‘Mobilegeddon’ could be bad news for 40 percent of top websites

As of April 28, Google will be using a new algorithm favoring sites that are “mobile-friendly” for searches on smartphones, according to an article in USA Today. This new algorithm is likely to change the rankings of sites in search results, which could result in loss of business.

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NCRA leadership, award winners, announced in local media

Announcements about new leadership, award recipients, and grant winners who were elected or recognized at NCRA’s 2014 Convention & Expo, held earlier this month in San Francisco, have been making their way throughout local media outlets. Among them, an article that appeared in the local Gazette Newspapers serving Jefferson, Ohio, announcing Sarah Nageotte’s installation as 2014-2015 President of NCRA. Other recent media pick-ups have included an article about Nancy Varallo, NCRA’s Immediate Past President, that appeared in the Worcester Telegraph, a brief about Doreen Sutton being installed as 2014-2015 NCRA Secretary-Treasurer that appeared online in the Arizona Republic, and the announcement of Mary Beth Johnson, professor of court reporting at the Community College of Allegheny County, being named 2014 Educator of the Year, which was posted on triblove.com. Insurancenewsnet.com also carried an article about Shannon Bevin, a court reporter from Whitestone, N.Y., who was awarded the 2014 New Professional Grant of $2,000 by the NCRF.

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Video offers insight into world of CART

A video posted by Arturo Martinez on July 28 on felicialove.com explains the benefits and purposes of using Communications Access Realtime Translation (CART). The video interviews a number of University of Washington students who have used CART, which enabled them to follow the lectures or conversations of the classroom by reading the steno-to-English translation on a computer or other compatible screen as it happened in the classroom. “If you have verbatim, word-by-word print right there in front of you, you’re able to understand more and have a lesser chance of misinterpreting what [the teacher and class are] saying,” explains one student.

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Marketing legal videographers

NCRA’s Certified Legal Videographers Council leaders Bruce Balmer, MBA, CLVS, Columbia, S.C., and Brian Clune, CLVS, San Anselmo, Calif., were joined by Jason Leven, CLVS, Washington, D.C., to present a conceptual overview of how and where to market legal video services during a session held at the association’s recent TechCon conference held April 11-13 in Atlanta. The panelists shared their experiences, practices, and insights with session attendees about an array of aspects related to successfully marketing a legal videography services business.

Define your geographical market

According to the panelists, professionals need to define where they plan to provide their services, for example, only in the downtown area of a single city, surrounding cities, one county or more, statewide, national, or international. In addition, they should determine their fees for other aspects of doing business including travel reimbursements, job referral fees, and cancellation charges at the same time as they determine their general service fees.

Determine what services to provide

Legal videographers have a wide range of areas where they can offer their services so it is important to identify the services and specialty areas where they plan to focus, such as depositions, day in the life videos, settlements, site visits, courtroom playbacks, or duplication and edition. They should also consider non-video services such as court reporting services, trial presentations, providing conference rooms, and a new trend called audio/videotape transcription where authorities want surveillance tapes transcribed.

Identify your competition

Striking out on your own can be exciting but to ensure you set your business up for success, it is important to identify your competition. Spend some research time to determine whether there are similar businesses in your area, how many there are, what areas they serve, and how healthy they are. In addition, determine what the standard rates are in your market area for the services you plan to provide and price accordingly, making sure you are not the cheapest guy in town or the highest, agreed the panelists.

Identify your customers

Among potential customers to target include local court reporters and court reporting firms, as these are who typically schedule depositions. The panelists suggested visiting local firms and asking if they have a videographer on staff and if so, letting them know that you are available if they need additional assistance. Other potential customers include fellow videographers, national court reporting firms, legal secretaries, and attorneys themselves.

Effective marketing tools

Effective marketing doesn’t always have to cost money, especially when it takes the form of networking. The panelists suggested new business owners take advantage of the opportunities and benefits of membership in professional associations related to their field of expertise including legal-related groups. Other cost-effective marketing tips presented included making yourself a resource by providing articles to professional newsletters and speaking at association meetings, civic organizations, and schools. Also, submit formal announcements to local and legal media outlets about new hires and new services you might now offer.

