LFMC Podcast: Storytelling and Video Content for Lawyers

LFMC Podcast: Storytelling and Video Content for Lawyers

Our Founder, Haydn, featured on the law firm marketing club podcast.


The Law Firm Marketing Club is a community of law firms looking to ‘do’ better marketing. This may be to get more clients, earn more fees, and improve know-how and skills, or it may be to share and collaborate with other law firms across the UK. They host an educational podcast on numerous subjects, ranging from CRM challenges to business development to marketing and more. Our Founder, Haydn Wakeling, was invited on to discuss storytelling and legal video content for lawyers and law firms, looking at the importance of building trust and connecting on an authentic level. Here's a link to the episode. Below, we will summarise and paraphrase what was discussed.

Can you tell us about your background and what you do?

Haydn: When I moved to Wales, I studied creative media at a-levels. I was looking for work experience opportunities and my college mentioned that a local call centre was looking for students to produce an apprenticeship video. Initially, I wasn't too interested, as my focus was on producing short films. However, I decided to give it a shot, as I figured I would learn something new and better understand corporate video production. I went ahead with the project, and handled the process from scripting to filming to editing. The video was sent to the marketing team and I arrived in the full room to see their feedback. The team were shocked, as they were expecting a video agency to arrive, not some video student. They were super happy and the video achieved thousands of views. A great success overall and a confidence boost, which pushed me in the direction of corporate video production. 

Following college, I went to study Film at the University of South Wales. This consisted of producing short films and learning every key role in the filmmaking process, whilst specializing in editing. I worked on scripted films and documentaries, and alongside the course edited a broadcast documentary, The Real Life Pitch Perfect. I also obtained a part-time job working as  a video producer for a marketing agency that focused on dog related content. I would often self-shoot and video edit all sorts of content. This ranged from promotional videos, branded content, documentary cause projects, and more. Following this, I set up as a freelance video editor after university, as the pandemic struck. From home, I worked on all sorts of content, with a decent chunk being American projects.

Since university I wanted to work for Bad Wolf Studios. The producers of shows like His Dark Materials, a Discovery of Wishes, and recently, Doctor Who. It was my dream to become an editor, working on films and TV shows to bring all the footage together and tell powerful stories. I was fortunate enough to land a job in Post Production with them, working on the fantastic HETV show with HBO and BBC involved, Industry Season 2. Though, before starting the job and during the pandemic, I also started Black Swan Productions. The reason for this, is because I wanted to combine everything I have learned and enjoyed throughout the years. Producing independent films, working on branded content, creating corporate videos, and much more. I fell in love with running Black Swan Productions more than working in HETV, so decided to go full-time with the agency instead.

Black Swan Productions is a video production agency that loves producing videos that leave a lasting impact. Whether that's to win more business, win more hearts, win more attention – we're results-focused and purpose-driven on every project. When it comes to the legal sector, our first client, which we’re still working with today (filming just last month), was a local law firm named Watkins & Gunn Solicitors, which kick-started our journey in the legal sector and producing legal video content. So far, with the firm, we've worked on promotional videos, recruitment videos, FAQ videos, corporate videos, and wellbeing videos. Since then, going on to build a reputation in the legal sector.

Why is storytelling so important?

It’s really just common sense as far as I’m concerned. Everyone loves a story, going to the cinema for a film, watching a hard-hitting documentary, getting lost in a fantasy series. Even things like hearing about people battling injustice. This doesn’t magically stop when it comes to brand storytelling. In fact, it's even more important to associate a brand with a good story and mission, so people can have an emotional attachment instead of a relationship built upon pure logic, which can be unsustainable. As far as I'm concerned, brand storytelling is just about sharing human stories under the umbrella of a brand. It’s just as important to express a brand as a personality, as a story, as a mission or as a high-quality service. And with video, this can be an emotional or straight-forward message that allows the audience to connect with. For instance, at the face of every major brand they’re known for storytelling. Nike is renowned for their storytelling around perseverance and triumph with sports stars like Cristiano Ronaldo. Apple emphasizes innovation and the power of human connection. Coca-Cola has mastered the art of creating emotional connections through storytelling, and so on. This isn’t a game for just the biggest of brands, and exists on every level. Whilst having a big budget helps, the goal isn't always to reach the pinnacle of brand awareness. A local firm might want to capture the hearts of the people in their local town with smaller budget legal video content, compared to big budget TV commercials. Regardless, smaller brands can compete with larger brands for awareness when they think outside the box but stay true to their values and mission, allowing creativity to take over and creating stories that their audience can connect with and remember. 

