Let’s talk about marketing (because we know you love to, the numbers don’t lie). But let’s talk about how podcasting fits into your law firm’s marketing mix.
Guest Robert Ingalls calls himself a “recovering attorney.” While he had a law degree and his own firm, Ingalls wasn’t happy and wanted to do something else. He landed on creating his own legal-oriented podcast … and something clicked. If he found value in creating a podcasts, so might other attorneys.
His company, LawPods, podcasting for lawyers, was born.
Ingalls knows you may be a great lawyer but don’t know anything about podcasting. With his experience, both in the field of law and in content production, he helps lawyers sound good, stay focused, and create a podcast people want to listen to again and again. Ingalls polishes and presents the best you.
How do you start? Find out on this episode of the Un-Billable Hour.
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Managing your law practice can be challenging. Marketing, time management, attracting clients, and all the things besides the cases that you need to do that aren’t billable. Welcome to this edition of the Un-Billable Hour, the law practice advisory podcast. This is where you’ll get the information you need from expert guests and host Christopher Anderson here on Legal Talk Network.
Christopher T. Anderson: Welcome to the Un-Billable Hour. I am your host, Christopher Anderson, and today’s episode is about marketing. Yay! Seriously. I mean, everybody always wants us to talk about marketing. It’s the shows that get the most listeners, the most downloads, so we do from time to time. And it is a core part of actually what the program is supposed to talk about, among other things. But today we’re going to talk about is a very specific kind of marketing for law firms, for law firm owners. And here’s a hint for you. We’re doing it right now. You will recall that in the main triangle of what it is that a law firm business must do, we’ve got to all acquire new clients. We call that acquisition. We’ve got to produce the results that we promised to those clients. We call that production. And we got to achieve the business and professional results for the owners that make it worthwhile to have this very special kind of business that we’ve got. Because in the center of the triangle driving it all, for better or worse, is you, our law firm owner listener.
In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss podcasting for lawyers. And my guest today is Robert Ingalls, and he’s the chief podcast strategist and a founder at LawPods. And today’s episode of the Un-Billable Hour is, Can You Hear Me Now? And I’m very pleased to introduce my guest, Robert Ingalls, chief podcast strategist at LawPods. Robert, welcome to the show.
Robert Ingalls: Hey, it’s such a pleasure to be here. This was a podcast that I was listening to. It was one of the first few podcasts I ever listened to in 2015 when I was still running a law firm, before I had any inkling that that’s something that would eventually be my full-time gig. So, it’s kind of cool. I remember one of the first episodes I listened to, I think was with Mark from Spotlight Branding in some late 2015 and thinking, “Oh, that’s cool,” like an agency that works for law firms specifically. I feel like the show probably somewhere along the line played a role in helping me see direction. So, it’s very cool to be here.
Christopher T. Anderson: It’s very good to have you. Wow, that’s a really cool story. I’m now taking credit for inspiring you all together and LawPods would not exist except for me and all that. Thanks so much for that. That’s really cool to know.
Robert Ingalls: Absolutely.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, we’ve been out there. Gosh. Yeah, you said 2015, and that’s absolutely right. I think we’ve been doing the show now since 2011, 10 or 11. It’s been a little while, and that’s great to have you. Just your bio, just to complete your introduction, you bill yourself as a recovering attorney, a speaker, and founder of LawPods, which is one of the first podcast production marketing agencies for law firms. You’ve gone from battling the anxiety from the pressure long hours and constant conflict of a litigation career to following your love for podcasts, which started with me. I’m so amazed. In fact, you launched a podcast for your own firm and then decided to see if other lawyers would pay you to help launch theirs. And they do, and they have, and that is LawPods. You are a frequent speaker on Podcast Marketing, on Entrepreneurship, on Prioritizing Mental Health, which we should do that as a whole other show, Law Office Technology. You’re a dad of a girl, one girl or more than one?
Robert Ingalls: Two now. One and five.
Christopher T. Anderson: Two girls, mentor, traveler, and a long-board skateboarder. I have an almost 16-year-old boy who likes to board. I know that’s a different animal. Good on you.
Robert Ingalls: The short board was starting to break too many bones in my older body and I just couldn’t take it anymore.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, he’s also doing the powered boards, which are scary for me.
Robert Ingalls: Yeah, I have one of those.
