We’re incredibly excited to feature Nicole Abboud, of Abboud Media, as our July, 2017 attorney of the month. We recently featured Jared Correia of Red Cave Consulting to share his insights on how firms can be successful as the legal profession changes. This month we’re featuring Nicole to share her insights as to how attorneys can better leverage video as part of their marketing. Nicole is a former attorney who now assists law firms with leveraging video as a way of connecting with clients. Lets get to it.
Please tell us about yourself, your background, and how you came to start Abboud Media.
I am a lawyer-turned-business owner, podcaster, and college professor. After practicing law for 5 years, I decided to quit and start a business instead. I was always more intrigued by and drawn to the business side of the legal profession than the practice side. I founded my business, Abboud Media, as a video branding and marketing agency for lawyers. I often get asked why I decided to specifically focus on video marketing and my answer is always: “Because that’s where the attention is.”
Video is a powerhouse medium when it comes to branding and marketing. Consumers are turning to search engines like YouTube to find answers to their legal issues. Over 1 billion hours of YouTube videos are watched per day! I want to make sure that lawyers are leveraging the power of this platform and positioning themselves favorably online. Most importantly, I want to show lawyers that by simply showcasing their expertise and their personalities using video, they can build attractive personal brands and lucrative practices.
That’s why I started Abboud Media.
Aside from my business, I produce and host a weekly podcast show called The Gen Why Lawyer where I speak with inspiring lawyers and attorney-entrepreneurs about life, law, and everything in between. In whatever free time remains, I enjoy getting a good run in during my days.
What services do you offer and how do you go about providing those services?
What we do is help lawyers build a platform for themselves that allows them to position themselves as thought leaders and experts in their fields. We help them present themselves in a way that attracts the right type of client. We work on helping lawyers brand themselves and ultimately increase their revenue. We do all of this using video.
We handle all aspects of video creation, from the pre-production to the post-production. We help our clients build a video content strategy that makes sense for them and their budgets; we film the content (barring geographical limitations); and we edit and prepare the final product. Since we have talented lawyers on our creative team, we have a unique understanding of both the legal content and the technical aspects. We’re able guide the lawyers in assembling their script and we can check it for consistency and accuracy. We also place a heavy emphasis on strengthening the visual storytelling aspect of the videos.
What is one type of videos you recommend lawyers create?
One type of video I highly recommend that lawyers begin with is the “Teach-What-You-Know” video, also referred to as “Legal How-To’s.” This type of video simply showcases a lawyer’s knowledge of his/her practice area. It allows the lawyer to educate and inform viewers on any particular subject within their field. If the lawyer practices Family Law, for example, they can easily create 4 or 5 videos explaining how a potential client can request a child support modification. These types of videos are simple to make because they don’t require a lot of production. They just require some time, effort, and of course, knowledge. The greatest benefit to creating these types of videos is that over time, the lawyer will begin to build his/her reputation as a thought leader in his/her practice area and will be sought after by clients and colleagues for that reason.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you see attorneys making in terms of video in their marketing?
I wouldn’t necessarily call them “mistakes” because everything is a learning experience. But several things that I see some lawyers doing incorrectly that make me want to reach through the screen and tell them to stop are when they forget to just be themselves and instead, they sound robotic. Many lawyers believe that they have to look a certain way or act a certain way (and that “certain way” usually means “stiff and uptight”) and that’s just not the case. Videos are the best way to show some personality and connect with viewers so being yourself on camera, whatever that entails, is the way to go.
Another issue I take with some lawyer videos I see is that many lawyers forget that creating videos is all about building relationships and relationships take time. Instead, lawyers take every video as an opportunity to sell and go in for the kill. They want to close the deal on the first video. Consequently, the quality of the content suffers because lawyers jam-pack their videos with sales talk. Also, this lack of patience leads many lawyers to give up on video creation before they give it a chance to take effect.
