As I mentioned here, I was invited to participate on a panel at the Legal Marketing Association-Bay Area Chapter’s 12th Annual Technology Program on a panel, Beyond Print: Moving Marketing Communications into the Audio and Video Realms.

The panel was moderated by Jen Klein from Blattel, and included Joe Calve, CMO, MoFo; Brian Colucci, Director of Marketing, Townsend; and Dave Pistoni, Principal and Creative Director, doubledave (great company name, by the way).

First of all, kudos for Jen leading a great session. We had our notes, our questions, who was going to take the lead when and where. But we collectively agreed to let the audience drive the content. Come on. We can talk AT you and tell you what WE think you want to hear as an audience member, or we can actually discern what YOU want to hear and respond accordingly.

Jen asked the first questions, then we, as a panel, began interacting with the audience.

Sometimes the questions came from Jen, sometimes the audience, sometimes the audience were talking amongst themselves, sharing their experiences. It allowed for a lot of energy, and as we (the panel), discussed afterward that we all LEARNED something too. I got some great ideas, and left the room more energized than I was when I arrived.

Obviously, I couldn’t take notes while on the panel, so Lydia Bednerik rocked it by tweeting the program via #lmatech.

After the jump, I’m going to pull a few of her comments out, and elaborate.

Journalist and others using content to find experts, sources and stories

Wake up, people. We’re not in 1999 any more. This article from Mashable, The Future of Social Media in Journalism, really sums up what’s going on with journalists, media and social media. I wrote a bit about it last week at PR, as We Knew It, is DEAD.

@heather_morse firm LA based, but global client based. Got firm to start blogging. Moving firm to FB.

firm starting to see results from efforts.

My firm, Barger & Wolen, represents the insurance industry. Our clients are all over the country, and not necessarily based where we have our offices. I got the firm blogging 18-months ago and we maintain three firm-managed blogs (Insurance Litigation & Regulatory Law; Life, Health, Disability Insurance Law Blog; Litigation Management & Attorney Fee Analysis Blog), along with one partner-authored/owned blog (California Insurance Regulatory).

We’re 70 attorneys, and yet we go up against Big Law for business on a regular basis. We started the blogs to get the name of our firm out (branding). We needed to build our authority and credibility beyond Sacramento for our regulatory practice, and California for our litigation. Our budgets will never compete with Big Law, so blogs seemed a price-effective solution.

It has taken approximately 18-months, but we’ve been receiving so many recognitions for our blogs:

My budget for maintaining our blogs, including the distribution networks, is under $20,000 per year. Right now, our firm is using JD Supra, Lexology and LexisNexis to distribute the blog content. I hope to add Mondaq next year. I currently send out links on our Twitter feed; and I am building out our Facebook page (direct link to come when we go live).

One thing that has happened internally that I am starting to notice is we are collaborating across practice lines to provide the right content on the right blogs.

Brian – e.g., video > what’s the purpose? In their case, was a brand exercise.

audience & panel discussion re quality of video/pics and expectations of viewers on different venues (website vs. FB, YouTube)

Lower quality productions ok for immediate purposes. Content is most important thing.

@Heather_Morse: go ahead and do it, you can always take it down if you need to pull back on posting.

Obviously, the conversation turned to video, and we had a robust discussion that lasted until the end.

There are two different types of video: highly produced and on-the-fly.

Highly produced video has its place, but, we know that clients want CONTENT. They don’t want to hear the firm talking about how great it is. They already know that. They want bite-sized information (no more than 1 minute). They want it topical and concise. Personally, I think a flip-camera or an iPhone 4 is all you need.

Imagine this: you just got a great win in court and you tape a 20-second clip with your client on the courtroom steps. You e-mail it to your marketing director who loads it into the firm’s blogs and YouTube channel (YouTube, BTW, is the #2 search engine behind Google).You can now write the press release/blog post later in the day.

In a situation like this, no one is going to care about the quality and production value … it’s the CONTENT that matters.

Chris Brogan, a “guru” in the Web 2.0 marketing world, has shot video clips from his laptop, while driving, and I saw a great piece he did from the pantry of his kitchen (I know!). I was interested in WHAT he was saying, not where and how.

If it works for you, keep doing it.

I keep hearing from gurus to do this, or don’t do that. Listen up: TRY EVERYTHING AND SEE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.

I keep hearing, “don’t do case updates,” yet we get download after download of our case updates. It’s what OUR audience wants. If you try it and it doesn’t work, try something else. If it fails you can always take it down. The costs are so minimal that we can experiment without risk of blowing through our annual budgets.

Our blogs target different audiences: Clients. Potential Clients. Referral Sources. Influencers (conference organizers, editors, journalists, etc.). They are building our firm’s brand. They are reinforcing our credibility. They are positioning us within the marketplace.

But I’m always looking forward. How can we incorporate this or that?? How can we move them to the next level? How can I improve our distribution channels? How can I get our message in front of those who need to hear or see it??

The 75 minutes went by so quickly and I know we could have kept the discussion going. There was more to talk about from strategy to tactics. But, sadly, the reception was calling …

Thanks again to Jen for inviting me on the panel, to my fellow panelists for a good time, to the audience for playing along, and to Lydia for live tweeting (taking notes that were REALLY helpful in me writing this piece).