Best Practices When Starting Your Law Podcast [The Dos and Don’ts]
Podcast listenership has more than doubled since 2015, with more than 55% of US adults tuning in. From celebrities to Fortune’s 500 companies, brands are turning to podcasts to connect with their target audience and nurture those relationships by providing useful and relevant information including answers to common questions and industry news/updates.
Whether you’re in the process of planning a new Law Podcast or you’re already producing episodes, implementing these best practices will boost the ROI of your podcast and your existing SEO strategy. Although these are not absolute rules, they can make the process from planning to publishing easier, more productive, and enjoyable.
Podcast industry professionals swear by these 11 dos and don’ts:
1. DO stick to one format
Listeners like consistency because they like knowing what to expect during each episode. That’s why before you launch your own legal podcast, create your own format, and stick to it all the way. For instance, if each episode is going to be separated into segments, then keep these in the same order throughout the show. If you’re planning to introduce new segments or rearrange things, make sure to make a formal announcement as not to confuse your listeners.
Come up with your own creative formula; avoid copying what other successful podcasts have already done, try to use them as guidelines instead.
2. DO invest in audio quality
People often listen to podcasts through headphones on their mobile devices or in the car. So, if your audio sounds awful, it will be obvious and will likely discourage new listeners.
Luckily, this has a simple solution, invest in a quality microphone. (See our Recommended Gear List) A quality microphone in a quiet office can give listeners the sense that you’re in a professional studio.
If you’re considering interviewing guests remotely or over the phone, it’s important to provide them with some basic pointers to ensure you’re able to capture the best possible sound. At a minimum, guests should wear headphones to reduce echo.
3. DO create a discussion roadmap
For best results, take a few minutes to plan each episode of your podcast before you press record. Outline the topics you want to discuss or questions to ask your guest. Depending on your style, it may benefit you to provide the guest with the roadmap as well so they can be adequately prepared for the discussion.
Like an oral argument, don’t be too rigid in following your script, particularly if you’re interviewing someone. Remember, you’re speaking directly to a potential client, so you want to come across as relaxed and conversational. And, don’t be afraid to go off-script, often those unexpected off-topic moments can provide valuable information and keep the conversation interesting and engaging.
4. DO target a specific niche
Often clients with multiple practice areas are inclined to stuff all their disciplines into one podcast, skipping around from one practice area to the next. While having a podcast on your website is a valuable tool for SEO and establishing thought leadership, a targeted, niche podcast is more likely to convert clients.
When a prospective client searches for “Divorce Lawyer Charlotte,” hundreds of firms are vying for a spot in those first ten results. This is where good content differentiates you. A podcast focused solely on divorce is more likely to capture the attention of search engines, and thereby potential clients, than a podcast where one out of every five episodes references divorce.
The good news is, while competition is growing in the podcast world, there’s still time to get in on the ground floor. A quick google search for “Divorce Lawyer Podcast Charlotte” returns Lawpods clients in the top four results.
5. DON’T use excessive jargon
If we’re good at anything as lawyers, it’s speaking a language only we understand. Like a consultation, remember that your listener is likely a layperson. Even if it requires extra time, break down complex topics into digestible information. A confused prospect is likely to hit the back button and never return. Often times legal Jargon is unavoidable, just make sure you explain it.
6. DON’T neglect your audience
While some prospects are unlikely to air their laundry by engaging with a lawyer online, others are less reserved. After engaging with your content, these listeners may interact with your social media content, share your podcast with others, or request episodes on certain topics. Whether it’s a comment on your firm posts or just a mention in someone else’s, always respond to engagement of any kind on social media.
While we recommend trying to reply to every comment, simply ‘liking’ a comment is going to demonstrate attentiveness and concern. Make them feel like they’re involved and that they’re not just interacting with a brand, but a compassionate company with real people.
7. DO identify an angle
If you’ve already started on a podcast that is focused on general legal topics, then try to hone an angle that will differentiate your podcast from your competition. You may be very passionate about the subject, but if your topics are the same as the majority of similar podcasts, then you’ll end up blending in with everyone else. Do your research and offer something new!
8. DO be professional
When representing your firm in public or private, it always pays to be professional. While it’s important to convey a sense of friendliness and approachability, maintain an air of professionalism in all the content you produce. A rule of thumb is to treat your podcast like you would an initial consultation with a prospective client. Be professional in what you say and how you speak because the content you produce can follow you forever.
9. DO shoot for a maximum length of 30 minutes
When clients ask me how long an episode should be it reminds me of an undergrad professor of mine. When asked how long a paper should be, he replied, “think of it like a man’s kilt, it should be long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to still be interesting.” That’s a long-winded way of giving you the lawyer answer—it depends.
As entertaining as you may be, it’s unlikely most people are listening to your legal podcast for fun. More likely, they’re experiencing some kind of crisis and need this information. So, while recent studies recommend a maximum episode length of 22 minutes, a prospective client in crisis is likely to be more willing to exchange time for answers to their questions. It’s obviously important not to waste a prospective client’s time, but don’t sacrifice relevant information in the pursuit of an arbitrary time constraint.
10. DON’T turn it into an advertisement
While your natural inclination may be to try to convert the listener immediately, I urge you to take a more measured approach. Don’t think of your podcast as an advertisement for your firm, think of it as a relationship building tool.
Clients are listening to your podcast to get answers. You already know the questions, so give them answers. You’ve been practicing law long enough to know what questions your clients have. Open up a note right now and jot down as many questions as you can think of that clients routinely ask you. That’s your first fifteen, twenty, or fifty episodes right there.
If the client is listening to your podcast you’re already in contention for their business, don’t go for the hard sell. Provide them with the information they came for while giving them a glimpse of what working with you and your firm would feel like. Then, when you’ve provided that information and comfort, let them know what the next step should be.
11. DO make your content available everywhere
Your podcast is more than an audio file clients can find on your website or podcast players; your podcast is the foundation of a content marketing strategy. Every episode has the potential to become dozens of pieces of micro content—quote images, audiograms, YouTube videos, blog posts, etc.—for sharing across your platforms.
Repurposing your content will maximize the reach and effectiveness of each episode, and repurposing existing content is far easier and cheaper than creating new content.
Ready for a comprehensive audio content strategy but rather leave the heavy lifting to the professionals? Book a call with us now. When you work with Lawpods, you do the talking and we do the rest.