What’s your process for helping attorneys do video “the right way?”
I like listening to my clients first and foremost. When I first meet with a client, I enjoy hearing them out, listening to their back stories, getting a feel for their personalities, and assessing how I can make their personalities translate through video.
So first, I just listen. During the initial meeting, I also like exploring what the lawyers’ goals are when it comes to videos. Why have they chosen this medium and what do they hope to accomplish? Knowing the lawyers’ objectives helps guide us in our production efforts.
Lastly, I like to set expectations. I like to tell my clients that any successful marketing campaign requires time and effort. One video is not going to bring in 50 new clients automatically. That’s unrealistic. I make sure my clients understand the work that goes into earning the trust of a potential client first and then their business. Once they understand that, we’re off to the races.
We regularly stress the need for attorneys to invest in marketing assets which they actually own, as opposed to spending money on third-party advertising. Please explain how this idea applies to video as well.
It’s well known at this point that if you are creating content on rented land, you’re at the mercy of those landlords. In other words, if you are creating videos and solely posting on YouTube, Facebook, or any other video or social media platform without a plan to drive your viewers from those videos to your own website and/or email list, you’re risking losing your relationship with your viewers if anything were to ever happen to those platforms. I always recommend that my clients have a Call-to-Action in their videos that leads back to the lawyer’s website or a landing page that captures the viewer’s email. That way, the lawyer can continue the relationship beyond what happens on any given video platform.
Quite a few attorneys don’t feel comfortable doing video as part of promoting their practice. What would you say to those attorneys?
I have two things to say: either start practicing on your own by turning on your camera phone until you become more comfortable OR don’t do it.
If you choose the former, which I hope you do, then know that everything gets easier and better with time and practice. Being on camera isn’t a natural thing for lawyers. I understand that. But the same can be said for the first time you wrote a motion, the first time you went to court or had a client meeting. It’s uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it the more comfortable you become.
After giving video marketing a fair shot, if you still find yourself uncomfortable and not enjoying the process, then don’t do it. Go with something you’re more comfortable with.
I’ve seen attorneys re-shoot videos over and over, even though the first cut was fine. This is often out of a belief that the initial cuts “aren’t right.” What would you say to those attorneys?
This is common. Lawyers tend to be Type-A perfectionists. It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time. I think it’s important to try to be kind to yourself when you’re judging your work. If what you created is truly awful, then make that judgment call and don’t post it. But if you’re being too critical of yourself, you need to recognize that and perhaps enlist the help of a family member or friend who can give you an objective opinion. If they think the video is good enough, then post it and move on.
At some point, you just have to let go and trust that what you created is the best it can be at that point in time. It’s important to shift the focus away from yourself and onto the intended viewer (your potential client). Your viewer is not going to judge you as harshly as you’re judging yourself. They just want answers. Think of it this way: while you’re re-recording your video for the 10th time, that same potential client will have easily found another lawyer who posted their imperfect video and hired them instead.
Please tell us a little about some of your other ventures, such as your podcast.
My podcast is called The Gen Why Lawyer. I launched it in 2015 at a time in my life and career when I felt a bit lost and unhappy. I wasn’t enjoying practicing law but wasn’t sure what other options there were out there. I decided to start speaking with other young lawyers who were practicing in unconventional ways and were loving their careers. I also wanted to find and speak with lawyers who left the practice of law in search of a more fulfilling career. I ended up speaking with over a hundred lawyers who shared their inspirational stories and insight on how to go about building a life and career that you can love. I’m constantly amazed at the lawyers I’m able to speak with through the podcast. It goes to show you that if you are passionate about something and share that passion with others, unexpected opportunities will present themselves. That’s one of the main reasons why you’re able to read my story right now.
We want to thank Nicole for taking the time to appear on our blog. To learn about the services she offers you may connect with Nicole on LinkedIn or reach her at:
Thanks again to all of our readers for tuning in.