1 = Lowest Possible Score; 5 = Highest Possible Score
In Georgia Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability by Ginsberg Law Offices, the over-the-top, gold glowing, black background headline and title scream at you. The saxophone induced overtones make this introduction more appropriate for a scene from a 1970's movie in a smoky, acrid smelling bar, rather than in an informational video.
The title asks a good question though: "Should I apply for social security disability?" I await the answer. However, the first few words from Ginsberg are that "It's a very complicated question to answer." Wrong answer. Telling viewers that your field of law is very difficult tells them two deadly things, neither of which you want to do:
1. Your question is so complicated that even a smart lawyer like yourself cannot explain it adequately.
2. You've just wasted valuable time telling your viewer absolutely nothing. You have lost the instant credibility factor that most trial lawyers learn the hard way. Forget the introductions and get right to the point.
Later in the video she talks again about how difficult it is setting up something called an "MSA account" and fails to explain its purpose or why it is important. This is troubling. If an educated lawyer keeps talking about how difficult these issues are, this viewer will go immediately to another lawyer who has no problem expressing how confident he is in solving the viewer's problem.
This video uses a green screen to tape the clip, and then in post-production inserts a television studio set, to make it appear as if you are standing in a TV studio. Fairly common. However, the camera is below center and there's an uneven distance from the top of Ginsberg's head to the frame — a minor distraction.
She also uses a handheld microphone, which most lawyers wisely choose not to use. With the handheld mic, she gives the appearance as if she's a host on a TV talk show. I'm waiting for her to call out to an audience member to come down and play "The Price is Right." Not an image you want to create. My preference is a lapel mic that is almost invisible and gives a more natural appearance.
Set: Wood framed square with purple background and some errant plants creeping along the edge, and one directly over her head. Make sure your background does not interfere with the attorney.
Makeup: Cannot tell.
Music: Corny. Introduction and ending sound like a mystery movie. Wrong music pick. Lost half a point here.
Length: 2:31 minutes. Too long for her explanations that do not seem to explain or answer the initial question she raises in her title.
Script: At times she appears to be reading from a teleprompter. Other times, she appears to be speaking off-the-cuff.
Performance: She talks really fast and I could not understand her points. I did not walk away from this video with a compelling reason to call her. She lost another half point here.
Practice tip #1: Slow down. You have time. Also, do not expect your viewer to know what you are talking about. Take time to explain, in basic terms, the point you want to make.
Practice tip #2: She says that you should call an experienced attorney to learn the answer to the question, and that her firm has handled this issue before. She then leaves this point and never returns. Bad move. Instead, back up what you say by giving concrete examples of how you have handled this exact issue and talk about the outcome. Doing so is the key conversion point that will make your viewer pick up the phone and call you instead of your competitor. Failing to include this information almost guarantees the viewer will look elsewhere for an answer.
Sidebar: Standard one sentence explanation of the video. However, she lost a full point here for failing to include any of her contact information. No Web site, no phone number. Yes, she had it on the video itself, but I had to play the video again.
The question Ginsberg raises in her title was good. The explanation was not. Ginsberg's fast-talking may be a case of nerves, or an imitation of a car salesman trying to get as much verbal text into the video. I couldn't tell which one. With a bit of work and practice, the next video she makes could be much better.
The Back Bench
Certified Family Law Specialist and online video producer Kelly Chang Rickert says: "I feel like I am watching a bad talk show. The video is too long and doesn't keep our attention. The music is too jumpy. I would cut down the video and have more than a "talking head" effect."
Lawyer, journalist, and legal media consultant Robert Ambrogi says: "Attorney Ginsberg needs either a script or a script doctor. Her sentences ramble and that makes them confusing. Once she tightens the script, she needs to rehearse it before turning on the camera."
TechnoLawyer publisher and online video producer Neil Squillante says: "Phil Donahue called — he wants his microphone back. Seriously, a creative idea, but a talk show format without a studio audience doesn't work."
YouTube offers law firms a free advertising platform with tens of millions of potential clients. But a poor video can hurt more than help. In this column, lawyer and online video expert Gerry Oginski reviews and rates the latest law firm videos. A panel of fellow experts (The Back Bench) add to Gerry's reviews with pithy remarks. We link to each new YouLaw column and all other noteworthy law firm marketing articles in our weekly BlawgWorld newsletter, which is free. Please subscribe now.
About Gerry Oginski
New York trial lawyer Gerry Oginski has created more than 150 informational online videos for his medical malpractice and personal injury practice. Realizing that most video producers don't have a deep understanding of the practice of law and what potential clients look for, Gerry launched The Lawyers' Video Studio, which provides free tutorials and video production services. If you need help producing a video, please contact Gerry now.
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