Christopher T. Anderson: They go too fast. But anyway, let’s get onto the subject matter of the show. We’ve done the introduction. I always like to just start, though, because those bios are just so canned. You said that you really began to love podcasting. What has really drawn you to? Why have you wanted to make a career out of podcasting, specifically?
Robert Ingalls: That’s an entire episode by itself, but really, like a lot of interesting stories, it started with the words, “I want to have a baby.”
I just got married a few months earlier, and we got married with this idea that maybe we will, maybe we won’t. We might just travel the world and be the cool aunt and uncle. And then within a few months, my wife came to me while I was packing for a lake vacation and said, “I want to have a baby.” I’d like to tell you that I had the appropriate emotional response to that, but it was mostly a bit of a freak out because there was a lot brewing beneath the surface in my life. I was trying to run my own law firm and I wasn’t doing a good job. I couldn’t figure out how to make money. I was working all the time. I was really stressed and I just couldn’t figure out the business side of it. I wasn’t making any money and I was in intense anxiety all the time. The litigation career wasn’t great for my mental health.
I was really struggling. And then she just came and threw this thing on top of me, and it really scared me. But after I recovered a little bit, mostly unbeknownst to her, I think the freak out. I sat down and I made a list of the things that I had to get together in my life, and at the top of that list was money. Like, if somebody’s going to live in my house next year, I hear kids are expensive. I found out they are. Then I’ve got to figure this pillar out. I read a money book and then the money book, the author also had a book about leadership. And I was running a law office at the time with a handful of employees. I felt like I wasn’t doing a good job leading them. I said, “Well, that’s a natural nest. I’ll read that one.” The end of that book said, “You should listen to our podcast.” I’d never listened to a podcast.
Christopher T. Anderson: Interesting.
Robert Ingalls: Yeah. This is September of 15. I didn’t necessarily love that podcast. It wasn’t really perfect for me, but I’m in the app. I searched for another one about offices. This show, Awesome Office came up, and the first guest was this guy, Tom Bilyeu, founder of Quest Nutrition at the time. And he said, the real takeaway that we’ve all heard a thousand times, that almost means nothing, but I finally heard it for the first time was, you can do anything that you want in your life. It resonated with me for the first time. I said, “I think I can do anything I want.” And I dove into personal development. I owned $1,000 worth of podcasting year within 30 days because just the medium itself spoke to me. And I said, this is something — I don’t know how I want to be involved. I saw myself involved, just like, I’m going to start something. I’m going to talk to people. I’m going to do something myself. I never envisioned when I bought that stuff that it was going to serve me in a future career. But the medium itself was so interesting to me because I had such a beautiful moment. I know where I was walking when I heard that episode. And I kind of had these feelings like, I don’t think I have to keep doing this thing I hate.
We go to the undergrad. We do everything it takes to even apply to go to law school. We take the LSAT, we go to law school, we take the bar, we set up practice and then to in a moment go — it’s really hard to then say, “I don’t think I want to do this.” Kind of sunk cost. I feel like I have to do this because I did all those things and I knew in a moment, I don’t think I have to do this.
And then I listened to more episodes from other people. I was like, “Oh my God, everything’s here as well.” Everything’s there. You’re in that app. You can search for bubblegum and there’s going to be a podcast about it. And that blew my mind. Everything’s there. And I said, “I think I have something to say.” I’m a pretty chatty person, but I felt like I had something to say. And I was like, I’m going to start a podcast. I don’t even know what it’s going to be about yet, but I’m going to do something with it.
And so, that’s where the love really started, was I discovered it, and it was like falling in love. People always tell you, “You’ll know when you know,” because I remember I was with a girl one time, and I remember asking an older person who’d been married, I said, “How do you know if you love someone?” He’s like, “You don’t have to ask. You just know.” And that’s what it felt like. I was just doing this thing and it was so fun and I would do it all day. I wasn’t making any money. I was spending money. All I wanted to spend my time on learning how to use a mixer, learning how to use a microphone, the different kinds of microphones, the environments that you use them in, like all the different little things were so interesting to me. That’s kind of the nutshell.
