In 2021, there were over 850,000 active podcasts. In 2018, 20 million Americans listened to them, a number that grew to 144 million in three years. Podcasts are an excellent way to establish credible authority in your industry, but personal injury lawyers must spin the traditional benefits of podcasting to make it work for them.
As with all aspects of your content marketing strategy, you need good reasons to put in the effort to start and sustain a podcast. Understanding how it can (and can't) help your law firm will help you determine if this is a viable avenue for you.
We'll cover three major concepts important for personal injury lawyers thinking about starting a personal injury podcast: why to start a podcast, how to get the most out of it, and details on launching and managing a podcast.
Why Start a Legal Podcast?
There's no shortage of legal podcasts out there. The proliferation of relatively affordable recording equipment and audio hosting options makes podcasting accessible to many. But that isn't enough of a reason to invest your time and money into starting a law firm podcast, especially as a PI firm.
There are three primary benefits to incorporating a podcast into your legal marketing strategy: establishing a thought leadership platform for business development, recruiting top-tier talent, and generating demand for your firm’s services.
Thought Leadership and Referrals
A traditional approach to podcasting involves producing great content consistently while slowly building an audience. Over time, that audience comes to know, like, and trust you, with some of them hiring you for the legal services you provide.
This approach doesn’t work all that well for personal injury firms though. It's unlikely that an accident victim is thinking about consuming a new episode of an injury podcast weekly to build that trust.
Instead, lawyers should think of a podcast as a way to create valuable content that can then be repurposed on social media channels and help your law firm's SEO via backlink opportunities when you create a dedicated landing page for it on your site.
This builds credibility and following with a broad range of people who might not actually be your target audience but know people who are.
Everyone knows someone who has been through an accident.
Your goal with a podcast is to have your firm's name top of mind if and when someone is hurt or needs a referral for a personal injury lawyer.
A legal podcast will also help you stand out among your peers and grow your referral network.
Talking about legal news and issues regularly highlights how active you are in your practice area, making it easier for other lawyers to send certain cases (like catastrophic injuries, combined personal injury/workers' comp claims, defective product cases, or other claims where you have broad experience) your way.
Attracting and Recruiting Talent
If you're building a firm, attracting and retaining top talent is a critical area to focus on. If you're a known brand through podcasting, you've done a lot of the legwork introducing your work style, case management strategies, company culture and values to law school graduates and new attorneys.
These recruits might better align with your brand than other candidates because they've taken the time to get to know your firm in advance.
Additionally, the inclusion of new media strategies like a podcast can help your firm stand out as an innovative place to work in the legal industry.
Creating a podcast will help you generate a consistent pipeline of content that can be posted regularly on different distribution channels. We'll talk more about demand generation in the next section, but the general goal is to win people over before someone gets hurt in an accident.
By creating content for your social media channels, you're also generating demand because you’re able to get in front of people before they're searching the market for someone to help them with their problem.
You want people to know who you are and what you do well before an accident impacts them. By starting a podcast and posting that content on social, you can earn credibility as a leader in your practice area and benefit from brand recognition.
Getting the Most Out of Your Podcast
Most people consume podcasts in audio format, but making yours in this version alone is a terrible idea for a personal injury firm. Having only one format to share your podcast limits your repurposing options.
If you're going to commit to podcast production, do so with video. Posting your audio file to a podcast hosting service is only one step for sharing your episode. If you record it in video format, you can more easily share it on multiple channels. For example, you can publish the entire episode on your YouTube channel or relevant 1-3 minute clips across social media.
One show can generate as many as a dozen different LinkedIn posts. Your content will be more engaging, which is great for both positioning and building authority among other attorneys and professionals on LinkedIn.
Since your practice area is likely focused on a geographic region, you can use this to your advantage to share relevant local news and highlight other experts in your community. This is a nice way to co-market you and an area chiropractor, for example.
You can even run some light paid advertising on Facebook/Instagram to get your content in front of your local audience even with a very small budget if you use geographic targeting.
Before Starting Your Podcast
There are several key steps to take before recording the first episode of your new podcast. Creating goals, choosing a niche, deciding on a format, setting up your branding assets, locating hosting, and securing equipment all need to be completed before a podcast launch.
1. Establish Your Goals
Don't launch a podcast just to say you did it or because it seems like a hot marketing trend. Set your own goals so that you can measure against these in the future. Ask the following questions to help set your goals:
- What does winning look like for us?
