1 = Lowest Possible Score; 5 = Highest Possible Score
Military criminal defense attorney Michael Waddington of Gonzalez & Waddington serves up some heady practical advice in his straight-talking video that turns to mush.
Attorney Michael Waddington is the brute squad (see The Princess Bride) with a smile. I like his videos. I like his direct eye contact. I like the effort he makes to inform viewers about his area of law. He answers commonly asked questions, and does it in a friendly style. He's down to earth.
But this video turns to mush about 40 seconds into it. The sound becomes separated from the video. It reminded me of the old King Kong and martial arts movies with poorly dubbed dialogue. You'd see the action, and then seconds later hear the words. Same thing here.
I will tell you that I've watched his other videos and none of them have this problem. Why then am I "picking" on this one? Precisely because if you don't check your videos before they go live, you run the risk of making yourself look bad.
Tip #1: Body Language Is Very Important
Attorney Waddington tends to lean forward in his chair as if he's trying to reach forward. I got the subtle impression that he was overreaching. Remember what your mother always told you at the dinner table? "Sit up and pull your chair in." Don't lean forward in your chair. Your body language sends a message. Since your video shows who you are, you want to make the best impression possible.
Instead of sitting in your comfortable office chair which allows you to swivel and recline, use a stool for your video. It will force you to sit upright and you won't get that constant back and forth motion many people see when someone sits in an office chair.
Tip #2: Timing Is Everything
When you create and edit your own videos, you must understand that a viewer will not watch your entire clip if you ramble. If, after shooting your video, you realize you went on a verbal rampage with no clear line of thought, the best thing you can do for you and your viewers is to edit the garbage out.
I got the sense that this attorney was speaking off-the-cuff, which I appreciate. It comes across as more sincere and less formal. However, when you just go on and on, as here in the middle of the clip, you risk losing the attention of your audience.
When editing your video, you've got to know what to keep and what to throw away. I know. I learned it the hard way. You think every second of what you said is vitally important. Guess what? It's not.
I know what you're thinking, "These are my words; I thought of them, and I spoke them, and there's no way I'm going to cut them." Big mistake.
Watch a TV commercial tonight. Look at how quickly it transitions from one image to the next. Why do they do that? To keep the viewers' attention.
The bottom line — leave the excess verbiage on the "cutting room floor" where you can simply click "Delete." I guarantee that by making your video shorter and more focused, the more likely prospects will watch it to the end and contact you.
Tip #3: Check Your Video Before and After It Goes Live
An editor tells you to proofread, and then proofread again. A video editor tells you to watch your video in its entirety before compressing it for upload and then once online to watch the entire thing again. Why? So you can avoid having an embarrassing "Uh-oh" moment and realize what you just put out for public consumption simply doesn't work and ruins your street cred at the same time.
In Waddington's case, it sounds like something got screwed up when compressing the video to upload. Or, while editing, the sound was disconnected from the accompanying video. The point? Always, always check and re-check your complete video before uploading, and immediately after it appears on YouTube.
Just as a good video can help you, a bad video can destroy your credibility.
Tip #4: Google Is King
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the key to getting your video indexed by Google and other search engines. You've spent hours producing and creating your attorney video. You've edited everything just right. You adjusted the color, improved the sound and added titles and transitions to your unique message.
You're now ready to finish uploading your video to YouTube, and you enter your information into the section that says "Description." Many "do-it-yourself" lawyers fail to understand the importance of this task.
Waddington's search engine information is sorely lacking. I see lots of acronyms for military agencies, which is fine. However, there's no contact information listed except his Web address. Why make a viewer jump through hoops to get your phone number, address, or email? Make it easy for a viewer. Give it to them. They'll appreciate the effort you took to include it.
A good video gone bad. A good attorney with a good message who should improve the information in the description section of YouTube (you can edit this information anytime). Plus spend a few minutes on quality assurance and the next video will shine. My recommendation: Take this video off-line, and either fix it, or create a new one
To summarize, I deducted a full point for the mismatched audio/video, and 1/2 a point off for the lack of contact information. Till next time, see you on video!
The Back Bench
Certified Family Law Specialist and online video producer Kelly Chang Rickert says: "First, TOO LONG! I started zoning at 40 seconds. This video features Michael discussing inappropriate fraternizing, which could have been summarized in a 10 second presentation. Second, the sound and video is off! I felt like I was watching a badly-dubbed foreign film. Third, he starts off with a bang, but quickly falls apart in front of a camera and starts pausing and stuttering. I give this video a D+ for effort!"
Lawyer, journalist, and legal media consultant Robert Ambrogi says: "This military defense lawyer may have a good point to make about conflicts, but his video deserves a court martial. It has three main problems. First, his point gets lost as he rambles on too long about it. Second, the sound is horrible and out of sync with his lips. Last, he needs to lose the awkward and barely readable text slide he drops into the middle."
TechnoLawyer publisher and online video producer Neil Squillante says: "Michael Waddington makes a good point, but he needs to rehearse to tighten up his presentation. Some accompanying bullet points would help. Also, I half expected Godzilla to make an appearance given the poor sound syncing."
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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