Christopher T. Anderson: Well, that’s amazing. And I think what’s really cool about that story, too, is that admonition that you can do anything you want to has that very powerful flip side which is you don’t have to do what you don’t want to. Right? And you don’t have to feel stuck. And we just lost like 20% of our listeners now who just hung it up. And I’m doing my longboarding now. But no, but seriously, just because they use the word some cost, but because you put a lot into something, if it turns out you don’t love it, you don’t have to do it. There may be just a different aspect of it. There may be something entirely different, like podcasting for lawyers, which is amazing, or you may just abandon lawyers altogether.
Robert Ingalls: I know a lot to have.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, since we’re talking about podcasting and we are talking about lawyers today and we’re talking to lawyers, our listeners, the billions of them. I want to bring it back to the skepticism, right? If you are a practicing lawyer, the one thing you know is that every week you’re getting pitched the great new thing to try in marketing, the great new shiny object. The great — if you only do this, if you only do blogging, if you only do vlogging, if you only do newsletters, if you only do, fill in the blank, everything will change for you. Some lawyers have been hearing about podcasting and some lawyers have gotten a bad taste of them. They’re like, “We’ve tried it, we couldn’t get any listeners. We’re just like basically speaking to empty space.” What do you have to say to the people who — it’s not just that they’re skeptics but they feel like they’ve tried it and burned and don’t think it’s the thing for them.
Robert Ingalls: So, I’ve had a lot of conversations with these people. A number of them are clients of mine now. One of the first things I’ll do when somebody books a call is I will check out — if they have something, I check out what it is. There’s a handful of things that tend to jump out with people that are having trouble finding success. There is bad audio quality, is a big one, where it sounds like they have a speakerphone in their conference room and everybody sitting around talking to it. It’s aggressively bad on your ears. It’s going to be really hard to get anybody to listen to that. You’ll have people that jump around practice areas where they’re just like each episode might have three different topics in it and it’s really hard when somebody comes to your website and they’re looking for answers and you make them jump into an audio episode and then look around inside that episode for the answer they came for. Like you want to make it easy.
Not to burn in goodwill with any of the listeners that I have generated hopefully so far but so many of them are boring and just hard to listen to kind of like a monologue that it sounds like they’re reading.
Christopher Anderson: Right.
Robert Ingalls: And you could hide a body in there because no one’s going to stick around long enough to find it because it’s hard to listen to somebody do that. You know we’ve all been to the CLEs where the presenter just reads.
Christopher Anderson: We have.
Robert Ingalls: They just read and like you could have sent me a PDF and I could read that myself.
Christopher Anderson: Faster.
Robert Ingalls: Yeah, exactly and so, that’s one of the things that makes it hard is people, they want that information. They click “play” because they wanted that information and it was so bad and so boring you couldn’t give it to them, but the two things that I really see that they struggle with is one, no one knew it existed. They had it but no one knew about it. It wasn’t on the website. So, when people, let’s say, a relatively warm lead shows up on the website and they have a couple of questions, they want to scan for it, they want to see what’s what, the podcast wasn’t there, how can they find it? You know it may have been somewhere else they could find it but they couldn’t find it in the one place that they should have been able to find it. Then it’ll be on like I’ve seen this a lot; it will be on SoundCloud and nowhere else.
Christopher Anderson: Oh, my God.
Robert Ingalls: And they’ll say, “We have a podcast.” No, you don’t. You do not have a podcast. You have an audio blog that you have put in one place because there’s a very just an infinitesimal amount of people on SoundCloud primarily listening to podcasts. So, it’s not on Apple, Spotify and Google, and all of the major places. The places where 99% of people are going to be consuming these things.
So, that’s a big one. No one knew it existed. They weren’t put on the website; they weren’t marketing in it at all. They may have been, every once in a while, taking a link to their SoundCloud and putting it on their Facebook page where no one’s seeing it anyway but then it’s a link and so it’s getting suppressed by the platforms because they don’t want links taking people off the platforms and then they kind of throw their hands up and go, “Well, we couldn’t get anybody to listen to it.”
And then the last one is for a lot of these podcasts I don’t think anybody stopped and ask the big question, “Why are we doing it?” What’s the goal?
Christopher Anderson: Absolutely.
