While managing the transition from in-person events – seminars, conferences, CLE training, and other programs – to digital-only programs has been challenging for many law firms, some teams are navigating that change particularly well.
Proactive firms are keeping audience attendance rates high, gathering valuable feedback that helps shape future programs, and even attracting new viewers and – most importantly – new clients in the process.
What are these teams doing to ensure meaningful results during the transition to an online-only world? Here are five things that we’re seeing:
1. They Create New Digital Strategies
With robust programs focused on in-person events to deliver knowledge and thought leadership to large and small audiences, many firms – caught off-guard when the pandemic forced them to change the way they communicated and networked – quickly moved all of their events online, using technologies that allowed them to replicate the “one-to-many” approach of face-to-face presentations.
The most successful firms also developed new and unique digital strategies to educate and inform their clients while marketing their lawyers and practices. They started delivering short, single-issue webinars that audiences could consume at their convenience, and even “binge-watch.” They gathered thought leadership into content portals that showcase their skills and experience.
Most importantly, they modified their content delivery strategies to fit the digital-online environment rather than trying to stick to the old way of doing things in the new normal.
2. They Showcase Their Diversity
Webinars give you a great platform for showing off your lawyers: their skills and experience, certainly, but also the diversity of your legal team.
One firm that’s doing this particularly well only organizes speaker panels featuring a broad range attorneys of all ages, gender, and race. What’s more, they always include at least one speaker who isn’t a lawyer to round out the discussion and make the session even more valuable for attendees who appreciate a variety of perspectives.
3. They Teach Their People How To Master Online Presentations
The transition to digital programming isn’t always an easy one, and the firms managing it best take steps to ease that shift: they train presenters on understanding the webinar technology, they coach them on speaking into web cameras, they work with them to make sure lighting and background noise don’t distract from their message, and more.
We know of one firm that regularly hosts internal webinars led by the marketing and events team designed to educate panelists and guest speakers on presenting themselves in the best light possible.
Beyond generally prepping presenters, it’s also an effective way to give them a chance to get to know each other ahead of the webinar – not always easy when colleagues are spread out across the country – and think through their roles and the smooth flow of the session.
4. They Study The Data
I’ve said this before: webinars provide a tremendous opportunity to quantify the value of your thought leadership program. Now more than ever firms are gathering as much data as they can from each event to better understand the mindset and concerns of attendees: what they’re reading, what they ask about, what they’re sharing, and more.
The successful ones then use this information to shape their webinar program, which helps them generate additional opportunities to get their content in front of clients and potential clients.
5. They Create Opportunities To Network
Moving events online shouldn’t mean giving up the valuable networking benefits that in-person activities traditionally provide. Of course you can’t replicate the spontaneous conversations that happen standing in the drink line at a cocktail reception, but there are many ways to keep audiences engaged and participating.
The firms we’re watching are building surveys, polls, and Q&As into every webinar to make sure participants share experiences and concerns on their top-of-mind legal and business issues. In addition, they regularly use digital breakout rooms to ensure that attendees get personalized attention from their attorneys.
How is your firm managing the transition to digital-first events? I’d love to hear about it.
Katie O'Rourke is Regional Vice President, Sales, at ON24. Connect with her on LinkedIn; follow for her latest writing on JD Supra.