How has the rise of video content transformed communication within the legal sector, and what advantages does it offer in conveying complex legal information to clients and stakeholders?

Legal video content has improved the legal sector by making it more human and relatable to your target audience, connecting with them on a genuine level. Whether that’s externally or internally, whether that’s generating new business or building a strong culture within. Videos are a powerful tool to build trust, explain brand values, and attract clients over the competition, because they offer dynamic and engaging ways to convey legal services and information in a more digestible format, making them more accessible to a wider audience by removing the jargon heavy approach, such as endless walks of text and stock images. By firms showcasing their personalities, expertise, and client success through videos, they can establish credibility, humanize their brand, and foster a sense of connection with potential clients through video production. Everyday we see more firms using video, whether on their phones, with a hired videographer or with a video production agency. Generally speaking, when firms start using video, they don't stop, due to seeing the results. Creating an authentic human connections is vital in all area of business and life, and what better way is there than video production to do this.

Can you share examples of successful video content campaigns implemented by legal firms and the impact they've had on client engagement and brand perception?

So, I’m not typically one to follow all the top law firms, assess their big-budget TV commercials and legal video content, then talk about the virality they received, because this is only possible for a handful of firms with large marketing budgets. Now, don't get me wrong, this is still very important for assessing what the biggest firms are doing and reviewing the impact it's had on their brand awareness and increased revenue. But I’m more interested in what the other firms can do to build trust and engage with their target audience, with a limited marketing budget available and a smaller budget for videos. An interesting case study I'd like to bring up, is actually one we're a part of. SinclairsLaw is a law firm in Cardiff, Penarth and London, and they provide various legal services but are most known for special educational law and standard education law. They are a firm of roughly 50 staff members across the UK. Now, they've been producing all sorts of legal videos for many years, with varied quality and styles, and varies viewership and likes. In more recent years, they've focused on their video podcast which they call 'education magazines'. During these, you often find their CEO, Michael Charles, discussing an area of education law, often joined by a solicitor at the firm and sometimes bringing on guests to discuss their stories, relevant to the law or otherwise. The show is all about providing educational content to the viewers for free, helping thousands or tens of thousands of people deal with their legal issues. Naturally, this has led to a surge in enquiries for the firm, due to showcasing their vast expertise's and trigger reciprocity. Before our involvement and during the prior year, the podcast was receiving on average 362 views, and after we've taken over the production is now receiving on average 1195 views, with increased likes and social media engagement. The CEO, Michael Charles, is currently touring the UK and speaking at special education law, selling out every area he speaks at. Moving forward, we've got some more unique legal video content planned, which we can't wait to share.

In what ways can video content enhance the storytelling aspect of legal sector work/services, and how can lawyers effectively tell stories? Have you got any good examples?

There’s so many ways legal video content enhances storytelling in firms, but it all depends on what the firm is looking to achieve. Just producing videos for the sake of ticking another box in the marketing checklist isn't a good enough reason to use video. If you're looking to achieve something specific, such as a company promotional video talking about your USPs to generate more business, or recruitment videos that show happy solicitors discussing the culture and progressions to bring in more top talent, video testimonials or happy clients to build trust, or anything else, video is worth pursing to ensure tangible and desired results. Oftentimes, people think of legal videos as a solicitor sitting in-front of some bright lights and reading a chunky script, and that’s a shame. It’s about assessing what a firm wants to achieve with their target audience and telling the stories that resonate with them. Oftentimes, there’s no one sitting in-front of the camera and instead there’s actors and relatable stories involved. Regardless of the video project, generally speaking, every filming day is a fun and interesting experience, that gets people out of the routine and has them excited to discuss the great work they've been doing to improve peoples lives. If a lawyer has made a big impact on their clients lives, that’s an amazing thing to shout about. Written testimonials are powerful, but imagine them sitting down talking back and forth with them. The trust and transparency would be through the roof.