Robert Ingalls: What’s the goal? What do we hope to get out of this? “I think a podcast will be cool.” Of course. Yeah, podcasts are cool. Everybody’s doing it and they’ll start one and it doesn’t really have any direction. Nobody thought about a plan about, “What are we doing it for?” “Are we doing it for branding purposes?” “Are we trying to nurture existing leads?” “Are we educating and developing relationships maybe with referral sources?” “Why are we doing this?” “Will it be valuable for an ideal listener?” “Who is that ideal listener?” “Who are we making every piece of content for?” And then, “How is this ultimately going to translate into dollars for our firm?” Because we want to make every piece of content thinking about all of those questions and that starts with the day one strategy. “Why are we doing it?” “Who are we doing it for?” “What do we hope that return is here?” Those are the big ones that I see that people haven’t really thought through well.
Christopher Anderson: And I think that’s key, not for nothing. It’s what we talk about and anything you do with marketing. I don’t care if it’s a podcast or if it’s a paid search ad, a Google Ad, a billboard, or whatever, or just going out and doing a speaking gig.
You got to ask those same exact questions, right? Those are the key questions before you do any marketing activity. So, I can imagine that they’re important here and I can see how –the thing that I’ve mentioned before like as a lawyer you know, we’re hit with marketing pitches all the time, and what’s really funny is a lot of the people who sell marketing whatever it is don’t lead with those questions. They just say, “This is cool.” “This will help.” “This will bring in more leads without even asking you if you need more leads.”
Robert Ingalls: Right. “You should buy my thing.”
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, exactly. All right, so okay, so they should ask these questions. Give me some examples. You don’t have to name names but like okay so, “How does a law firm find value in it?” So, if it’s okay to ask the questions you know, I want to do a podcast because I want a good result out of it, what do law firms really see? What’s a reasonable thing to think that a podcast can do for you?
Robert Ingalls: Well, I think it goes back to asking that question, “What are we trying to have it do?” And then think about, “What can it do?” You said earlier, did you ask them if they actually wanted leads?
Christopher Anderson: Yeah.
Robert Ingalls: Because we want to think about, “How are we getting our existing clients?” “Are they coming in through referral sources?” You know, I’ll give an example. I have worked with a number of attorneys where their primary goal is to create something that educates referral sources. I have a trial lawyer in Texas. Trial Lawyer Nation is the name of the podcast. That podcast speaks directly to trial lawyers. He brings on notable trial lawyers from all over the country and does a post-mortem on big cases that they’ve won, and things like that, and then will talk about how to run a firm, different things about running a litigation firm and the primary audience is litigation attorneys, and the idea is to build like and trust with those referral sources where when they have something that they feel like might be above their head, or maybe out of their jurisdiction, I know exactly who I need to send that to.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah.
Robert Ingalls: A comp defense attorney conversely that gets a lot of hits from adjusters and they have lots of questions about forms. As a podcast where he just goes through all the things that they struggle with they want to know. Every episode goes to one specific question that they want to know. So, we’re educating referral sources. Those people get to know us, like us and trust us. And that’s just one angle.
Well, let’s look at a PI attorney who they’re getting, and depending on the firm, they’re getting things through using billboards, they know names. So, they’re driving traffic to their website.
Christopher Anderson: Right.
Robert Ingalls: They’ve got some leads that are in various states of warmth. The podcast is a vehicle to nurture that lead. They land on the website.
Christopher Anderson: And to enhance their credibility with them.
Robert Ingalls: Right.
Christopher Anderson: Yeah, that makes total sense. All right, so we’re talking with Robert Ingalls. We’re talking about podcasts. We’ve spent a bit of time talking about sort of like the open and valid skepticism and why it’s actually how we approach podcasts that might be the justification for that.
We’re going to take a break here and when we come back, we’re going to ask Robert and first of all, my first question is going to be about, “Okay, so who are the crazy people that will listen to podcasts that lawyers can actually activate and bring in to their world on through podcasting?” And then I’ve got some more questions after that but first, let’s hear a couple of words from our sponsors and then we’ll come back and talk some more.
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All right, we are back with Robert Ingalls. He is the chief podcast strategist and founder at LawPods and we’ve been talking about lawyer podcasting. As I said earlier when we came back from the break I would ask about, “Who the audiences are?”
Because I’m thinking about this in two different ways. First of all, the lawyer whose thinking about podcasting with their firm to do some of the things we’ve just talked abouT. Do they have to generate their own audience or is there a readymade group of folks who are out there looking for podcast that interest them.
Robert Ingalls: So I’d say both.
Christopher T. Anderson: Okay.
