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Online video is taking no prisoners (updated)


I just drove past a Blockbuster Video store with a big “Closing” sign across the front. It reminded me of the time I was in San Francisco and I noticed the Virgin Records store in Union Square was going out of business.  Across the street was an Apple store with long lines of customers waiting patiently to plunk down their money. The irony wasn’t lost on me. Now, I believe that online video is to Blockbuster what Apple was to Virgin.

I’ve been one of the believers in the effectiveness of online video for legal marketing for quite some time. I’m more convinced now than ever before. Some of our new clients seem to like it as much as I do. It lets them get a feel for the person they are entrusting with the serious responsibility of handling their legal problems. Contrast that with some sites that solicit case forms without even disclosing the names of the lawyers who will be responding. I would rather go with the guy who is willing to show his/her face to me.

One advantage for online video over TV ads is that, if you are very, very careful, you can use comedy or an “edgy” theme to help you make your point.  YouTube has created a different set of expectations for online videos compared with television.  Although I don’t believe lawyers should dress as dancing bananas, I do believe you can occasionally find a message that allows you to use humor or satire.  When I began working with a group of lawyers handling Yamaha Rhino ATV rollover cases, I was appalled that Yamaha had refused to recall Rhinos, given their instability and the many rollovers that caused deaths, paralysis, and other severe, permanent injuries.  I immediately began posting demands for a Rhino recall on a blog I devoted to the subject of Yamaha Rhino rollover dangers.  Yamaha ignored these demands for almost a year.  I became so exasperated that I decided to produce a video that satirized Yamaha’s response to the rollover problem.  Just to make sure that the satire would not offend our seriously injured clients, I discussed it with one of our clients and was told that, if I thought it might help apply pressure on Yamaha, go ahead and do it.  Now, I’m not claiming that our video was the reason Yamaha finally recalled Rhinos, but within a few weeks after the video was released, Yamaha announced a recall to try to fix the rollover problem.  That video, which you can view below, has been watched almost 11,000 times.

Another great thing about online video is that you don’t have the same constraints that you have with a television ad. While I believe in keeping videos brief (to encourage viewers to watch), it doesn’t matter if you go over 30 seconds. In fact, almost all lawyer videos you will see on the Internet are more than 30 seconds (except for repurposed television commercials). Whether it takes 49 seconds or two minutes to deliver your message, you can fit it all in for the same price. And you can use extra time at the end of your video to put your contact information on the screen and leave it there long enough for prospective clients to actually write it down.

I recently checked the statistics on three videos that we produced and uploaded to various video sites over a year ago, and people just keep on watching. One of the great things about a properly SEO’d video is that it can get great results in a Google search. Two of our videos show up in the top 4 Google result for our main search term. Our Yamaha satire video has been viewed on YouTube 10,926 times, another Yamaha Rhino video has been viewed 2,674 times, and a third has been viewed 2,219 times. And that’s just YouTube, not to mention other sites.  And they aren’t just watching, they are converting to clients. If you are interested in using video before it becomes last year’s big thing, the time to act is now. Contact me if you want to discuss it.

About Michael J. Evans

Michael J. Evans is a personal injury lawyer who represents people with claims involving defective medicine or medical devices, other defective products that cause serious injury or death, and environmental cases. Evans also handles whistleblower lawsuits in which employees, or former employees, expose fraud or other illegal conduct by the corporation for which they work(ed), Evans organizes litigation groups of plaintiffs law firms to work with him on these cases nationwide. Evans uses social media, blogs, online video, mobile apps and traditional media to connect with clients, and help other prominent law firms connect with clients.. Evans is also an advocate for the rights of consumers. His primary areas of legal practice are mass torts, and advising law firms on the ethical rules and law governing legal marketing via the Internet and social media.

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