- How much time, energy, and money do we want to invest as a firm?
- What kind of information do we want to consistently share with our audience? Pro tip: the best way to determine this is to ask your clients directly and listen to their feedback.
- What words would we like people to use to describe our brand after listening to our podcast episodes?
Remember, regular listenership is a nice bonus, but it's not the primary goal for a successful podcast.
The podcast should support making a memorable brand. Podcasts in general are a long play, so be wary of setting goals around how many downloads you get each month. Instead, pay attention to how many more referrals, comments, and cases come your way through word of mouth.
2. Choose Your Niche
Especially if you're going the route of establishing thought leadership in personal injury as we've recommended, you need to narrow your focus to stand out from other law and personal injury law podcasts.
There are many possible niches for PI lawyers starting a podcast. Bear in mind that if you're recording weekly episodes or even one episode a month, you don't want to box yourself in with topics too much. You'll run out of things to talk about if you go too narrow, and you also want to talk about topics you're passionate about regularly. Strike a balance between depth and quantity of topics.
You could talk about:
- Current events
- Specific kinds of accidents/cases
- Case law
- Supreme Court decision
- The process of recovering from accidents
- Managing a law firm
- How the industry of law is changing
- How to hire top talent
- How to get through law school
3. Determine the Format for the Podcast
There are many podcast-style options out there. Your first decision is whether this will be an entirely solo show, entirely interview/conversation-based, or a mix of both.
For personal injury lawyers, a solo show with only the host speaking is a lot of work. While a solo show can spotlight the host's expertise, it's easy to fall off your production schedule because you have to brainstorm, outline, and then record content. With an interview-style show, you can highlight other people's knowledge as well as your own expertise, but this also removes some of the burdens of carrying the whole show yourself.
If/when you do have guests, decide on whether you want it to be more conversational in nature or structured like an interview. Some guests might ask for an outline or proposed questions in advance.
4. Develop Branding Assets
Pick a podcast name that explains the topic of the show and is easy to remember. Make sure it's not trademarked or being used by another podcast. From there, you'll need a few branded assets, most specifically a podcast coverage image and an intro graphic for the video podcast.
It's recommended that you partner with a professional graphic designer to create these items because they will be used for consistent promotion with your show.
Podcast cover art should be at least 1400 x 1400 pixels with a maximum size of 3000 x 3000. You might also hire a graphic designer to create basic templates in a tool like Canva so that you can swap in new episode titles and guest headshots each week for sharing on social media.
5. Determine Where the Podcast Will be Hosted and Available
You need a podcast audio host. There are many options available here, including:
The podcast functions like an RSS feed, so it should also be connected with an appropriate page on your website. Your podcast audio host distributes your files to places like iTunes and Stitcher so that all you have to do is upload the finished and edited file to your chosen host.
Pro tip: before launching your show, you'll need to get your podcast approved by iTunes. This should be done two weeks in advance of your launch so that the team at Apple Podcasts has time to review it. You can submit just one episode for them to complete this process.
6. Get the Necessary Equipment
The right equipment makes your podcast look and sound professional in all formats.
At a bare minimum, it's worth the upfront investment in a high-quality microphone and a headset. Remember that some of your listeners might be tuning in over earbuds or in their car, where poor quality audio can be so distracting that people just won't listen. Most good microphones for podcasting cost between $100-150, but can be reused for other projects like client meetings or online workshops.
Since a video podcast is best practice, make sure you have a high-quality webcam built into your computer or find one that plugs in through a USB.
Here are some pro tips on the right equipment for basic podcasting:
- A microphone such as the Blue Yeti or the ATR 2100 for good audio quality (host and guest)
- A set of headphones to reduce echoes and feedback on your recording (host and guest)
- A quiet room or location for recording (avoid fans, air conditioners, or large empty spaces like conference rooms where echoes are most prominent).
One of the hardest things about running a podcast is keeping the momentum going after the initial excitement of your launch. Set yourself up for success by doing a few things in advance, like creating your studio space, developing a content calendar of topics, and brainstorming guests.
1. Set Up Your Recording Environment
A studio space should be one where no background noise is picked up. Some podcasting microphones like the Blue Yeti pick up sound from all over the room as opposed to a directional microphone like the ATR 2100.