Robert Ingalls: But let’s look at the way most attorneys are likely going to have a podcast and that is going to be nurturing a lead. Somebody shows up if you’re a PI attorney, somebody lands on your website, something bad happened, to them or someone they love and they have questions. And our podcast is a way to answer those questions. We make an episode about a specific question they have and we know what those questions are because we’ve been asked them a thousand times in consults. We know exactly what people are searching when they land on our website or somebody else’s. So we’re making an episode that speaks directly to that. And one of the things we’re also doing, we’re demonstrating our expertise to them, but we also are letting them know us a little biT. A little bit about who we are, a little bit about our personality or sense of humor so we can overcome some of that friction with no like trust. Because what we want them to do is pick up the phone because once they pick up the phone and set the appointment, they’re ours to lose and that’s what we want.
And so that’s one of the ways that people made content because people ask me that all the time. They say, “Who would listen to a legal podcast?” And I think that a lot of people are thinking about it wrong. They’re thinking that they’re going to make a podcast about an interesting thing, and people will listen to it on Saturday while they’re mowing the load, and they will also be a lawyer that if that person needs an estate plan, they’ll go, “Oh, right, that lawyer with that cool show also does a estate planning. I’ll call him.” And that’s really not the angle that most lawyers are going to want to go. A, that’s really hard.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right, right.
Robert Ingalls: If you’re so entertaining that you can make a podcast that people would listen to, that competes with like Brené Brown and Joe Rogan, then maybe you should go do that instead. We’re hiring frequently. But it’s not going to be like that. It’s going to be where you’re answering questions. You’re speaking directly to a pain point because I tell people, you know, the same people are going to call or going to listen to legal podcasts that are going to watch a plumber’s YouTube video because they have a problem and they want an answer to that problem. You’re not making content that people are just going to listen to all the time and you’re not really — for a lot of lawyers, you’re not all that concerned with building an audience, you’re creating content frequently to speak directly to a pain point to nurture a lead and get them in the door.
Christopher T. Anderson: I mean, that’s really key though because I think that’s an important way to think about it because depending on what you bring to the show, you’re either trying to be sort of general entertainer or you’re speaking to a specific lead, not someone, it’s not Bob, but an avatar of a specific lead that needs to hear your message right now. And I think that’s a really great way. Whether its family law, someone was going through family law, someone whose gotten in trouble with the criminal justice system. Whether someone has been in personal injury or had a personal injury or medical issue or like I said, needs a state plan, like that person may be looking for your words right now. So I think it’s a great way to think about it.
Let’s also talk though about the elephant in the room, which is we started this talking about like that marketing vendors will call lawyers all the time with the great new bright shiny object. The number of podcasts has grown to be generous over the past several years. What would you say to people who think like, “Okay, you know, that would have been a great idea but now it’s too late to get in. This market is completely saturated. I can’t be heard.”
Robert Ingalls: I mean, yeah, the website market was saturated in the 90s as well, and that’s the way I think about that.
Christopher T. Anderson: So who needs a website now, right?
Robert Ingalls: Right. Who needs a website? Those are done. Mark across town has a website. Why would I also have a website? That’s the way that logic strikes me, because if you’re saying, “Oh, there’s already a personal injury podcast out there. Let him listen to that.” Let that person nurture my lead, no, thank you. This was probably a couple of years ago now, I had a sales call with a lawyer who had a pretty niche practice area, and he said, “I’ve been thinking about this but there’s already kind of an oversaturated amount of competitors in the market now, and so I don’t think it’s a good spot to be.” I said, “Maybe.” That could be true. I don’t want to think so because I think everybody has their own unique message because the way we’re positioning it, but after the call I went and just checked him out really quickly. What was he doing for marketing? He had a pretty active YouTube channel. I mean, it was mostly like look at all the books I own types of videos but still he was spending time and energy and money on it. He was also blogging regularly, but he felt like podcasting was saturated. So I went and looked in his Niche and at that point in time, there were two podcasts in the United States speaking directly to the kind of practice area that he was talking about.
And at the time I think there were roughly two million total podcast on Apple Podcast at the time. And you know, when you look at YouTube channels over 51 million at the time, vlogs, who knows. And in his mind, he was kind of looking at it from that, “I’ve missed the bus.” And I think lawyers specifically, I mean and having been one, I know there’s that we’re very fearful of change and people are always trying to sell us nonsense. I mean, how many emails do we all get about somebody trying to sell us AI content creation right now?