What considerations should legal professionals keep in mind when producing video content if they wish to do so in house?

I think it’s vital to put the audience's perspective first when considering producing legal video content. What do they actually want or need to see, instead of what do you think is best to cover as an expert in the field. Strip away the heavy jargon and put yourself in their shoes. Engage with them to know what they’re looking for. Is there a specific question they always ask? What information can help them the most? Do you have a unique selling point that can be convey through video? Also, understanding that depending on the legal service they're looking for, they might be stressed and concerned. It's essential to build trust with them and put them at ease. Whilst the message is important, the delivery is just as important. Be relaxed, welcoming, and happy to help. This ties into the quality of video, which really depends on what you're trying to achieve. Of course, the worse the production quality, often the worse the message and connection with the target audience. With video, you only get so many chances, as people are using more senses to engage with your message compared to written text. I tend to say it’s good to dabble in a higher production level to see what results it yields, such as having an agency produce a company promotional video for your firm. But, sometimes firms see the benefit in starting off with a ring light and a phone to produce their videos. Solicitors are experts that improve people's lives, so they should jump online and start giving people educational content that improves their lives, and the rest will come.

With the proliferation of social media and online platforms, how can legal professionals leverage video content to effectively market their services and establish thought leadership in their respective areas of expertise?

Video is more popular and accessible than ever. People are telling stories on their phones that are transforming businesses, as TikTok shows everyday. Generally, this is by using humour to bring them in and education to build reciprocity. This is often with B2C brands but not always. Likewise, law firms are hiring video producers in-house who are filming new content everyday with a higher production quality, due to the results they’re bringing in when connecting with their target audience. I would say if you've been thinking about using video and putting it off for a while, the best next step is to stop putting it off. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from law firms, it’s that there’s always more important things to do than new and unique marketing with a higher cost! However, I've seen time and time again, when they take the chance and try something new and modern, they don’t look back, as long as the videos and extended marketing is impactful and resonates. Whether you hire a production company, a self-shooter, your friend's nephew or film them yourselves, just start telling your firm's stories, giving back with free insights and perhaps having your customers speak for you, and then assess the impact it’s had.

Looking ahead, what emerging trends or technologies do you believe will shape the future of video content production and what tools do you recommend for anyone looking to give this a go?

There’s always new technologies and trends when it comes to marketing, but in my opinion, genuine brand storytelling has held up through every stage so far. Advanced new technology and viral trends can be important to assess and test sometimes, but generally speaking, it's always best to build a genuine fanbase of loyal followers and improve their lives. If you can resonate with your audience emotionally and build trust, you’re winning. Personally, I’d stay away from AI and focus more on listening and understanding your audience. When it comes to video production and human stories, AI is almost the antithesis of authigenic brand and storytelling. Regardless, for getting started with video production, if you're struggling with convincing others in your firm to hire an agency, I’d say get a small and easy lighting set-up, pick the best phone with an easy microphone on Amazon, and just start educating people, and don’t be afraid to have fun with it, showcasing the culture. You can download Adobe Premiere Pro or maybe some simpler tools to bring it all together with the editing, or use a freelance video editor. Don’t be afraid to speak to a video agency and discuss your firm, and perhaps they can give some ideas to trial out, whether with them or in-house. Of course, we're always here and happy to chat about ideas and what could be the next steps for your firm. 

Thanks for reading!

For more educational insights into legal video content and what we’re up too at Black Swan Productions, feel free to follow me on LinkedIn, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. We’re going to be levelling up our educational content soon, so keep an eye out!