Direct marketing tools

According to the experts, direct marketing pieces such as postcards are an effective and cost efficient way to create name recognition within your market place. In addition, they recommended maintaining mailing lists of both existing clients and potential clients and use different messages when marketing to them.

TechCon 2014: Magnify your online presence

Self-employed and small business owners can cash in on the benefits of magnifying their online presence by using the same tactics and strategies as the big corporations, according to Sara Wood, CAE, director of NCRA’s marketing and membership department, and Steve Crandall, JD, CLVS, managing director and founder of ProMotion Arts, LLC, a full-spectrum new media company in Seattle, Wash. Wood and Crandall presented an insightful session to attendees about how to shore up their online branding and use such tools as Google analytics to help increase their Internet footprint.

According to Wood, individuals should know first and foremost how their online brands reflect them. She explained that a personal online brand is created by the social media sites individuals use such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

“You have a personal brand whether you like it or not, and it impacts your professional brand online. Your image on social media will define who you are. Know what you are putting out there before setting up an online presence for your business. Know how others perceive you and what they are saying about you,” Wood said.

Among the tips Wood shared to help improve online images (including maintaining them properly) were:

  • Define your image and your brand, and stick to it.
  • Conduct an audit of existing social media presence to know what is out there.
  • Make conscious decisions about what to and not to post.
  • Don’t feed the trolls or those searching for a fight.
  • Ask friends to not post content to your social media outlets without your consent.
  • Review your websites and social media outlets regularly to ensure efficiency and functionality.

“How you present yourself online matters to your business and to those looking to hire you,” Wood said.

During the second part of the presentation, Crandall provided attendees with a tutorial on leveraging Google by creating a Google account at www.google.com/adwords. He and Wood explained how businesses could set up affordable targeted and segmented advertising campaigns through the system and track how many hits their sites are receiving and who is visiting them.

“You can lose business just as easy as gain business online. You need a website. If you don’t have one, you are losing business,” Crandall said.

Check your email and then your local paper

NCRA has launched a new public relations strategy to generate media recognition of its members for their professional accomplishments and significant achievements. Members who have recently earned a new certification, been awarded a grant or scholarship, or even have participated in events such as the NCRF annual phone-a-thon, can expect an email from NCRA’s communications depart ment with a request to review an attached press release and return it, along with a clear headshot, to be distributed to local media outlets in their area. In addition to recognizing our members’ achievements, this new PR strategy aids in increasing public awareness of the many specialized services NCRA members provide in a variety of venues.

We love to brag, so feel free to send information about your accomplishments and achievements to NCRA’s Communications Department at pr@ncra.org for review and consideration. Your news may be announced with a press release to your local media. In addition, watch the NCRA website for a link to the Court Reporters Information Center coming later this year. In it, users will find an array of press release templates members can access to create their own PR campaigns, as well as tips on working with the media, using social media for promotions, and much more.

The Varallo Group announces its JumpStart Package

When clients of the Varallo Group asked the company to go beyond court reporting and administrative support to help them with marketing, sales, and other business development services, it developed the following new services:

  • Logo: Your business needs a unique logo and brand that identify you unmistakably. To create your brand, the Varallo Group will interview you, thereby extracting your essential message, and design a distinctive logo and tagline to complement it.
  • Print: When promoting your business, you’ll want professional looking brochures and business cards that speak to the uniqueness of your company. The Varallo Group can create content that reflects your brand, succinctly and attractively. Your print materials will coordinate with your website, creating a look and feel that is uniquely yours.
  • Website: A website breathes life into your business. It’s where prospective clients will find you. Make sure the image you present captures their attention! The Varallo Group can build you a website that reflects your strengths and services and invites the client to give you a chance.

The Varallo group offers website and print materials to effectively convey your mission and goals. Contact The Varallo Group at www.TheVaralloGroup.com for more information.