Christopher T. Anderson: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Exactly.
Robert Ingalls: I don’t even practice and I get probably 15 a day. They’re always trying to sell us some nonsense. And so I get that, but it’s an area where we are speaking directly to our own clients and it’s unique, it’s our voice, and it’s the kind of content that we get to keep. That’s a big part of what I like about it is we make this and we get to keep. If we went looking for that episode you did with Mark, right now it’d probably take us 90 seconds to get to it and listen to it because you get to keep it. Because you made that episode. And that’s where this starts to compound is you’ve got all of this great content that you can keep generating and you own it. And a lot of it depending on the type of law you’re doing is evergreen.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. Guys already made a note like, after this episode drops, I’m going to go back and see if we got additional listeners to that 2015 episode. I guarantee you we will.
Robert Ingalls: Let’s bump it.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, it’s going to bump and it’s going to be amazing. All right, so I mean what I’m getting from this which to me is fascinating as a way to think about it. It’s not going out and standing on the street corner or the public square and just starting to talk and hoping somebody will listen. You’re really positioning this as another way to reach your clients. So you’re not just putting this on Soundcloud and Apple and Google and this, and that and the other thing and hoping that your little voice in the wilderness will be heard, but you’re then going to be putting it in front of intentionally using other marketing techniques, in front of an intentionally your users who need to hear your message right now. And I think that’s just a cool, cool way to think about it. What then are the methodologies? What are the processes? What are the thoughts that we should be having for how to get it in front of the listener that needs to hear it? So first, we’re going to hear that message from our sponsors who have intentionally put their spot right here in this podcast because our listeners need to hear their message right now, and then we’re going to come back and we’re going to talk about how to get your message in front of the listeners in the way that we’ve just been talking about. But first, a quick word.
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Okay, we’re back with Robert Ingalls, he’s the chief podcast strategist. Founder at LawPods and we were talking before the break about, okay, once we’ve decided to create a podcast, once we’ve understood how to message that and we’re actually speaking to avatars of the clients who need to hear our message right now, how do we actually get it in front of them? Because it seems to me like, that’s the gist of this. That’s what makes this work is, “Okay, if we’re going to speak to one person or an avatar one person, how do we get in front of that one person?” So what are your thoughts on that? How do you do that? What should the lawyers be thinking about how to get that podcast in front of the listeners that need to hear it?
Robert Ingalls: First place is the website because that’s where a lot of people are going to discover you first. They might be get driven there by a pay per click campaign. They might end up there because they saw a billboard and they remembered it. Somebody may have referred them. A lot of people are making and buying decisions to call you when they’re on your website and that’s a really good place to have your content.
But one of the things I really like about podcast is they’re easy to create. We sit down, we have this conversation, and we generate an amazing amount of content. And that content is not just audio form. We’re not just going to sit down, record this and then publish it on Apple and be done with it. We’re going to put it on our website. We’re going to write show notes for that. We’re going to write a description of it so people can briefly scan that if they don’t want to listen to it and get the high points, figure out what it is that was important from it. If there’s any links in it, we’re going to put them there. We can also transcribe that on our website, but then for our clients, we like to record the video for every single one. And now we’ve got a full-length video that we can use on YouTube, which drives an incredible extra amount of traffic and then we take that video and you cut it up into smaller portions with your branding, with your captions, with headlines that let some who’s scrolling by qualify themselves immediately. Is this or is it not for me? It might not be for you, but you know what, it’s branded content, so they saw it.
But if it is for them, they can stop. They see that headline, they go “Hmm, maybe.” And then they just watch the screen because the captions are there. It’s great. We love to watch video, but we only want to watch video if we can actually read it. And then they go, “Oh, that is kind of for me.” They tap the screen, they might hear it a little bit and at the end, after 60 or 90 seconds, they go, “Actually, I do need to bit more about that.” Now, you’ve converted somebody in a way to listen to the episode that may not otherwise have been someone that you’re going to convert. And depending on the type of episode, if you’re doing a podcast that is for educating referral sources, you’re trying to build an audience.
