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updated: 6/17/2013 5:44 AM

Palatine law firm happy with podcast results

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Businesses that "do podcasts well can get a lot of (website) traffic," says Brian Basilico.

Count Lavelle Law Ltd., Palatine, as one of those businesses that do podcasts well: The firm has received as many as 3,500 hits on its most popular podcasts, and although Founding Partner Kerry Lavelle admits that linking business to specific podcasts is difficult he is more than happy with the results.

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Besides, the firm's out-of-pocket cost of producing a podcast is near zero.

That fact alone should make podcast possibilities intriguing.

At its simplest, a podcast is do-it-yourself broadcasting, a digital audio, or video, file that individuals interested in the topic can search, download and listen to (or watch). Lavelle podcasts, for example, are archived on iTunes and at www.blogtalkradio.com.

A full list of accessible topics also is on the firm's website, under Resources.

The Lavelle Law program, Chicago's Legal Latte, can be heard each Tuesday afternoon at 4 o'clock -- or any time later, whenever a consumer's interest and a Lavelle topic match.

"It's remarkably easy to do," says Lavelle. "Our host (independent marketing adviser Jim Mitchell, Arlington Heights) calls in. The attorney who is talking about the subject matter that day calls in. There's an introduction with music and in 15 minutes we have a show."

The firm has produced 200 podcasts. Recent subject matter has ranged from DUI breath testing to real estate appraisals and trademark protections.

Content is aimed at consumers, not the legal community. "What we're trying to do is get 15 minutes of legal information out to the public," Lavelle says. "We're trying to be civic-minded."

At the same time, Lavelle is aware that the podcasts "help with branding."

Staff lawyers come up with podcast topic ideas and serve as guest experts interviewed by Mitchell. "Our attorneys suggest new topics in their fields, and we vet and disseminate the information," Lavelle says.

Although Lavelle Law has chosen a no-cost production package from BlogTalkRadio, there is an indirect time cost for firm attorneys who research material and prepare for the podcast, and a direct monthly consulting fee, which includes the podcast, from Mitchell. There's also that essential question every podcaster must answer: Is anyone listening?

Podcasters must get their messages through significant Internet clutter. BlogTalkRadio, for example, boasts 15,000 active hosts and 1,800 new shows a day. Still, finding your audience is a matter of basic marketing.

Basilico, a knowledgeable all-things-web consultant who is director of direction at B2b Interactive Marketing Inc., Aurora, suggests "social media marketing and email" as the center of podcast promotion. "Use your customer list," he says.

That's pretty much the approach at Lavelle Law. "We use our Constant Contact lists to send email blasts," Lavelle says. Firm email signature blocks include icons from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, where the podcasts are promoted, and a BlogTalkRadio icon.

• Jim Kendall welcomes comments at JKendall@121MarketingResources.com

2013 121 Marketing Resources Inc.

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