenes to tell your story.

2. Do not brand yourself too exhaustively in your video. Showing the law firm name and logo at the end and the beginning of the video is good. Any more than that could be considered over branding. The same goes with relentlessly saying the law firm name over and over again in the video. It is not a best practice and is considered by some to be verbal spam.

3. Try to keep your video between three to five minutes. Data in StumbleUpon shows that anything over four minutes increased the likelihood of sharing five times more than normal.

A good video is not one that is narcissistic but instead plays to the dreams of the client through the who, how, why and what your law firm has to offer. Tell a story, keep the branding at a minimum and keep the video between three to five minutes. Follow these simple guidelines, and you can create a video that connects with prospects. When people are able to connect with you on a personal level, they are more likely to engage your services and more likely to tell others about your firm.

Before you know it, your video will get others talking. The more people talk, the more valuable word-of-mouth marketing you will receive and the more prospects will understand how your firm can genuinely help them. This awareness will bring more clients, and these clients will bring more revenue.

Thomas Johnson

Thomas Johnson is a staff contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine and serves on Adviatech's Search Strategy board.


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