And so for those kinds of people, it’s an excellent way because if we’re a PI attorney trying to educate a lead, it’s great to put that branded content out there on your feeds. Especially people go look at your feeds and it’s going to be there and that’s great for them. But it’s kind of billboard marketing to a degree. It’s hoping that the person who sees it needs you. At least they get branded to in a way they’re going to remember you, right? It’s a long game. But if you’re doing something where you’re trying to accumulate listeners, that short form content is really valuable because you can let them just get a little, just get a little get to know you. And then after — it might take one clip, they might go, “Damn, that’s really good.” They listen to the episode and they’re in, right? But they might just get interested, they’ll follow you and they keep up with it after a while. I have so many podcasts that I listen to now that took me years of people that I love telling me I should listen to it. But there’s too many podcasts, it takes a long time. But by creating that being constantly out there and showing people your things, that is how it grows. It grows kind of slowly in the beginning and then kind of all at once.
Christopher T. Anderson: The word that keeps coming to me now is also authority, right? You’re just building that authority. You’re being seen as a person who can talk about whatever that subject is that you’re talking about. All right, so we’re getting into the game. We know how to get in front of folks. How important is consistency? Obviously, I don’t think we’re talking about doing one podcast and then one and done. That’s just a video or that’s just an audio.
Robert Ingalls: The best podcast ever.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right. So how often should it be? Is it something folks should commit to doing daily? Is it something folks should think about being a weekly? Is monthly enough? What kind of frequency really sets the tone for being able to get in front of those listeners?
Robert Ingalls: First, if there’s somebody trying to do a daily podcast, call me because that’d be wild. I’m in. Let’s try it. But I think biweekly and weekly are really the sweet spots that we found with our clients is generating consistent content. And the clients that we have that really like it the most are the ones that want to generate content, but they don’t want to spend all their time generating content. They sit down, they have a 15-minute conversation, and now they’ve got the blog post, they’ve got the video, they’ve got the episode, they’ve got the clips for their social media. So they’ve got this plethora of content that came from a 15-minute conversation that they had instead of having to sit down and stare at the blank page and try to draft something out of that. And those are the ones that end up really liking it.
Christopher T. Anderson: And when you say biweekly, you mean twice a week or once every two weeks.
Robert Ingalls: I know, I hate that word and I got to get it out of my vocabulary because it’s always like, what do you mean there? Every two weeks is a really the sweet spot. It keeps you on schedule, it keeps you generating consistent content. And then if you’re creating something for referral sources, if you start to go too long, if you’re creating something that a repeat listener wants to listen to, if it’s really valuable, they’re going to hang out, like they’re going to wait for you to publish every once in a while. But what we want, especially with subscribers is a habit. And the way we develop a habit is by doing the thing at the same time on a schedule. If that schedule is every other Monday, they get in their car at 07:00 a.m. and it’s there, it needs to be there because they might not really hold it against you if you miss a week here and there, but you kind of fall out of that rhythm.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right. They’ll say, “Yeah, what am I going to listen? That’s not there? What else am I going to listen to?” And it might not be the one you want them to listen to at that time. So consistency. It sounds to me like you’re saying consistency is even more important than frequency. Like, just choose your frequency and stick with it. All right, last logistical question, then I’ve got the big question. The last logistical question is, okay, you mentioned 15 minutes. Is that the right length? Is it half an hour? Is it an hour? There’s one podcast that I’m kind of addicted to. It’s two hours long, and sometimes I wish it wasn’t because that’s really long, but what’s the right length?
Robert Ingalls: I feel like we’ve all heard some version of this. I had a professor that said, “As long as a man’s kilt, short enough to be interesting, long enough to cover the subject.” I will give the lawyer answer, it depends. We’re going back to the very beginning of the episode when we talked about why are we doing it? Who are we doing it for? Because if we’re doing it for somebody who — they asked the question about, can I take half the money in the bank account when I leave my husband? Right. They want to know the answer to that question that’s why they clicked on it. Give them the answer to that question. Give them the angles, and that’s all. Don’t spend a lot of time meandering around. Don’t spend the first five minutes talking about things that aren’t related to the subject. You can throw in a line here and there that personalizes it and shows your sense of humor and lets people get to know you a little bit. But don’t ramble. Keep it to what are we talking about and keep it there.
I have lots of episodes that I’ve produced that are seven and eight minutes long because that’s how long they needed to be. People didn’t need to be stuck there listening to this. But depending on your listener, your leash can be much longer. If you’re giving them something they really want to know about, don’t skimp on it and just say, “Oh, we’ve hit an arbitrary number, so we’re going to stop the podcast here.” No, give them the thing that they came for if it’s interesting and you need to keep talking about it, and if you feel like, oh, my God, I really am running long, break it in two-part episode.
