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You need video. But it needs to be good. Very good.

I’m a product of the dying newspaper era. Quality multimedia content simply isn’t appreciated recognized anymore. Everyone has a smartphone with a nice camera, and every digital SLR owner is an “aspiring professional photographer.” So what’s the problem? Quality is more than having the right tool for the job. It’s about having the right person to use it.

The dismantling of the Chicago Sun-Times photojournalism department early this summer has been well-documented. The paper cut its staff and replaced professionally-trained photojournalists with writers…and iPhones. Check out the SunTimes/DarkTimes Tumblr for the results. It’s clear; writers with smartphones could not compete. To rub it in, a former staffer who maintains the Laid Off From The Sun-Times Tumblr started posting photos using his iPhone to demonstrate it’s not the tool, it’s the skill.

So why does this matter to attorneys? Bad video and other multimedia content hurts you. Your potential clients don’t want to wade through hours of poorly-written video, and low production value cheapens your firm’s image. Web consumers are getting smarter and decisions are made quickly online. You can’t afford to lose potential business because of bad multimedia.

If you can invest the time and money into quality production and scripts, it can enrich your web presence. It’s a tough balance. Script-writing is tough. You need to get complex concepts across to visitors with no legal training in two to three minutes. Lighting is tough. Even if your firm’s office isn’t poorly-lit, your videos still need professional light. Lastly, production is tough and takes a lot of time.

Web users like video. It’s engaging and can give your firm a personal touch. But your clients are looking for confidence. They are not going to find it in your bad videos.

Stay tuned for tips to improve your firm’s videos. In the meantime, watch this clip to explore the power of video online.