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A Law Firm's Guide To Producing A Podcast

By Courtney Hudson and Megan Senese · 2020-12-23 12:11:15 -0500

Courtney Hudson
Courtney Hudson
Megan Senese
Megan Senese
2020: It has been a year — and it is not even over yet.

"Pandemic," "COVID-19" and "coronavirus" are words that were new to most of us over nine months ago, but now have infiltrated into our everyday vocabulary. This year has given us new challenges, new routines and new normals.

At the onset of the pandemic, companies needed to determine how to cut through a crowded digital market to raise their profiles and reach their clients. Law firms aggressively pivoted from in-person programming and client events to virtual webinars at a fast and furious pace.

As the influx of invitations to digital events, seminars and webinars poured in, information overload took over, and inboxes became inundated. For some firms, even the most loyal clients began to unsubscribe from mailing lists or outright ignore any communications.

Enter another new term from 2020: "webinar fatigue." Shortly after the world settled into home offices, or kitchen tables, the market became saturated with content, and webinar fatigue set in.

According to a recent article in The American Lawyer, general counsel demonstrated high interest in podcasts as one of the preferred methods for consuming content.[1] Creating a podcast enables law firms to reach the audiences that prefer a shorter audio format over long-form articles or webinars.

While there is still a need for long-form content, podcasts are easy for clients because the content is quick to consume and can simultaneously be listened to while doing other tasks, like home schooling for example.

So, how do lawyers continue to reach their clients and targets to deliver important legal insights? By being creative, adaptable, authentic and most of all, making it simple.

Set a cadence.

Once a concept and topic are created and selected for a podcast, decide which format works best for the series. Choosing a podcast format includes determining the length and frequency of when the episodes will be released, and selecting a delivery style, i.e., whether it will involve interviews, a single host, more than one guest, storytelling, etc.

Setting a consistent format and episode length allows listeners to know exactly what to expect, and how often to expect it.

Once the release schedule has been solidified, commit to it, and commit to it fully. The release schedule will help attract and retain listeners, knowing they can regularly tune in on a specific day.

Consistency also applies to the internal recording schedule. Creating an internal recording schedule allows for rearranging topics and guests when breaking news hits the market, and priorities need to be adjusted.

Prerecording a few episodes also provides the flexibility required when a featured guest encounters a scheduling conflict. Having three to five episodes ready before the launch of the podcast series will provide a head start toward achieving the desired cadence.

Identify an intellectually curious host.

Select a host who is not only interested in industry topics and legal trends but is passionate about listening and conversing with different people and ideas. The host's practice specialty and level of seniority should align with the theme of the podcast.

For example, an associate would be best suited to host a podcast series titled "Through the Lens of an Associate," while a partner may be better positioned for a series called "A Path to Partnership."

The identified host will make guests feel comfortable and allow each guest to shine by highlighting their brilliance on the subject matter. Listening to a host who is genuinely interested and informed on the topics keeps the audience engaged and increases the likelihood that clients will share episodes with others who have similar interests.

Do not stop looking for industry trends and the right guests.

Consistently monitoring legal developments from external sources and having meaningful conversations with clients are excellent ways to stay informed of industry trends. Regularly reassessing which topics are important and newsworthy, and which guest is best positioned to deliver that content, is crucial.

Select an engaging guest, either internal or external, with the right experience to bring a fresh legal perspective that has not been covered or discussed in the market. Additionally, tracking clicks and page views provide valuable insight into what industry topics the audience is most interested in and allows for future content curation based on listener feedback.

These considerations will help to ensure that a captive audience continues to tune in to the podcast.

Be adaptable.

The pandemic demonstrated that to survive, businesses need to be nimble and swift. Podcasts can be easily curated to address the constantly changing wave of topics, regulations and emotions, making them an ideal way to communicate current legal trends and news to clients.

Before recording each episode, set up a planning call with the host and guests to discuss an outline. They need to think through the discussion flow, the main points, and how scripted the conversation will be. While each podcast episode should be conversational in nature, drafting a script or loose outline helps guide the conversation and keep it focused.

Even more critical than being fluid with the topics is being agile. Agility allows attorneys to quickly shift the focus of the topic based on client priorities and business objectives.

Be authentic.

While being authentic might sound trite, staying true to the firm's brand is crucial for success. Authenticity should remain the common thread throughout the entire process — in determining episode titles, topics, and right down to the intro and exit music.

Finding the appropriate cover art, selecting a descriptive title, and adding a summary description of the series is an important key to letting the audience know why they should listen. Each episode's title and accompanying writeup should speak to the firm's brand and target audience.

For example, adding intro and exit music to each episode can add some personality and distinction to set the series apart from others. Finding the balance between new ideas, suggestions and format changes will be important to stay true to the podcast and the firm's identity.

Make it simple for all.

Launching a podcast does not have to be overly complicated or bust the marketing budget. Find easy recording and editing tools, invest in a sound editor to help polish the episodes, or outsource the entire post-production process if that is an option.

One 30-minute recording session can quickly be repurposed by the marketing department into half a dozen pieces of content, fully utilizing the attorney's short time spent on the episode. Examples of distribution channels include podcast hosting sites, the firm's website, LinkedIn, client alerts, blog posts, and publishing full transcripts of each episode.

2020 has been challenging enough. Make it stress-free for guests to join, simple for lawyers to participate, and even easier for clients to listen.

Courtney Hudson is a business development manager and Megan Senese is a senior business development manager at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, where they produce The Pillsbury Industry Insights Podcast. 

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, its clients or Portfolio Media Inc., or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.


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