Christopher T. Anderson: And thank you, we’re done. No, just kidding.
Robert Ingalls: Right. Yeah, on part two.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, I think that’s an amazing idea. And we’ve actually did the Un-Billable Hour, we’ve done that a couple of times where it just couldn’t fit into one. And our episodes are they vary in length, but they’re relatively consistent. So I think that’s a great idea. All right, the big question. We’ve lost 10% of the audience who have now quit the practice of law. That’s fine. But there’s another group here who’s going like, hey, maybe I will give this a try, but what the heck? Do I buy $1,000 worth of podcasting equipment? Is that my first step? What do I do? So let’s give folks a starting point. If they want to start giving podcasting a try, where should they begin?
Robert Ingalls: If it’s interesting to you and you’re thinking, this is something I might want to do, I think strategy. Go through those questions we asked in the beginning. Why am I doing, who am I doing it for, and make sure that you’ve defined that. And then buy a USB microphone and just start talking into it. USB mics, I mean, one of my favorites is the Samsung Q2U. I think it’s usually around $60 or $70. It used to be really cheap until podcasting picked up and people realized it was a good mic. The ATR 2100, these are all mics that plug right into your computer. They sit right on your desk, and you’re going to sound every bit as good as most professional podcasters, as long as you don’t have cats fighting in the background or anything like that. As long as you’re in a reasonably quiet space and you can get GarageBand on a Mac, you can get Audacity on Mac or PC. You download that software, you plug your microphone in and just start talking. That’s really where it started for me, is get comfortable, see if that’s something you like. Pick out something that your clients ask you a lot and think about your avatar in your mind and start talking to that person.
If you have somebody in your office that you’re like, we’ll co-host a podcast together. I have a lot of clients to do that. They’ll just come in, they’ll talk about an issue together because it’s a little easier to keep the conversation going when there’s two people. And so just sit down with them, have a conversation, see how it goes. Is this something that feels good? Obviously, in the beginning, it’s always a little bit strange. It’s a new thing we put our professional lawyer voice on, and I always encourage people, take that off. I want you above all, I want you to be relatable, because that’s what we want. People are going to do business with the people that they feel like they like, someone that they can kind of relate to. So speak directly to people and just get a sense for how it goes. And that’s really the easiest place to start. After that, there’s a number of technical things that you can do, and it’s like everything else. It can go from being really small and really inexpensive to really big. You can build like, we have clients that we help build studios in their offices, and they’re doing weekly shows and video cameras and all this stuff. So sky’s the limit if it’s something that you decide you like and you want to have fun with. But we have a lot of clients that they hosted themselves, they have a set up where it’s just a mic on their desk and they record an episode and talk directly to their client and that’s it.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, well, that makes total sense. And that is not an arbitrary time, but that is where we are going wrap this show.
And that is the end of this edition of The Unbillable Hour. And I want to thank all of our listeners for being here and sticking with us. Our guest today one more time has been Robert Ingalls, the founder and chief podcast strategist at LawPods. Robert, we’ve raised a lot of stuff and the listeners may want to reach out to you and learn a little bit more. How can they do that? How can our folks reach you?
Robert Ingalls: I mean, you can type LawPods almost anywhere and find me, but lawpods.com above the fold. There’s a quick button to schedule a call with me.
Christopher T. Anderson: Excellent. Very good. Thank you for that. And of course, this is Christopher T. Anderson, and I look forward to seeing you all next month with another great guest as we learn more about topics that help us build a law firm business that works for you. And to the point that we were talking about earlier, you can hear The Unbillable Hour and be part of the show twice every month. I don’t know if that’s biweekly or bimonthly or both, but you could be there twice. One is this regular episode where we meet another great guest to talk to us all about one aspect or another of the law firm business that works for you, and the other is the Community Table, which if you don’t know by now I’m going to tell you one more time. Is every third Thursday at 3:00 Eastern where you can be part of the show. You come with your questions and I and sometimes a guest will answer them for you. So, Community Table, third Thursday at 3:00, the regular show every month. Look forward to seeing you at both. And remember, you can subscribe to all the editions of this podcast at legaltalknetwork.com or on iTunes. Thank you for joining us. We will speak again soon.
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