In his interview on The Rankings Podcast, SEO maestro, Nathan Gotch talked about using his passions as the basis for blogs and even a YouTube channel. And Nathan isn’t alone – millions of people, especially lawyers, use blogs as a way to talk about their interests and even funnel people towards their services. And if you want to communicate your passion to the world, you aren’t just limited to blogs anymore.
As we mentioned, you can also start a YouTube channel, or you can join the ever-increasing ranks of podcasters. But how do you choose which method is right for you? Well, in this article, we’ll take a look at the barrier to entry, time commitment, relationship building, and law firm SEO benefits of each to help you make that decision.
Further Reading: Blogging for Lawyers: How to Get Started
Barrier To Entry
By far, the easiest medium to get started in is the blog. All you need is access to one of the many free blog hosting sites and you’re good to go. There are paid hosting options available that’ll give you nicer-looking URLs, but they’re by no means mandatory. So if you’ve got something to talk about as well as any internet-enabled device – you can blog.
The next easiest platform to get started in is, perhaps surprisingly, YouTube. Practically everyone has a phone with a decent camera and some means of holding it while keeping themselves in the shot. Add to that mix something to talk about and you’re all set! Channels are free to set up and YouTube has editing features so you don’t have to download other software. The only potentially off-putting element is that if you’re camera shy, the first few videos might be difficult.
Which leaves podcasting. Yes, you could record yourself and your guests on Zoom for free. But, while the sound quality is good, it’s not great – especially if you don’t have any dedicated mics. So you’ll need to consider the cost of recording equipment pretty quickly if you want your listeners to stick around.
And you’ll also need to factor in the cost of using a podcast hosting provider. This is the service that actually pushes your podcast to all the big platforms. You could host your podcasts through YouTube – but the joy of having them on Apple and Spotify is that listeners can take them anywhere. However, on YouTube, only paying members will be able to listen to your shows in the background or download them.
Podcasting does alleviate the stresses of camera shyness for people who would rather speak than write. And although initially more expensive – getting professional-level audio tools will be vastly cheaper than professional-level video tools.
When we think of time commitment, we’ll consider the average duration it’ll take to produce each episode or post. And it goes without saying that the more time you put in, the better your output will be.
In general, producing a blog post for your law firm will take the least amount of time. You can, realistically, research and write a good quality article in a few hours. Or you could be more journalistic and conduct interviews and include quotes, which will take more time. But well-written and researched opinion pieces make for great sustainable content.
Podcasts would be, on average, the second quickest piece of content to produce. If you’re simply talking directly to the listener you could research, record, and edit something in a couple of days. But if you’re involving guests it could take a few days to a week to publish an episode. So unlike blogging – which you could do in a spare few hours – you’ll need to dedicate time specifically to podcasting.
Producing a video will very likely take the most time to produce. As with a podcast, you’ll have all the same editing decisions to make regarding audio (and story), but you’ll also have to consider the images too. You might well have a perfect audio clip of someone making a great point – but maybe the video isn’t so great. Perhaps it’s overexposed or your guest has something in their teeth. Now you have to find another video clip to mask problems or risk losing your guests great point. Really, it’s no more difficult than editing audio – you just have double the media to think about (audio and video).
The great thing about all of these platforms is their ability to create fanbases and communities centered around your product. But each platform can make its audiences feel included and engaged in different ways. And one of the best ways for an audience to engage with you is through comments.
YouTube comes out on top in this respect. Audiences can feel truly engaged with you, the host, as they can see and hear you. They’re also able to feel part of a community because they can easily comment on your work along with others. But not only can they engage with other viewers, but they also have a direct line to you too, again, through the comment feature.
It’s harder to determine whether podcasts or blogs come in second place because each, in general, addresses two of the three benefits YouTube offers (audio, visual, comments).Podcasts have become known as quite an intimate medium, placing hosts literally in the ears of their audience. And though this promotes a great relationship between listener and host, in general, podcasts don’t usually offer the same commenting features like blogs and YouTube. This means that listeners need to go the extra mile to seek out these communities.
Blogs, on the other hand, have the opposite problem. There’s nearly always an option to comment on posts, offering a direct line between host and readers. This creates a great community, however, connecting to your audience through text is more difficult than through audio and video. Of course, a great way to overcome this is to create a distinct style to help readers recognize you.
The last point regarding community is the sizes of the podcast, blog, and YouTube audiences. While a large audience might indicate you have a large pool of people to attract to your content, it might also mean that you get lost in the noise.
By far, there are more blogs than YouTube channels and podcasts combined with over 570 million of them on the internet. Next, YouTube channels are the second most popular with over 37 million of those on the site. And finally, there are over 1 million podcasts in the world, which means you’re more likely to be able to discuss your niche in a less saturated media market than on the other two platforms.
The last, and most important element, is how well you can optimize your content on each platform. It’s great to be able to put your opinions and observations out there, but which method gives you the best chance of getting your content in front of your audience?
More so than the other methods, blogs give you a better opportunity to optimize your content. You can find more instances to include keywords, you can get very granular with articles to answer key questions and you can create data driven posts to encourage links to your site.
Podcasts, on the other hand, are a bit trickier. In general, you have less space to include your keywords (in the title and description) and really the only people that will find your podcast through Google will have to do a very specific search to find it. To make your titles and show notes work for you, you need to pay great attention to include keywords and phrases for search engines to pick up on. It’s also worth remembering that most podcasts reach new audiences through recommendation, so it’s essential that you encourage listeners to recommend your show and that you try to guest on (and have guests on from) other shows to promote your brand.
Finally, YouTube is actually a great platform for ranking and promoting your channel. Well-optimized content will rank in a Google search and YouTube has the added benefit of its algorithm. The YouTube algorithm can be a great help because it has the ability to get your content in front of your potential audience without them making a specific search. Whereas Google will show you relevant content based on what you’ve just searched, YouTube can present your content as soon as the site loads, without the user searching, if it feels your content is relevant.
Whichever you choose, it’s absolutely essential that you include one more component, and that is a website. Your website is a great place to host all your content. You can index episodes and articles for easier access or even add functions (like commenting on podcast episodes) where your other platforms fall short. And making sure your content links back to your website is a great way for them to find out more about you, contact you if they think you could be the lawyer for them, or even just sign up for a mailing list to find out about new content.