Make sure your recording equipment is sitting on a flat surface and that your microphone is placed within a few inches of your mouth. Check the studio space for sources of extra noise and be mindful of things going on in and around your building during your recording times. If you know the outside lawn crew comes at 10:00 every Tuesday, plan your recording sessions to avoid this.
2. Create a Content Calendar
Just like your blog, social media, and email content, a law practice podcast calls for a content calendar. Start with a brain dump of all the ideas you could talk about on your podcast. It's far easier to launch a show with many ideas in the pipeline. Avoid scrambling the week before and always keep an emergency episode or topic at the ready. When creating your calendar, make sure you have a nice cadence and variety in topics unless you're doing something like a series.
Your next step is to determine when you'll place these episodes. If you are recording solo, you can start recording right away. If you need to find and invite guests, however, you'll need a few weeks of lead time.
3. Invite Guests
Choosing the right guests makes a big difference in the overall engagement of the show. With other expert guests, you get the benefit of tapping into their network when the show is published, too, since the guest should share it on their own channels.
How you approach and prepare guests will make for the highest chances of a great recording.
There are several different kinds of people who might be the right fit for a legal podcast focused on personal injury law:
- Other lawyers
- Former insurance industry adjusters/employees
- Chiropractors/physical therapists
- Influencers in your geographic area
Pro tip: Send guests an instructions sheet of what to expect and how to prepare their own recording space. Some people don't realize they need headphones or that yes, you can hear their spouse talking or rustling paper in the background. Give them this information in advance to make them feel more confident and to reduce live recording problems.
Preparation and recording all lead up the important post-production process. How your podcast looks and sounds is vital for connecting with potential viewers and distributing a polished product.
1. Edit Your Podcast
Most people who edit their podcast on their own use GarageBand or Audacity. These programs help with basic edits to help improve the quality of your sound and are relatively simple in terms of editing software.
Another great tool is Descript. It can generate transcripts and provide some basic post-production editing for your audio/video as well.
Your podcast itself should not be hard to edit. Your audio should be normalized because you have a good microphone and recording environment already. The front matter (like you chatting with the guest before recording) and back end material should be cut out. If you get a podcast introduction or closing track with licensed or royalty-free music, those should be added in the production process.
If you don't feel comfortable doing audio editing, find a freelancer on Fiverr or Upwork to make your podcast sound professional. For a 20-30 minute podcast, expect to pay at least $35 per episode, although many freelancers and production agencies charge more.
2. Set Aside Useful Snippets for Distribution
Before releasing your episode, take another listen. Look for useful sections or great guest quotes that can be cut and used on social media. The producer and editor should be included in this process. Use a tool like Headliner.app to create audiograms quickly. Try to collect at least 3-4 clips per episode at a minimum.
If you’re using Descript, you can quickly add upper and lower-thirds to the video which gives you room to post a catchy headline and other useful copy.
3. Upload Your Podcast
Upload your show to your audio host once you're finished recording. That platform will then distribute it to most channels like stitcher or Google podcasts. Bear in mind that you might need to connect your podcast to other platforms like Spotify and Amazon Music separately.
You can pre-schedule your episode to go live at a certain time, and it's recommended that you release an episode the same day every week so that your audience comes to associate that day with new content from you.
4. Distribute on Social Media
Distributing useful clips on social media, especially LinkedIn can really fill out your content calendar. Make sure to tag any guests on the show when you post on social media so you get extra traction from their network.
Include a brief teaser statement about the episode as a whole. The real goal of the shared episode snippet is to entice someone to download the rest of the show and to listen further. Remind your guest what day the episode goes live so that they are ready to share as well.
Your podcast can also serve as fodder for your email newsletter.
Important: Don’t add a link to your podcast directly in your post when you share on social media either—it will suppress how many people it reaches. Instead, add a comment below your post with a link to the podcast and let people know they can listen to the full episode there.
Podcasting is just one element of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy for law firms. It's not right for everyone. But if you're thinking about growing your visibility in the personal injury field and using this as a tool for thought leadership and referrals, recruitment, and demand generation, hosting a podcast is one way to get maximum play out of your content strategy.
Investing in an ongoing process like this takes away the pressure to blog as frequently or to post on social media as much because you get so much mileage out of one piece of content.
At Rankings.io, we work with lawyers on a broad range of attorney marketing needs to help you get found by the right clients online. If you'd like more information about how our team of experts can help, contact us today.