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It's Time You Invest in Lighting and
a Microphone for When You're on Camera

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Whenever attorneys appear on camera with bad lighting or speak on a video or a podcast without an external microphone, they come across as unprofessional. They come across as not taking their image, their brand, and the task at hand seriously.

It never ceases to amaze me how many attorneys I see on videos and webinars, and hear on podcasts, who don’t make a particular investment—a ridiculously small one in the scheme of things—that could elevate their personal brand to a whole new level.

That investment? Good video lighting and a good external microphone. Both of which you can purchase for $250 or less—combined.

 

Whenever attorneys appear on camera with bad lighting or speak on a video or a podcast without an external microphone, they come across as unprofessional. They come across as not taking their image, their brand, and the task at hand seriously.

 

This sends subtle signals to any current or prospective client or referral source that the attorney might not be a polished attorney, which suggests they may not be an effective attorney.

 

The importance of looking the part (if you want to be seen as the part).

If you doubt this, think about another situation where the way someone in a learned, regulated profession comes across could affect a person’s trust in their ability to help them.

Imagine you are in a waiting room at your doctor’s office. When they eventually come through the door, they are wearing a traditional white coat with a suit or a freshly pressed shirt and tie or blouse. What would you think of them if that’s how they presented themselves? 

 

I bet you would view them in a positive light and expect that they would be able to help you. You’d probably be more willing to trust their advice than the advice you receive from any other source (like the internet, TikTok, or your father-in-law).

 

Now, imagine the doctor walked in wearing a Hawaiian shirt, cargo shorts, and tall crew socks with flip-flops. What would you think of them? Would you give their advice less weight than you would if they dressed more formally?

 

When you do not invest in good lighting and sound, which, again, should set you back $250 or less combined, you’re putting your worst foot forward. It’s the equivalent of walking into a meeting with a client or referral source disheveled, with your hair messed up and your clothes wrinkled. You would never dream of doing that in real life. So why do the equivalent of that in the digital world?

 

In addition, with so many client meetings happening virtually, poor lighting and sound can work against those attorneys who want to continue receiving matters and referrals from clients and referral sources if those clients and referral sources have a less-than-optimal opinion of the attorneys based in part on how they’re coming across during virtual meetings.

 

Today, you’re being judged against professional content creators.

 

But good lighting and sound aren’t things you should invest in only for your “owned media” efforts, like YouTube and social media videos, webinars, and podcasts. They’re equally important for your “earned media” efforts, like when you’re being interviewed by a reporter through Zoom or Teams while you’re in your office.

If you appear on a local or national television station or cable channel, or if you’re interviewed for a podcast, and you don’t have good lighting or sound, you’ll look doubly worse because you’ll be talking to someone who likely has the benefit of working with high-quality lighting and sound.

 

(Don’t worry: That $250 budget I mentioned earlier can buy you darn-near-close-to-professional-quality lighting and sound.)

 

Instead of looking like you are a seasoned media pro, you’ll look like a media rookie, which could cause people to jump to conclusions about your skills and abilities as an attorney. The bad-lighting-and-bad-sound bug will strike again when you or your marketing colleagues repurpose those interviews by sending links to them to clients and referral sources and posting clips of them to social media.

 

On a related point, many attorneys don’t realize that when they create multimedia thought leadership that’s published online, they compete for their target audience’s online attention with professional content creators like media outlets, influencers, and consumer brands, along with those attorneys and law firms who have invested time and money to create high-quality online content with good lighting and sound.

 

Think about your LinkedIn feed, your Instagram feed, and any other social media feeds. There are many people and entities pushing out professional-looking content. If your poorly lit videos and your terrible-sounding podcasts (because you’re using your computer’s microphone) look and sound bad on their own, wait until your clients and referral sources start consuming them after they finish consuming a video or podcast published by a professional content creator who consistently churns out high-quality content. That night-and-day difference won’t be flattering.

 

A small investment that can provide big returns.

 

You can look and sound like a million bucks in your multimedia thought leadership by spending approximately .025% of those million bucks to do so.

 

For less than the price of one round-trip Acela ticket to New York City or Washington, D.C., you can elevate your personal brand in the eyes of the people who are consuming the content you’re producing.

 

If you’re going to make the effort to create or appear on videos and podcasts, present on webinars, and communicate regularly with your clients via video calls, the least you can do is make this small investment.

 

It will make you look and sound incredible, it will improve your personal brand, and it will allow you to come across as a more serious, thoughtful and authoritative person, which should help convince the clients and referral sources consuming this content that you are the person to help them or the people they’re going to refer to you with their pressing legal or business issues.

 

Wayne Pollock, a former Am Law 50 senior litigation associate, is the founder of Copo Strategies, a legal services and communications firm, and the Law Firm Editorial Service, a thought leadership ghostwriting service for Big Law and boutique law firm partners. The Law Firm Editorial Service helps these partners grow their practice and prominence by collaborating with them to strategize and ethically ghostwrite book-of-business-building thought leadership marketing and business development content.

 

Reprinted with permission from the December 29, 2023, edition of The Legal Intelligencer © 2023 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877–257–3382 or reprints@alm.com.

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